As the start of the last episode of Shikabane Hime: Kuro looked to bring the time of the Shikabane Hime themselves to an end, so the end of that very same episode brought them redemption, as those with a close enough bond with the world and their contracted priests found their energy and abilities restored, allowing them to fight on.
This state of affairs of course turned the tide quite substantially against Shichisei, with some of them defeated within minutes of this final instalment, leaving Akasha and Hokuto (now Akasha's own Shikabane Hime) leading the line in their ever-decreasing hope of victory. While this pairing look to be about to beat Makina and Ouri, so the arrival of Sadahiro turns the tide, as they turn their attentions to Akasha's real weak point - His heart. By attacking his former, now entombed, Shikabane Hime, and reminding him of his love for her as a result, Akasha's bond to Hokuto is broken, leaving her alone and none too happy about it. Hokuto does, however, manage to escape, albeit not for long...
From here, this final episode tidies up a few lose ends, settles the question of Makina and Ouri's future plans, and then leaves us with oddly unsatisfying ending, as Makina takes on Hokuto once again. Does she win? Does she die? Do they all give up and decide to go to McDonalds instead? Who knows, thanks to the open-ended closing scene of the show, but the suggestions seems to be that this is a battle that won't end any time soon.
So, Shikabane Hime has come to end, with its Kuro-labelled second half both suffering and impressing in many of the same ways as Aka did. Having done so much to build up the story in the first half of the show as a whole, I was expecting a faster start to Kuro than that which eventually manifested itself, as things became rather ponderous for a while, but once it got into the swing of its major storyline then it delivered far more consistently in terms of action and pacing. While the horror potential of the series often (disappointingly in my book) took a back seat, when it did come to the fore it was often excellently done, with episode nine in particular getting all of its ducks in a row to offer up one of the best individual episodes of anime I've watched in the past year. It's highlights like that which perhaps make you realise that this series wasn't all that it could and indeed should have been, but come the end of it all Shikabane Hime remained engaging enough to be watchable and, more importantly, enjoyable throughout. It was no classic, but were I to drop dead tomorrow I wouldn't be coming back as a Corpse based upon the regret of having watched this series.