Elegant Yokai Apartment Life
by Anne Lauenroth,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life ?
Miura had every right to feel angry and hurt after what his former students did to him. The consequences of their revenge "prank" must have been terrible, costing him his position and so much more. Falsely accused of being a monster, he let himself be consumed by feelings of hatred, rage, and self-pity until he was literally consumed by a monster, once again a victim of others' feelings.
But the id monster didn't turn a goodhearted person into an evil one. Even if Miura is still a victim, it could only possess him because part of him embraced letting go of what remained of his composure. Once the monster has been exorcised, Miura would be free to face his demons consciously. Instead, he chooses to become what the id monster forced him to be: someone who inflicts pain on others instead of dealing with his own. By not facing the past, Miura gave it – and the people who caused his suffering – power over his future, defining his identity as a victim who can only lash out to feel in control. It's a sad story, showing Yushi that you can't change who people are inside by exorcising their monsters from the outside.
And he tried so hard, even attending to Miura (who had just tried to kill his friend) before checking if Tashiro was alright. She could have suffered a skull fracture for all he knows! Even with explanations from people about to come running to the scene, his priorities felt a bit off there. I was happy to see Yushi be able to save Tashiro without any help from others, though. Well, technically, it was Brondis, his most powerful (and destructive) Petit Hierozoicon resident, but given that it's the "echo of his heart" that summons the Petits, it was still Yushi in a way. He's brave, but also dangerously naive in his idealism. Luckily, Akine was around to keep things from spinning out of control, showing wisdom not just in the act of exorcism, but also in understanding people.
Her shikigami version of Tashiro sure was creepy sucking in the id monster, even scarier than Miura calmly sending Yushi away to pursue his would-be victim. Cold, murderous, human calculation will always be much more frightening than any otherworldly monstrosity. Even if he was still possessed at this point, it would be far too easy to declare him free of any blame.
In the past, Elegant Yokai Apartment Life could be profound when it aimed for places higher than just "pleasant". This week is one of those times. The image of water running through your fingers no matter how big your hands are is a powerful metaphor for focusing on the things in life you actually do have control over and can change for the better. It ties in neatly with the coincidence versus fate theme touched upon earlier in the episode. If accepting a streak of bad luck as the way things are doesn't lead to an excuse for giving up, but to a call to action and empathy instead, you're on the path to healthy realism instead of fatalism.
Even after the unpleasant realization that not everyone can be saved, at least there's still food and friends to comfort Yushi in this harsh reality, where being slapped is actually a sign of love and concern. He learned a lot from the unfortunate Miura's story. At first, seeing him running away from the bullies instead of summoning his supernatural allies seems like a counter-intuitive way to portray growth. Wasn't this episode all about facing your problems instead of running away? But there's really no need to destroy another building for an everyday problem he's perfectly capable of dealing with on his own, even if that means opting out of a battle for now. It's also not up to Fool to "fix" Brondis so that Yushi can use his Petits more easily in situations like this. If he continues to work on his own growth, they will grow with him.
A few clunkier pans and zooms to compensate for animation shortcomings made some conversations this week feel unnecessarily hectic, but all in all, this episode had a clear idea of what it wanted to say and managed to do so without any significant hiccups.
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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