Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs ?
In the long run, Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs will likely be remembered as a retro harem series with a bit more genuine heart and sincerity than the norm for series of its type, though not enough to elevate the story to a level where it can be recommended despite the fanservice. Ultimately it's for fans of lurid content first, with some pretty good character interactions and individual stories as a side bonus.
That's also an accurate way to describe its final episode. It delivers one final dose of swimsuit fare as Nonko treats Kogarashi, Yuuna, and Oboro to a private beach house on Okinawa as payment for helping her with her manga deadlines. That Nonko's swimsuit is outlandish is a given, and so is Oboro's first attempt. The real fun is the “rubbing suntan oil on me” scenario, with first Nonko and then Oboro getting the nearly-orgasmic experience, and the latter using it as yet another attempt to entice Kogarashi into sex. Rather than wallow in that all episode long, we get a story about Kogarashi attempting to resolve the issues of a couple of ghosts who are lingering because they died while trying to meet up to elope (though not necessarily in the way you'd expect). That's where the heartfelt part of the story comes into the picture, even if it's briefly interrupted by the woman proving that her man wasn't exaggerating about her anger issues. It's in moments like the couple's final resolution, against the surprisingly restrained use of fireworks in the background, where the series is at its best.
That sets up the thornier issue: what about the regrets that are keeping Yuuna in this world? She's mentioned before that she doesn't remember either those regrets or her real life, and she reaffirms that to a degree that Kogarashi can accept. Oboro speculates that she may have been a powerful medium based on her current abilities, and Kogarashi observes that Yuuna is unlike all the other spirits he's encountered in that she isn't obsessing over her regret, but rather than make a big mystery about it, the series decides to make it a non-issue. Yuuna is what she is right now and feels happier than she's ever been, so why worry about it? While that fits with the attitude of the series, it's also a cop-out, and the one thing about this series that genuinely disappointed me.
Well, I was also disappointed with the artistry in the early stages of this episode, as the body proportions of characters seemed off. That issue faded as the episode progressed, allowing room for one nice final dose of hot springs fanservice at the end, with Chisaki involved as an extra treat. The affirmation that the normal morning routine between Yuuna and Kogarashi is something they're now comfortable with seems like the most natural note to end on.
Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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