OP: 「Tomodachi Meter (トモダチメートル)」 by (The Super Ball)
Fukigen na Monokean follow Ashiya Hanae (Kaji Yuki), a high school boy who one day finds himself indefinitely stuck to a fuzzy, animal-like demon. The creature saps all of his energy and vigor…right in time for his first day of high school. Ashiya ends up too fatigued to attend class—a situation which is stretched over the course of the week. Frustrated to no end, one day Ashiya comes across a flyer offering services strangely appropriate for his particular dilemma. He decides to call the number, not knowing the kind of world-turning path he’d be setting his life on.
I’m not gonna lie, the first few minutes of Fukigen na Mononokean were pretty hard to sit through. It might’ve been because I was exhausted at the end of a long long day, but nothing about the show was particularly resonating with me. The art style—while clean, cute, and inoffensive—sometimes felt stiff in animation and overly washed out in color palette. The protagonist—though mostly likeable at times—kind of came off as run-of-the-mill, offering nothing in the way of engaging monologue or personality. The opening conflict also didn’t interest me in any noteworthy way. I was ready to write this one off pretty early.
However, suddenly Abeno Haruitsuki (Maeno Tomoaki) appeared, and breathed life into the show. His introduction was just the right kick in the balls for the show to start getting interesting. He brought with him a kind of mystery rife with narrative potential. How long has been a residing as a supernatural authority at the school? How did he start getting involved as such? Why did Ashiya’s name pique his interest? All questions which made me far more invested in the show.
But then, something else happened. Without spoiling anything, what followed was a slew of surprisingly heartfelt and sentimental developments in the story. I was pleasantly surprised by how much emotion the episode suddenly drew from me, as if from nowhere. What came off first as nothing but a generic high school comedy with supernatural elements turned into something with real heart. Again, I’m refraining from really revealing anything (which makes this post strangely akin to my initial Luck and Logic post a few seasons back) because talking about it in any specific detail would give the whole thing away. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not anything superbly profound and dramatic, but just a surprising, untelegraphed direction for the series to go. I didn’t expect for something of this genuine emotion, at least from what I thought of the episode’s beginning. Give it a shot if you’d like—it’s something really just a pleasant and warm kind of episode. If the series continues to deliver on this kind of intimate, heartfelt story, then I see nothing but great potential here.
ED: 「Tobira no Mukou (扉の向こう)」 by (Hanae Ashiya (Yuki Kaji) and Haruitsuki Abeno (Tomoaki Maeno))