Episode 2 of Shikabane Hime: Kuro, “My Enemy”, continues from the previous episode, with Makina being apologetic to Ouri and feeling sorry for herself about the loss of Keisei. After the sad moment, however, Makina soon turns angry about Ouri risking himself the way he did and wonders what he was even doing there. When Makina learns about Ouri training as a monk so that he can keep the contract with Makina he inherited from Keisei, she rebukes him about Ouri having no real reason to fight against shikabane.
However, they’re interrupted when other monks finally arrive led by Honda. They’re from the anti-shikabane hime faction, and not only that, they are not really aware of what had just happened except that someone or something has broken into Makina’s cave. When they see one of their monks dead inside the cave, they do not believe Ouri and Makina at all about the monk having turned into shikabane, believing themselves immune from becoming one, and restrain Ouri and Makina. Apparently the battle of Akasha against Sadahiro and Akira has moved away from the area, which would explain why they aren’t aware of what’s happening.
As for Akasha, he invokes his sadanjyutsuhou to summon the Seven Stars, which buries Sadahiro and Akira in the process. Soon after, Hokuto mentions seeing a “broken mirror” nearby, which is apparently what the Seven Stars are after. Given that Makina is their goal, it makes me wonder if Hokuto and Makina are supposed to be two sides of the same coin somehow. The Seven Stars and Akasha teleport away with the powers of one of the shikabane when Sadahiro and Akira unbury themselves and try to attack them.
One interesting tidbit is that one of the other shikabane calls Ena “ojisan”, an old man, which suggests Ena is a male shikabane taking on the form of a young boy. I had thought Ena and Hokuto had the form of young girls, so this makes me wonder if I was wrong about Hokuto’s gender as well. If the Seven Stars are all male, with two of them girlish and one androgynous, it would be an interesting contrast to the all-female shikabane hime. Then again, I may be making too much out of a little quip.
This is shortly after Itsuki and Sougi had freed Makina and Ouri from the ignorant monks. But the same sort of cube that teleported the Seven Stars and Akasha forms around Makina, Ouri, and the ignorant monks and teleports them away, leaving behind an alarmed Itsuki and Sougi. Makina finally faces the Seven Stars again, but she’s no match against them, and Hazama ridicules her that a mere obsession would not allow her to defeat them. When Ouri tries to rebut Hazama by pointing out that the shikabane of the Seven Stars are also powered by obsession, Hazama reveals what’s fundamentally different between them and other shikabane: the Seven Stars are motivated by their nature, not an obsession.
Sougi obviously alerts the Kougonshuu headquarters of the Seven Stars incursion, as Takamine wants to take Kamika to deal with the situation, but this is disallowed by the second-in-command of the Kougonsuu, citing that Takamine and Kamika’s job is to protect the head of the Kougonshuu in such a situation. Fresh and Umehara show up and tag team Kamika to peek up her skirt, although Fresh, whose given name seems to be Tina, is doing it against her will as she is only interested in the two-dimensional. What Umehara really had shown up for is to borrow something only he can use against the Seven Stars, since otherwise he could have just went towards them without visiting the headquarters.
The Seven Stars except for Hokuto boast about being motivated by their nature, the human instinct that is suppressed during life, that they let their nature roam free, and are disappointed by Makina who appears to be motivated by mere obsession. Apparently they’re like sophists who deny anything else that they don’t want to be human nature to not be human nature, as so many evil people in fiction do with the excuse that they’re freeing their nature at the same time they deny other parts of their nature. When Hazama starts to squeeze the life out of Makina out of disappointment (many would say she’s not alive, but when a shikabane thinks and moves the way they do, how are they in any sense dead?), Ouri runs up to Hazama and declares he wouldn’t let Makina die. Hazama belittles Ouri, who is really out of his depth, and knocks him down.
Makina is watching it happen as she starts to lose consciousness, and apologizes again about not being able to protect Keisei. This starts her down the memory lane for Keisei, and her thoughts of Keisei gives her strength to start kicking Hazama’s ass. It even exceeds his expectations of Makina, which probably makes him rethink his opinion of Makina being motivated by mere obsession. However, before Makina can land a finishing blow on Hazama, Hokuto intervenes.
Makina is utterly powerless against Hokuto, and the fact that Hokuto isn’t even meaning to fight makes it all the more impressive. According to the Seven Stars, Hokuto isn’t fighting but wanting to know another person, and being a shikabane, that usually means Hokuto ending up killing the person. In fact, Hokuto has neither obsession nor nature and is the closest thing to death personified, which is why Hokuto is the head of the Seven Stars. Interestingly, when seeing Makina, Hokuto sees a broken mirror where the fragments show Makina and Hokuto, which may suggest there’s some deep connection between the two people.
Fortunately, Umehara breaks into the closed space, bringing along his shikabane hime Fresh and the contract monks Rika and Sougi with their own shikabane hime Saki and Itsuki. Umehara is carrying a sword, which is probably the special item he had went to the headquarters to borrow and which only he can properly wield. Sadahiro and Akira also manage to break into the closed space shortly after, to the surprise of Umehara and Rika (Sougi does not recognize him). With the group of high-powered contract monks and shikabane hime arrayed against them, Akasha teleports himself and the Seven Stars to safety, as the Seven Stars have now gotten what they want: a worthy adversary in the form of Makina.
What do the Seven Stars really want from Hoshimura Makina? It even seems like they deliberately killed her and her family in order to make her shikabane hime in the first place. They definitely want her to be more like themselves and made powerful by her own nature, although I have no idea what they ultimately want from her. On the other hand, Ouri has become less of a passive observer than last season, although completely out of his leagues, and I wonder if he is an unknown for the Seven Stars that will eventually take them by surprise completely with his black cat. The black cat, incidentally, has not shown up yet given the presence of so many shikabane.