Elegant Yokai Apartment Life
by Anne Lauenroth,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life ?
Note: Since I'll be travelling with unforeseeable internet conditions, there might be a delay in the reviews for the next two episodes.
Now that Yushi has successfully completed his first little arc of finding his way home, some sort of new conflict had to be introduced from the outside. Enter Furuhonya, another Yokai Apartments weirdo who deals in old books, as the name implies. Not any old books, mind you, but magical and mystical ones, based on actual esotericism to fuel the imagination of characters and readers alike, nicely matching our new theme. Furuhonya himself is only conflict's messenger, but through him, Yushi acquires his very own book of fairly useless yet entertaining spirit servants, called the Petit Hierozoicon. Judging by how prominently its residents feature in the OP and ED, it's probably going to play a major role in the story's future direction.
About the first three quarters of the episode are dedicated to introducing Furuhonya and gushing over the awesomeness of books (or “collections of words with will”), something I have no problem getting on board with. After Yushi's first dreamlike encounter with the Fool and his lazy companions, the inevitable finally happens; someone from Yushi's "normal" human life finds out about his magical family. As his oldest and closest friend, it makes sense it would be Hase, especially since Mr. Overachiever doesn't waste any time this week making it clear that reality is what's important, not dreams or imagination. He's obviously in for a shock, but the most interesting part - seeing how he'll be able to adjust his worldview to this experience, remains to be seen.
Apart from its obvious purpose in getting Yushi and Hase where they need to be, that part with the adult bullies felt strangely out of character, not aided by Hase lecturing Yushi on gangs and the nature of violence in the show's clumsiest display of writing yet. Once at the construction site (which suddenly pops up because it needed to be there), the stage is set for stuff to go down (or terribly wrong, given the overly relaxed nature of Yushi's newly acquired servants). Yushi is prepared to show his friend that maybe he didn't just get older, but grew up a bit these past couple of months, in his own way.
It's rather funny that what qualified Yushi to become the book's new master is the same talent for escapism Hase would probably criticize him for. I just wish we'd seen a bit more of that side of Yushi apart from his initial idolization of a single author. If the power of imagination enabling people to “be anyone” (even beyond what the author might have intended), then a little bit more setup in that direction wouldn't have hurt.
Despite very little animation to speak of, some of the comedy bits still worked well. Ruriko's hands getting embarrassed made me smile, as did Ryu's simultaneous justification and ignorance of ghostly boob fanservice. To its huge advantage, the series' colorful characters are brought to life by a cast that gets more impressive each week, which makes up for a lot on the audio side. Unfortunately, the music continues to be a very mixed package.
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