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Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness Episode 5 Review

I know that it’s a difficult, thankless job to get subtitles done for a simulcast, so I do feel badly wondering why a couple of terms were left untranslated in this episode. Would “floor cushion” and “Shinto shrine” have been so terrible in terms of relaying the full context of the scenes? The answer may well be “yes,” but it’s still striking to see them left in romaji, and really my main issue is that it’s a bit distracting; it’s one thing to leave the names of specific sweets untranslated because that’s common with culturally specific foods—pillows you sit on is another thing entirely.

Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness Episode 5 Review

That issue aside, Deaimon’s fifth episode has a similar problem to its fourth, namely that the action is divided into two distinct halves. The first part of the episode covers Itsuka being very uncomfortable as Kanoko and Mitsuru bond despite their relationships with Nagomu, while the second is about the obon festival and how Nagomu’s ramblin’ grandma comes home to observe it.

This is the stronger half because it has a bit more to work with. In part that’s because of thematic elements; Nagomu came home because he thought that his father was dying, and the service the family holds over the holiday is for his deceased grandfather, so we can see what Nagomu may have been thinking when he received that letter before the show began. We don’t know how long it’s been since he passed, but the fact that Grandpa’s spirit visits Nagomu specifically and appears beside his wife when she’s talking about watching over Nagomu in his grandfather’s stead says a lot about how they may have had a close relationship. Nagomu’s a sensitive soul anyway (possibly why he can see his grandfather’s ghost when it doesn’t appear anyone else can), so the pain of that loss may be keener than we know.

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It’s also just a very nice demonstration of the significance of the holiday. While Obon isn’t the only festival welcoming home the souls of the dead for a time, not every culture or religion handles it in the same way, or even in the most literal way. (And certainly, there’s been some loss of ritual as the world and religions have evolved.) The use of red lights, like ruby-lighted fireflies, to indicate when a spirit is present is a beautiful touch, and also one that calls to mind the jewel-like qualities of the confections we’ve seen throughout the show, and it all blends nicely with the backdrop of Kyoto nature and the shrines. In fact, we could say that if there’s a link between the two halves of the episode, it is shrines, as both involve visits to different ones around the city for various purposes. It’s a shame that that isn’t used more solidly, although there is a bit of an educational aspect to both, with Itsuka learning more about each one.

In fact, Itsuka’s learning a lot this week, even if the lesson of the first half is “people can be scary.” She assumes that she’s the only person present who knows that Kanoko used to date Nagomu while Mitsuru has a crush on him, and that puts a lot of pressure on her as she holds her breath and waits for everything to just explode. It doesn’t, of course, but the poor kid is just wearing herself out every single time someone mentions him, and this girl doesn’t need anything else to stress about—especially since her long-lost mother looks to be making an entry into the story next week. I have mixed feelings about that because I think that this story has enough unlikeable or contentious characters in Kanoko and now Nagomu’s grandmother, who seems to subscribe to the “spare the rod, spoil the child” theory of parenting. But it’s also a plotline that could stretch over the entire episode, which may make up for the disjointed feeling of these past two, and that may make it worth it. I suppose we’ll see.

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Rating: 3/5 Stars.

Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness Episode 5 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

by Rebecca Silverman

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