How to keep a mummy
Episode 9

by Lauren Orsini,

How would you rate episode 9 of
How to keep a mummy ?

I'm thrilled that this week's How to keep a mummy was a Tazuki episode. Sora's standoffish best friend generates the most conflict simply by being himself. If you add his chaotic companion Conny into the mix, things are sure to get interesting. That said, “Kind Hands, Warm Hands,” raised more questions than it was able to answer, leaving me feeling conflicted about the episode's final emotional payoff. It revealed enough of both Tazuki and Conny's past trauma to pique my interest without offering a valid conclusion for either.

Of all the supernatural creatures, Conny is the most like a pet. He's not precocious like Isao or emphatic like Mii-kun or superpowered like Mukumuku. Instead he's like your cute cat who sometimes scratches up the furniture. Or in Conny's case, he's a cute oni child who sometimes eats other peoples' food. Sometimes? Make that nine times.

This is the last straw for Tazuki who has never been good about expressing affection in the first place. “My family isn't your family,” he harshly proclaims to a pouting Conny. So the next morning, he isn't entirely surprised when Conny has disappeared, although he is surprised by how deeply Conny's absence affects him. He can't sleep or focus, and just like he can't be honest with Conny, he also can't be honest with his friends or with himself. He doesn't even want his friends to search for Conny, because then he'd have to come clean to them about the hurtful things he said to his pet. I do think that on some level Tazuki is ashamed of himself for lashing out, and he knows it's something his friends wouldn't do. Can you imagine Sora saying anything like Tazuki's words to Mii-kun?

Both Tazuki and Conny are more emotionally volatile than the others because they both have unresolved trauma. Last time Tazuki mentioned his scar and the dragon, I assumed the dragon had scarred Tazuki. This flashback showed us more detail—a collector with a lead pipe had cornered a bloody Tazuki and the dragon in a derelict building. It's a disturbing image, but it has no resolution. How did Tazuki and the dragon get out of that scrape? There's a lifetime between that threatening scene and Tazuki telling Conny that he hears that same dragon is doing well these days. (So it wasn't Isao, I take it.)

Likewise, Conny has one specific flashback twice (to stall for time?), in which children throw beans at him for Setsubun. Later, Conny sees one of the children hold hands with her mother in the snow, and it's suggested that Conny would like to hold hands with a parent figure too. Conny's flashback doesn't cry out for resolution the way Tazuki's does, but it's also left unclear that Conny's trauma motivated his actions in this episode. Did he really run away because Tazuki hurt his feelings? Or did he go off to find a flower to apologize for eating the cake and then just get stuck in a hole for two days, where he was when Tazuki found him? In that case, Tazuki went on this deep emotional journey of which Conny was basically ignorant.

For whatever reason, Conny did change in the end. “Conny was like a kid who caused trouble trying to draw his parents' attention,” Sora hypothesizes. That makes sense, but it's hard to tell if that was really Conny's motive. It was adorable how Conny and Tazuki repaired their relationship, and the show was just as cute as usual, but I couldn't help but feel like there were some missing pieces in the story this week.

Rating: C+

How to keep a mummy is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.

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