Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon - The Second Act
Episode 8

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 8 of
Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon - The Second Act (TV 2) ?

Yashahime has never been what you'd call a truly serious story, but every time a weird-looking monster shows up, I have to wonder if the whole thing would feel like it had higher stakes if the creature designs weren't so damn goofy. After the giant octopus and ogres who looked like they were wearing diapers, we now get “flame bulls,” who actually sound pretty threatening in concept. After all, in a world without fire trucks, giant bulls who descend from the sky and set everything on fire could be absolutely disastrous. But then we get a look at them, and they look like something out of Yo-kai Watch rather than anything more threatening. I'm not sure if it's the mat-wrapped feet or the many snaggle teeth, but these things more closely resemble something my four-year-old niece would draw than anything scarier. That we then don't even really get to see them in action just cements the problem – they show up, dodge Hisui's weapon, and get clobbered by Setsuna's, and that's it. As far as showing off Setsuna's skill goes, it's really very lame and definitely doesn't get the bulls' threat level across.

But this episode is all about the half-measures, which is doubly disappointing after we had a few plot-packed episodes to compare it (and last week's unimpressive offering) to. Once again the time is divided between the three girls, without giving any one of them quite enough screentime to make meaningful progress. Moroha once again suffers the most here; she's been captured by Takechiyo's people and thrown in a dungeon, she escapes, and then she fights a giant full moon tanuki. And…yeah, that's it. There is a great moment when she pulls a multi-tool out of her hair and proves that if you ever go back in time, that is the one thing you absolutely want to have with you, because the sucker picks locks, drills holes in thin flooring, and does a multitude of other useful things. Unfortunately “defeating giant tanuki” is not one of its features. It may be important that Takechiyo's younger brother is, for all intents and purposes, a puppet ruler, but right now it's a bit hard to really see how. That's really a fault in the storytelling, which is spectacularly bad at pacing.

The most significant plot point this week may be the injury to Riku's eyes. Prior to it, Riku was pretty much always face-timing Kirinmaru, making it difficult for him to be around Towa while also allowing Rion's dad to know where she was at all times. Although not being able to see has its downsides, the fact that he's been freed from Kirinmaru may outweigh that for Riku – and force him to understand that Towa, despite her issues, is no one's damsel in distress. The injury is almost certainly temporary, but it gives them a window of time to get things moving in the plan department, while also offering a way for the two of them to spend time together, which needs to happen if their ship is going to sail.

Of course, it's also important that Akuru, the spirit Kirinmaru desperately wants, is suddenly popping up in front of Towa and Setsuna. As Sesshomaru's daughters, they're some of the only ones who can see the little boy, and I don't think it's a coincidence that he showed up when both of them were using lavender-scented hand cream. In the western language of flowers, lavender is symbolic of purity and healing, while in Japan it symbolizes faithfulness, any of which may be attractive to the little spirit. That only Sesshomaru's bloodline can see him (per Kirinmaru, so maybe take that with a grain of salt) and his attraction to the scent of lavender may indicate a pact of some sort, with the “faithful” lavender reminding him to be faithful. But his depiction as a child may be indicative of the “innocence” meaning of European flower language, so it doesn't seem out of the question that both readings could be intended to combine. Given the use of folklorically significant numbers in the show as well (seven rainbow pearls, three girls, five grains), I don't necessarily think this is reading too much into it.

But then again, this is Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon, the show with what are plainly good intentions fumbled by poor execution. Oh well. At least next week looks like it may stick with just Setsuna, which may improve things.

Rating:

Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon - The Second Act is currently streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu.


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