Tonari no Yokai-san – Episode 1

By: ThatNerdyBoliviane April 7, 20240 Comments
Buchio talking to Jiro

What’s it about? In a small countryside town called Engamori, gods, humans and monsters live together in harmony.  Buchio the cat was reborn as a “nekomata”; meanwhile, human child Mutsumi can see things other humans can’t Thankfully, crow tengu Jiro is there to help both deal with their changing circumstances.  Despite the tranquil atmosphere of Engamori, there’s a sense of darkness lingering in the background that raises many questions about this quiet town. 

What a lovely and laid-back show.  I admire how the episode shifts perspectives around so that we can understand the lives of the residents and how they navigate their unique environment.  It’s perfectly natural to see deities walking around and for yokai to be living like human beings.  Buchio’s journey to understand his new role is a great way to introduce us to all of the major characters in the series, and so far everyone seems like they are genuinely nice people.  It’s through Buchio’s eyes that we see odd details, like when he fills out government paperwork to be legally recognized as a nekomata.  How the government would count the spiritual entities that don’t exhibit human traits? How are malice spirits handled in this world? 

Jiro talking to Mutsumi
Jiro is such a chill dude.

Even though everyone gets along, it’s clear that Jiro and his mentor are the ones handling the darker truths about their town behind the scenes.  I have several questions about “the void”, but for now all we know is that anyone who gets sucked in is lost forever.  Based on Jiro’s conversation with his mentor, it seems to be a natural occurrence that humans will never be able to understand.  That doesn’t change the fact that it’s tragic for people to disappear in “the void,” because it sounds like they can’t fully die either.  A strong indicator to this is that Mutsumi’s father’s spirit didn’t visit the family along with her grandpa’s spirit.  Despite how cheerful Mutsumi is, she’s clearly afraid not knowing what “the void” exactly is.  Mutsumi is heartbroken at the thought her father’s spirit might be lost forever and understandably, she doesn’t know how to deal with her emotions.  

Thankfully, Jiro is a kind soul and willingly takes both Mutsumi and Buchio under his wing in order to help them cope with the changes in their lives.  In spite of the dark undertones, the animation is bright and colorful, which creates a peaceful atmosphere.  All the characters are endearing and everyone seems to have a warm relationship with each other.  It makes me feel confident the series will handle the darker themes while also examining how this community supports one another. 

Jiro introducing Buchio to his new mentor
All the youkai designs are really good!!

Hopefully, this won’t disappear under everyone’s radar because I genuinely think it’s going to be a nice show to watch.  Check it out and let us know how you feel about it in the comments down below. 

About the Author : ThatNerdyBoliviane

ThatNerdyBoliviane was originally born in New York City and essentially lived there until the age of 17 when they had to move to Toronto for reasons. They are currently struggling to survive in this weird-ass world that does not celebrate awesomeness enough. They self identify as Queer Quechua (Mestize) Bolivian-American and are involved with social justice work of all kinds. Aside from that, they are an avid lover of anime, manga, cartoons, (on rare occasion live-action TV shows if it’s good), and having amazing discussions with other folks about nerdy things. You can visit their blog Home to my Bitter Thoughts or follow them on Twitter @LizzieVisitante.

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