I must say, this series is a master of surprises and twists. It really feels refreshing from the usual anime. If you’re looking for something different then Hakaba Kitarou is definitely recommended, because there are very few series that combine mystery and horror with comedy. :P
I originally believed that this entire episode would be devoted to getting rid of the water-spirit. Well, turns out it didn’t. The only thing that was really needed for the story of this episode is that Nezumi Otoko captured Kitarou’s father and put him in a jar. The water-spirit story gets wrapped up nicely after only five minutes, it first swallows up Kiterou’s clone, after which a newly introduced character drenches it in gasoline and ignites it.
I think this also means that two recurring characters have now been killed off for good, because we don’t see any signs of bad Kitarou and Mizuki returning. In fact, Kitarou doesn’t even seem to remember that the one who took care of him for years is gone now. All he seems to care about is his father, apparently.
In any case, this newly introduced character turns out to live two doors next to Nezumi Otoko. In between, there lives a “beautiful”(*ahem*) woman who both of them fall in love with. Ever since last episode Nezumi Otoko has been blackmailing Kitarou with his father. Because of this, he ends up delivering a love-letter for both Nezumi Otoko and this character (who turns out to be a werewolf, by the way). Then it turns out that the woman is going to be moving out, and Kitarou throws away the love-letters while Nezumi Otoko and the werewolf know nothing about this.
When they find out, they decide to take revenge for this by putting Kitarou in a coffin and dumping this coffin into sea. At least, that was their plan. Instead, Kitarou’s father escapes and enters Nezumi Otoko’s body to confuse him, while Kitarou escapes. The empty coffin then gets dumped into the sea, and then it’s time for Kitarou to play a prank on them. He uses his connection from the underworld to deliver the coffin back to Nezumi Otoko and the werewolf. When they decide to take a trip to the underworld, to check out what went wrong, they instead are taken into a hallucination into an old train that went out of service decades ago.
This part actually drew an interesting parallel to Mononoke, or the Bake Neko arc, to be exact. There we see the mayor jump out of the train and get devoured by the Mononoke. So when the werewolf jumped out of the train as well, I thought he was gone as well, especially when a loud bump followed. Instead, he just landed on a very unfortunate rock outside and got knocked unconscious.
I really must say that the dialogue for Hakaba Kitarou feels refreshing. The bad guys all have a personality and don’t feel stereotyped, and in the meantime the good guys can be considered the bad guys as well, depending on how you look at it. This is one of the reason why I like experimental anime so much. It just feels delightfully different from usual. One of the others is Mahou Shoujotai, of course. :P