Disappearance of Nagato Yuki chan Episode 6
by Nick Creamer,
Things I liked about this episode: Nagato is still cute. There were lots of silly faces. Some Christmas directions are still up in the club, which is a nice detail.
Things I didn't like: everything else.
The drama dialed back down this week, putting us back in slice of life/gag land. There was a silly scene with the entire cast by a staircase (featuring Mikuru slamming boobs-first into Kyon and a bunch of silly faces), there was another one in a hallway (featuring some “comic” misunderstandings and, you guessed it, silly faces), and then there two more back in the club room. Minutes passed. Jokes concluded.
I counted a total of four hackneyed walk-in misunderstanding gags this week. The first one was the longest, and essentially formed the basis of the episode's second scene. In an overlong and predictable flashback, Tsuruya explained how Mikuru and Kyon had once bumped into each other and resulted in a misunderstanding when Tsuruya walked in on them the year before. This prior misunderstanding immediately resulted in a new misunderstanding with Nagato in the present, so I guess if we're counting that as two, the total jumps up to five.
The third misunderstanding gag came when Kyon asked Asakura to help him study - she grabbed his hand to keep him from requesting help from Nagato, Nagato noticed this, and we got one of those new-school “this looks like a misunderstanding, but it's probably just an anime moment” reflections from Nagato. Self-awareness is a nice quality in the abstract, but when you're just using it to point out your lazy jokes as you're making them, it doesn't really help the situation. The fourth and fifth misunderstanding gags came back-to-back in the last scene, when Nagato bumped into Kyon in a sequence that was pretty much solely engineered to result in Asakura making shocked faces as she walked in on them. In this goal, the scene succeeded: Asakura did indeed walk in on them and make shocked faces.
It'd be unfair of me to say this episode's jokes were solely constrained to the most lazy, brainless style of misunderstanding gags, so I should run down some of the other quips. There were also, as I've mentioned previously, silly faces. In addition, one time Kyon ran into Mikuru's boobs (I may have mentioned that already as well). There was also a moment when Kyon's hand brushed against Mikuru's, she went “kyaaaaa,” and the camera panned upwards in a comedic fashion. A fantasy version of Mikuru said “boing” in a bikini one time, but I'm not sure if you can count that as an actual joke, or just justification for putting Mikuru in a bikini. If we're counting fanservice as jokes now, there were also some boob-happy camera angles and a scene where the show managed to justify putting Asakura in a sexy teacher outfit.
In retrospect, it feels like this episode barely even existed. Utterly devoid of any fresh comedy, leaning into the same romantic non-developments the show's been baiting for half a season (Kyon and Nagato are having a moment! Wait, no, that's just gas), this episode felt almost like a strawman version of what people dislike about the slice of life genre. Please, Nagato Yuki. Do better than this.
Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.
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