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Tonari no Yōkai-san
Episode 11

by James Beckett,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Tonari no Yōkai-san ?
Community score: 4.2


Despite how heart-wrenching and often gripping the drama of the last few weeks have been on Tonari no Yōkai-san, the show has forced us to ask a painful question time and time again: “Where the hell is Buchio!?” Well, I am overjoyed to report that Fuchigamori's #1 Best and Most Purrfect Boy has returned to us—and he's come armed with plenty of adorable faces to melt our hearts again at last. The crisis is over. We can rest easy, once again.

Really, outside of one very big exception, this was a very chill episode of TnY, and I appreciated that very much. For one, it marks the first time in a while that Buchio has gotten to share some screentime his little brother Takumi—and their adorably child-like team-up to “interview” the Space Time Laboratory scientists is a very welcome reprieve from Mutsumi and Jiro's Adventures in Multi-Generational Grief and Trauma. Not only does it provide some fun world-building that helps foreshadow that crackerjack cliffhanger but the whole adventure is just chockful of that “Eternal Summer Vacation” energy that makes this show such a treat to watch as well (so long as it doesn't turn around on you and stomp your heart into pieces, that is).

When it comes to those big lore hints and whatnot, I am a little nervous about how much the show is trying to set up here with the season's finish line looming so close on the horizon. As far as I can tell, this is a 1-cour series—and for as swiftly as Tonari no Yōkai-san has wrapped up plots before, it is difficult to imagine that this will feel like a wholly complete arc with such little time left to go. It's one thing to show us the tengu who preceded Jiro getting involved with that mysterious meteor business from 500 years ago; but I feel like there's a lot more to deal with in the season finale when we end on the entire fabric of reality getting shredded like so much pork in an Arby's sandwich.

Thankfully, even when the show's big-picture scope and pacing come across as a little wonky, its emotional storytelling is always laser-focused. The “fight” that Takumi gets into with Buchio feels so real and quietly sad that you forget the sad lad is getting jealous of a two-foot-tall talking nekomata brother's newfound success in life. The kid is just trying to figure out how his future will look because his dream of being a filmmaker is too “impractical” for his friends to support. It always feels extra scary to be confronted with that kind of personal crisis when you have someone in your orbit who seems to be falling into golden opportunities without even trying. The fact that Takumi is just a kid who shouldn't even be worrying so much about what his life path should be just makes it that much more affecting. I'm over twice the boy's age, and I still find myself getting self-conscious and anxious about whether or not I have a clue of what my life is supposed to end up like.

The good news is that Takumi has an infinitely patient, understanding, and adorable kitty-cat of a brother who just so happens to be pals with an equally cute sentient car that is more than happy to take a down-in-the-dumps kid on a fun day trip to Tokyo and banish those blues. It would be a perfectly lovely ending to a quietly sweet episode of Tonari no Yōkai-san if it wasn't for the whole “sky randomly splitting apart and threatening to shatter the perilously thin barriers that separate the planes of the multiverse” deal. It just goes to show you that nobody in this show can have a peaceful day off, anymore. If the fundamental laws of nature and reality aren't being perverted on a transdimensional scale, then these poor kids would still have to deal with their shattered senses of self or the crushing weight of immortal grief. I swear, if there was any justice in this world, the season would end with Wagen piling all of the cast up and driving them to a Sunday Funday at Tokyo Disney. I bet the YokaiVerse version of that park kicks ass—what with all of the cute monster cast members and magical effects.

If nothing else, Tonari no Yōkai-san, can we please get a couple of scenes of Buchio wearing a tiny little Mickey Mouse hat and making funny faces on all of the Ride Cams?


Tonari no Yōkai-san is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.

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