No amount of sappy poetry will make this episode worth watching.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
The assault on Murakumo is nigh, with the Kouga and Iga ninjas ready to begin their siege on the demonic castle.
Hibiki explains to everyone that she was rescued by Hachirou, and expresses that she’d like to go with everyone to assault Murakumo. Meanwhile, Saizou, Rui, Shichigen and Utsutsu are already bringing Gorone’s plan to fruition. The four ninjas take on the members of The Rain defending the castle, while Negoro preps the rest of the ninjas for combat, explaining the importance of love and affection in creating the powerful joint-technique Hachirou and Hibiki are capable of using.
In the battle against The Rain, Rui is first up, using her powers to distract the enemy fighters. Shichigen follows up by cutting them down one-by-one. All too late, however, they realize that they’ve played into their enemies hand, as rifle fire begins to rain down upon Shichigen and Rui. Shichigen gets shot in the leg, but counters against the riflemen by summoning a swarm of bell crickets to disable their weapons. Rui and Shichigen escape, but Shichigen’s wound cripples him and puts the two in a dire situation.
And its flashback time! This time, our flashback goes back to Shichigen’s youth, living with his mother in a shack by the river. The two journey to go meet with the Kouga, and here we see Shichigen’s powers first develop as he’s able to quiet the crickets in the surrounding woods for a brief moment. We also get a better glimpse of Shichigen’s family situation, as he stumbles upon a man trying to abuse his mother. He immediately steps in to fight his the scoundrel off, but it’s his mother whose swordplay steps up to the plate. Shichigen still tries to help, but in a moment of awkward tragedy, his efforts accidentally get his mom and the attacker both killed. He realizes then, that his mother and father were both ninjas.
Back in the present, Rui tends to Shichigen’s wounds, while the other ninjas deploy a boat to aid their allies assaulting Murakumo. Rui and Shichigen continue moving through the forest, when they encounter another group of riflemen pinning them down. Shichigen is prepared to sacrifice himself, but then, hiding in the trees, Hachirou emerges to help them fight.
Shichigen and Hachirou use both of their techniques to defeat The Rain, with Shichigen’s bugs, lit on fire, (Which he can do now, for some reason?) allowing Hachirou to get in close and use his eye magic to turn the riflemen’s weapons on themselves. Hachirou compliments Shichigen on his skill, but Shichigen is still depressed and recites his bell crickets poem again while reflecting on the death of his dear old mother.
Last week’s episode of Basilisk gave us an actually emotionally substantial episode, diving into the past of a curious character and revealing the truth within that past. This episode is like that, but terrible. Shichigen’s past is sparse and the death of his mother is awkward, weird, and doesn’t go into any of the major theming that might reflect on his current situation. Furthermore, so much of this episode is just empty scenes of filler and boring exposition, it makes you wonder why they even made this episode at all. While some of its attempts land decently, this episode is reminiscent of a bad bit of poetry; too long, underdeveloped, and filled with tiresome, flowery nonsense.