Gugure! Kokkuri-san does the expected every week – make me smile consistently, and occasionally LOL. And this week it did the impossible, which was make me feel sorry for Inugami (though not by glossing over his true nature for plot convenience). It’s also proving to be one of the more esoteric anime in a long time, for sure tossing in more obscure Japanese cultural references than any series since Hoozuki no Reitetsu. There’s no show this season besides this one that makes me consult Google-sensei so often.
This week’s searches were twofold – first, “Alcindo”, which is what Kohina sadistically told Kokkuri-san he’d turn into if he kept losing his hair (Kokkuri-san would much have preferred Sean Connery). As best I can tell this is a reference to Alcindo Sartori, a Brazilian footballer who ended up playing several seasons in the J-League and seems to have lost most of his hair pretty young. That’s pretty darn esoteric – but then we have the reference to Kesaran Pasaran, which seem to be mysterious white puffballs (they look something like dandelion fluff) which may or may not have youkai and/or hallucinogenic properties. That one is really weird, especially since no one seems to know where the term came from, and it may even have its roots (don’t dye them) in the French “Que, sera, sera”.
All of that was in support of the first storyline this week, which springs from poor Kokkuri-san’s innocent exclamation of pleasure that his favorite hair dye was on sale. The long and the short-hair of it is that Kokkuri is old and dyes his hair, only in chibi form (presumably it’s normally white like his human form) and he’s shedding – so the others rather mean-spiritedly pile on the ridicule. This leads to stress, which leads to more shedding (which it seems is probably just seasonal) which leads Kokkuri-san to clean out the kusuri-ya’s supply of hair growth tonics – with predictably disastrous results. Which leads to the others offering to correct this mistake, with even more predictably even more disastrous results.
The other interesting element of this sequence is that it goes pretty darn dark with Kokkuri-san killing Inugami and burying him in the yard (he returns as a ghost). It’s a tough week for Inugami on the whole, as the second half of the episode mostly finds him distressed over the general lack of attention he’s getting from everyone (especially his Darling). I’m not a fan of Inugami generally, but in the more limited role Shigaraki’s arrival has slid him into he’s growing on me. I like Sakurai-san’s absurdist performance here, and the way we’re occasionally given reminders that Inugami isn’t like his two fellow immortals – he’s effectively an animal and a juvenile one at that, turned into a vengeful spirit.
Seen in that light, it’s almost possible to feel sorry for Inugami even when he reminds us of his extremely creepy obsession with Kohina. And he is pretty pathetic here, ultimately deciding to run away from home but doing a pretty half-assed job of it – he only gets as far as the back yard before he hides behind a bush and stares at the house, waiting for someone to come look for him. Creeper or not that’s kind of sad. The payoff here is the funniest moment of the episode (Inugami’s execution of Shigaraki’s “puling back” romantic advice is a close second), though, with Shigaraki (again showing his compassionate – if twisted – side) dressing as Kohina again in order to cheer him up. Not surprisingly this trauma prompts Inugami to run away for real this time – though whether that amounts to a cliffhanger or a punchline, I’m not sure.