“I Want To Be Embraced”
Keeping with the same mellow and laid-back pace, this second episode of House of Five Leaves follows Masanosuke as he gets more involved with the rest of Yaichi’s group. For the most part, things entailed Otake (Oora Fuyuka) fawning over Masa and trying to get him to join, and Umezou (Takatsuka Masaya) getting visually jealous as a result. It’s bad enough that Ume has to feed and house Masa for free at Yaichi’s request, but now he has to put up with another person aside from Matsukichi (Uchida Yuuya) vying for Otake’s attention. This turned out to be a small subplot in the grand scheme of things, but I enjoyed how it was a recurring theme of sorts. (For anyone wondering about Okinu’s mother, i.e. Ume’s wife, it turns out she passed away when she was younger.)
The rather unassuming focus this week was on Masa and his inability to comprehend Yaichi and his reasons for wanting him to join his band of kidnappers. Given Masa’s timid nature and lack of income to even feed himself, it’s understandable why he’s sticking around the Five Leave members for the time being. For one, not starving your ass off is nice. Secondly, their whole kidnapping side “business” almost seems harmless with the way they handle things. Granted, they’re still kidnapping someone and holding them for random which is about as illegal as it gets, but when there’s no mistreatment of the hostage and no intention to do harm, it’s hard to consider them typical bandits. In addition, Yaichi seems to send Matsu to check on the returned hostage to see if they’ve bothered to contact the local authorities. Rather than a gang of bandits, Five Leaves seems more like a bunch of schemers out to selectively extort money from rich people, much like a certain group of individuals in Ocean’s Eleven. Because of that and their rather unusual stance on the matter, I’m curious as to where things will go now that Masa is more or less officially on board.
Seeing as this is Ono Natsume’s work, it’s very possible that we may never see a big name hostage of sorts nor the House of Five Leaves getting into a serious pinch. While I wouldn’t mind if things continued to focus on the character interactions much like they did in Ristorante Paradiso, I wouldn’t be opposed to some sort of notable conflict here since we are dealing with samurai in the Edo period. Judging from the preview, things look like they’re going to remain fairly uneventful for now, which means it’s probably best to move on if you aren’t really into seinen series in the first place (this is a noitaminA anime after all). Personally, I like the characters so far and am interested in seeing more of them, so I’m planning to stick with this one.