Jumonji gets center-stage this week, which means his tunnel-visioned worldview gets to take Kyoukai no Rinne into some darkly comic places. Ageha’s arrival on the scene has liberated Tsubasa-kun from the onus of being the series’s biggest baka, but make no mistake, he’s still a pretty big one. And his twin obsessions (I would argue he’s actually more fixated on Rinne than on Mamiya Sakura) make him a perfect target for a certain greedy demon (who’s a pretty big idiot in his own right).
Remember that power stone? Well, Youta the yo-yo boy may have been ushered up to Heaven, but that talisman is still tainted and burning a hole in Tsubasa-kun’s pocket. There are so many running gags in this series that it’s hard to track them all, but it’s the total commitment to them that makes them continue to work. Most fundamentally, it seems clear Tsubasa is just incapable of accepting the larger reasons why he’ll never get any traction with Mamiya Sakura (he’s an idiot, and she doesn’t like him that way), and finds it much easier to blame every failure on Rinne. Thus, the curses. Those are facilitated by the arrival on the scene of Masato, who sees the “B-grade Exorcist” as an easy mark, and foists an ever-returning demon’s tome on him to get him cursing and the stone turning black.
One thing I loved about this ep is that pretty much every time Tsubasa cursed Rinne-kun, it involved destroying precious food. It starts with a can of peaches, a “luxury item” (seriously?) left as an offering that Rinne decides he should give as a thank-you gift to Mamiya Sakura (in lieu of interest on his many loans). Rinne arrives at breakneck speed carrying the gift just after Mamiya Sakura has given Tsubasa a bag of cookies (another great running gag is the Narrator’s stating of the obvious: here, that Tsubasa blocked out Mamiya Sakura telling him they were actually made by her mother), only to follow that up by noting that she intends to give about a metric ton of them to Rinne. Instant lightning bolt, goodbye momo.
Cookies, taiyaki – the carnage just doesn’t stop. Heck, Tsubasa even uses food when he decides to curse himself for being such a sucker – he declares that he should “die from getting hit in the head by the corner of tofu“. That one actually works out well for Rinne, as he and Rokumon carry the delicious tofu home to enjoy later (as the Narrator assures us), but the real joke here is that when Tsubasa curses himself, the curses are pillow-soft. Even so that appears to be doing the job of lightening the taint on the power stone – until Tsubasa decides to curse Masato instead, and it’s only the intervention of Rinne that saves him (again). The curse deflected back onto Tsubasa, the taint on the stone is gone – and he unleashes the “power sprites” (hilarious in their own right) in the stone to kick some demon butt.
Tsubasa – is he really not a bad guy, or is he actually a pretty bad guy? I mean, he’s awfully heartless when it comes to spirits and his obsessive loathing of Rinne is pretty over-the-top. Maybe when he’s rational he knows cursing Rinne is wrong, but isn’t that his true self coming out when his inhibitions are lowered (like Mel Gibson spouting anti-Semitic rhetoric when drunk)? I think his jealousy of Rinne for being poor, while mostly funny, is right on the edge of being really deplorable. I know this is a comedy, but hey – one can’t help thinking about such things after an episode like this one…