If you have a pet cat that refuses to bark, and you try training for week after week and all it does is “meow”, is that the cat’s fault? At this point I’ve pretty much decided it’s pointless to try and put Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi in any kind of a familiar box, because it just doesn’t want to fit. With some shows (like FLCL for example) that can be a sign of outright brilliance and originality. Here, I think it’s more just quirkiness – it seems as if Kaminai is a pretty odd duck to begin with, and it’s being adapted in a very odd way by Madhouse.
I won’t lie – accepting that and fully embracing the series are two very different things, and there are times when the gap is wider than others. Quirky or not, there are far too many occasions for my tastes of things simply happening, without explanation. Both the first two arcs (and actually the third, too, if you count the Gora Headmistress simply turning around and walking into the school) ended that way, though part of that could be a simply a matter of pacing. There’s also a steady stream of them within the episodes themselves, and those I suspect we’re simply supposed to accept as part of the weird tapestry Kaminai is.
Given all that I think it’s not surprising that the show seems to work best as a meditation or mood piece, enjoyed strictly based on world-building, than when it tries to be more conventionally plot-driven as it did in the “Gora” arc. And I think the ship probably sailed on it being a compelling character study when Hampnie joined the choir invisible, though there were character elements in Ortus that worked to some extent. So while this episode was full of events that were never explained, I think it worked better than the last two have. Once again we were transported to a strange twilight world that was both beautiful and unsettling, and that’s something Kaminai can do better than just about any show this Summer.
If you asked me, I couldn’t tell you why Scar decided to leaver Yuri, Celica and the Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine and sit in a hole in her home, the birthplace of Gravekeepers. Or why that place is called “Story Circle” or why Gravekeepers seem to be born by the bushel from bolts of lightning striking giant crystals which stick up from the ground, or why living people in the Story Circle see visions of dead loved ones. Why can’t I? Because Kaminai never bothers to tell me, that’s why. Yet, somehow, the episode still sort of works because it manages to create a distinct mood in that surreal place, and to make the viewer (this one, anyway) feel immersed in that world. It doesn’t work so much as a story, and in fact I’m not even sure it’s a story at all. But it’s interesting and manages to make an emotional connection, and with Kaminai it seems that’s going to have to be enough.