「お稲荷さま。再び旅行する」 (Oinari-sama. Futatabi Ryokou Suru)
“Oinari-sama. Goes on a Trip Again”
Episode at a Glance:
Despite everyone finding it odd for a shopping district lottery to be held in November, Kuugen feverishly takes the draw in hopes of winning the second prize, tickets to a yakiniku restaurant, but ends up winning first prize, a hot spring trip, much to everyone’s disappointment. With Haruki busy, Tooru not wanting to go this time, and Kou staying behind because of Tooru, Noboru ends up going alone with Kuugen, who’s in a detective mood after watching television reruns of “Suspect” everyday.
When they arrive at Shirakaba inn, Noboru finds everything from the welcome drinks and sweets to the view quite lacking compared to the guide, but Kuugen is happy about the diverse range of “characters” staying here. When Kuugen mentions that the only thing missing for the perfect murder case setting is some abominable legend, the waitress bursts in saying there is and tells Kuugen about an incident that happened here one hundred years ago, where a cotton mill worker named Oyai with her baby on her back went to the nearby cave to gather some snake egg-like stones after being told by other girls that she’d receive some ohajiki (children’s marbles) if she did. Despite being scared, Oyai went to the cave as told, where she felt something cold on her neck and started swinging her sickle randomly before fleeing. When she left though, she noticed blood on the sickle and her baby’s head missing. Oyai then secluded herself to the snake cave and now attacks any humans that come by with her sickle.
While originally uninterested, Noboru gets scared and says he’s heard enough, especially over the refrigerated/reheated meal he’s been served, so the waitress leaves. Kuugen on the other hand feels that something will definitely happen now, and sure enough the lights go out and some of the university students can be heard screaming from their room. When Kuugen and Noboru get there, the two girls explain how they saw a girl peeking through the window of their second floor room, so Kuugen deduces that she was floating outside. Noboru is still skeptical though, until he hears that the girl had bobbed hair, matching the description of Oyai. Investigating outside, Kuugen notices a fruity kind of smell and heads back inside to find the other university student, Arishima, accusing the adultery couple of stealing his digital camera and wallet, because they returned to the inn just now. The head clerk then comes frantically through the door, saying that a landslide occurred on the road in, restricting everyone to the inn.
However, Kuugen is thrilled about this outcome, so she declares that she’ll solve this mystery and quietly refuses Noboru’s request to use an incantation to move the landslide. With everyone told to return to their rooms for now, Kuugen starts questioning the head clerk and the proprietess and discovers that they’re familiar with the story of Oyai roaming around the inn, but the waitress Satomi is not. Satomi also wonders what they’re going to do about breakfast tomorrow morning since their chef went home, while Kuugen notices a fruity smell again. After questioning the writer, Kuugen stops by the hot spring and chats with the university girls about Arishima, during which Noboru has difficulty enduring the strong smell from the fruity shampoo on the men’s side. When Noboru returns to his room, Kuugen recognizes the shampoo smell as the same one coming from the head clerk, but Noboru casts that suspicion aside when he mentions how he probably refills it. Bored, Kuugen decides to sleep, but Noboru stops by a sink, where he discovers Arishima’s wallet full of small, white, snake egg-like stones. The girls also stumble upon his camera, but all the pictures they had taken are gone, including the ones of the snake cave. With everyone in a panic, Noboru tries to wake Kuugen up, but gives up shortly after and sleeps himself.
The next morning, Kuugen chases a man out of the inn and all the way to a cliffside, where everyone else arrives shortly after. Satomi explains that this is their chef, Minamoto-san, though, but Kuugen already realizes this and declares to everyone that she’s solved the mystery. Having woken up to the smell of Minamoto’s cooking, Kuugen states that a landslide never happened and mentions how the clerk appeared troubled about what to do about breakfast last night. She also mentions that traces of the fruity smell on him were found outside the scene of the incident, which occured when the adultery couple was out, the writer was in his room, and Noboru hadn’t taken a bath yet, leaving the head clerk as the culprit. After Kuugen correctly confirms that he made a fake Oyai, the head clerk reveals Oyai’s true form and how they fabricated the ghost story to draw more customers to their slumping inn. While pleased to hear his confession, Kuugen then reveals that the true perpetrator is the inn’s proprietess; however, the others are disappointed about the story being a fake, making Kuugen wonder why that the reaction to her detective skills is so poor.
At a bookstore back home, Kuugen and Noboru find out that the writer ripped off the story for his novel which they’re convinced won’t sell, after which Kuugen decides that next time it’ll be a historical play, much to Noboru’s frustration.
「お稲荷さま。治療する」 (Oinari-sama. Chiryou Suru)
“Oinari-sama. Gives Medical Treatment”
Well, this wasn’t anything like I expected for a hot spring episode, especially the second time around, but it goes to show exactly how much this series loves to mislead us. I was a bit surprised to see a Noboru and Kuugen centered episode though, seeing how everything’s been about Tooru for the majority of the series, but it ended up costing Kou as well. Luckily Kuugen is pretty entertaining enough on her own, as is Noboru when he’s being sarcastic or venting frustration.
Given how relatively old school I am, these detective mysteries remind me of the Clue board game that I played when I was a kid. This predates any exposure I had to Sherlock Holmes novels, which I admittedly haven’t read any of even to this day. With that said, I actually found this episode somewhat uninteresting the first time through, but that was probably because I wasn’t paying much attention to Oyai ghost story. When I actually did, it turned out to be more entertaining, but nothing too special due to its episodic nature.
As we’re nearing the end of this series, it looks like there’s only have enough time for one more arc, which will hopefully start next week, so that there will be ample time to wrap things up. The preview hints at a werewolf that doesn’t know what gender it is, but the real question is whether or not it will even appear in the show.
– Tenko Kuugen (天狐 空幻) / Yukana (ゆかな)
– Kou (コウ) / Hayami Saori (早見 沙織)
– Takagami Noboru (高上 昇) / Mizushima Takahiro (水島 大宙)
– Takagami Tooru (高上 透) / Shimura Yuu (嶋村 侑)
– Takagami Haruki (高上 春樹) / Miyamoto Mitsuru (宮本 充)
– Yanagi (Head Clerk) (柳(番頭)) / Ushiyama Shigeru (牛山 茂)
– Aya (Proprietess) (綾(若女将)) / Hisakawa Aya(久川 綾)
– Satomi (Waitress) (智美(仲居)) / Kushida Emiko (櫛田 恵美子)
– Minamoto-san (Chef) (源さん(調理人)) / Inaba Minoru (稲葉 実)
– Shiga (Couple) (志賀(カップル)) / Gotou Tetsuo (後藤 哲夫)
– Kinoshita (Couple) (木下(カップル)) / Kinoshita Sayaka (木下 紗華)
– Musha Kouji (Writer) (武者 小路(作家)) / Fujii Keisuke (藤井 啓輔)
– Arishima (University student) (有島(大学生)) / Nakano Kouki (中野 光貴)
– Kishida (University student) (岸田(大学生)) / Honda Mariko (本多 真梨子)
– Kurada (University student) (倉田(大学生)) / Ishikawa Ayano (石川 綾乃)
– Lottery Association official (抽選会の係員) / Nagai Takanori (永井 孝則)