This week, we're taken to the village of Zaizen, famous for its mountain hiking and hot springs. Eru invites Houtarou along with her, Mayaka and Satoshi to the trip. The inn the crew stay at is run by Mayaka's relatives, who happen to be renovating their inn, allowing them to stay free of charge. A pretty good deal if you ask me.
The whole countryside village onsen feel almost gives off that Hanasaku Iroha feel, definitely a pleasant one. Just disregard that adolescent male standing on the left, doubling over in discomfort. Seems like Houtarou gets car sick, something which definitely clashes with his "cool" personality. I'll have to subtract a couple points from his level of awesomeness because of this.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, the two cutest things in the world, Sayaka's cousins Kayo and Rie.
The relationship between Houtarou and Satoshi is one of true friendship, and it really shows. Satoshi's cheery, upbeat demeanor is a perfectly implemented contrast with Houtarou's signature indifference to anything that can, well...be approached with indifference. Satoshi's teasing ways always seems to keep things fresh between him and Houtarou. It's almost as if he provokes Houtarou's edgy side, which as a matter of fact, I prefer in comparison to his usual energy-saving ways.
Given that this is an onsen episode, what's an onsen episode without
This week's mystery had a bit more oomph to it than usual, but could be cast off as clichéd. Regardless, it still integrated nicely into the whole onsen theme as a ghost story of room seven, where a guest hanged himself. Following the incident, guests staying in room seven reported seeing shadows of ghosts and such during the night, and the ninth guest that stayed in room seven died of an unknown illness, causing the main building to be shut down and exorcised. During the night, Mayaka and Eru witness what they claimed to be a hanging shadow in room seven, causing Eru's eyes to once again light up in excitement and open yet another investigation with Houtarou.
I honestly feel like this show can't get much better than it already is. Seeing as a mystery of this scale, involving ghost stories and dark beings late at night involve more drama and such, to have a good portion of this episode dedicated to solving this mystery without any sort of intense drama is definitely key to a good show. The show really makes us run thoughts through our own imagination, and come up with a multitude of different scenarios. One minute I'm imagining some kind of hideous tragedy, the next minute I'm speculating some kind of stupidly simple solution to the mystery. To always be in the middle of the mystery, as if we're being run through the thoughts of Houtarou, is one of the main aspects which make this show so appealing to me. The mystery is always laid out in such a glamorous fashion, only to troll us with its utter simplicity. I'm not sure if Houtarou's simply too smart, or the mysteries are just much too simple, perhaps a combination of both?
As always, the art is beyond top notch.
This level of moe is simply unrivalled by anyone else.