Five Leaves 8, WORKING!! 10

House of Five Leaves 8 centers on Matsu, the thief, mostly. There are countless other things lurking on the sides, slowly coming together.

The first is the mystery of Yagi, and why he’s taken such an interest in Akitsu. He’s also interested in Yaichi, though with this show, he naturally doesn’t say why (Everyone in this show is interested in Yaichi, probably for completely different reasons). Also, Ume, who dislikes Matsu, takes an active role at determining where Matsu is, even though Ume has announced he is leaving Five Leaves and going legit. There are, it seems, bonds that are not easily broken.

As for Matsu, he has obligations to people he respects, too. Kiku once loaned him money to pay for his daughter’s treatment (such is this show that no one in the gang even knew he had a kid), and he’s been paying him back little by little, which is why he’s still in the gang. He learns that Otsu, a rival, stole something from Kiku, and he’s caught when he tries to steal them back. The thing is, Kiku did not want Matsu involved, and told him so. It’s not his problem. But Matsu can’t abide seeing someone he respects so much treated like that, so he goes anyway.

Which brings us to Akitsu. He also feels indebted, this time to Matsu, though he gives no reasons why. Possibly because he’s a teammate. He also goes against the opinions of those around him (in this case, Five Leaves), and uses Yagi to get him that bodyguard job to infiltrate Otsu’s place (So now he’s indebted to Yagi, too). “So now,” Matsu says as he sees Akitsu, “I’m indebted to three people.”

An interesting episode with a more straightforward narrative than usual. It was good to see the characters helping each other out because they can, and especially to see Akitsu taking the initiative for once.

WORKING!! 10 continues to lean towards Inami and her interesting relationship with Souta, to the detriment of most everything else. They try a bit where Kyouko goes off on a business trip, leaving Yachiyo despondent, and Aoi tries to draw some attention, but those are pretty much sideshows again.

They do succeed at times in letting characters misunderstand each other’s intentions, with strange results. Nazuna, Souta’s kid sister, curious when he sees her brother and Inami walking home together—using the magic hand—wrangles her way onto the staff for a day to observe. Inami tells herself she won’t hit Souta while his sister’s around, but does so anyway, leading to a little talk where Inami tells her she likes him, but Nazuna thinks she means he likes being hit. Thus, Souta’s life is made just a little crazier.

Then there’s the aftermath of last week’s crossdressing affair. Naturally Souma has taken pictures, but that’s not the worst part, or maybe it is. Souta and Inami’s relationship has changed in a complicated way, and both worry for different reasons. Inami is coming to grips with the fact that she likes him, even though she hates all men. Meanwhile Souta is wondering if Inami’s change of attitude is because she now looks down on him as a transvestite. Again, talking about it doesn’t do much except give Souta another bruise in the face, but at least this time, it’s reassuring, at least to Souta. Now, why, with all the abuse he’s thrown at her, he’s still determined to cure her and be her friend, I have no idea. Maybe Souta is a masochist after all.

The trouble is, right now there’s no way out of this. Minami will be torn between her guilt, her feelings toward Souta, and her androphobia until … something happens. Even Souta knows it will take time. I don’t think the show has many episodes to go. So I think we’re going to see these characters colliding with each other until the season ends.

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