Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon: Episode 16 – “Double-Edged Moroha”

We finally get an episode that focuses on Moroha, and we get to learn how she acquired her debt to Jyubei and how she acquired her sword. It starts with Moroha, Towa, and Setsuna face-to-face with Yawaragi, Moroha’s teacher from the demon wolf tribe. Moroha says she’ll tell the other two a story that took place three years earlier, and then we spend about half of the episode on this backstory.

Yawaragi leaves Moroha at the demon gambling house, where the crucible of Kodoku is being fought over by demons in a cave. Moroha’s task is to defeat the demons and escape from the cave. Yawaragi tells Moroha that if she succeeds, she can have her sword. Yawaragi also forbids Moroha from using her rouge, and insists she use her creative imagination. While Moroha is fighting the demons, Yawaragi goes to see Jyubei to do some gambling. It’s revealed that Yawaragi needs money in order to get a key made for the cursed Armor of the Iron-rat in order to remove it, and when Moroha arrives after her success, Jyubei offers to buy Moroha in order for Yawaragi to find the rats’ village and get a key made for the armor. And with that, Moroha has acquired Yawaragi’s debt, and that’s what she’s trying to work off now. During this flashback, we see small hints that Yawaragi cares for her pupil, but I don’t think it came across as well as it could have.

When we return to the present time, we learn through a flashback of Yawaragi’s that the rats were killed by Konton, one of the Four Perils. Konton has the key that’s needed, and says he will only hand it over if Yawaragi fights and defeats Moroha. Which now explains why we had the standoff at the beginning of the episode.

However, the actual fight is rather predictable. Yawaragi uses it as a way to teach Moroha one final lesson, which leads to Yawaragi thinking she’d sacrifice herself and take Konton with her. Of course, Konton’s not going to be defeated that easily, and a dying Yawaragi tells Moroha that she’s done well.

I understand the intention the writers went for with this episode, but the execution wasn’t as strong as it could have been. Because the audience just meets Yawaragi in this episode, the emotional weight of Yawaragi’s death just isn’t there. Yes, Moroha learns important lessons in this episode, but as a member of the audience, it just came across as something “matter of fact,” instead of the strong character development that the final scene with Moroha and Yawaragi should have been. Perhaps this should have been a two-part episode, which showed more of Yawaragi and Moroha’s training leading up to the crucible of Kodoku, so the audience could have a better feel for the relationship between Yawaragi and Moroha. Or perhaps have Moroha drop occasional lines of dialogue referencing her teacher in previous episodes, so the existence of Yawaragi didn’t feel like it’s dropped on the audience “out of the blue” in this episode.

Right now, it feels like Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon is squandering the potential that this series should have had as a sequel series to a show like Inuyasha. I’m afraid that the decline we’ve been starting to see with recent episodes is going to continue, and that the series won’t be able to redeem itself by the end of its run. I’ll keep going with this to see it through to its end, but at this point, I’ll be going in with lowered expectations.

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