The last episode of Shikabane Hime: Aka left us in kind of an odd place, seemingly so close to the climax of its particular story arc without delivering the finishing blow. Thus, the opening to episode eight of the series sees the Corpse being battled last time around finally finished off by Minai, with more than a little help from Ouri (who finally manages to make himself useful in such circumstances).
Ouri's meeting with Shikabane Hime Minai last episode proves to be the blossoming of a bit of a friendship, with the latter finding an excuse to meet Ouri at school and taking him out to buy a new mobile phone (as she has to confiscate his old one to investigate the aforementioned Corpse's case). However, this time spent with Ouri leads to something of a dereliction of duty, leaving her Contracted Priest alone and unprotected - A situation which a couple of young deliquents who he had a run-in with last episode make full use of, with horrifying consequences.
From here on in, never mind the horror aspect of the series, this episode is all about the emotion as we see what happens to a Shikabane Hime whose Contracted Priest has died. While Minai wants to "live" having found a new purpose in her being, and Ouri finds himself wanting to save her from her fate, this particular story was always going to end in tears, and so it goes. What will this mean for Ouri's impact upon the rest of the series, and indeed his relationship with his brother?
With these latest revelations and developments, I have to admit that Shikabane Hime is really growing on me by offering up a level of emotional and character-related depth I wasn't particularly expecting from what is, to all intents and purposes, a show about zombies. Even Makina, who tries to play all her actions without emotion or giving anything away, has developed a certain aura of mysery around her, while I was almost surprised to find myself feeling sad at the "death" (or death again, I suppose you could call it) of Minai, which I suppose just goes to personify the odd relationship between the Shikabane Hime, their Contracted Priests, and other outsides. So, once again if you've been watching this show for the promise of a horror-style series you'll probably be disappointed, but personally, I really have a lot of kudos for this episode and the way its events were handled and depicted.