Things continue to move along at a brisk but manageable pace with Arata Kangatari, which as yet stubbornly refuses to offer up any clues suggesting radical changes to the storyline to compensate for its brevity.
I'm finding - more so with the anime than with the manga, perhaps because the anime has a sort of old-school look to it - that Arata is reminding me quite a bit of Inuyasha. It's a seemingly straightforward adventure yarn split between alternate worlds, and one that offers up more complexity in its plot than it appears at first glance.
Ginchi and Kanate's pedalling power the four escapees manage to make landfall on what should be a deserted coast, and Kanata informs Hinohara that in order to reach the capitol he's going to have to pass through Kannagi's realm of Kagutsuchi. Kotoha goes on to explain that each of the Twelve Shinsho controls their own realm - not kingdoms, per se, but more fiefdoms - and the cynical Kanata adds that without a King or Princess to keep them in line, it's inevitable that the Shinsho will struggle for supremacy - thus the war and chaos that all are predicting will unfold for the land.
Ginchi's mother - and this makes Ginchi considerably happier than his Ani, who's been hiding a dark secret. Kanate does what he thinks is best for Ginchi, though Ginchi doesn't agree and I'm not sure I do either - but this development leaves Kanate alone in the world, and Hinohara needs all the allies he can get.
Okiha, a Zokusho - one of the Sho who serve the Twelve Shinsho, who saves Kanate from a rampaging muru (mmm... Muru) and invited the trio to his estate to rest and recuperate. Okiha has already surmised the truth - both of who Hinohara really is, and the fact that he must be innocent of the crime he was charged with, else Tsutuga's Hayagami would never have submitted to him. Meanwhile, we see Kannagi dealing with a painful (in more ways than one) memory, and with the arrival of fellow Shinsho Akachi (Suzuki Tatsuhisa) who seems to be cutting a path of devastation through Kannagi's lands which leads straight to Okiha. When he arrives at Okiha's home he tells him that Kannagi was the one who murdered the Princess, and framed Hinohara.