Shikabane Hime: Kuro 6


ouri-impaling-ena

Episode 6 of Shikabane Hime: Kuro, “The Monster that is Happiness”, continues from the previous episode, where Ena had animated a group of fake Keiseis in his assault against Makina. Ouri faces off against Ena and actually manages to defeat the shikabane, who shows no special abilities during the fight. Ouri managed to invoke a form of sadanjutsuhou which helped him beat Ena, to the surprise of the others since Ouri hardly has much training as a Kougonshuu monk. Sadahiro mentions that a sadanjutsuhou is not really an innate ability developed by a monk, but rather an endowed blessing, so perhaps Ouri is being watched over by Keisei from the beyond, or perhaps it has to do with Ouri’s as yet mysterious origins.

But Ena was not really defeated, and the shikabane animates another of the Keisei doubles that were prepared. Every time Ouri kills the body that Ena is occupying, Ena can just move to another body, so the course of action is pretty obvious: just kill all the inactive Keisei doubles so that Ena would have no place to run to. Ouri, Sadahiro, and Akira make short work of all the inactive body doubles. This bewilders Ena, who cannot understand how they could kill bodies bearing the face of Keisei, which just shows how out of touch Ena is. With only one body left, Ena summons Touya, the balloon-faced shikabane, who had declined to fight against Saki earlier in the episode after having provoked her with words.

ena-and-the-spinning-ball-of-death

I would have thought that Touya was being summoned to deal with everyone else besides Makina, as Ena’s target is really just Makina, but instead Ena just wanted his usual body back. Now that Ena is no longer occupying a Keisei lookalike, there’s no reason for Makina to keep back, and it’s her turn to fight Ena. Now that Ena is back to his usual body, he shows more ability than just jumping between bodies: Ena can use the round bell he usually carries around as a rapidly spinning deadly weapon, which almost takes out Sadahiro, who is narrowly saved by Akira. Makina tries to stop it with her scavenged pistol, but the spinning bell is too potent and the gun promptly explodes, so Makina takes the drastic action of trying to stop Ena’s weapon with her bare hand.

An ordinary human’s flesh and bone would have probably been immediately ground into a bloody mist, but Makina is a shikabane hime, so it wouldn’t be too surprising that her hand survived contact. But an ordinary shikabane hime may not have last long, either, but Makina is no longer just an ordinary shikabane hime as her curse is invoked while sucking the life out of Ouri, who still ends up in pain but fares much better than he did six months ago. Makina’s curse, or rather strength, is a rather frightening rate of regeneration, so her hands remain relatively intact even as her flesh is being ground away at an extreme rate. With both hands, Makina stops Ena’s spinning bell and breaks it.

Having been defeated by Makina, and also I suspect after facing Makina’s will stronger than his own, Ena’s will is broken and he basically gives up. We also get a short flash back of his origin. Ena was a crazy artist frustrated with his inability to create beauty. He killed himself after strangling his subjects, whose bodies presumably were used to create the body Ena usually ended up wearing after becoming a shikabane. This just adds to the steadily increasing puzzlement I’ve had about the Seven Stars and other shikabane: I’m increasingly dubious of the distinction between obsession that motivates ordinary shikabane and nature of the Seven Stars that they seem so proud of. And Ena definitely was a “he” in life, even if I’m still unsure about the gender of his usual body as a shikabane. Akira lends Makina her sniper rifle, which Makina uses to put Ena out of his misery.

touya-possessing-nozomi

After the battle, Ouri collapses into Makina’s embrace out of exhaustion, a scene witnessed by Nozomi who had been searching for Ouri while everything else was happening. This sends Nozomi into an emotional turmoil, although I’m not sure if it’s jealousy against Ouri or Makina, but she has no time calm to herself down or even approach the shikabane hime and contract monk. Touya captures Nozomi and possesses her, being quite happy about finding someone who is fascinated by death.

As Sadahiro and Akira leave Ouri and Makina, they promise not to tell anyone about Makina not severing her connection with Keisei. However, Makina doesn’t seem to have a clue of their special status, much less who they are, as she asks Akira if she was near to destroying 108 shikabane. Makina does find it odd when they mention that their target was the traitorous monk Akasha, since shikabane hime are not allowed to kill living human beings.

Another day, monks have been gathered at the Kougonshuu headquarters for an official announcement. Now that two of the Seven Stars have been destroyed, the organization will focus their energies on destroying the remaining Seven Stars. Shikabane hime presumably cannot be part of the gathering, and Makina, Saki, and Itsuki are watching it on television, obviously a private broadcast to Kougonshuu members, so they get to see Ouri making himself noticed by asking questions. Ouri wants to know what the real goals of the Seven Stars are, but they is no answer for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kougonshuu secretly has people looking into it, or even if the higher-ups already know exactly what the Seven Stars really want.

makina-and-saki-watching-television

After the meeting, Rika has something to give Ouri, which turns out to be a reinforced monk outfit left by Keisei. At Ouri’s question of whether he did something improper, Saki is surprised that he’s even asking the question, and Rika informs Ouri that the orders of the high priest are absolute for the Kougonshuu, and that the high priest is basically considered a god. The unquestioning obedience seems rather out of place for a Buddhism-based religion, though, even if the high priest being a god isn’t. It also turns out that the high priest is the only person capable of creating shikabane hime. And Saki really enjoys teasing about romantic feelings, real or imagined.

Back at Ouri’s old school, people are noticing a much different Kasuga Nozomi, who has a much more confident bearing and more seductive. In fact, Nozomi is kissing another boy after class, but breaks it off as it’s not giving the sort of happiness that she wants. At the boy’s protest, the possessed Nozomi exhales small balloons into the boy, which drives him into a high that’s seems to be more extreme than any drug could give him, and the boy soon dissolves into balloons. Touya continues to indulge in his nature at the school through the possessed Nozomi as a friend of Nozomi’s becomes the next victim.

nozomi-and-ouri

That night, after coming back from buying some instant packaged food for Makina, who doesn’t really need to eat but still feels hungry, Ouri is confronted by the possessed Nozomi at his apartment. The episode ends with Nozomi seductively asking Ouri to kill her.

Comments are closed.