What’s it about? Sora Kashiwagi’s father is constantly sending him cursed objects from expeditions around the world. This time, however, Sora opens a package to discover a cute, diminutive mummy in need of care.
We’ve arrived at the last female-directed series of the season, and it was like watching twenty minutes of cute kitten videos. It watered my crops, cured my consumption, and washed away the stink of all the loliporn I had to endure over the past few days. It’s all but guaranteed to be this season’s entry into Gentle Comedies about Nice Kids.
Sora is a quiet, domestic boy who’s basically running the household while his father is abroad, doing the cooking, cleaning, and taking care of his unspecified female relative Kaede. The details of the characters’ lives are very broadly sketched here. What does Kaede do? I ‘unno, something with computers, maybe programming. What exactly is Sora’s dad out there doing? I ‘unno, exploring. Why does the mummy show up in a coffin with a giant cross on it instead of a sarcophagus? I too would like to know this.
This vague setup does work when it comes to the series’ almost Dragon Maid-esque approach to the intersection of the magical and mundane. Sora’s dad has sent him plenty of cursed items and spirits over the years, and it seems as if the other members of the cast will also be getting cute mascot monsters as the series goes on. We don’t get a wide enough view of the world to know how affected it is by these creatures’ existence—which gives the series plenty of opportunity to build itself over time.
Mostly, though, this premiere is about cute pets being cute. Mii-kun the palm-sized mummy doesn’t talk, a wise move that keeps the proceedings from being too gratingly cutesy. It also helps that the design is small, rounded, and fragile without being completely helpless, keeping things from being constantly stressful.
Instead, the show draws more from animal behavior, particularly the experience of being a first-time puppy, kitten, or other infant animal owner. You’re suddenly in charge of a small, fragile thing that can’t tell you what it needs but is also wholly dependent on you, and How to keep a mummy is good at capturing the wild swinging between panic, endearment, and frustration that experience can entail. They even double down by bringing in a cute dog to interact with the cute mummy, a showdown which might be familiar to anyone who’s brought a new pet into the house.
This show knows what it’s doing, and it’s very good at it. On the other hand, there’s not a whole lot of tension here, as the closest thing we get to a hint of future conflict is that Sora’s friend is a weird sociopath in the making. There’s also not much in the way of depth. Outside of a neat closing speech in which Sora muses about Mii-kun being like other creatures in Japanese folklore, what you see is basically what you’re getting.
If you watch the premiere and aren’t loudly screaming “AWWWW” at the top of your lungs every few minutes, I don’t think this show is going to have anything to offer you. If, however, you want a healing comedy with nice kids, non-exploited female characters (albeit not very many of them), and cute mascots, then How to keep a mummy looks like it’ll scratch that itch quite nicely.