Tonari No Yokai-san – Episode 2 Recap & Review


Episode 2

Episode 2 of Tonari No Yokai-san begins with a brief scene where Mu-chan laments the disappearance of her father. There is a deep seated nostalgia that she experiences and wonders if the memories of her father would evade her sooner than she expected. 

It’s barbeque day at Yuri’s backyard where our adorable nekomata Buchio meet a lot many different humans and yokai – Tanaka (27, human), Yasu (33, yokai – resembles a talking horse), Betobeto-san (125, yokai – resembles a small monkey). Betobeto-san informs Buchio that Jiro is even older than he is, much to Buchio’s shock.

Later, Buchio confides into Jiro about his lack of purpose behind being reborn as a nekomata. Betobeto-san joins the conversation and suggests that it might be because Buchio hasn’t found his “essence”. Jiro adds that every yokai has an essence – a definite reason for existing that shapes their physical form; a strong will of one’s own. Buchio relays to the two that all he has is gratitude for his family and Betobeto-san encourages him to tell this to his family members,  and Buchio readily complies. 

In the town’s school, all the yokai and human children study together, all with their own quirks. We meet Nakagawa, a young Kappa, who has a liking for Ryo. As Rio reaches out to return her fallen eraser, Nakagawa blushes and the water in her head evaporates! This leads her to faint and she’s promptly rushed to the infirmary.

Later, Nakagawa’s friend encourages her to confess to Ryo and takes her to the third stall from the right in the girls’ washroom. There is a yokai named Hanako, who counsels Nakagawa to express her feelings towards Ryo by passing him the “baton of love” in the athletics festival during the relay race. Nagakawa tries it but falls flat on her face in the practice race in front of Ryo.

Sensing something wrong, Ryo asks her if he’d done anything to upset her but she manages to clear the misunderstanding. Although she is not unable to confess to him, but she feels proud to be able to thank him for returning her eraser. 

Near the forest, Jiro and another yokai are looking for a strange being who seems to be lurking in the forest. Mu-chan sees the two working and even though she knows that Jiro warned her not to follow him while he’s working, she does so anyway. Sigh, children.

And so, she soon loses the two in the forest and is hypnotized by a snake looking yokai who tries to make her break a shimenawa, a sacred rope that wards off evil. Luckily though, Jiro and his companion return and he protects Mu-chan. She apologises to Jiro and it seems that she doesn’t remember anything. 

Elsewhere, Buchio is trying his best to practice the art of transformation but it seems it’s going to take some time for him to master it. Yuri tells him that even though transformation is an art fro them but it was used as a tool for deception during wars, which is pretty appropriate.

Later, they go to the supermarket with Tanaka and Buchio unknowingly mentions Yuri’s family. Yuri is enraged by the mention and it seems she doesn’t have good ties with her family as Buchio does. Tanaka tries to pacify her and reminds her that Buchio doesn’t know about her background. Yuri later apologises to Buchio.

Mu-chan’s school celebrates the athletics meet where the children compete in various races, enhanced by the mystical powers of the teachers which adds a zing to the competition. Mu-chan comes first in her race, thanks to Jiro’s help. But when she mentions that she’s thankful for his protection the other day, he feels a bit distant. Nakagawa’s team, consisting of Ryo, also wins the their race, finally! 

While on her way, Mu-chan observes the void, the darkness in a distant and Betobeto-san tells her to be wary but not afraid of the void. He explains that he was once part of the void before gaining his current form. He explains that he felt lonely and sometimes followed people. We understand from their conversation that the void swallow people, just like Mu-chan’s father. Betobeto-san advices to be careful around them but ends with a smile, “Everyone feels lonely sometimes”.

The Episode Review

Tonari No Yokai-san is a perfect mix of folklore and philosophy! It’s a treat to watch the different mythical creatures from Japanese mythology with their own quirks – for example how Nagakawa being a Kappa faints when her water of vitality evaporates! The entire scene is adorable and features an ingenious use of mythological characters in storytelling. 

Moreover, the entire concept of the void and Buchiro’s quest to find his essence suggests an existential leaning of the anime. On top of this, the heartwarming writing takes the entire viewing experience to the next level. 

Tonari No Yokai-san is probably one of the best ongoing anime in terms of worldbuilding and storytelling, with a heavy dose of comfort for those who enjoy heartwarming and mystical tales seeped in folklore. We cannot wait for the next episode! 

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