Things have changed quite a bit this season in that – for now at least – the early part of the week looks a lot more crowded than it did in the summer. Mostly it’s just a question of carpet bombing at this point, so it’s possible some of the traffic will clear by the time the schedule’s ultimate shakedown occurs. For now, though, that puts a certain pressure on Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou posts, which is why this one is a day late (hopefully it won’t be a dollar short).
That said, at 15 episodes in I think I’m pretty much pot committed at this point, especially since it’s not as though the series has slipped or anything. I don’t tend to like the school episodes (which this was) as much as the Kabuki-so ones, because these tend to be more “dramatic” and conventionally plot-driven, while the apartment house ones are where the series muses on growing up and general philosophy. But the mix is pretty on-point for the moment, and variety is good for keeping things feeling fresh.
The Norns (who continue to be trolled about fashion by Cat Sidhe, who I long to have another speaking role) predicted Yuushi would have “new encounters” this semester, and boy does he ever. And they’re all with big-name seiyuu. There are two new teachers – the cool and somewhat naughty Chiaki Naomi (Seki Toshihiko) and the demure and refined Aoki Haruka (Orikasa Fumiko). He’s roguish and his impromptu feel-up of Yuushi-kun is a bit unsettling, but I suspect that it’s Aoki-sensei who’s going to prove the more troubling newcomer – Fool notes how clear her aura is, but also that this doesn’t mean she’s a “good person”. She’s one to keep an eye on.
The newbie making the biggest splash, however, is first-year Yamamoto Konatsu (Kugimiya Rie). She hits the English Language Club like a haughty tornado, mocking them for speaking Japanese and for their choice of dubbing an anime into English for a festival project. She also flaunts her taste in literature (Chekov) and film (Truffaut) as a way to make her seem smarter than the others. This prompts the one real life’s lesson of the episode, as Kaga-san opines that Yamamoto is clearly putting on airs here, perhaps even to herself.
Russian literature is pretty heavy, but I sort of disagree with the idea that 15 year-olds can’t appreciate this stuff – especially Truffaut. I mean, what 15 year-old couldn’t relate to The 400 Blows? True, a kid that age isn’t going to get all the nuance the writer or director (or both) imparts, but they’re capable of appreciating such material on a level an older person wouldn’t. As for the question of “Wasei Eigo” while I understand Yamamoto’s point here, the fact is that Japanese is full of English loan words that have taken on different pronunciations and different (sometimes subtly) meanings in Japanese. And I don’t think it’s wrong for a Japanese student to use them as such. Can you imagine if we took all the words out of English that have evolved new pronunciations and meanings over the centuries? We wouldn’t have much left.
Be that as it may, Yamamoto is clearly a pretty messed-up person – her behavior during and after her fight with Tashiro-san makes that clear. Again we face the question – is it coincidence that so many troubled types seem to cross Yuushi’s path? I think not – and the more spiritually powerful he becomes, the more frequent – and dangerous – I expect these encounters to be.