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Tonari no Youkai-san – 10

I still miss Buchio.

I feel kinda Grinch-y for my mixed reaction to this episode. I think it was objectively a very good one (as best one can subjectively say that). It was creepy, atmospheric, and at times rather affecting. But as shallow as it sounds, I just find Mutsumi kind of annoying. The tone of the series just works better for me when Buchio is the focus character (and it’s rare for me to say that about a Kaji Yuuki role). Reminds me a bit of how the youkai-focused eps of Natsume Yuujinchou almost always worked better for me than the ones focused on humans.

But this is all more of a visceral reaction that a true criticism. Starting with Isshin, a folk singer who I don’t think we’ve met before, and Hayachiyo it was quite effective at establishing an unsettling tone. Oni are wandering the forests (fittingly as it’s Setsubun time and the beans – and feathers – are flying). And a mysterious shadow is lurking around Mu-chan’s house (though from the moment we saw that shadow I’ve known who it was, as I think we were supposed to).

I’m not sure how Isshin ties in with the rest of the story, if indeed he does. But the shadow is obviously Mu-chan’s father, or whatever is left of him after he was swallowed up by the void. One can read a lot of symbolism into his story, but that’s subject to interpretation. What’s clear is that he’s now effectively a hungry ghost. He doesn’t know who or what he is – or was – but he knows he’s desperately lonely and he craves to be in the presence of Mutsumi (though why her and not anyone else in the house I don’t know – we haven’t seen the older sister in so long I forgot she existed).

It was clear Betobeto-san was going to be an important player as soon as made that speech when he was introduced, and this always seemed like the logical way it would happen. Tazenbou and Jirou are able to talk to the shadow after it temporarily swallows up Mutsumi. And once it becomes clear that it – “it” being the man’s disembodied soul, more or less – has a strong enough desire to materialize itself, Jirou (somewhat reluctantly it seems to me) extends a hand and pulls him into this plane.

As interesting as this turn is, on some level it has an air of heavy melodrama to it. Again, to each their own – I just don’t find this to be Tonari no Youkai-san’s most appealing side. It’s looking increasingly likely that it’s going to suck up most of the oxygen in the room for the rest of the season too, which would be pretty unfortunate for those of me who prefer other facets of  the series.

The post Tonari no Youkai-san – 10 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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