I was surprised at Rikuo’s sudden power increase as he fought Gozumaru. He pulled a sword out of thin air then was suddenly able to attack his opponent furiously and quite skillfully. I’m guessing he has started to partially sync with his Night Form, and is able to summon some of that strength. It’s great to see him kicking ass, but otherwise this fight was possibly the most cookie-cutter fight ever. For one, he is able to become stronger in moments where his friends are in need, which is clichéd but not necessarily a problem. However, there is also the overly cocky villain who just smack talks (while clearly insecure about himself). “Pride before a downfall” is true, but has seriously been beaten to death. The weak/injured character sitting by and spectating the battle is present, along with the stare-down over crossed swords. Then, as one of the characters is beginning to struggle against his opponent, he pulls out his “true form”. There wasn’t so much on abilities in the battle as it’s an early fight, but Gozumaru transforms to his spider form with multiple claws protruding from his back He isn’t very proficient at using them though and finally, the battle ends off-screen, showing a spurt of blood, then the defeated Gozumaru. I don’t think Rikuo completely transformed at that point as he retained his clothes.
Mezumaru, who was attacking the girls in the bath, was also busy getting his ass kicked after the arrival of the Sanbagarasu. It’s was pretty funny seeing their forms, which are far more buff and formidable than their father Karasutengu. Their handling of Mezumaru makes it obvious that Gyuki’s two minions are small fry and he showed his true pathetic personality begging to Yura for help as he was dragged about by the three crows. Kana was pretty pathetic as well this episode, doing nothing but getting herself into trouble looking for Rikuo. However, that did lead up to the scene showed in the first episode as Rikuo confronts Gyuki.
Night Rikuo apparently has stealth powers as well, suddenly appearing in Gyuki’s room. I’ll admit, the beginning scene was pretty badass— the dialogue was good, the effects were good and the music was good. After Rikuo slashes Gyuki (which is my guess), the story immediately cuts to flashback; it’s a common tactic I think, but used here the mostly slow-paced story of Gyuki’s (Umewakamaru) past was a bit of an interruption.
He was a prodigy, a genius in his studies, but his background is quite tragic as the title suggested. After losing both of his parents, Yoshidano Shosho Korefusa and Hanako to violence, he became a demon, a vengeful character wreaking havoc on humans (Hannibal Lecter, yes?). Years later, Nurarihyon shows up with the Night Parade of a Hundred Demons (along with Yuki-onna who just might be Tsurara’s mother) and defeats Gyuki’s youkai after a long and epic battle. It was almost as fun to watch as the battle against the Kyouso; though the animation wasn’t the best, it’s still acceptable, and the backgrounds are beautiful as always. I don’t have that much to say about the flashbacks; but anyway, Gyuki’s loyalty to the Nura clan seems pretty solid, so he is indeed probably not the “true” villain and has other reasons for attacking Rikuo.