Overview (Spoilers Below)
Setsuna, Moroha, and the Centipede Demon “Mistress Three-Eyes” have been thrown into the modern era through the tree of ages, where the demon is attempting to collect Towa’s silver rainbow pearl to add to the red she claimed from Moroha and the gold one she lured out of Setsuna’s eye. Towa attempts to save her long lost twin, but the first strike breaks her treasured blade, the Kikujimonji, which Moroha is quick to inform her is actually a knock-off. As Mistress Three-Eyes draws nearer, Towa is able to create a demon energy blade to fend off the beast, but Setsuna has to step in to finish the job. While the sisters get reintroduced, the pearls float back to their rightful owners. Setsuna doesn’t remember her sister, so Moroha steps in to smooth things over and gleefully explain they’re both half-demons, and in fact the daughters of Sesshomaru. Back in the feudal era, Kaede explains that Sesshomaru collected his newborn twins and then wasn’t seen, until Setsuna showed up at her door for “The Right of Courage and Cowardice,” based on the habit of lions to push their cubs into a ravine, and only raise those strong enough to climb back up. Kaede is worried the two siblings, unaware of their half-demon heritage, may have already killed each other out of blind hate, and we jump back to the present to see such an attempt in action. Just then, Towa is bitten by some sort of root…demon…parasite? Moroha tells her family to go hide, while they figure out how to deal with this new challenge, while grandma comments that Moroha looks just like Kagome. Setsuna faces off against the mind-controlled Towa, but the demon jumps out of Towa and into Mei, who tries to attack her family with a rock. Setsuna puts the Higurashis to sleep, and extracts the hitōkon. Kaede explains that the time travel powers of the Bone Eater Well came from the wood of the tree of ages, and the girls may be stuck in Tokyo in the present. Towa’s adoptive family cheerfully discusses the events of the day, while Moroha enjoys indoor plumbing. Setsuna reveals she can’t sleep, and Moroha explains that she’s cursed by the Dream Butterfly. Towa is racked with guilt, and the three vow to return to the past to undo the curse.
Apparently demon hunting adheres to Zombieland rules: double tap. But while the demon killing in this episode is both impressive (Towa’s pose while striking the centipede with her energy blade is classic action anime perfection!) and hilarious (Moroha using the skull to talk to her two warring compatriots is reminiscent of Scar from Lion King‘s “Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” scene) it’s nothing compared to the fast tracking of plot points that manage to get crammed into this one episode, somehow without feeling too rushed or overdone.
We have the reveal that Towa’s sword isn’t the valuable artifact she thought it was, confirmation that Moroha is Kagome and Inuyasha’s kid, while Towa and Setsuna are descended from Sesshomaru, a brief explanation of the time travel mechanics caused by the Tree of Ages, and Setsuna’s whole “curse” situation that lends this episode its name. All in 24 minutes and 16 seconds, too. Whew!
Even more interesting is that with all of this, there’s still plenty of questions to be answered by the series, but none of them seem urgent or like egregious omissions that cause plot holes. The mystery of what the rainbow pearls are exactly and why each of the girls have one will hopefully be addressed soon, but its served its purpose for now. Additionally, who the twin’s mom is has yet to be confirmed in the series itself, although Rumiko Takahashi has stated the character publically.
As much as I enjoy the fighting, various “special moves” for demon fighting, and quippy action puns, the more slice-of-life moments in this series don’t disappoint. Towa’s adoptive family just chatting it up about a bunch of weird girls being transported into their life from the feudal era to fight a demon that results in breaking a family heirloom is adorable, as is the entirely upbeat reaction to Moroha striding into the living room buck naked after a shower. Erika Harlacher (who also voices the titular character in Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll) making her series debut as Towa’s adoptive mother, Moe Higurashi, is the perfect example of the lighter moments that give this show the necessary contrast that makes it so great.
Overall, this series is still everything I’d hoped it would be, and I’m looking forward to what next week’s return to the past has in store.