WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Episode 24 of Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon, "Sesshomaru's Daughter," now streaming on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Animelab and Hulu.
The Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon finale, "Sesshomaru's Daughter," features a tremendous battle between the princesses and Kirinmaru, and ends on a strong cliffhanger. Even after the previous episode ended with Zero destroying Tenseiga and promising to destroy Sesshomaru and his daughters, it all comes down to the princesses and Kirinmaru himself.
After a recap of Zero's resurrection and pledge of hate, Kirinmaru arrives and tries to deescalate the situation in Episode 24. Sesshomaru ignores him -- he's out for blood, tired of Zero toying with Rin's life. At this point, he'd rather Rin die than be a pawn in Zero's game. This is a bit odd, given he just resurrected Zero, but perhaps he was hoping she'd back down and set Rin free, which she certainly doesn't do here.
Kirinmaru, frustrated, banishes the rainbow pearls, blaming them for this confrontation. This is enough for Zero to sever her relationship with him and she flees to seek them out. This quest to reunite the rainbow pearls will likely be a big part of Season 2, since Zero is determined to kill Sesshomaru and the princesses, and she clearly believes the only way to do that is with the pearls. The princesses, meanwhile, will also want their pearls back to augment their power, though as it turns out, the pearls may have been doing them more harm than good.
Sesshomaru takes off, leaving his daughters to prove themselves in a trial by combat. At first, Kirinmaru controls the pace, telling the princesses that relying on the pearls has weakened their inherent strengths. He also clues into the fact that Towa's demon energy is brought out by her protective instinct, and goes out of his way to harass Setsuna. Initially, it seems as though this will be typical Yashahime, with Towa powering up and saving the day. Instead, in a shocking moment, Setsuna lands a blow on Kirinmaru-- and is then struck down by him.
Setsuna's death is both surprising and tragic. As her hand slips from Towa's, Towa reminisces on her letting go of Setsuna back in the forest fire all those years ago, and the bitter regrets this caused. Even Kirinmaru is regretful that things had to play out this way. He has no real desire to kill the princesses, after all -- it's self-defense, really, with the prophecy of his death practically requiring him to seek out half-demons and kill them. This doesn't mean much to Towa or Moroha though, as they prepare to take down Kirinmaru once again.
This team-up sequence is a pleasant surprise. Moroha finally achieves control of her Beniyasha transformation, and her power levels skyrocket. Towa, meanwhile, transforms into the spitting image of her father. Typically, Towa is the most powerful of the princesses, but here Yashahime makes it clear that Moroha and Towa's power is more or less equal. It's a great moment for fans who wanted a more egalitarian power dynamic between the princesses.
We'll see what changes with Towa and Moroha's relationship after this fight, particularly with Setsuna gone. The battle that follows is intense, with Towa and Setsuna's combined might nearly taking down the Demon Beast King -- but in the end, they can't quite pull it off.
That being said, "Sesshomaru's Daughter" ends with a massive cliffhanger that suggests we haven't seen the last of Setsuna. Earlier on, Jaken caught up with Totosai, the swordsmith, on the way to the battle. Totosai says they are about to witness the birth of a legendary new sword, and as the episode concludes Sesshomaru seems to have just such a blade. It's possible that he's handing Towa the shattered remains of Tenseiga, and that she's about to use her typical energy-sword technique to revitalize it. Or perhaps the new blade is ready to go, with its own unique powers. At the very least, there's a distinct possibility Setsuna will return.
Now that a second season is confirmed, it feels as though season 1 of Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon was basically just setting the stage. Criticisms of the show -- the absence of Inuyasha characters, filler episodes, an underused Moroha -- now feel more like deliberate decisions to build up the new characters and set up their development. It's a striking ending for Season 1 -- but it would be far from a satisfying ending overall. Kirinmaru, Zero and Riku are still out there, and Kagome, Rin and Inuyasha are still trapped. No doubt about it, there's still a lot for Sesshomaru's daughter (and his niece) to do.