kurenai – 12 (END)
「われ存在り」 (Ware Ari)
Realizing that Shinkurou headed back to the Kuhouin household, Benika and Yayoi also decide to head back, but are pursued by Lin Chenshin. In the Inner Sanctuary, Shinkurou is met by Renjou, who tells him to leave if he doesn’t want to die. However, when Shinkurou says that Murasaki doesn’t want to become like her mother Souju, Renjou reaffirms if Murasaki really said such a thing. Before their conversation can continue further though, Benika and Lin burst through the room in their cars (apparently Benika thinks it’s a parking lot…), which results in Lin crashing into the pond/lake outside. Benika and Shinkurou then go deeper into the Inner Sanctuary in search of Murasaki and find Ryuuji with her. Shinkurou manages to defeat him using his Houzuki fighting style, something Ryuuji isn’t familiar with. Meanwhile, Yayoi is beating up Lin in the same manner, having learned some of the Houzuki style from Shinkurou before. Lin being unfamiliar with this style as well, gets defeated just as easily as Ryuuji did. (Power to the Houzuki-ryuu!)
Renjou then shows up again along with Kazuko and argue with the others over letting Murasaki live a life outside of the Kuhouin household. Benika however, suggests asking Murasaki what she wants, to which she says she wants to leave the Inner Sanctuary. Hearing this, Renjou questions her as to what she plans to do in the outside world, so Murasaki tells him that she wants to fall in love with a person that she loves, much like her mother did with him. She later adds that she doesn’t want to leave the Kuhouin household, but simply the Inner Sanctuary, which surprises Shinkurou. Turning to Shinkurou, Murasaki says she won’t ask for the impossible and that by staying here she is fighting, whereas simply following him would be running away.
Murasaki’s words get through to Renjou a bit, so he calmly reiterates to her the customs of the Kuhouin family, while Murasaki insists that her mother didn’t give birth to her simply because of customs. After she expresses the desire to pick her own lover, Renjou approaches her, but Shinkurou tackles him before he can lay a hand on her and demands that he acknowledge Murasaki’s existence. Yayoi stops Kazuko, who pleads for help, but her words fall on deaf ears from the Inner Sanctuary maids. Shinkurou tells Renjou that he’ll leave Murasaki here, but in exchange, he has to grant her wish of leaving the Inner Sanctuary. When Renjou claims that it can’t be done, Shinkurou questions as to why not since he’s the head of the Kuhouins. Without giving him a chance to properly respond, he simply tells him to fight the traditions set for Murasaki.
Benika says that if it ends up the same as Souju, then let it be up to Murasaki. If she likes Ryuuji, then that’s fine, but if she doesn’t, then to give up on the arranged pairing. Hearing that it was Souju’s dying request, Renjou seems inclined to agree with their demands, despite Ryuuji and Kazuko’s protests. Out of rage, Ryuuji then stabs Benika (with the blood censored completely), which causes Shinkurou to uncontrollably activate his Houzuki bone technique and cut him down. Just as Shinkurou’s about to deliver the killing blow though, Benika stops him. While Renjou is shocked to see the Houzuki technique, Shinkurou proclaims that it’s his fault that everyone’s crying and demands that he free Murasaki. Renjou retorts why he should listen a person who acquired such a murderous technique, but Shinkurou says that he won’t kill and that he’s not like him. (It sure seemed like he was going to kill Ryuuji two seconds ago though…)
Murasaki then stops the arguing, questioning Shinkurou what that is, so he explains that he altered his body at the Houzuki’s by embedding a weapon inside it, because he felt he had to in order to get stronger. Shinkurou claims it was a mistake though, since he has all these people supporting him and thus decided not to use it when he came here. Hearing Shinkurou claim he’s still weak, Murasaki says that she is as well and that’s why she has to return home and fight the Kuhouin customs.
Addressing him by name now, Renjou asks Shinkurou why he goes so far for Murasaki, so he tells him that it’s for his sake and because he can’t leave such a poor child alone. Reiterating that Murasaki said she’d fight here, Renjou encourages her to do so and tells Shinkurou that if she fails, he’s welcome to come here again. Renjou says that he’ll be his opponent then, but doesn’t know if there will be any value to saving a defeated Murasaki. He adds that without a place like the Inner Sanctuary, it’ll lead to the Kuhouin’s ruin, which causes Ryuuji to angrily express his opposition to the idea, but Renjou says that he’ll protect the household as the head and that they have nothing to worry about. Hearing this, Murasaki says she doesn’t intend to reject the Kuhouins and will grow up as a Kuhouin woman, but not with the Inner Sanctuary, as she plans to find her own way of living, just like her mother did.
Before Shinkurou and the others depart, he gives Murasaki the scarf Yamie made and a group picture from her Shichi-Go-San that Tamaki took. Murasaki leaves Shinkurou with some encouraging and optimistic words, before the two finally depart. On their car ride home (with Benika wondering if it’s normal not to call an ambulance in this situation…), Shinkurou mails Tamaki, Yuuno, and Ginko, letting them know how everything went. Meanwhile, Murasaki talks to Renjou about the things she learned in the outside world and the two of the reminisce about her mother, who smiled the most when she quietly carried Murasaki during walks. Asleep in the car, Shinkurou dreams about him and Murasaki walking happily along a narrow yet tranquil, violet, hill road.
First off, Yayoi sure seems to recover quickly from her injuries as she looked no worse for wear than when she originally came. Lin on the other hand is ridiculously strong or something as she was able to break Benika’s driver side window with her bare hand as the car sped right past her. There was a fair bit of censorship when Benika got stabbed by Ryuuji and when Shinkurou went berserk on him in return, as no blood was actually animated. This actually made things look somewhat odd though as the sound of blood gushing out rapidly was pretty audible in both cases. Given how much blood supposedly came out, it made me wonder how Benika didn’t bleed to death while everyone continued talking. As for Shinkurou’s Houzuki technique, boy did he look deranged when he’s using it. By the blank look in his eyes, it’s almost like he was possessed and his body was acting spontaneously on its own.
Seeing as this is the series finale, I felt a bit inclined to give it a proper write-up, so I’ve included a (usual) full length summary, despite being on vacation. As for the episode itself, I felt it was pretty climatic, despite a lot of it being resolved through heated discussion. My recurring impression of Renjou seemed to prove true, as he was the key factor in deciding Murasaki’s future. Evidently, nothing has changed drastically in regards to the Kuhouin customs, but given how emphatic Ryuuji and Kazuko’s reactions were, there is at least the possibility for change. Murasaki has seemingly accepted her destiny as a Kuhouin woman and instead of running away from it, has decided to fight and change it for the better from within. (Is it just me, or is this a Suzaku approach?)
While I could say this isn’t the most ideal ending, it’s hard to argue that things didn’t end well as everyone (mainly Shinkuro, Murasaki, and Benika) seemed content with the outcome. The other foreseeable ending would have been Murasaki escaping the Kuhouin household completely and leading a normal life, but for those who want a more “fulfilling” ending, I guess this wouldn’t address the Inner Sanctuary “problem” that still exists. With that said, I found the ending to be “good”, but not very “gratifying”. By this I mean the ending they chose concluded well (and more importantly, wasn’t rushed), but it left me wishing that Shinkurou did something a little more. Given how passionate he was about Murasaki (even until the very end), it was odd to see him content with such an uncertain future for her. Renjou sort of bent the Kuhouin ways for his daughter, but his stance on the Kuhouin customs was that he’d still try to keep things the way they are. His mediating speech at the end sounded like he more or less expected Murasaki’s “fight” to be fruitless, but just gave her a small glimpse of hope to cling onto.
Given Shinkurou’s character, he probably couldn’t really say/do much more when Murasaki seemed so determined in her resolve, but if he were to do something, this would have been the time to step up. However, seeing as Renjou left an open invitation for Shinkurou to come by and save Murasaki again, I guess this can be seen as leaving things open-ended for the next part of the story. Whether or not we’ll see this animated in a sequel though, only time will tell.
- Kurenai Shinkurou (紅真 九郎) / Sawashiro Miyuki (沢城 みゆき)
- Kuhouin Murasaki (九鳳 院紫) / Yuuki Aoi (悠木 碧)
- Juuzawa Benika (柔沢 紅香) / Ishige Sawa (石毛 佐和)
- Inuzuka Yayoi (犬塚 弥生) / Ookubo Aiko (大久保 藍子)
- Kuhouin Renjou (九鳳院 蓮丈) / Kuroda Takaya (黒田 崇矢)
- Kuhouin Kazuko (九鳳院 和子) / Koyama Yuka (小山 裕香)
- Kuhouin Ryuuji (九鳳院 竜士) / Okamoto Nobuhiko (岡本 信彦)
- Lin Chenshin (リン・チェンシン) / Ueda Kana (植田 佳奈)
- Kuhouin Man (九鳳院の男) / Ueda Youji (上田 燿司)
- Mutou Tamaki (武藤 環) / Sanada Asami (真田 アサミ)
- Yamie (闇絵) / Kimura Haruka (木村 はるか)
- Houzuki Yuuno (崩月 夕乃) / Shintani Ryouko (新谷 良子)
- Murakami Ginko (村上 銀子) / Masu Nozomi (升 望)