Point of No Return
More bloodshed and mayhem as we near the end of this title’s run. Picking up where Episode 9 left off, Saya continues to struggle with the troubling realization she has no memory of her mother. Her father, however, remains silent on the matter. However, she doesn’t have time to press him for answers as the next furukimono arrives, whipping the air into a furious whirlwind and pitching Saya across the courtyard. With no time to waste, the elder Kisaragi tosses the holy blade to his daughter, who for some reason hesitates to draw her weapon. The monster seizes the initiative and attacks, wounding Saya.
Acknowledging her carelessness, the now-focused Saya calmly unsheathes her blade and switches from her orthodox fighting technique to a gyakute (逆手- reverse-hand) grip, which everyone knows is a sure indication that the person utilizing such an unconventional style means serious business. For your consideration: if in the the infinitesimally remote event you ever find yourself in a duel involving bladed weapons and the other guy flips their grip upside-down it is a VERY bad sign. Just ask Yukishiro Enishi, or hell, Zatoichi himself. Practically speaking, utilizing a full-length nihonto in gyakute style demands great skill yet provides certain benefits such as ideal leverage for slashing, blocking and deflecting blows but at the cost of both limited range and attacking options.
The furukimono, whose true form most closely resembles the classic yurei of ancient lore albeit here manifesting only a mere disembodied head and spinal column, apparently cannot be harmed when encased within its thick veil of hair and taunts Saya into a frenzy. The creature calls Saya a mere puppet of humankind with no self-control, guilty of far greater sins than she even knows. Saya pursues the wraith aggressively but the furukimono proves as cunning as it is elusive. Its words slowly begin to take a toll on her subconsciously, triggering flashbacks of strange events she can’t understand. The battle is interrupted by the ever-vigilant Tokizane-kun who rushes back to the shrine grounds, alerted to danger by the sounds of combat. Unfortunately, his chivalry is rewarded only with death as he is immediately seized and unceremoniously devoured. A gruesome patch of guts and gore is all that remains. At this point, the plot has dispatched more than half the characters appearing in the opening sequence and one has to wonder who will even be left alive to fill the scenes in the finale.
The demise of Tokizane provokes Saya into Bloodlust mode and she swiftly cuts the monster down with a deft killing stroke. In the aftermath Saya begins to question her own identity, losing consciousness and slipping into deep but fitful slumber haunted by the flashbacks that once again hint at mysterious past events. She awakens to the sight of Fumito standing by (or kneeling in seiza, as it were) with fresh coffee and guimauve at the ready. Now that’s service. But it’s just a little too convenient, isn’t it? It’s apparent Saya and Fumito have a friendly rapport but would he really show up out of nowhere to wait on her in her own home like that? I guess he would, I guess he did. After informing Saya’s father of her condition, Fumito seemingly persuades him to leave together for some errand. Morning brings a new day and Saya seems to have recovered sufficiently to go into town but, strangely, her father is still absent with Fumito bearing suspicious wounds at Cafe Guimauve the next day.
Minutes pass and, coincidentally, Tsutsutori Kanako arrives. Having completely abandoned her teacher persona she begins to ask Saya strange questions and insists on returning with Saya to the shrine archives to look at….stuff. Hesitant but not reluctant, they return together and Tsutsutori deliberately selects a volume discussing the legend of the furukimono and their feud with humans; handing the book to Saya, she points out the inconsistency between the supposed legitimacy of the legends and the book’s fresh, almost pristine condition. Upon further examination, she makes the unsettling discovery that all the shrine’s records are in fact new (and blank?) and falters at the sudden appearance of Nono and Nene, the twins killed in episode 6. Tsutsutori leads Saya outside to meet them and makes the chilling declaration that the time to end the “farce” has come.
Nono and Nene return from the dead? What do they intend to do with Saya? With the disappearance of her father, is she capable of defending herself without the holy blade? Will the dog (Fukuyama Jun) become more than just an observer?