There is always a problem with having a large cast in an anime, in that everyone needs to be there all the time. However, for this show, “Yōkai Apāto no Yūga na Nichijō” (“Elegant Yokai Apartment Life”), it actually works in its behalf not to showcase them all at once. You see, there are a few key people who need to be there, but the rest can come in and go out, as it befits their character and the plotting.
The high school freshman Yūshi Inaba (in the middle, under the nose; also seen as ‘Yuushi’) is going to Joutou Business High School. Now, he is an orphan, as his parents were killed in a car accident some three years earlier and this place has a dormitory. Great! He had been living with his uncle, but Uncle’s daughter detests Inaba, so Inaba is prepared to step up, out and away. But things never go smoothly and he suddenly has to look for new place to live after the high school dormitory burns down on the eve of the new semester. (Move back with Uncle? He’d rather live in a dumpster.)
That is going to be six months (at least) before a new dorm arises from the ashes and Inaba wants to live independently now. He eventually finds a cheap apartment for 25,000 yen at Kotobuki-sō, only to find out that the place has human and supernatural creatures residing there. Ghosts, yokai, and demons with other folks, living together.
The tales relate about how he lives with all these strange and wonderful types, while trying to further his academic career. I have remarked that if the rent seems low (in this case, $250 a month), there is something more going on at the place, usually restless spirits.
We learn the stories of the residents here, and a lot of them came to a tragic end. One person you don’t see up there is Ruriko. She is the chef for the place, but all you ever see of her is her hands. And I also wonder if some of the residents, like the Writer (short guy in green, two to Yushi’s right), are actually dead, but live on as ghosts. However, no one is going to call them out on it. Not that it matters.
The story takes an interesting turn about halfway, when Furuhonya (the guy with the red shirt, three to Yuushi’s left) gives Inaba a book called ‘Petit Hierozoicon’. He can summon spirits and monsters, but since this is the small version, they aren’t the best you can get. They will do the job…..kinda. Yushi goes into training to be a mage so he can better control these spirits from the book.
This is a series where the side characters are far more interesting than the main guy. Antiquary (the guy with the eyepatch) travels and travels and travels, meeting strange and exotic people and relating the tales to us. Child Kuri and the dog Shiro are two compelling characters with a painfully tragic tale to tell, but are interesting to watch them, even though the child never speaks. Even overly-flirty Mariko has some tale to tell, but we never get into that. I do not know what Yushi wants or is looking for. Yes, being an accountant is a boring but stable job, but is that all? Don’t you want to try something bigger than you thought? Something out of the ordinary?
The opportunity is there; you just have to not be afraid to grasp it. And so that is another side-story, as he is put through his paces to become a better master to his mini-spirits. Those segments are fun to watch, as they are sometimes as effective as a screen door on a submarine. But they have a lot of zeal. They are a perfect match for each other, as they are not really sure what is asked of them. Yes, there are a lot of yokai shows out there and apartment life shows, but this elevates itself above commonality. I say, go for it.
The stories overall play out much better with a binge job, as we see the tighter interactions and how Inaba has to try and deal with and understand and accept what is going on. It might seem too episodic, but I feel that the overall picture makes up for that, so grab your yakisoba.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Standard people, good mix of yokai)
Plot 7 (Needed a bit stronger boost)
Pacing 8 (Especially the action sequences)
Effectiveness 7 (Side stories are great, but the rest of it feels off)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability 9 (A lot of stories to tell)
Overall 7 (Good story, hurt by Yushi’s indecision)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Quiet, Fool!