Rie KugimiyaToshiyuki MorikawaKotono MitsuishiHitomi Ohwada
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2017: E
Also known as: Youkai Apartment Yuuga na Nichijou
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2017
Director: Mitsuo Hashimoto
Writer: Yasunori Yamada
Original creator: Hinowa Kozuki
Actor: Akira Ishida, Atsushi Abe, Fumiko Orikasa, Hitomi Ohwada, Ikumi Hayama, Kaede Okutani, Kazuya Nakai, Kenta Sasa, Koji Yusa, Kotono Mitsuishi, Mamiko Noto, Mii Takahashi, Miyuki Sawashiro, Mutsumi Tamura, Rie Kugimiya, Sayaka Ohara, Sho Hayami, Takahiro Sakurai, Takehito Koyasu, Tomokazu Sugita, Toru Ohkawa, Toshihiko Seki, Toshiyuki Morikawa, Yuichi Nakamura, Yuna Yoshino
Keywords: anime, yokai, zombies, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 26 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=19391
Website category: Anime 2017
Review date: 27 November 2018
Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou
Watching this show was a mistake, but it's not actually bad as such. It's just a bit bland and forgettable, never really trying to do anything meaningful with its cast or its setting. It's the kind of show to make you wonder why you're still watching it. No one's going to love it and no one's going to hate it. It's just there.
Yuushi Inaba is about to move out from his uncle's house to start high school. (He's been living there for three years, since his parents died.) However the dorm he's going to burns down, so he ends up moving into a suspiciously cheap dormitory called Kotobuki-sou that has a few unusual residents. To be precise, it's full of ghosts, yokai and weirdos. Yuushi faces up to this and moves in anyway. After that... actually, no, there is no plot after that. It's all just random incidents and nothing that really matters.
The show has quite a big cast (most of them pretty boys), but it doesn't use them. I think it's going for something like the "slice of life" approach, c.f. lots of empty shows with friendly, vapid girls who do nothing meaningful all day. This show's not falling to those depths, admittedly, but it's not a million miles away. Yuushi lives at the apartment. Other residents also live at the apartment. Look, look at the residents. Sometimes his best friend also comes to visit at the apartment. Look, look, he's going to school. It's a good school. See the school. He has nice friends at school. They do their schoolwork and go to school clubs.
See the audience's brains. The brains are softening. See the soft brains. They've been watching too much slice-of-life anime.
...and that's it. Sometimes the show will come alive for a one-off episode, but its main character will then walk out of the show and not return until the Cameo Parade in ep.26. As a whole, it's dramatically static. You don't care and nothing matters.
That said, though, there were some interesting bits. About two-thirds of the way through, the show starts becoming an exploration of personality types who don't fit into Japanese social norms, e.g. the sullen-looking teenage part-time workers in ep.18 who don't try to communicate and haven't yet "learned to speak with their bodies". My favourite example of this, though, is Haruka-sensei, who's the kind of bleeding heart who thinks everyone's a beautiful, pure-hearted flower. She's full of empathy. It's just that it's misguided empathy that drives you mad because it's making patronising assumptions and refusing to listen when you try to say "no, really, I'm fine".
Haruka-sensei was great. The show hates her, which gives it a purpose and something to say.
I also liked the very annoying Yamamoto, although the show drags out her story way too long, gives it a disappointingly mundane explanation and then eventually concludes it so anticlimactically that it's bathetic. Yuushi's unimportant best friend was quite interesting until he stopped being irrelevant and started hanging out at the Yokai Apartments. Tashiro can be funny. And... um, I think that's it.
The Yokai Apartments residents never do anything. There are occasional exceptions to this, but they're so rare that they don't count. I honestly couldn't tell you the difference between Ryuu, the Antiquarian, the Second-hand Bookshop Man, the youkai who has a regular human job and the others. They're indistinguishable. I could at least recognise Reimei the author, because he's genially smug in a distinctive way, but he also never does anything. There are a few female residents and at least you'll remember who they are, but they're equally unimportant. Akine gives Yuushi exorcist training and is a major-ish character, but her character never goes beyond "likeable" and "big eater". There's a ghost with big boobs who's the most inconspicuous exhibitionist you ever saw. (She's a loud party animal, but in practice she's a background character whose involvement in an average episode might, at best, be a line of dialogue or two.) The most memorable one's actually Ruriko, who's just a mute, disembodied pair of hands.
Not much happens at the apartments. School's more interesting, although that's a waste of the show's premise. However that's not really going anywhere either. I liked Tashiro, but on the other hand I thought the show wasted the Petits dreadfully. (I don't really like them, but they had some potential.)
There aren't even any romantic developments. The show's utterly uninterested in girls, who are functionally asexual, but even the boy-boy relationship tease never goes anywhere. Yuushi-Hase are pretty much an official couple, with Yuushi being "Mummy" and Hase "Daddy", but after a while you sort of forget about them. Yuushi has much more eye-catching chemistry with his teacher, Chiaki.
The show's not trying. I like the premise, the cast could have been amusing and it's all reasonably likeable, but it doesn't tie together or go anywhere. Nothing ever changes at the Yokai Apartments. The residents are happy and relaxed, which is nice, but even after 26 episodes I couldn't have told you who they all were. Oh, and I never liked the three talking birds. Deleting this show's episodes after I'd at last finished them gave me a sense of freedom.