Episode 21 of Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon not only discovers what Riku is doing, but also the origin of the Rainbow Pearls.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Episode 21, “Secret of the Rainbow Pearls,” which is now airing on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Animelab, and Hulu.
Episode 21 of Yashahime: Half Demon Princess It is titled “The Secret of the Rainbow Pearls”, but a better title could have been “Riku’s Secret Story”. Yes, this episode reveals more about the history of the Pearls, but the most interesting revelations are about what is driving the mysterious pearl collector pirate. While some of his motivations remain mysterious, even to himself we are apparently beginning to get a sense of who and what he is. Also, we started to learn what he and Towa mean to each other.
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The Rainbow Pearls are apparently tied to the Shikon Jewel of Inuyasha fame, which at the time of the prologue of this episode is possessed by Lady Zero. After searching for the Great Dog Demon and learning that he has died, Riku returns to Lady Zero to tell her what happened. Zero seems very distraught by the news of the demon dog’s death and begins to cry. Who knows what her relationship with him was, but it was clearly deep enough to cause tremendous pain, which annoys Zero even more.
Lady Zero uses the Shikon Jewel to shed both her demonic power and her emotions, transforming her tears into the seven Rainbow Pearls. It is interesting to see how these Pearls are linked to Inuyasha’s story, being a direct result of the Shikon Jewel and Inuyasha’s birth. It’s also interesting that if Lady Zero was turned into a human here, she’s still alive and causing trouble 200 years later, so she clearly regained her magical abilities at some point.
This backstory serves as a platform to tell us more about Riku. The Riku of 200 years ago is very different from the smooth and cunning Riku that we are used to. He frequently refers to himself as a puppet throughout this episode, which seems to mean that he was created by Sesshomaru. When Lady Zero cries to the Dog Demon, Riku doesn’t seem to understand what tears are, and when Lady Zero angrily tells him to use his head, he literally starts shaking his head in confusion. He has a childlike innocence to him; maybe it has just been created and is new to your human body.
Zero’s moment of pain clearly had a strong effect on Riku. He is fascinated by Zero’s “pretty” tears and is therefore fascinated by Rainbow Pearls. Riku cares deeply for Zero because she cares for him after Kirinmaru kicked him out. He even goes so far as to affirm that if it hadn’t been for her, he would be dead. He wants to collect the Rainbow Pearls not to obtain their power, but to return them to their creator, his lover Lady Zero. However, he runs into a problem when it comes time to take the Rainbow Pearl from Towa.
There have been hints of flirting between Riku and Towa before, but now these flirtations are turning into something else. Riku admits that even though he works for Kirinmaru, he has not been able to resist helping Towa, and that he does not understand if his feelings for her are love or something else. Towa also admits that she doesn’t understand love, but understands that she likes someone, and she likes Riku. Riku continues to defend her in her powerless state from the returning Tōtetsu, taking some well-targeted poisonous bee stings instead. Riku clearly impresses Towa, to the point where she willingly gifts him her Rainbow Pearl after the battle.
Frankly, this doesn’t seem like the best idea, but Towa has never been the best strategist. She always seems to do what she thinks is right for the people she cares about, and as she sees it, she is only returning the property that belongs to Lady Zero. She isn’t too worried about losing her power until Setsuna points out that now Kirinmaru will be stronger than ever. Towa should really start looking before jumping in, but at least it has worked for Riku, who leaves quite happy.
On a final note, episode 21 of Yashahime says goodbye to Tōtetsu. He was a fun and sociable villain, but he couldn’t keep his head forever. It’s good to see that Moroha finally has a head to carry Jyubei as well. Maybe you can finally make a dent in your debt. Towa also learns from Kaede that Rin is her mother, but this development is rushed so that the episode can focus more on Riku’s backstory. Perhaps Towa will discover the connection between the Butterfly of Dreams and the Tree of Ages next time.
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