Well, that was certainly an unexpected development.
Going into this episode I really felt like this show was in need of some fresh ideas – Episode 3 had a whiff of the stale about it – and it definitely got them. I’d pinned most of my hopes on Shigaraki-san shaking up the dynamic and he certainly did that, but the second half was equally refreshing if not more so, and offered some of the funniest moments of the series so far.
The three-way interplay between Kokkuri-san, Kohina and Inugami definitely needed a reset, and Shigaraki brought it. Inugami was slotted into a very limited comic relief role – which suits him better – and Shigaraki himself is a pretty interesting addition. At first glance (well, and last glance too) he’s a bum – a drunk and a gambler who fools little girls with dead leaves and leaves families ruined. But the revelation that he gives big monthly donations to a local orphanage was well-played, with multiple layers of deception involved. Not only are those kids orphaned because Shigaraki haunted their families, but he says his being nice to them is just to fulfill his duties as a Tanuki, to deceive humans.
That’s sort of intriguing. If he’s doing good, does it really matter why he’s doing good? And is it hard to believe Shigaraki doesn’t get some satisfaction out of being nice to those kids? Well, who knows – but that does add a layer of interest to his character. He also drops the interesting bomb that Kohina’s is a “hereditary witch” household – one which employs the ghosts of animals – which is surely only the surface layer of a very deep pool of secrets surrounding Kohina’s family. Shigaraki also offers up the chance for some pretty amusing NEET jokes, and the aforementioned (and hilarious) trickery with the leaf.
I know there’s an alien in the OP, but I hadn’t really expected his role to be quite what it was. Turns out he’s the “boy” Kohina seems to have a crush on, Yamamoto-kun (who’s played by Yamamoto Kazutomi, amusingly). Kokkuri-san stalks Kohina at school (goaded by Shigaraki) and immediately sees that this boy is an alien. Everything about this scenario is funny, starting with the way Kohina and everyone else completely deadpans in reacting to a little grey man in the classroom, and the way Kokkuri-san reacts to their reactions. Yamamoto-kun also has an “imouto” he “takes care of” – again very funny stuff, especially Kokkuri’s “Why isn’t anyone terrified after seeing that?”
I don’t know where we’re going with Yamamoto-kun (he disappears for a month after being “picked up from school” by two MIBs, but I’m sure he’ll be back) but I’m betting it’s going to be comedy gold. I like the fact that Gugure! seems to have complete abandon when it comes to weirdness and bad taste – there’s the sense it could go anywhere – and the sight gags involving E.T. (especially the bicycle bit) are first-rate. The episode closes with the hint of yet another new character joining the madness – something I’m sensing is going to be a near-weekly occurrence.
Sora no Method – 04
I had some hope after last week’s episode that Sora no Method might have turned the corner, but at this point I’m just not buying what it’s selling. I really, really want to like this show – I’m a big Hisaya Naoki admirer and we waited a long time for him to return from the doujinshi wilderness and write another anime.
Usually, Hisaya has a hook that gets under my skin and makes all the moe tolerable, but so far I just don’t care enough about what’s happening here. All the emotion on-screen seems very overwrought and histrionic. This isn’t a bad series by any means but there’s no special Hisaya magic here that makes it stand-out – at least for me. Sadly, I think Sora no Method and I are fated to part ways.