Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs

Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs Yaya FanserviceHappy Halloween, and what better time of year to take a look at an anime series about a ghost, a demon-slaying ninja, a psychic who fights evil spirits and a bunch of girls who regularly expose their naked bodies to the main character. Oh, that last bit isn’t particularly scary, is it (except in the case of predatory, drunken, anatomically-unlikely pervert Nonko), but this is what you get when ghostly tropes are combined with the laziest excesses of anime fanservice. Welcome to the Yuragi Inn, where nobody’s clothes stay on for very long.

As is often the case with anime that hails from the more lurid end of the spectrum, there are some good ideas buried deep amongst all the wardrobe malfunctions, and there are times when this series surprises the viewer by really kicking into gear. The story centres around a young man named Kogarashi who comes to live at the Inn. All the weird goings on there won’t discourage him, because he is a powerful psychic, capable of defeating evil spirits with a single knock-out punch. He is offered a room that is haunted by Yuuna, who is the ghost of a pretty girl whose clothing accidentally falls off when she cuddles up to Kogarashi in her sleep (and then repeatedly attacks him for it, following the predictable pattern of unfunny fanservice-based humour). Other girls are steadily added to the mix, building up into a sort of supernatural harem anime.

The other girls are fairly stereotypical and will be familiar character types for seasoned anime viewers. The aforementioned Nonko is by far the worst of the bunch. Chisaki is our link to the normal human world, Kogarashi’s school friend who has a crush on him (as per all the female characters, naturally), and gets drawn into his strange life and wants to befriend Yuuna, despite being unable to see or hear her. Sagiri is a ninja girl, and a very predictable tsundere character, while Yaya is probably the best of the bunch, a catgirl who is often accompanied by a giant cat god. Oboro is a sexually-aggressive warrior who is added into the mix fairly late in the series, and just wants to have Kogarashi’s babies. Koyuzu is a 10 year old tanuki who it trying to live like a human but can’t quite get the transformation right, so she still has tanuki ears and a tail. She’s a cute character, and mercifully isn’t really the subject of fanservice, although her obsession with the other girls’ breasts is distasteful. Mind you, I don’t suppose many viewers approach this show looking for restraint on the part of the animators. As usual, the fanservice has its lines that it cannot cross, and those lines are generally protected by conveniently positioned steam.

Most episodes mainly consist of the girls engaging in some kind of conversation or activity that leads to accidental nudity. Episode titles such as “Yuuna’s Body Measurements” and “Yuuna and the Hot Spring Ping Pong” probably tell you everything you need to know. However, there are times when the writer concentrates on the drama and the series kicks into gear. Early in the season a bunch of exorcists turn up to try to get rid of Yuuna, which sets up Kogarashi nicely in the heroic role and creates an emotional connection between them. There is a two-episode arc in the middle of the season with Yuuna getting kidnapped by an enemy who is immensely powerful, which is quite dramatic and certainly a step up from most of the series. There is also a reasonably strong ending to the season, with Kogarashi and Yuuna helping another spirit to ascend, and the question posed about what Yuuna’s own lingering regret might be. On the more disappointing and predictable end of the scale, there is also the inevitable appearance of a tentacled monster that dissolves fabric: convenient for the fanservice quota; inconvenient for the objectified females.

Some of these kinds of shows that appear to be trashy can often surprise the viewer with strong emotional and/or dramatic content, so they are always worth checking out if you’re not easily offended. This one didn’t have a lot to offer, but it’s a bit of silly escapism that passes the time if you’re not looking for something to particularly engage the brain. Don’t come to this show looking for creepy Halloween thrills though. The only scary thing about these haunted hot springs is Nonko’s gravity-defying anatomy.   RP

About Roger Pocock

Co-writer on junkyard.blog. Author of windowsintohistory.wordpress.com. Editor of frontiersmenhistorian.info
This entry was posted in Anime, Entertainment, Reviews, Television and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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