Wow, this episode had me bawling. I cannot remember the last time that an anime death felt so real or took me so off guard when it should not have. We all saw the trailer, and we knew it was coming. We have followed these characters for years. We've seen their back stories a million times. Is that why it felt so real? Kikyo's death came and went in episode 8, leaving many viewers sobbing in its wake and it was beautiful.
"Among the Twinkling Stars" begins where the last episode left off. Kagome obtains the bow from Mount Azusa and, after being released from Naraku's web, hurtles toward the ground. InuYasha is there to save her, but he has to leave Kikyo to do it. Little does the group realize that she is still entangled in the webs and everyone is surrounded and pulled into danger's way. InuYasha and Kagome descend the mountain just in time to realize that the group has been taken.
Everyone is released from Naraku's hold except Kikyo. Naraku intends to see her die in his arms, the arms of her hated nemesis. Attempts to save her are futile! A chance presents itself though. Koga's jewel shards are pure. If Naraku absorbs them he will be purified. Being the greedy man that he is, he tries again to take Koga's shards and is purified a bit, but no real damage is done. He knows how much Kikyo hates him and how she wants to see InuYasha again and is determined to kill her before she has the chance. Good old InuYasha always comes in the nick of time, though. As he tries to get Naraku to let her go, Kagome cocks her arrow, ready to fire at Kikyo; but senses that Kikyo wants her to wait. InuYasha uses the Dragon-Scaled Tetsusaiga on Naraku's demon vortex. It has no effect....
But wait! Naraku's side suddenly explodes, revealing the darkness within him and the Shikon no Tama! Koga attempts to destroy it; but it disappears suddenly as he drops Kikyo and Koga is drawn in again. He is drawn and and engulfed in miasma! Miroku makes a rash but effective decision to use the Wind Tunnel. While Naraku finds this foolish, he only needs to absorb the miasma surrounding Koga so he can escape. Unfortunately, Koga's shards have already been defiled, that dang Jewel is still missing!
Is it? It is! It's in Kikyo!? Naraku has hidden it within her. As Kagome readies herself to shoot and purify the jewel, Naraku is hot on her trail, attempting to go to it before she does. He is too late though. As Kagome's arrow hits and purifies the jewel, Kikyo uses her power to deflect it to Naraku! I sat on the end of my seat, hoping that he would be purified and it really looked like he might be. The spiritual power is enough to release Koga, but not before his jewel shards are taken. Sadly though, Naraku's demonic energy wins the battle and Kikyo is doomed. Kikyo entrusts Kagome with the task of protecting Kohaku's light, and with it the last jewel shard.
Up to this point, the episode is very excited and full of suspense. I knew in the back of my head that Kikyo was not long for the world, but the pacing of the episode makes you unable to dwell on that. Then the episode takes a turn and the remaining time is incredibly emotional.
The sun sets a brilliant array of deep oranges and reds as Kohaku fights to find Kikyo with Sesshomaru and pack. Rin urges him to rest and Sesshomaru feels a change in the winds. "It's too late."
In a heartrending sentence, InuYasha agonizes that he could not save Kikyo. Kikyo doesn't care, though. He came for her. She saw him one last time. That is all she wanted. They embrace lovingly as she passes on. Her soul embraces everyone in its warm light and is taken to the heavens by her soul collectors.
And now I'm crying again.
Next time on InuYasha: The Final Act - "Sesshomaru in the Underworld". I'm ready for some action!