Shikabane Hime: Aka 10

Episode 10 of Shikabane Hime: Aka, “Star on Earth”, starts off with Ouri’s miserable attempt to cook, humorous but pointless except to obliquely show how much Keisei cares for him. Meanwhile, Keisei is pissed about being cooped in the hospital, and he also wants to know how Minai ended up being caught by the internal affairs people before the shikabane hime when she was running away with Ouri. With his father refusing to answer any questions, Keisei heads to the headquarters to get some answers.

At the headquarters, the higher-ups refuse to enlighten Keisei. And they can’t understand why he’s so fired up about a shikabane hime, an attitude that I would like to shove up into certain parts of their anatomy, something I suspect Keisei would also like to do. However, the head honcho of the Kougonshuu shows up and tells Keisei that it was Ouri that led Minai to her doom, to the puzzlement of some and annoyance of others.

At Ouri’s school, Kasuga Nozomi talks to Ouri about this new religion that’s appearing on the news, which supposedly demonstrates its power over death by burning someone alive and having the person regenerate himself. Having given up on wooing Makina, but still being pulled by the prospect of life after death, Nozomi wants to join the religion with Ouri, but he says it’s a bad idea. However, Ouri thinks about investigating the religion, since it might have solutions for the shikabane hime that Kougonshuu is either unable or unwilling to use.

When Ouri tries to discuss things with Sougi Takamasa, however, the monk disguised as a teacher is already gone. With confirmation that Keisei and Ouri were not causing the increased shikabane incidents, which Akasha was actually responsible for, there’s no reason for him and Itsuki to remain at the school. Instead, he is going to go into training so that he can freely use the sadanjyutsuhou, motivated by how powerless he was in the battle against Akasha. Keisei also happens to have the same idea. Back at the temple, Makina is dreaming about the time she died, when she and her family were killed by shikabane.

By now, Ouri has went to one of the new religion’s sessions, where they are showing a video of the leader having one of his followers step into a raging fire, and the follower coming out of the fire with all of his burns healed up quickly. The video also shows the leader’s sweat solidifying into gold as it drops, which seems to be a great attraction to many of the older women gathered. However, the leader isn’t physically present, so Ouri extracts himself from the gathering.

Soon after, a group of people show up in front of the religious leader. Unsurprisingly, the follower who steps into the fire is a shikabane, which is why he heals so fast from the burns. In fact, the leader himself is also a shikabane, who can make things real with his words. The group of people who show up ridicule the leader’s showmanship among the living and intends for the religion to end. The leader is under the very mistaken impression that they’re from the Kougonshuu, though, which is fixed quickly when the group reveals their belief that shikabane should follow their instincts and reap death and destruction, and really should not steal the freedom of other shikabane.

Outside, Ouri is disappointed about how fake the religion seems, and asks the ethereal black cat if it thinks there are any shikabane around. The cat promptly turns its head towards a white-haired girl, who seems to have an interest in Ouri. She starts approaching Ouri, but something catches her attention and she runs off. Inside, the religious leader is trying to kill the group of people by commanding them to die. For all I know, it might even be working, but it wouldn’t show because the group is already dead: they are all shikabane themselves. The white-haired girl apparently didn’t want to miss the fun in destroying the religious leader, which is why she ran off.

At the Parthenon, Keisei arrives to ask the owner about what could have happened to Ouri and Minai, as Ouri’s part-time job is one of the few places Ouri might have thought to hide Minai. Sadahiro somehow realized Keisei was coming and locked the door, and tries to hide his identity by masking his voice. But Keisei still recognizes the voice and is surprised by it, having heard that Sadahiro and Akira were sent overseas, but it does explain the oddity of the situation concerning Minai. Before he goes, Keisei indirectly asks Sadahiro to help Ouri out if anything were to happen to himself, respecting Sadahiro’s desire not to identified. But now that they’ve been found out, Sadahiro and Akira will have to close the Parthenon and move away, which also means that Ouri is out of a part-time job. It sucks even more for Ouri since it was just before payday.

Elsewhere, Akasha gathers his courage to meet the group of shikabane we saw this episode. He wants to work with them to destroy all shikabane hime. So it’s a relief to Akasha when the group of shikabane, the Seven Stars, agrees as his goal coincides with their desire to destroy the Kougonshuu. It is also revealed that the Seven Stars revolves around Hokuto, the white-haired girl, even though the common perception is that Hazama, the big bearded guy, is the leader. The way Akasha approached them makes me think that he’s not motivated by any particular desire to increase suffering in the world, but rather that he hated the existence of the shikabane hime, where women are trapped in a sad existence with even the promises of heaven possibly being a lie. It also seems to be the case that Hazama was at the deadly battle the week before Akasha went bad.

In the meantime, the Kougonshuu are alarmed at discovering the Seven Stars appearing at the destruction of the new religion, which they had suspected of being involved with shikabane but had left alone because of outside pressures. The episode ends with the end of Makina’s dream, where she remembers the moment of her death at the hands of the Seven Stars. Obviously, the Seven Stars is Makina’s obsession as a shikabane.

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.