So far, Yorozu Uranaidokoro Onmyoya e Yokoso (よろず占い処 陰陽屋へようこそ) has been a pleasant enough series, and I like the fact that they’ve not only got the episodic mysteries, but also overarching plots involving Shunta (Chinen Yuri)’s origins as well as Shomei (Nishikido Ryo)’s background.

Unfortunately, this is as far as the subtitles seem to go. I usually like to be one episode behind the translators, but I’ve been waiting for a while and this has been the last subbed episode for more than a month and a half, so . . . if anyone knows another source (I normally just go to D-Addicts), please give me a hint in the comments below, otherwise I’ll have to rely on my deeply flawed understanding of Japanese in order to make sense of the episodes.

But I have subs for this one, so let’s get cracking!

It begins ar a hospital where a nurse notices some creepy lights in one of the rooms, opens the door, and sees a figure silhouetted against the curtain on the window. I suppose if there’s any place where there’s bound to be ghosts, it’d be a hospital. Interesting how the nurse ran panicked, but the little girl in the wheelchair didn’t seem the least bit surprised or afraid.

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I guess Shomei will be asked to exorcise the spirit haunting the hospital in this one then, right?

Shunta’s mother Midori (Minamino Yoko) works as a nurse at the hospital and, sure enough, she brings back word of the ghost. While your typical nurse might be resistant to an occult explanation, Midori has been fascinated with the occult right from the start of the series.

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The jam taste-testing between Shunta’s parents in the middle of her ghost story was unexpectedly cute and amusing.

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Ultimately, the hospital manager himself pays Shomei a visit because the unrest among the staff has now spread to the patients, and it’s not as if people who are sick need any more anxiety. Midori continued to contribute a lot to this scene.

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Shomei decides on a ritual for soul calming, which he suggests would at least give everyone in the hospital peace of mind.

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The manager has one qualm, though – he doesn’t want Shomei walking around the hospital in that outfit because it might increase the rumors among the patients. That’s a strange point to make, though – if the patients don’t see Shomei walking in all dressed up, will they really believe that the soul of the ghost has been calmed?

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Shunta suggests a costume party at the hospital, but thankfully his mother proposes a better idea – have Shomei and Shunta come to the hospital as part of the regular volunteer crew that helps out the kids in the hospital on the weekends. Actually, the writers were probably using the manager’s objection to Shomei’s costume in order to set this scenario up.

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As you can guess, Shomei isn’t thrilled with the idea of playing with kids, but that’s how it’s going to be.

Ayukawa Tamaki (Kashiwagi Yuki) continues to be a peripheral character whose obsession with Shomei barely comes into the picture. Will that start to change? I’d really like a chance to gauge Kashiwagi-san’s acting, but we really haven’t gotten an opportunity.

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At dinner, Shomei and Shunta explain the case of the hospital ghost to Kenjiro (Sugi Ryotaro).

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Shunta also wonders something the viewer was probably wondering – why was Shomei so quick to take the case? He always acts hesitant until there’s some mention of the money involved, so why did he accept this one even though he has to go in as a volunteer to help kids – something that’s clearly not in his job description? Shomei explains that the hospital is a ‘fat customer’ – people are stingy when they have to give their own money, but they don’t quibble about the bill when the institution has to pay.

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Shomei also has a plan to get around the playing with kids thing – enlist Michiko (Kurashina Kana)’s help.

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Back at school, some things never change . . .

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. . . but for the first time I noticed that there’s  concerted attempt to hide the face – especially the eyes – of the target of their affection, Mitsui. I wonder what that’s all about.

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Michiko visits Shomei at the bath house. Looks like Shomei is going with reverse psychology here – Michiko thinks he told Shunta not to tell Michiko about the hospital visit and the thing about teaching kids. Here in the bath house, Shomei says it’s none of her business even though he really wants her to step in and help.

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And she’s decided to, of course.

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Shomei and Shunta sure make a good team when it comes to setting Michiko up. Will we get to see them team up to play other tricks to solve cases? That could be a fun way to go, though I’m not sure the writers will do it. They’ve made less and less use of Shunta since the first episode, and here they’re only using him to get Michiko into the picture. They clearly prefer juxtaposing Shomei and Michiko, even though that dynamic is already getting tedious.

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Michiko starts off well, but instead of demonstrating her science toy, she goes into the science with a white board full off really tiny writing and kanji that these kids cannot possibly understand.

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It’s so completely a replica of what she does in her high school class that Shunta starts to get sleepy just watching. You can imagine how the little kids feel.

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But this is all according to Shomei’s plan, of course. Michiko’s lecture is going to keep all of those kids busy for . . . well, if they all fall asleep, then possibly for hours.

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Meanwhile, Shomei is free to investigate the ghost. The manager is . . . not subtle about trying reassure everyone that Shomei is just a volunteer. But heck, if the patients don’t believe him, it should just play into Shomei’s plan anyway.

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On their way, they witness an argument between that girl in the wheelchair we saw in the beginning and a young man she calls Yusuke. Yusuke beats a hasty retreat, but we’ll see more of him. The actor who plays Yusuke seems vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t make a positive identification.

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Shomei visits room 206, where the ghost appeared . . .

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. . . and finds out that it was previously occupied by Saotome Emi, who died a month before in that room at the age of 19. The nurse tells us that Emi was into the stars and showed off pictures of the constellations to students. When you get told a detail like that in a mystery, you know it’s got to be essential to figuring out what’s going on.

Once Shomei concludes that the spirit of Emi is still in the room, the wheelchair girl – Mao – approached and said that she wanted to see the ghost.

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We then get background on Mao from Shunta’s mother, who elaborates on the connection between the girl and Emi.

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Back in the classroom, it looks like I misjudged the potency of Michiko’s lecture. Instead of putting the kids to sleep, she’s lost all control over the class and they’re basically running amok!

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They all say that Emi was better, and this makes Michiko cry. Kids can be so mean sometimes (esp. when adults are as clueless as Michiko seems to be).

Michiko needs a stiff drink to get over the experience.

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To cheer her up, Hideyuki (Suruga Taro) gives her a keyholder from a planetarium. Umm . . . that can’t be a coincidence, right? Emi liked stars and here we get a planetarium being mentioned? This is really way too convenient – the writers should be ashamed of themselves.

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After mocking the idea of ghosts, Michiko saw a ghostly silhouette in the stairwell and took a tumble . . .

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. . . which landed her in a hospital. Really, the writers will stop at nothing to make sure Michiko remains at the center of events!

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Because she’s in the hospital, Michiko now takes the lead in finding out more about the case, following Mao to room 206.

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Meanwhile, Kenjiro and Shomei play Go. Bonus points for any drama that manages to work Go in.

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Over their game, they talk about the discovery of Shunta and his parentage, but Kenjiro isn’t willing to offer many details.

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Eventually, their game is interrupted by a panicked call from Michiko in the hospital about the ghost in 206. Sounds like she’s a believer now.

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Shomei hangs up on her after telling her he’ll look into it tomorrow.

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So what’s really going on? What’s that guy Yusuke got to do with it? How do stars play their part in the mystery of Emi’s ghost? You’ll have to watch to find out!

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I . . . can’t recommend it, though. This story was a total yawn – a painfully slow and unsatisfying story right from the start. In terms of deduction, it hardly tested Shomei’s already established abilities at all, and concluded with a touching but banal resolution.

The acting was a step back from recent episodes. Rather than continuing to develop Michiko in a positive direction, they let her character regress to the stereotypes she embodied in the first episode. If they’re going to give her such a prominent part, they need to allow her to improve.

The characterization of Shomei didn’t give us anything new, either, and was bland compared to some of the best moments of the first four episodes.

Actually, the best character in this episode was Shunta’s mother Midori. Minamino-san sure tried her best to bring some energy to the proceedings, especially early on.

Well, I think I have a pretty clear idea about what I want to see in the remainder of the series. Whether I find subtitles or not, I’ll try my best to see if this drama does its premise justice or if instead it turns the unfortunate misstep of this episode into a trend.

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