I must confess I find the episodes focused around Tamao and Yoichi to be consistently boring, and this one was no exception. More so than with almost any comedy, I really prefer Haiyore stick to the zany humor – whenever this show tries to go the character route it almost always loses me. Shinryaku Ika Musume or Working!, it’s not.
I’m not sure I quite understand why Yoichi is the world’s greatest nine-ball player and bowler – is that the Yiths’ doing? – but I did get a chuckle out of the bowling alley being called “Round-san”. Also Mahiro buying forks in bulk at the hyakku-en shop, but probably the biggest laugh of the episode was when Nyaruko suggested furthering her romance with Mahiro by taking him to the Shub-Niggurath Gynecology Clinic.
Mushibugyou – 04
Rather than finding it repetitive, I find myself growing fonder of Mushibugyou as it progresses. There’s nothing fancy going on here, but series that can deliver engaging, fun shounen that look and sound good are always welcome on my screen.
The round of introductions continues this week with Ichinotani Tenma, the chibi-onmyouji. His story is considerably humbler than Shingiku’s – Tenma is just a kid who lost his parents and tries to honor them by excelling at protecting the city. The only problem is he’s deathly afraid of bugs – which calls the wisdom of his career choice into question unless you’re a big believer in exposure therapy with the safety off. Naturally, the universally positive Jinbei takes it upon himself to help Tenma fight through his fears, while Hibachi and Shingiku see this new bit of information as the jumping-off point for some not-so-gentle bullying.
Quietly, Mushibugyou has done a very nice job bringing these characters to life and giving them a real sense of personality. It’s only now that they’ve been properly introduced that the main plot is going to kick into high gear, which is a pretty sensible way of going about things that we see utilizied with surprising rarity. None of the trio of Jinbei’s supporting cast is wholly original, but like the others Tenma is pretty engaging. Overcoming fear is certainly a viable shounen theme, and since Jinbei is basically fearless it falls on Tenma’s shoulders to fill the role here. Good onmyouji characters are relatively rare in anime, and it’s a good fit for a young boy engaged in the kind of deadly work Tenma does, and it relies strictly on magical ability and knowledge and not physical strength.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see to what extent we get to know Mugai, one of the great unknowns of the series, next week. He’s specifically selected Jinbei to team up with him for an “extermination” job, and we know his old associates have been after him to rejoin them (and probably been involved in some nefarious activities in Edo). I’m guessing he has an ulterior motive for choosing Jinbei, but the later is so feckless that any such machinations will likely be lost on him.