How to keep a mummy
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 10 of
How to keep a mummy ?
There's a new character this week on How to keep a mummy: the Egyptian god of death! I'm only half joking. Aayan is a tsukumogami, an inanimate object somehow imbued with a soul and the power of speech. In “A Surprise From Afar,” this new character is ready to chat up a storm while playing with the supernatural menagerie. He's the strangest aspect of an episode that feels more loosely strung-together than usual in one mini-story after another. It was cute to watch, but unlike the previous few episodes, don't expect this one to hit you in the feels.
When Sora unconvincingly insists he isn't home, Tazuki knows he's trying to take care of something without relying on anyone, even though he has a friend who wants to help. (Paradoxically, this is exactly what Sora told Tazuki not to do last episode.) As usual, it's a package from Dad that Sora wants to face on his own, no matter how terrifying, because it would crush him if one of the humans or creatures in his care got hurt. But of course, that wouldn't happen in a show as healing as How to keep a mummy, and the Anubis sculpture inside (you can call him Aayan) is mostly harmless.
Honestly, I'm not that into Aayan. He's not cute or cuddly, and unlike the other supernatural cuties, he talks—a lot. His opinions get grating and his jokes aren't funny, which makes him kind of an odd note in How to keep a mummy. They put Aayan on wheels so he can play with Pochi and the crew, but either his power of speech or what he actually says keeps him from being a captivating main attraction. The fact that he's here to convey that Sora's dad actually loves him isn't that engaging either, considering Sora never seemed to have anxiety about his dad's affection in the first place.
The rest of the episode is a grab bag of mini-skits, some of which I remember from the How to keep a mummy manga. (You can read it on Crunchyroll Manga). The main conflict comes from Sora getting the hiccups. Tazuki takes on the role of the viewer's worst intentions, since he wants to see if Sora can feel embarrassment and if Mii-kun's got anything interesting under his wrappings. (Deep down, we all want these things in our most shameful of hearts.) Tazuki is also the one who instigates the creatures' concerns by implying that Sora will be on his deathbed if he doesn't stop hiccuping. It's kind of lopsided how Tazuki's characterization works double-duty this week, but Daichi doesn't join in on the conflict at all. Motegi's involvement falls squarely in the middle, as she clumsily unwraps Mii-kun even more! The resulting glimpse we get is strange: a glittering cluster of brown bubbles? Tazuki says his vision went white, but I saw something that looked like sparkly intestines. Needless to say, I think my own desire to solve this mystery is over—gross.
As with the episode that introduced Mukumuku, this story ends too cleanly; the characters just say goodbye to one another and the credits roll. That level of storytelling reminds me of a kids' show, which isn't entirely out of place in this comforting anime, but it still feels reductive. It was just one more quirk in an episode that was less cohesive story and more random potpourri.
How to keep a mummy is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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