Elegant Yokai Apartment Life
by Anne Lauenroth,
How would you rate episode 15 of
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life ?
Yushi's return to school after summer is foretold to bring new encounters, and just as promised by his three goddesses of fate (now sporting animal costumes), we meet not one but two new teachers. All the girls of class 2-C swoon over cool and unconventional Naomi Chiaki, who despite his girly name, is a pretty handsome dude who graces all inappropriate questions with equally inappropriate answers. By constrast, the new English teacher Haruka Aoki is a more kind and proper type. In her very first lesson, she treats Yushi and friends to a rendition of Hamlet's famous monologue for reasons not entirely clear to me, given that their textbook is labeled "English Communication" and they're 15-year olds attending a Japanese business high school. Still, as a fellow teacher, I applaud Aoki for aiming high.
New teachers aren't the only encounters Yushi has to deal with this semester. His English Conversation Club gains a new member, whose knowledge of Russian literature and French New Wave cinema is only trumped by her determination to alienate people as quickly as possible, which seems to be the only reason she came back to the club after realizing English conversation isn't really what's happening there. Yamamoto's arrogance aside, as someone who used to dig Chekhov's plays in adolescence, I find the whole "she only pretends to like these things to appear smart" interpretation equally condescending.
It's obvious that Yamamoto has a problem without calling her a phony, just as it's obvious that Yushi will have his work cut out for him trying to put the pieces together – hopefully without having to relive his experience from the last time he tried to help someone who turned out to be less than admirable. Between the fun teacher who's way too open about his personal life and his saintly colleague whose pure aura doesn't necessarily seem to translate into her being a good person, school is unlikely to get boring for Yushi anytime soon. Hopefully, Yamamoto will have better motivations for being so hellbent on confrontation than pure nastiness or just being tragically misunderstood. And hopefully, that recurring talk of fate won't become more dominant in the narrative than it is currently.
It's still all setup for now, with nothing remotely resolved. From the looks of the preview, next week will put a hold on the events unfolding at school as we return to the Yokai Apartments. Regardless of how things turn out, I won't be here to write about it, as this episode concludes streaming reviews for Elegant Yokai Apartment Life. At times sweet and charming, the show delivered too few emotional punches but ultimately settled for pleasantness, never quite managing to evolve from perfectly watchable to something I would find myself actively looking forward to every week.
With almost an entire cour to go, it started to feel like the series' best part was behind us already, ending somewhere between Yushi moving back home and acquiring his magic book, whose residents also never made their way up from colorful but potentially annoying to lovable and occasionally badass. Looking back, things peaked with Kuri and Shiro in episode 3, with a few odd secondary highlights afterwards. I don't have any bad memories walking away from this show, but I also doubt it will stick in my memory until Christmas.
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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