From the beginning I’ve found it somewhat counterintuitive that Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou is based off of a light novel series, because it doesn’t play at all like a LN. This show is actually rather deep at times (and was again this week), rather relaxed in its storytelling, and tends to handle its exposition through subtlety rather than sledgehammer dialogue. But when one considers the timeline (the novels ran from 2003 to 2009) it’s not so surprising. LNs were very different then than now, and the nature of Youkai Apato says as much, I think, about the evolution of the medium as it does its own exceptionality.
This Miura-sensei arc is quite different from the earlier ones set in Yuushi’s school. In fact, I think it might be said to be the first arc that’s really bridged the two main settings in a meaningful way. Like most of the stories in Youkai Apato its larger role is Yuushi’s continuing education as an adult aware of the spiritual world around him. His actions at the continuation of last week’s cliffhanger reflect a lot of quick thinking in a short period of time – first, in calling out Brondis to save Tashiro’s life. Brondis is rather the nuclear option among the Petits, but the moment called for it. The second snap decision Yuushi makes is to kick away the knife, stage the whole thing as an accident (he helpfully starts the rumor that it was a gas explosion) and get Miura taken to the hospital rather than arrested.
I don’t think Yuushi-kun is wrong for wanting to try and save Miura-sensei rather than throw him to the wolves. A bit idealistic perhaps, but not wrong – it certainly isn’t Miura’s fault he’s been possessed. One senses the harsh lesson that’s coming for Yuushi, but fortunately Akine arrives back in the nick of time to put some perspective on the situation and discreetly enter the fray. The issue she raises – fate and coincidence – is one that’s very central to Youkai Apato. It’s going to tie into an even more profound lesson from Isshiki-san later, but for now Yuushi embraces the idea that even if it was Miura’s fate to be possessed, perhaps its his own fate to save him.
The Miura-san who turns on Tahsiro during a hospital visit is very much still the man possessed by the monster of the id. Fortunately this isn’t Tashiro, but Akine-san (damn, she’s a beast) who’s laid a trap for him using a shikigami and Onmyoudo magic. She uses the shikigami to suck the demon out of Miura’s body and seals it (with her shoe), leaving only Miura-sensei behind. But the hard truth is, Miura isn’t blameless for what’s happened to him. He didn’t deserve to be framed for crimes he didn’t commit by the girls of his school, but he brought his own darkness to the table – it didn’t need to be thrust upon him.
I absolutely loved Isshiki’s metaphor here – “When you scoop water, no mater how big your hands, some slips through the gaps. All we can do is think about the water still in our hands, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care about the water we’ve lost. Or that we should give up.” But there’s more to this story: “Sometimes you’re offered a hand from a place you never expected. That is karma.” It’s a very powerful idea, as so many Buddhist notions are – it encompasses so much of the human experience. These are the sorts of things Yuushi is learning at Kotobuki-so – magecraft from Akine-san, certainly, but also the sorts of lessons that can only come from those with age and experience. That’s a very Japanese notion, and Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou is indeed a very Japanese story at heart.