Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 24 of
Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon ?
Look, there was never even the slightest chance that Yashahime's 24th episode would end up functioning as a proper series finale. I knew that. You knew that. We all knew that. Over the last six months, Yashahime has rambled, meandered, bungled, and straight tumbled ass-over-elbows in its vain attempts at telling a coherent and engaging story, but never has it managed to establish so much plot and character motivation that anyone would mistakenly think that it would be a one-and-done. I was a fool for ever dreaming of a world where Yashahime might have the decency to end here and now. Still, you can't blame a guy for hoping right?
Except, we've also learned what happens to hope when Yashahime comes calling, haven't we?
In a certain sense, you'd think a part of me would be happy to find out that “Sesshomaru's Daughter” was never meant to function as a complete conclusion to this story, because that could only mean that this season finale has less responsibilities to juggle, in the long run. In spite of every attempt on Yashahime's part to sabotage itself, that last couple of episodes managed to lay the groundwork for something that at least kind of resembles a conflict for this final chapter of the season: Zero has been revived by Sesshomaru's Tenseiga, and now she's got some Rainbow Pearl-fueled demonic wrath to bring down on our heroines; Kirinmaru has also descended from the sky to do…something, which can only mean double trouble for the girls!
Haha, no. That would be far too reasonable a direction to take the story, so instead Yashahime decides to spit right in its audience's face with more of The Usual Yashahime Bullshit™, starting mere seconds after Sesshomaru revives Zero with the Tenseiga. For some reason, Sesshomaru reveals that he is no longer concerned about her mortal link with Rin, and vows to do…something to her that involves a thorough stabbing. The logical assumption is that he wants to kill her, but that makes a negative amount of sense given that she was literally just dead, so I'm just going to pretend that Yashahime is trying to trick us, and that Sesshomaru's plans are more complicated than that. Is there even a scrap of proof to that effect? Hell no, but we're only a couple of minutes into this thing, and our collective sanity can only withstand so much of this malarkey.
Meanwhile, in Spooky Tree World: Jaken notices that Rin is crying. Later on, he manages to hitch a ride with Totosai and his cow thing, claiming that he needs to fix Rin's sadness. How does he plan on doing this? What purpose does this mission serve? I sure as hell don't know, and it never comes up again. Next scene.
Before Zero has the chance to do a single thing with her twice-recovered Rainbow Pearls, Kirinmaru lashes out and magically poofs them out across the corners of the land. Yes, after spending an entire season building up the Rainbow Pearls as the ultimate artifacts of unlimited power or whatever, they served no purpose whatsoever before the script re-scattered them like the knockoff Shikon Jewels they've always been. The most reaction that anyone musters is when Moroha says, "Oh damn. There they go." Cool, show. Cool.
As for Zero? She disowns her brother and then magically yeets herself away by thwipping her spider-web onto the thin air. Then, Riku stabs Kirinmaru, which does absolutely nothing, before he flicks his little earring and poofs away too. Then , Sesshomaru goes after Zero and explains that Kirinmaru should fight his daughters as a “rite of courage and cowardice.” He then also just zips off into the sky. No, we never see Zero or Riku again. Their entire involvement in this scheme was – you guessed it – absolutely pointless!
Around this point in the episode is where you might be asking: “Wait a minute. Why does Kirinmaru tell the girls he would have let them run away if they asked? Why does he seem concerned over Sesshomaru abandoning his children? Why did he turn on his sister; does he still want to kill the girls because of that one prophecy about getting murdered by a half-demon? What does any of this have to do with the big evil comet that is going to strike the Earth in the future?” Oh, you sweet summer child. Yashahime doesn't give a shit about your questions! And no, before you even think about it again, the future comet and the Mr. Kirin subplot are not ever mentioned again, either.
With all of that out of the way, the only thing left is the big showdown between Kirinmaru and the three girls, all of whom decide to stay and fight the guy who has already handily kicked their asses without so much as breaking a sweat because…they think he's lying about being strong? And Setsuna doesn't want to back down from the rite of passage she only just learned about thirty seconds beforehand? Sure. Fine. Let's go with that. Who cares?
Now, I do want to say at least one nice thing about this episode. Even though most of the episode looks embarrassingly sloppy and rushed, the visuals really turn themselves around for this last fight, especially right at the beginning. Each of the three girls gets a delightfully-animated action cut to show off their moves, and kudos to the artists in charge of those sequences. If anything, the sequence might look a little too good, as it clashes mightily with the butt-ugly visuals that the show usually sports and serves as a bittersweet reminder of the series that Yashahime could have been.
There. That was technically a compliment, right? I hope so, because the pretty visuals can't save the back-half of "Sesshomaru's Daughter" from being almost awe-inspiring in its lameness. For one, fricking Moroha just gets whooshed out of the fight after landing maybe one or two hits. Again. Then, in order to deprive us of even the barest shred of dramatic tension, Kirinmaru loudly announces that he is going to threaten Setsuna's life in order to draw out Towa's latent power. Unsurprisingly, this leads to him murdering the hell out of Setsuna after she nicks his cheek with that Blood Blade of hers. Or rather, he slashes her from her heels to her head with his magic blade thingy, and then she falls down perfectly intact, and slowly slips away into her first “sleep” in years. Do you get it? Because Dream Butterfly.
One final almost-good thing happens when Moroha comes back with her Beniyasha face on, and she finally gets to help Towa land a major blow against Kirinmaru (it sure is a good thing that nobody ever pointlessly sacrificed their life to try and teach Moroha about the dangers of using her incredibly useful Beniyasha powers, right?). For her part, the raged-out Towa gets her own demony glow-up, and she ends up looking like a little silver-haired Super Saiyan 3 (Super Sesshy 3?). Two giant super-power blasts later, and…a slightly winded Kirinmaru admits his respect for Towa, and then flies away of his own volition. Then Sesshomaru comes back from wherever he was and offers his broken Tenseiga to Towa to help bring Setsuna back to life, finally winning that Father of the Year award he has been vying for all this time.
That's it. No, seriously, that's the end of the season. No mention of Kagome or Inuyasha whatsoever, no clues as to what any of the villains' true motivations are; we don't even get a proper explanation for whatever the hell an “Aruku's Pinwheel” is! Instead, Yashahime's first season ended as we all should have expected it would: As a slow-motion train wreck of gobsmackingly stupid writing, lame action, and a veritable mountain of wasted potential. So sure, maybe some of the series' gravest failings can get ironed out in another year or two. Lord knows that I would be ecstatic to learn that future iterations of this show ended up being halfway decent.
However, that would never change the fact that this first season was one of the most exhausting, frustrating, and disappointing anime that I've ever seen. So, with no small amount of relief, I bid adieu to our three half-demon princesses. I wish I could say that I'll miss you, but I most definitely will not. Except maybe for Moroha, who always has and always will deserve better than Yashahime. For the rest of the knuckleheads that have been leeching away at our time and our patience these last six months, there is only one rating they could ever deserve...
Rating:Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon is currently streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Hulu.
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