So, I’ve run out of English subtitles for Yorozu Uranaidokoro Onmyoya e Yokoso (よろず占い処 陰陽屋へようこそ) and my review will be based on my attempts to decode the Japanese subtitles that come with the YYeTs version of the drama. On the bright side, like with the Kindaichi special, this means that I’m learning all sorts of new words, and this is bound to make my future reviews of all shows better. The downside is that it’ll take me longer to review each episode and there are parts that I simply won’t understand, so I hope you’ll bear with me. I like mysteries and find this drama amusing, so I’ll keep at it.

This episode begins with Ayukawa Tamaki (Kashiwagi Yuki) using all the charms at her disposal to try and win Abeno Shomei (Nishikido Ryo)’s love. And when I say charms, I mean the magical spell variety – she doesn’t seem ready to approach Shomei directly. Shomei’s friend Hideyuki (Suruga Taro) discovers her obsession and decides to employ her help in discovering the mystery of why Shomei has decided to become first a host and then a psychic.

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After all, Tamaki knew Shomei from his host club days when he was ‘Sho’, so she can bring Hideyuki there so he can hopefully discover the truth there. Hideyuki suspects that it has something to do with Shunta (Chinen Yuri), but that would be strange, since Shomei only met Shunta after becoming a psychic . . . right?

Meanwhile, Shunta sees an old woman contemplating whether to enter Shomei’s shop and invites her in for tea. Looks like he’s well suited to this job, after all.

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She’s reluctant to say anything when Shomei asks what her would like to request of him and Shunta explains that he invited her in for tea.

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Naturally, Shomei points out the Shunta that this isn’t a tea house and that it’s no use dragging old people in. I hope that lame line was actually a clever ruse to get the old lady to talk . . .

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. . . which it succeeded in doing. It sounds like (if I’ve got this right) she wants to put up a curse on her own house, and she thought it would surely be an unacceptable request. Shomei is both taken by surprise and intrigued – at first, he doesn’t think he heard her clearly.

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Her name is Kadokura Yurie, and a self-styled “Cat Cafe Planner” named Kanbayashi Aoi is aiming to turn her place into his next cat café.

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Now, I don’t know if cat cafes are really a thing or what they’re like, but apparently Kadokura’s place is in exactly the old-fashioned style that would suit such an establishment. Kanbayashi has already made an offer to buy it, but Kadokura doesn’t want to part with it. She figures if there’s even a rumor that the place is cursed, it would be fatal to Kanbayashi’s plans to set up shop there, and he’d stop pestering her.

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Shomei is understandably reluctant, and basically says that his job is to remove curses, not to create them. Why can’t Kadokura just turn down Kanbayashi’s offer firmly? Well, that’s because it’s not just Kanbayashi, but also Kadokura’s son and daughter, who are enthusiastic about the chance to sell the home.

Shunta is very emphatic that they should help Kadokura out, so Shomei decides to send the kid into the fray first to check things out – with help from that person who likes to meddle in such things . . .

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. . . namely, Tadano Michiko (Kurashina Kana). Well, even though Michiko is somehow in the mix again, it’s good to see Shunta getting the chance to do some footwork.

Shunta and Michiko go with Kadokura to visit her home and talk to her son and daughter who are there to discuss the arrangements for the cat café. It’s definitely a nice place – I can see why someone would be interested in it.

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Shunta takes a hard line against Kadokura’s children, speaking quite rudely to them even though they’re clearly much older than him. I was quite surprised when instead of snubbing him, they were actually conciliatory.

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Shunta was surprised, too, since he was going in assuming they were horrible people out to get Kadokura’s money. They wanted to live with their mother after their father died because they were concerned about her high blood pressure and heart problems and didn’t want her living alone. It would have been easier if she had been willing to move, but she wouldn’t leave that house.

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Kadokura verifies that her children are good people and that their account is correct, which confuses Michiko and Shunta.

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Some of that confusion clears up when they meet Kanbayashi, who’s an odd duck. Tough to put the keys to a longtime home in the hands of a person like this.

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But surely that’s not the only reason. I mean, he’s a little strange, but he sure seems earnest and well-planned.

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There is one hitch, though – the next door neighbor. Next to the Kadokura house is a woman who blasts her music and actually sprays water through the fence at Kanbayashi. She definitely isn’t going to allow him to set up his cat café – saying so explicitly – but why is she so against it and to what lengths is she willing to go?

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Seems like Kadokura already has a pretty effective curse on her home in the form of her neighbor.

Well, that investigation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, but what about Hideyuki’s attempt to look into Shomei’s motives for becoming a psychic? Well, he and Tamaki definitely have the right host club. We get to see Kashiwagi-san singing Morning Musume’s “Love Machine” in sort of a homage . . .

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. . . and Hideyuki talks to the other hosts about Sho/Shomei. They refer to someone called Masato who was alongside Sho as a leader to the hosts, but who also quit.

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The other locals seem to like the idea of turning the whole town into a cat town with a cat-themed bathhouse and everything.

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When they find out it’s Kadokura, though, they all say they know her. She left an impression on them as a good person, so they’re eager to help her out any way they can.

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This leads to a scheme concocted by Shunta. Shomei won’t have to actually put a curse on the house – they’ll make use of the other townfolk, who will all pretend to get cursed at the house. That would produce the necessary rumor Kadokura wanted, but Shomei would only have the role of trying to dispel the curse, and presumably failing.

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But why do I get the feeling this isn’t going to work? For one thing, we haven’t really gotten to the role of the neighbor, who is as universally hated as Kadokura is respected.

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Then there’s the way the townfolk are training for their parts in the ruse. Is the Rocky sequence (complete with theme music) necessary?

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And they even have scripts to practice:

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Well, you’ll have to watch to see how that goes. I think you’ll be able to figure out the rest of the story by watching even without subs, but it’s not easy. There are some points about the resolution that I’m not entirely clear about, even after watching with dictionary in hand.

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I think I can deliver a verdict on this one, though. It was fairly disappointing all around, starting with the weak story. There wasn’t much of a mystery, especially because the stakes didn’t seem sufficiently high and the resolution was quite simple. The writers relied heavily on the cat café premise and the two strange characters in order to keep interest up, but that wasn’t sufficient.

The pacing was really slow with a lot of delaying tactics.

For the first half, Shunta was the driving force in the story, but unfortunately his lines were lamentable and Chinen-kun’s acting was shaky. I wanted to see Shunta get more of the focus, but not like this.

Shomei played less of a role than usual, basically picking up on the clues and delivering the answer with little of his usual flair. He’s steadily looking more and more like a normal person with good observational skills instead of the brilliant detective he seemed to be in the first episode.

It’s lucky that unlike in a usual drama focused solely on an overarching plot, a weak plot in one episode of a mystery series doesn’t condemn future episodes.