Gugure! Kokkuri-san is going to be a tough series to decide on, blogging-wise. I definitely like it, but my concern from the beginning was whether the humor here would be a little one-note and hard to sustain over a full cour. And indeed, for me at least things started to get a bit repetitive this week – I certainly didn’t laugh as often or as loudly as I did with the first two episodes – and I do wonder whether jokes drawn from the same well over and over will still be funny after 12 episodes.
I guess the only answer I can offer for the moment is “we’ll see”. If you’re going to use repetitive humor at least we’re working with a pretty solid base here. Inugami’s pervertedness, Kokkuri’s hapless tormented mother antics and Kohina’s deadpan do have a lot of appeal. It’s the first of those three that’s already wearing thinnest for me, but the tug-of-war between Kokkuri and Kohina over stuff like cup ramen is still charming and funny, and it’s in that relationship where the series has its serious moments too. We keep seeing little hints as to what’s really going on here – Kokkuri’s offhand remark about a promise he’s made to Kohina that she’s likely forgotten being the most direct – and his reference to her as his daughter, while probably not meant literally, was certainly a revealing moment.
Given my concerns about this series the introduction of a new character is always welcome, and the opportunity to hear Nakata Jouji play comedy no less so. He joins the cast as Shigaraki, who appears when Kohina (dissatisfied by how un-mystical the real Kokkuri-san is) is playing Kokkuri-san. Just who Shigaraki is and why he appears when Kokkuri-san was being summoned isn’t clear (Kokkuri refers to him as a tanuki), but he openly introduces himself as a homeless drunk and gambler whose wife and kids have left him, so it’s a safe bet he’s pretty disreputable (if possibly honest). If nothing else his presence should shake up he already slightly-stale dynamic between Kokkuri-san and Inugami, giving them a common enemy in this fellow who’s already announced his intentions to be a full-on freeloader.
Sora no Method – 03
I can’t deny that there could be a significant component of sentiment involved, but somewhere around the eyecatch of this episode I began to get interested in Sora no Method. I’ve waited so damn long for another Hisaya Naoki series that maybe I just don’t want to give this one up now that it’s arrived, but there was a definite “click” moment for me somewhere here. The thing is I can’t even say which moment precisely or why it happened, but I hope it augers better things to come.
Somehow, this ep was just better than the first two. Again it’s hard to put my finger on why, which makes me doubt my own objectivity, but the moe seemed less showy for its own sake and more of the episode was taken up with things actually happening and less with grandstanding. We actually did see some progression with the plot – not that Noel turning out to be the saucer is remotely a surprise – and a little fleshing out of just what happened when Nonoka bugged out to Tokyo all those years earlier.
We’re still a long way from home and dry here, believe me. But while Kanon and Sola were certainly more engaging after three episodes than Sora no Method, if you’d tried to get me to watch either of those shows based on the synopsis I doubt I would have been persuaded. Hisaya does things his way and the overload of kawaii is definitely part of the deal, but in prior instances he’s always managed to craft that hook – and dig it far enough under my skin that I couldn’t free myself, and didn’t want to. I have no idea if he’s going to be able to do it here – maybe one or both of us has simply changed too much – but I feel more hopeful now than I did after either of the first two episodes.