It occurs to me in watching this week’s episode of Hoozuki no Reitetsu (which was excellent) that this series has some of the most deceptive OP and ED sequences around. They’re fantastic as a rule (especially the OPs), but to go by them you’d have a pretty warped idea of who the major characters were here. Hakutaku for one would seem to be a main (never mind the fact that doujins would convince you he was the co-lead), but it’s especially true with Enma-sama. Frankly, about the only place I’d expect to see him this season besides the credits is on a milk carton. Seems like he’s barely appeared since the first season – which is a shame, as he’s one of the best characters in the entire cast.

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Hakutaku, at least, does make a rare prominent appearance here. The star of the episode, though, is Karashi. And as with most recent eps, it does have a single star – we’ve seen a much more unified narrative structure of late. Karashi is always a delight, not least because it gives Tanezaki Atsumi to show off her comic talents. She’s a long way from Hattori Chise here, but Tanezaki-san’s take on the sociopathic rabbit hare is one of many memorable seiyuu contributions to Hoozuki no Reitetsu.

On the whole, this episode is basically a wonderful reminder of why Hoozuki is such a singular anime comedy – the only one that would look at material like this and say “that’s an episode”. That’s especially true of the first part, which is a narrated day in the life of a Hell minion hare. The Playboy gag is great, the whole bit with blank expressions and why Karashi has a crush on Hoouzki equally so. But the big payoff here is the rabbit mixer which Karashi finds herself roped into attending.

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This sequence features a deeply amusing turn by Fukushima Jun as Inaba, the hare who helped Ookuninushi unite Japan. Inaba is quite the womanizer, which is hardly the ticket to Karashi’s heart. In fact, she becomes so annoyed with him that she employs a distortion filter to change his appearance – but this only makes him look like a very famous American cartoon rabbit, which pisses Karashi off all the more. Truthfully Karashi only has eyes for one man – and he’s no hare, that’s for sure.

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The B-part brings Karashi’s old boss Hakutaku into the fold, as he’s on a date with a Gozu-tennou (ox-head) – which Karashi is bemusedly observing when Hoouzki-sama arrives on the scene. Turns out she’s been exchanging letters by arrow with Momotarou (she’s OK with LINE, but the old ways just seem easier), which segues into a hilarious rundown of who might and might not be Hakytaku’s type. He was fond of telling Karashi that “all girls are cute” – though as it turns out, that does seem restricted to humanoids (which is rather ironic, given Hakutaku’s true form).

As it happens, this isn’t a date, but merely a case of Hakutaku being solicited for advice about a wedding present. That doesn’t stop Hoozuki from doing what he inevitably does when Hakutaku is concerned, which is messing with him. This is does by calling in Amanojaku, who’s annoying so many people with her trolling that Hoouzki figures getting her a boyfriend might help. But for once this doesn’t turn out so badly for the philandering pharmacist – Amanojaku is so repulsive that Gozu and even Karashi reflexively take his side…

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