Swordfights and flashbacks and hospitals, oh my!
The episode opens in the past, specifically when the Shimizu clan is still among the living. A classmate of Raikou’s is turning down his offer of help, saying that he’s done enough already. We immediately flash forward to the present, where Raikou and Gau are on a pedestrian bridge. Gau is crying, and Raikou apologizes to him for putting him through so much.
Meanwhile, Raimei is escaping the hospital despite attempts by Kouichi and Saraba (the busty ninja) to keep her there. She wants out to pursue Raikou and make another attempt at revenge. Miharu and Juuji look on passively. When Raimei asks Miharu’s opinion, he remarks about a plane’s vapour trail, and Kouichi asks about Kumohira. Miharu is vague about it, and the group is distracted by Gau before they can ask any further.
Gau is across the street at the other hospital wing trying to get information out of an unwilling hospital staff. He is trying to find Raimei, but they refuse to give him any info. He realizes though that Raimei is nearby when one of the group members says her name, and he chases after them, yelling. He mentions the Shinrabanshou, and they wonder if he’s with Kairoushuu – his utter lack of subtlety makes them a bit dubious, though. Miharu tricks Gau, and Kouichi and Raimei are able to capture him.
Gau is taken back to Raimei’s hospital room and is interrogated. He tells them that Raimei has the story of the Shimizu’s demise wrong, but admits that he has no proof. But he offers his life as proof of the truth of the story, and Miharu tells Raimei to listen.
We go back to the bridge scene, but before Gau cried, to when Raikou started telling Gau the truth of the Shimizu clan…
Raikou is speaking with his mother, Kourin, after the incident with his classmate. He wants to do something for her – apparently she is seeking revenge against a corporation that killed her parents. But Kourin tells him that they cannot do anything as it is not a Nabari issue. The girl ceases to attend school, and a week later there are flowers on her desk – she is dead. Raikou is upset, and later discusses it with his uncle, Iroku. Iroku thinks that the Shimizu should do something about bad things like that that happen in the front world; he thinks that the current Shimizu leadership (a.k.a. Kourin) is wrong.
Iroku ends up confronting Kourin, along with Raikou and quite a few other Shimizu. But Kourin laughs at him, and accuses him of being motivated by his own wish for power and payback for the fact that she defeated him to become the head of the clan. Iroku angrily summons some of his backers, who bring in Kourin’s husband, Soumei. But Soumei only tells Iroku that he is going about his goals the wrong way, and that his ambition is wrongly driven by his past grievances. Iroku kills him, though, and then turns on Raikou, in the process knocking over a candle which sets a raging fire. But Kourin saves Raikou, her dying words telling him to take care of Raimei and to take the White Gamon to fulfill his duty.
Raikou manages to get the White Gamon, and returns to his uncle. The rest of the Shimizu have destroyed themselves, turning on each other in the chaos. Raikou kills his uncle, as Raimei, awoken by the noise, looks on in horror. But Raikou does not correct her impression of the event, and tells her he is going to join the Kairoushuu.
After hearing the story, Gau protests that its awful that Raimei hates Raikou and that Raikou didn’t try to change that fact. Raikou makes Gau promise not to tell Raimei the truth, and vows to kill him if he does.
Raimei goes to confront Raikou once again in the field of flowers where the Shimizu compound once stood. She demands the Black Gamon back, and Raikou assents. Raimei yells at Raikou, admonishing him for thinking she was too weak to handle the burden that the truth was, and tells him that she loved her mother, father, and uncle, but she also really loved Raikou, too. Raimei asks Raikou to come back to her, but he tells her its too late and demands that she pick up her katana and fulfil her duty as a Shimizu.
As they continue to fight, Raikou asks why Raimei is traveling with the Shinrabanshou. He manages to knock her down, revealing that her injuries haven’t healed completely, and she protests that she isn’t traveling with the Shinrabanshou, but making sure that people don’t use Miharu. When she says that its up to Miharu how to use it, Raikou sees his mother in her, and says that he has no choice, and swings his katana violently at her.
But, Gau runs in and ends up getting slashed, saying that he has come to receive his punishment before collapsing. On the ground, he tells that Raikou that this way, its all over, that Raikou and Raimei can live as loving siblings now instead of being weighed down by hatred. Raikou is beside himself as Gau passes out.
The group is back at the hospital again, this time with Gau as the patient. He is on a ventilator, and Raikou states that they don’t know when he’ll wake up. He admits that he isn’t sure if he would’ve actually killed Raimei or not if Gau hadn’t stepped in. We also learn of how Gau and Raikou met – Raikou saved Gau from a murderous young man who had killed his mother, and then took Gau under his wing. Raikou feels guilty for leading Gau into the world of Nabari, and wonders if Gau hates him after hearing the story of the Shimizu. Raimei tells him that he would never have intervened if that was true, and that Gau cares more for Raikou than anyone else. Realizing the truth of her words, Raikou cries about what he’s done.
A shot of the field and the White Gamon is shown as Raikou says that he will remain with the Kairoushuu, and follow Gau’s request that the hate be gone from his relationship with Raimei. He also leaves the White Gamon in the field.
Is it bad that I went “Jigoku Shoujo?” when I saw the girl’s seifuku?
Anyway, more seriously, I thought this episode was reaallly good. I wasn’t too surprised that the demise of the Shimizu was very different from what we’d been shown previously, since it certainly seemed they were setting up Raikou as a sympathetic character last week.
I was a little annoyed with the black they overlaid on much of the screen during some scenes, though – I’m not sure whether it was for dramatic effect or censorship (there’s been so much blood already that I’m not sold on it being censorship), but I would’ve liked to see more of what was going on. There was also no red blood shown this week, although much of the flashback to the Shimizu’s destruction was done in black and white anyway. I just hope this lack of red isn’t indicative of an overall trend.
Speaking of which, the animation was fantastic this week. I was especially impressed by the scenes with fire done in black and white – these made my inner photographer thrilled (they were clearly animated, but the shots had depth in ways that animation tends not to have). The transition into black and white as the Shimuzu fell apart added to the scene, particularly as they transitioned back into color as we saw the burning compound from afar. Black and white was just used really effectvely overall, though. But don’t even get me started on how awesome the flying flowers were when Gau rushed in to stop Raikou.
I’ll close with just this – Gau and Raikou, you guys are really slashing yourselves… its like I don’t even have to do any work, geez…