This. This is what I was asking for, and it delivered. This episode finally starts to create a distinct voice for itself by not adding to the hodgepodge of comedic styles this show already had, opting for a slow, drawn-out humor rather than the experimentation this show seemed to be doing with these past four episodes. It’s finally good to see this show starting to show some consistency, at least in the style of comedy it’s trying to go for.
Besides that, the part about the bully in Kohina’s school was mind-numbingly dull. I don’t see the jokes about the flower working for a Westerner with no prior knowledge of the context behind Japanese flowers, so the first half of this episode was very painful to sit through. However, I wouldn’t fault this on the show by any means, and I’m sure I would have appreciated it far better than I did had I known.
Let me talk about gender-bending real quick. Often, it’s over-used as fan service of the lowest degree and is one of the worst things a writer can do without giving the proper context. In addition, the explanations given for such gender-swaps are usually so contrived and idiotic that I can’t help but wonder who these shows were supposed to pander to. Even if one has a gender-bend fetish, wouldn’t they want their material being handled with all proper respect? Just like fan service, even gender-bending stories are proper in the right context- and in this spectrum, Gugugure! Kokkuri-San handles gender-bending excellently. Not only is the reason for sex-changes perfect for this story (they’re all spirits/gods, so they’re genderless), it’s handled in such a way that the fan service is covert/almost entirely nonexistent. Chiefly, Inugami. He may only be a side character, but he remains one of the most interesting character next to Shigaraki thanks to this ability. The character interactions change dynamically with Shigaraki when Inugami turns into a female this episode, and this was easily the second highlight of this episode, which was pretty damn funny.
I really started to enjoy this episode after the first half of the episode, as Kokkuri-San and Inugami enroll in Kohina’s school under cover, allowing for more character development for Kohina whilst getting some genuinely good laughs in.The school setting this episode seems to introduce dynamicism to the plot by expanding the scope of the character interactions- now, not only do we get to see Kohina interact with the spirits, we also get to see how Kohina, the spirits, and the classmates all mingle simultaneously.
If this show keeps going at this pace, it can finally polish itself to become a really great series, possibly better than Barakamon.