I enjoyed the first episode of Yorozu Uranaidokoro Onmyoya e Yokoso (よろず占い処 陰陽屋へようこそ) because its main character – Abeno Shomei (Nishikido Ryo) – seemed like a Sherlock Holmes-like problem solver with a twist. The twist being that he’s otherwise a charlatan fortune-teller. But will his amusing manner continue to be entertaining in this episode?

It begins with him hard at work impressing yet another client as his reluctant assistant Sawazaki Shunta (Chinen Yuri) either spends his time playing a handheld game or looks on with ill-concealed disgust on his face.

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The client is named Miki, and she seems to be looking for information about love and economic fortune (you know, the usual stuff). She ends up opting to get a love talisman, but did Shunta give her the right one? Does it matter whether he did or didn’t when it’s all contrived?

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Shomei tries to explain why Miki was receptive to the fortune-telling – people around her were opposed to the relationship she wanted to get into.

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Back at school, Shunta’s teacher and Shomei’s neighbor Tadano Michiko (Kurashina Kana) finds out that rumors are being posted on the internet about Shunta being an abandoned child picked up 15 years ago. The assumption is that they are baseless . . . but why would someone post that particular rumor? Perhaps there’s some truth to it . . . .

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Shunta’s mother brings a customer to the shop – Kanai Emiko (Hamada Mari), but as they walk in, Shunta notices a man watching from the corner. Looks like this is going to be trouble.

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The best requests are always for exorcism, and Emiko wants Shomei to get rid of a curse on her shop. She used to get plenty of customers, but suddenly no one is coming.

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There’s a local legend that whoever touches the ‘fox stone’ will be cursed, and one day, she found the stone outside her shop. Without thinking, she desperately carried the stone back to its proper place at a shrine.

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Interestingly, even though Shunta didn’t believe in this sort of stuff at all in the previous episode, he totally buys into this fox stone curse. I’m sort of disappointed in him.

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Shocking, Shomei asks Shunta to bring back the fox stone. Shunta refuses, but then even more surprisingly, Shomei refuses to take the case, blaming Emiko’s poor management skills. No question – he’s still an interesting character.

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In response, Emiko threatens to tell everyone in the shopping district committee that he’s just trying to swindle women out of their money. Well, he sort of had that coming, being so blunt. He must have expected it, otherwise he’s not much of a fortune teller. Plus there was the look he gave when hearing her threat.

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Over dinner, Shomei speculates that they should just give Emiko’s shop good reviews on review websites to boost her business. Interesting, but I don’t think that’s going to be the solution he ultimately has to come up with.

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Of course, he hand off the job of writing the reviews to Shunta, but Shunta says he’s no good at it, then wonders if Shomei is tech-inept.

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Shomei disabuses him of that misconception right away.

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Michiko shows up and wow, is she irritating. You know, I believe that things can be explained scientifically, too, but no one who actually believes it would say it the way she does. She says it obnoxiously, as if inviting people to disagree with the idea. Anyway, how is she going to deal with the rumors about Shunta?

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Looking at the message boards, they find out that there’s been a ton of negative commentary about Emiko’s restaurant, even though Shunta himself can vouch for the fact that the food was good. Looks like somebody beat Shomei at the online review game, so now they have to do a real investigation in order to get at the source of this mischief.

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He decides to go to the shrine to get a look at the cursed fox stone, after all . . .

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. . . where meets Ayukawa Tamaki (Kashiwagi Yuki) again. So far, she hasn’t had much of a role, but since she’s fourth in the character list behind Michiko and Shunta, I suppose that’s going to change. For now, she just delivers information on the fox stone.

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Shomei presents the evidence of negative comments from the ‘Ramen Banchou’ to Emiko. He tries to say that this is all he intends to do, but . . . we know it isn’t and she promptly threatens him to make sure he keeps pursuing the case.

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At least they get some good ramen out of the deal – to verify that it’s really good and the online comments were lies, of course.

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Around this point, the pace was dragging a bit. We were still technically getting clues, but it was pretty obvious who Shomei would have to approach next.

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Even Shomei seemed to be finding it a bit tedious.

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The real action was between Michiko and Shunta’s parents. Well, I say parents, but technically it’s more accurate to say adoptive parents. It was pretty obvious from the way the rumor was addressed earlier that it must be true. Now, why was someone spreading it around? More importantly, what are the implications for future episodes, as Shunta now has a mystery in his backstory that he will have to explore? (once someone reveals the fact to him – his parents tried to tell him when he was young, but he apparently didn’t understand)

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Well, I think that’s enough of a bombshell to reveal for this time. If you want to find out who was posting all those comments about Emiko’s restaurant and why, you’ll have to watch the episode.

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I can say that, starting around here, it takes an interesting twist.

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Still annoyed by Michiko talking about everyone except for Shunta about the fact that Shunta was adopted, I was sure glad when Shomei voiced my own opinion about the issue.

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This episode was a bit slower than the first one. The story was okay, but the mystery was also very easy to figure out since there were very few people involved. It was all about the motive, and at least that was legit.

We’re sort of short on good characters. Shomei and Shunta are great, of course, as is Naito Genjiro (Sugi Ryotaro) – Michiko’s grandfather who runs the restaurant where Shomei and Shunta have dinner. The rest are hard to care about – they’re all comic or stereotypical characters that aren’t meant to be taken seriously. As a result, there’s not much opportunity for engaging subplots since only the ones that center on Shomei, Shunta, and Genjiro are really poignant.

On the bright side, we know there’s a subplot involving Shunta’s past, and a bit of mystery about Genjiro. At the end of this episode, we also got teased about a bit of Shomei’s past suddenly popping up.

So this one might have been a bit weak, but I’m hopeful about episode three.