Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 21 of
Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon ?
I was naïve enough to hope that, after delivering an essentially tolerable half-hour last week, Yashahime might finally be on the upswing. Except I forgot: Yashahime is where hope goes to die. The animation, voice-acting, and direction all still range from mediocre to outright bad; nothing's changed there. In order to truly understand what makes “The Secret of the Rainbow Pearls” so lame, we have to talk about its writing, and that means the return of ~Yashahime Masterpiece Theater~, where I provide a completely accurate, line-by-line breakdown of Yashahime's many flaws! We begin some two-hundred years before the beginning of InuYasha, with Kirinmaru plotting his defeat of the Great Dog Demon…
—Prologue: Wherein We Technically Learn About the Secret of the Rainbow Pearls.—
The Four Perils: Lord Kirinmaru, the Great Dog Demon is ill, which makes right now the perfect time to strike!
Kirinmaru: You idiots! I'm an honorable and soulful villain. I only want to kill the GDD if we're on equal footing! Riku, go deliver these medicines to him, so I can murder him later!
Riku: Kay. [He leaves]
Lady Zero: That damned fool Kirinmaru! If only he'd be willing to murder the GDD while he's down! This is why we haven't taken over the world yet! [Riku returns]
Riku: Yo, so I went to go deliver those meds, but that Great Dog Demon dude is definitely dead.
Lady Zero: What!? No! how cruel, how unjust is this world to take from it such a beloved creature! I simply cannot handle this grief, so I'm going to use my tears on the Shikon Jewel to make these Rainbow Pearls, which are like Infinity Gems, I guess? Point is, I'm not even a demon anymore, except I'll still be immortal and young even hundreds of years from now, so maybe I am a demon still?
—Act One: Wherein Towa Is Very Bad at Listening to Directions. Again.—
Setsuna: Alright, sis, look. Moroha and I are going off to do…whatever it is we do in our free time. It's the new moon, and you're powerless again. We all know that everything you touch is immediately ruined, so I am begging you. Please. Do not go anywhere. Do not do anything. Just stay inside with Kaede. Got it?
Towa: Yeah, yeah, I got it! Geez. Hey, Kaede, how are—
Kaede:[Unprompted] Have I ever told you about how much you remind me of your mother, Rin? I lived with her for years, and when she disappeared after you were born, it broke my heart.
Towa: You've literally never mentioned any of this to me, even though we've been in Feudal Japan for…I dunno, a while? Anyways, I guess I'm mildly interested in this. What happened? Did she die?
Kaede: I dunno. Probably.
Towa: Huh. Well, what about me reminded you of her?
Kaede: She was…nice?
Towa: Neat. Oh damn, was that the Dream Butterfly!? [Towa immediately runs outside to get into some shenanigans]
Setsuna:[Miles away] Seriously, Towa, what the fu—
—End Act One—
(I don't need to go into any more detail about why it's so ridiculous that it has taken twenty-one episodes for Towa to show even a passing interest in one of the most important story threads that fans have been dying to have resolved, right? That's good, because we haven't even gotten to the next part yet…)
—Act Two: Wherein Things Get Really Dumb. —
Towa: Aw, man, I lost the Dream Butterfly! I guess I'll give up on that again for another season or two. [Enter Riku]
Riku: Hey there girl. Remember me? I'm that sketchy guy who always shows up at suspiciously convenient moments. I got you arrested that one time? I have an inexplicable knowledge of the villains' movements and plans?
Towa: It's tea time! [The episode becomes about these two sharing a romantic tea picnic, for some reason]
Riku:[A few minutes of unbearably cringy flirting later…] So anyway, I'm, like, all about these Rainbow Pearls. You know, the incredible magic artifacts that are lodged in you and your twin sister's eyes? I gotta snatch 'em all!
Towa: Oh yeah. That isn't even a little suspicious! I've honestly never thought about them much. What do they even do when you have them all together?
Riku: Who knows? Your powers would increase, I suppose. Or perhaps a devastating Degenerate Age could begin…[Riku gives a mischievous double-wink]
(Note: That is really Riku's line from the show, straight up. Even the wink.)
Towa: I have no follow up questions for you. At all. Not even one! It's a good thing that I'm out here, vibing with such an obviously trustworthy dude, especially since I don't have any powers tonight!
Totetsu: Surprise! I'm gonna kill you all, you motherfu—
—End Act Two—
(There's a fight scene here, it's nothing special. The only noteworthy thing is that Riku summons some awfully familiar-looking poison miasma bees. Oh, and he takes a bunch of bees to the back to protect Towa, which leads us to the worst part of the whole episode…)
—Act Three: Wherein…You Know What? Just Read It For Yourselves. Trust Me.—
Riku: Agh! Towa, I've got to tell you that I used to work for Kirinmaru, that guy who wants to murder everything you love. Well, I used to work for him, but we both have *separate* schemes for the Rainbow Pearls, so it's been kind of awkward.
Towa: Yeah, yeah. Whatever, sure. Have I told you that I kind of have a crush on you?
Riku: Oh. Well, that's nice and all, but I don't know if you heard— [Setsuna and Moroha conveniently arrive]
Setsuna:Towa, you had one job. How are you so bad at this? Plus, this Riku guy is definitely a creep! He smells like our worst enemy! It's weird!
Towa: I know, isn't it hot?
Moroha: Um. [Riku brutally decapitates Totetsu, leaving his head to gasp and twitch on the ground. It's honestly pretty metal]
Riku: I'm just so good at murdering things. Wowzers!
Towa: You see, so trustworthy! In fact, he's so trustworthy that I'm just going to give him my Silver Pearl!
Moroha: Wait, what!?
Setsuna: That is, without a doubt, the stupidest thing you could possibly do at this moment. What on earth would make you think, even for a second, that—
Towa: Already done, no takebacks! Byeeeeeee!
Riku: Um….Okay? Peace out, then! [Riku dips out]
Setsuna: Was that really okay, handing over your Pearl like that? With those Rainbow Pearls he'll have immense demon power. We can only hope that their rightful owner won't use them for evil… [Towa looks very shocked by this ridiculously obvious point]
Moroha: And wasn't Mr. Riku working with Kirinmaru?
Towa: That's right!? I changed my mind! Give me back my Silver Pearl!!! Riku, wait!
Riku: Haha. No.
You know what the kicker is? That final exchange up there is taken word-for-word from the dialogue in the final scene. What more is there to say, when Yashahime's actual script becomes virtually indistinguishable from my bitter snark? It's one thing to try and blend some humor into your fantasy adventure story, but it's another thing altogether for the show to make its ostensible lead heroine into such an incompetent joke. This week's Half-Star of Pity comes from the single redeeming moment of the entire episode: Moroha finally got herself a corpse head to sell! Good for you girl! Now go buy yourself a hot meal, a fresh set of clothes, and a one-way ticket out of this show, because Lord knows it isn't doing you any favors.
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