WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Orient Episode 12, "Where This Road Leads," now streaming on Crunchyroll.
In Episode 12 of Orient, “Where This Road Leads,” Musashi witnesses the original Oni, the Black Kishin, shortly after being saved by Saruwatari Michiru, the Princess of the Saruwatari Band. While fans of the show have become accustomed to seeing Kishin in all shapes and sizes, this is the largest that has been seen in the series so far.
The black mass seems to stretch as far as the eye can see, and even the confident Musashi appears to be completely terrified by the vastness of this creature. More shocking still is when this being starts to move closer and closer to their position. The Kishin appears to consume everything around it, and as Michiru later informs Musashi, there's nothing that can stop it. So, where did the Black Kishin come from and what does it mean for the show's protagonists moving forward?
When Did The Black Kishin Arrive in Hinomoto?
After witnessing Musashi’s terror at seeing the Black Wall Kishin, Michiru tells him about how this Oni came to be in Hinomoto. The creature first appeared over 150 years ago and was the being that set off the explosion seen in the prologue of the first episode in the series. As was previously shown, this caused mass devastation among Hinomoto’s populace, completely destroying the villages in the nearby vicinity and all who lived within them.
Since no human being could stand against it, Hinomoto was split in two, between those who saw the oni as enemies (Bushi Bands) and those who believed these creatures to be gods. The latter group would go on to form mining towns, like Musashi’s hometown of Tatsuyama, which fed the creature ore and allowed it to grow even bigger. Consequently, this Kishin now covers over half of Hinomoto.
Since its arrival, the Black Kishin has not been defeated. According to Chamberlain, Michiru’s servant, completing this task has become the unrealized ambition of all Bushi over the past 150 years. He proceeds to tell Musashi, Kojiro and Tsugumi that since the Kishin is growing day by day, it will eventually swallow up the rest of the country if nothing is done to stop it. This indicates that this creature does not simply create a barrier for people within the area to enter the land it has consumed, but that it destroys the land its body inhabits.
Can Anyone Stop The Black Kishin?
While the task of destroying the Black Kishin might initially seem impossible, Chamberlain is confident that it can be done. He speaks of an alliance between his people and other Bushi bands, in which this group's leader, Master Uesugi Tatsuomi, appears to have a plan to defeat the creature. According to Chamberlain, he ranks among the nation’s strongest Bushi, being one of the Five Great Generals. These leaders are coming close to uniting what's left of Hinomoto and plan to defeat the Kishin living on Awaji Island, as this is a critical component within their plan to take down the Black Kishin.
The level of organization that these clans have doesn’t appear to have been exaggerated by Chamberlain, as within one of the next scenes of the episode, fans get to finally feast their eyes on the plethora of Bushi Bands that are working to defeat the Kishin. However, it remains to be seen if they have the strength required to defeat the Black Kishin -- a creature so powerful that it has evaded the Bushi for over a century.
Is The Black Kishin A Kishin At All?
If the Five Great Generals and their Bushi Bands do manage to face the Black Kishin, they might be getting into more than they bargained for. In the flashback that shows this creature's origins, viewers might have noticed that when the Kishin arrived on earth, it molded into the shape of a human. While this doesn’t mean that this creature isn’t a Kishin, it could potentially signal that it's something entirely different.
Currently, there have been no Kishin that show human traits. Instead, they seem to mirror the appearances of animals, plants and demon-like beings. While it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that a Kishin might look more human when it transforms, it seems both unlikely and coincidental that the most powerful Kishin happens to resemble the lifeform it is attempting to control. What this means or can be expected for the series moving forward is largely unknown. However, it's something that will almost certainly be touched upon in the following season.