The twelfth and final episode of Shikabane Hime: Kuro, “End of Corpse”, begins with other shikabane hime such as Saki or Itsuki still capable of fighting in the middle of the city. This is a surprise to Isaka, who expected them to be completely useless. He should have thought of the possibility that a contract monk and shikabane hime can connect to each other by themselves: what did he think happened with the first shikabane? Speaking of the first shikabane hime, Takamine was ranked high enough that he knew about her being the medium strengthening the bonds between contract monks and shikabane hime, although he seems to be unaware of what happens when a shikabane hime kills 108 shikabane.
Isaka manages to protect himself with a very strong barrier, but it falls soon enough to the concentrated attacks of the shikabane hime. His obsession (or nature as he would say) is the extreme fear of extinction, so it’s no surprise that he has very strong defensive powers but no offensive attacks. In this particular circumstance Isaka would have to rely on Touya for offense, but by now Touya has realized that happiness does not equal death and essentially destroys herself, even though technically it is Takamasa and Umehara that destroy her. And Isaka is destroyed just as easily by the shikabane hime.
Back at the ruins of the Joubou, it’s time for Makina and Hokuto to start fighting again, where this time Makina isn’t doing too badly even if it’s at the price of incredible physical stress for Ouri. This is when Sadahiro and Akira come to the rescue. Akasha thinks that Akira’s aim must be really bad since the shots miss him, but it soon becomes clear that their target is the gate to the Joubou, and enough shots eventually unburies the chamber within Joubou. It’s all part of a psychological attack against Akasha as the coffins sealing all the shikabane hime turned shikabane of destruction are revealed, reminding Akasha of his own Hibiki, and the reminder is reinforced when Akira shoots a crack into the coffin containing Hibiki.
It turns out that Hibiki is still sealed within her coffin: claims that Akasha killed his shikabane hime were greatly exaggerated. Sadahiro and Akira must have been given a thorough knowledge of the shikabane hime secret for Akira to have known exactly which coffin to shoot at, although I’m not sure why they would have needed to know so much: even though Akira has an obsession over avenging herself against the unspecified people who murdered her, making her a logical choice for a human-hunting shikabane hime, we still don’t know how Sadahiro and Akira came across the knowledge in the first place.
In any case, seeing Hibiki again is enough to completely override Akasha’s feelings for Hokuto. With his love for his previous shikabane hime completely overwhelming Akasha, Hokuto feels betrayed and kills Akasha. Incidentally, Hibiki isn’t damaged, and I’m not sure if even Hokuto could really destroy her, so I wonder if we’ll be seeing a mindless Hibiki on the rampage in any possible sequel (more likely, she would have been sealed again). Anyways, Hokuto is now back to her normal shikabane self, but it turns out Hazama was not really killed, and he comes out of the ground to take her away.
The way Hazama was disappointed with Akasha makes me wonder if he actually expected and hoped for Akasha’s actions. And it also makes me wonder whether Hazama had another goal than the stated goal of destroying the Kougonshuu. Hokuto isn’t even aware that Akasha is dead, though, which makes me wonder if Hokuto really is a good representative for death given how she doesn’t even seem to know what it is.
With all but two of the Seven Stars destroyed and the remaining two having gone underground, the influence that promoted shikabane generation wanes and things steadily return to normal. The Kougonshuu have survived the loss of the first shikabane hime, but they also lost the person who was in charge of supposedly taking shikabane hime who have killed 108 shikabane hime to heaven, the second-in-command of the Kougonshuu. This isn’t a crippling problem since he had assigned Sadahiro as his successor, which brings Sadahiro and Akira out of the shadows. As for Ouri and Makina, officially they are missing.
Not that something dire happened to Ouri and Makina, nor were they making any particular effort to hide: they just wandered off after Hazama and Hokuto went away and didn’t bother to report to the Kougonshuu afterwards. Ouri takes Makina to his old orphanage, and his plan is for him and Makina to live with the kids like normal people, with Makina not having to fight shikabane and possibly ending up killing 108 of them. He’s confident that he can talk the Kougonshuu into accepting it, and Makina seems to be accepting of the idea at first. However, when Ouri’s friends find them and eventually ask about Nozomi, this reminds Makina that Nozomi’s wish for an eternal and unchanging life after death really did not suit well with her. So much for Ouri’s plan of a long period of peace and quiet for himself and Makina …
Staying unchanged and repeating the same days over and over again is not acceptable to Makina, and she needs to do something more like actually living. Fortunately for her, she senses a trace of Keisei, which is from the bloody cube that Akasha had possessed (one might recall that Akasha had taken one of Keisei’s eyes in episode 12 of Aka to increase the power of the cube). And given that Hazama had taken possession of the cube, and with him being accompanied by Hokuto, Makina has a way to track down the remaining two members of the Seven Stars that have gone into hiding.
Hazama looks exhausted and Hokuto is really sad while they were hiding out in a ruined building, but Hokuto cheers right up when Makina and Ouri arrives. Hazama actually seems to be worried when Hokuto cheerfully throws herself into a fight against Makina, which really makes me want to know what is going on in his head. And Shikabane Hime: Kuro ends with Makina reaffirming that she is effectively living and not a mindless corpse, that both she and Hokuto are still basically human, as she punches the heck out of the happy Hokuto.
The last scene ends the series on a stylishly high note strongly suggestive of a possible sequel. However, I feel the episode does not end the season satisfactorily story-wise. Nothing fundamental seems to have changed for the shikabane hime despite what Ouri and Makina have learned, and the way Hazama’s big plan ended makes it feel as if it’s only an intermediate event in a bigger storyline. There are plenty of things that could be followed up in a possible sequel: Makina’s conflict with Hokuto, Makina’s past as hinted by the half-burnt picture and flashback, the people responsible for Akira’s death, Umehara’s other shikabane hime Touma, etc. It really does feel like the season ended in the middle of a story: there had better be a sequel …