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Kai to Otome to Kamikakushi (Mysterious Disappearances) – 03

Kai to Otome to Kamikakushi is certainly one of those shows  squarely in the crowded bubble zone this season. It has a lot going for it – interesting visuals and an intriguing premise, a distinct sense of style. I just struggle with this intensely mannered sort of dialogue and tone most of the time. There are exceptions – Zetsuen no Tempest comes to mind at once, though the author’s other series did nothing for me. And the series Mysterious Disappearances most reminds me of, Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge. But that one wasn’t mannered so much as flamboyantly theatrical – it actually had a certain earnest quality to it.

Another element one has to accept with this show is that it embraces the pandering with abandon. It’s kinky and transparently trying to be titillating about it, in an altogether throwback sort of way where anime is concerned. Starting off with a fetish mystery in a girls’ school setting seems right in character, really. And when Sumireko reports back to Ren about what she saw in her undercover mission, he doesn’t take long to come to a theory. Namely that this is the work of an ushi-oni, a legendary youkai that appears in folklore from all across Japan (seemingly different in appearance in every region).

The cold open has already given is the gist of what’s happening here. The teacher behind the dribbler attacks, Uname-sensei (Horie Yui) was bullied as a child for being poor and wearing the clothes her grandmother sewed for her from scraps of cloth.  Just why she has this ability isn’t immediately clear but she’s using it as part of anti-bullying crusade, a sort of long-delayed revenge tour. We also get an interesting little subsection where Ren refers back to his childhood with Oto, which was obviously not a bed of roses. Just where is he trying to send her back to? And why do they have these strange abilities (like telepathy, for example)?

As it turns out Uname-sensei borrows these powers through the amulet her grandmother gave her. Ren comes to the school and confronts her after using Sumireko as the bait in a staged bullying trap. He demands she surrender it to him, but the teacher refuses. Eventually she ups the stakes by setting Sumeirko on fire (faerie fire still burns), which she can do because in fact this power isn’t coming from an ushi-oni at all but from Chirinki, a vengeful God from whom the ushi-oni supposedly were created (though as far as I know Chinrinki is strictly an invented character here).

I’m not not sure what to make of this business of Ren using his powers to (seemingly) transfer the amulet’s curse to himself. Nor of Sumireko’s miraculous healing ability – she seems seems to show off a new ability every episode. All’s well that ends well, seemingly – Uname-sensei apparently didn’t do enough evil to have karma take her life, and while he doesn’t have Sumireko’s magically-enhanced constitution Ren’s injuries don’t seem too severe.

These mysteries of the week underlying a recurring plot is a formula that can certainly work if the writing and execution is up to the task. And Koi to Otome has shown enough in the first three episode to make me at least hopeful that it is. Thee next arc is going to be pretty telling for me, though, as I’m kind of on the fence about the first one. I definitely want to like this series, and that’s an important step in the right direction. But it’s no more than that, and we’re nowhere near home yet.

The post Kai to Otome to Kamikakushi (Mysterious Disappearances) – 03 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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