「過去への玄関口」 (Kako e no genkan kuchi)
“The Gateway to the Past”
The fourth episode of Hanyou no Yashahime takes it all the way back, way way back, to the Feudal era. Even though it’s a little sad that the series isn’t spending as much time in present-day Tokyo, it makes sense for the girls’ goals and journey to steer back towards Feudal Japan as they begin to find out how to restore Setsuna’s memories and figure out the fate of the InuYasha cast.
With a few parting words for the present day, it was nice to see what was going on with the Higurashi family. The grandpa is still doling out the Kappa foot as a luck charm, giving us one of the many moments where the characters have reaction faces that make you feel like you’re still watching the old show. I still love the character of Moe, who plays a duet with Setsuna as a classically trained musician and gives her a violin as a parting gift in recognition of her talents.
But if there’s one stand-out member of the Higurashi family within these past few episodes, it has to be Sota. Behind the scenes of Towa’s discovery of her half-demon lineage is a family drama where Sota constantly has to cope with losing his sister at an early age and knowing that his adopted daughter will be leaving the same way his sister did. Towa really values the family that raised her and Sota’s role as a father, but it’s hard not to get a little misty-eyed when he glanced through a photo album of his time with Kagome before Towa was getting ready to head back to the Feudal era. It also makes me think about Mei and how she might face the same fate in InuYasha 3 if her sister doesn’t return and she grows up to have her kids stolen away by grandpa Inuyasha and grandma Kagome.
In Episode 04, there are also lore-heavy questions brought into consideration with the Tree of Ages playing a pivotal role in retrieving the sisters. Taking on the form of Kikyo after absorbing the presence from her arrow back when Inuyasha got shot, the Tree poses a challenge for the sisters to defeat the Beast King Kirinmaru and Sesshomaru.
Anything in this episode involving the Tree of Ages poses plenty of questions with regards to what happened to Sesshomaru all of these years to trigger the sequence of events leading up to Yashahime. Mainly, what happened to Rin that caused her to get trapped inside of a spiritual tree, and how much did this play into him renouncing his title, neglecting his kids, and allowing Kirinmaru to come back into the picture? The Tree of Ages’ motives is also called into question with how connected she is with Rin and Sesshomaru during these trying times for the two.
Above all else, I was more excited for what this episode posed for the three sisters as they operated by their own rules, and yet are able to cooperate together effectively. The heroes as a unit decide to oppose the Tree’s request for a variety of reasons; Setsuna because she thinks it’s Sesshomaru’s fight and never knew him well enough to care for dealing with his crap, Towa because she never intended on fighting her biological father, and Moroha because everyone else voted “No” and opposing would be too troublesome.
Even with their differing motives, they work together to help balance each other out. Moroha is still the best with her cheery yet easily frustrated disposition, but it helps to balance the group dynamic to have a serious character like Setsuna to be the realist in situations while Towa acts as the group’s moral compass. It’s a nice dynamic and the main reason why I’m more than happy to stick around with Yashahime. I might have more enthusiasm for the story when it’s focused on the three sisters, but it’ll be neat to see how things turned out for the rest of the characters from the old InuYasha.