How to keep a mummy
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 8 of
How to keep a mummy ?
Episode 8 was the most adorable episode of How to keep a mummy yet because it left our supernatural snugglies up to their own devices. Normally, we see Mii-kun, Conny, Mukumuku, and Isao through the lens of their human owners and their own anxieties. “New Places, Strange Places, Strange Friends” took a narrative turn by choosing to tell a nonverbal story. The result is a rich experience that really tugs on the heartstrings.
Mii-kun and company aren't like dogs or cats. They're a little too smart to stay home alone without getting lonely or bored or trying to escape. Additionally, this episode raised the stakes early on by showing some tough customers hunting for a child oni. With danger lurking outside, there's only one solution. These kids need a babysitter, and not any ordinary one. Fortunately, Sora is on excellent terms with a Jizo statue and local shrine god, who agree to the task.
Out of the four pets and the two babysitters, only the Jizo statue is capable of speech. So while our protagonists are at school, the story switches to a mainly visual mode. How to keep a mummy is Mii-kun's story first, and in this episode, he has a chance to tell it himself. And though Sora usually takes the lead, Mii-kun is a fantastic protagonist. For as simple and childish as Mii-kun's psyche is, this episode shows his motivations and feelings in a relatable way.
The magic begins in earnest after Mii-kun gets stuck outside during a rainstorm. He runs into a child oni with a gruff expression who misunderstands his new friend's predicament. The oni hands Mii-kun a leaf umbrella reminiscent of My Neighbor Totoro and leads him on an enchanted forest stroll. The rain hasn't kept the forest denizens indoors, and Mii-kun is surrounded by everything that folklore has to offer—from a nine-tailed fox to a pudgy unicorn with a glittery butt. The characters are silent to be sure, but the musical score that accompanies this forest excursion gives the scene a vividness all its own. Even when mythical creatures live this close to home, there's still something special about catching a glimpse of them through Mii-kun's fascinated eyes.
Of course nobody can resist Mii-kun, and even the forest oni blushes with happiness when Mii-kun acts particularly cute. What's more unexpected is that even when he's back in the enthusiastic arms of the shrine god, Mii-kun can't stop thinking about the forest oni, who doesn't have a Sora to care for him the way Mii-kun does. Sora encourages Mii-kun and reminds him to express his gratitude to the oni, resulting in Mii-kun's cavity-inducing thank-you note.
From this adorable conclusion to a strong musical score to the emphasis on Japanese folklore, I'm getting some powerful Natsume Yujin-cho vibes from this episode, and a comparison to such a well-loved show is a high compliment. Mii-kun's forest adventure shows us that How to keep a mummy's well-defined world and charming creatures make this show a rare and magical treat.
How to keep a mummy is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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