Elegant Yokai Apartment Life
by Anne Lauenroth,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life ?
This week on Elegant Yokai Apartment Life, Yushi levels up. Plot-wise, it's pretty much all that happens. That isn't inherently bad, but the episode left a bit to be desired to go beyond merely being pleasant.
There are a few steps for Yushi to undertake and emotional states to pass through in order to get where he needs to go. Akine takes her garden-hose-sutra-chanting training to the next stage of physical challenge and mental difficulty. After initial fatigue (Yushi's so tired he can't even finish his awesome-as-usual breakfast without falling asleep) and frustration are superseded by a brief period of triumph, his disillusion and doubt kick back in. The path to growth isn't straightforward, setbacks and pain are necessary and all part of the program, even if they almost take Yushi back down dark roads toward withdrawing into himself. Eventually, he'll find the resolve to press on despite the lack of a personal spiritual calling, and mastering self-control takes him a step closer to finding enlightenment.
"A gem only shines because someone polishes it." With everyone around being supportive and believing in him when he doesn't, Yushi wants to be that gem, even if his life might ultimately take him in a different direction. Part of the lesson is the realization that this is perfectly alright. For a boy his age, searching for his goal and purpose is much more important than actually finding it right away.
His motives have gotten a lot stronger. After all, his only previous dream was becoming a salary man just so that he could move out of his aunt and uncle's house – that's not exactly a calling, either. He still has enough time to figure out what he truly wants to do, maybe even embrace magic as a part of it. And if he doesn't, he'll still make some treasured memories, which is basically the show's way of telling Yushi that it's alright to be young and live a little. As the Yokai Apartments' wise resident author knows, being young is about getting lost a few times, not about finding your path as fast and with as little detours as possible.
Trusting in Isshiki and the others who believe in him enables Yushi to overcome his inner limits and embrace what magic has given him for what it is: a support network of people who care about him no matter what path he'll choose. It's sweet, simple, and just a little boring in its innocence. By contrast, Ryu and Akine's paths in life are almost scary in how linear they were. But maybe it's different for people who feel a spiritual calling. Regular folks like Yushi will have to get lost a bit.
While Yushi is busy with water-induced out-of-body experiences, Tashiro and friends pursue the more fun and lighthearted kind of summery splashing around, giving us some bikini shots entirely unrelated to the plot, but since that's thin to begin with, it doesn't really disrupt anything. One could try to explain their scene with the girls assuming Yushi's life to be much more unexciting than it actually is (just a boring furniture mover), but that would be stretching things a bit because bikinis.
Bonus points for lots of Ryu time (dramatic wind included), who'll be replaced by his short-haired doppelganger Hase next week. Hopefully, Yushi's BFF won't just bring tons of omiyage, but also some further development for the Kuri subplot. Given that the ghost kid is starting to act more like a normal child, my biggest hope (and fear) is that Hase will play a key role in Kuri finding peace.
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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