Shikabane Hime: Aka 7

Episode 7 of Shikabane: Aka, “Soul of False Words”, starts off in a subway, where a group of teenagers are disruptively loud as someone is ominously typing words in a computer. And one of the words typed is that the author will administer justice against those who commit evil. This is soon borne out by actual action as a creepy young guy wearing glasses approaches the group of unruly teenagers that just got off the subway, and when one of them tries to punch the guy for being an annoyance, the attacking teenager instead ends up falling on the subway tracks. It’s real unfortunate for him, as he is promptly crushed by an arriving subway.

Meanwhile, Keisei still hasn’t recovered from the events from the previous episode. People in and related to his religious organization are discussing the situation, among whom is Sadahiro. From him we learn a little more about what happened five years ago. Akasha and his shikabane hime was among a group deployed to contain a large shikabane outbreak, but when reinforcements including Keisei and Sadahiro arrived, everything was dead in a bloodbath. Only Akasha and his shikabane hime managed to survive, and the latter only barely. It was only a week later that Akasha killed his shikabane hime and caused the massacre that got Makina and her family killed.

At school, Ouri is consulted by a friend of his, Sumitori. The friend knew someone else who used to regularly blog, originally about the games he played. However, the tone suddenly turned into something surreal, something like a fantasy novel, not to mention that the author hadn’t been coming to school since changing grades. And one of the upperclassmen who had bullied him had just recently died. Sumitori had heard urban legends about shikabane, and was asking Ouri whether he knew anything or could ask around, given his connection to a temple that supported the orphanage he used to live in. Ouri tells Sumitori to forget about it, that he doesn’t know anything.

As Ouri is biking home, the ethereal black cat appears in his back seat and asks him why he lied. Ouri says that he doesn’t want anyone else to get involved with the shikabane, which the cat astutely points out isn’t much different from what Keisei was doing to Ouri. When he goes to Keisei’s place for a visit, he learns about Makina’s goal to destroy the shikabane that had destroyed her family. But he shouldn’t have asked whether Makina was Keisei’s girlfriend, which earns him a smack on the head.

After starting back home in a hurry after the retribution from Makina, Ouri realizes that he forgot to mention the suspicious blog. Keisei does seem to regain consciousness when he’s biking home, though. But Ouri eventually gets the urge to send a text message to Mitsuyoshi, the blog author who had gone missing, asking whether he was dead, and waits for him.

The religious organization is aware of the situation with the blog. Isaki Shuuji and his shikabane hime, Minai, are looking for Mitsuyoshi. However, it seems that Isaki really needs some mental issues to work out, as he really treats Minai like dirt and yet seems to have some unsavory feelings for her. Maybe if he just accepted that the living and the so-called “undead” (I don’t subscribe to the view that something that moves, thinks, and feels like any other sentient being could be considered anything other than alive, even though the basis of their metabolism might be completely different), like the way Keisei and Sadahiro seems to think of their shikabane hime, perhaps Isaki wouldn’t be so unreasonable.

Isaki and Minai find out some “idiot” had sent the blog author a text message, so Isaki decides to use the “idiot” as bait. The “idiot” is Ouri, of course, and he tries to talk to Mitsuyoshi, who has just arrived. Mitsuyoshi doesn’t seem to even realize he’s dead, and considers himself a fighter for justice, but he lacks the rationality to sufficiently be considered as such, not to mention being too self-centered. When Mitsuyoshi gets pissed off at Ouri’s very reasonable arguments, Minai comes to the rescue and attacks, contrary to Isaki’s wish to just let Mitsuyoshi handle Ouri.

It turns out that Mitsuyoshi has some special sort of power as a shikabane, as Minai and Isaki are both hurt when they attack him. Ouri realizes that the power is the ability to reflect any damage inflicted against Mitsuyoshi to the attacker, so the stronger the attack, the stronger the damage would be inflicted against the attacker. Given this realization, Ouri jumps against Mitsuyoshi off the cliff and into the waters below. Minai jumps in after him before Isaki can say anything.

Minai saves Ouri from drowning and manages to get them to a cave. Safe from the shikabane threat for now, responding to Ouri’s query why Minai follows someone like Isaki who has an annoying superiority complex and a lack of concern for others, she admits that she may be as evil as Mitsuyoshi said earlier, when Mitsuyoshi declared that since he’s a fighter for justice, someone trying to destroy him must be evil. She had committed a double murder-suicide, killing a man who was either her boyfriend or husband and jumping off the roof of a building. At least she tried to, but now she’s a shikabane hime.

Ouri corrects Minai’s impression of herself as he points out that Minai tried to help him out of her own free will. But they’re interrupted as Mitsuyoshi jumps out of the water, and Minai’s attack against him only bounces off against herself. Before anything happens to Ouri, however, bullets are fired that shred Mitsuyoshi’s right tentacle. Makina had come to the rescue. Not only that, she had also figured out Mitsuyoshi’s special ability and deliberately fired off shots against his right tentacle, since her current lack of a right arm, which had yet to regenerate from the amputation from the previous episode, means that no damage is reflected onto herself.

Makina does get floored as Ouri so naturally calls her “hero”, a contrast to how she declared herself not to be a hero or any kind of fighter for justice earlier, which is a pretty funny moment for everyone except Ouri himself, who doesn’t quite realize how silly he must have sounded. By now, Makina has probably made up her mind that Ouri must be as big an idiot as his big brother, just in a different way. Before anything else can be said or done, however, the episode ends in a cliffhanger with Mitsuyoshi emerging again and charging against the two shikabane hime and sole human.

By Shounen A

伝説の少年A. The Legendary Boy A. The counterpart of Konata Izumi from Lucky Star, he is an otaku of legendary reputation whose tastes foretell the rise and fall of anime series. Or not.