I enjoyed the 5th episode of Nurarihon a lot, but I especially enjoyed the scene-setting. Since I took my Japan trip in May, this ep as much as any really made me yearn to be back there. The trip to the mountain shrine was just fantastic – beautifully drawn in that way DEEN often can, at their best. Those mountain shrines hidden in the woods, with the moss-covered Jizo statues, the kami trees (the ones with ropes) – those are the most spiritually charged and atmospheric places I’ve ever visited. There’s just no sense of time there at all.
Is it me, or was it pretty mean the way Zen just blurted out “I want the other Rikuo” like that? I love Zen so far – great character, and not at all subtle – but that was harsh. I’m also a huge fan of Tsurara, and she had a great week this week – her scenes with Rikuo were adorable, especially watching Kana seethe with jealousy. We also caught a glimpse of Rikuo’s super-eyesight, and apparently a hint that the fitst major villain is going to be Gyuuki. Rikuo certainly seems to be surrounded by traitors, doesn’t he?
For a 24-episode series, the pacing on this one is pretty relaxed so far. That’s OK by me in itself, but with as many manga chapters as are already out there it’s a bit worrying. I was just fine with the way the episode itself played out – just enough happened to advance the plot, and much time was devoted to cute and relevant character stuff. As I understand it this title is pretty popular in Japan at the moment, so maybe this pacing is a precursor to a possible second season down the line. As the manga readers (and I’m not one in this case) seem to believe that the best material comes much later, that would be a good thing indeed.