Episode 4: Who’s There In The Blooming Cherry Orchard?

“Who’s there…” ratchets up the
melancholy aspects of the previous episodes, throws in more outrageous slapstick…and
comes up kind of empty. It opens up with the Chairman purchasing a desk for his occult
collection. Suddenly, girls start to disappear from the school (I think) and a mysterious
shadow person entices sick little Mutsuki into a dimensional worm hole. The shadowy fellow
turns out to be a school spirit from a dying school who wants to fill his school with new

So, this is a second episode that tries to bring up the sadder aspect of
ghostliness, and this one just doesn’t get it right. The tone never gets set right
– the melancholy aspects of the show are too dark, and the humor is too broad and
slapstick. “Love to the point of Possession” struck the balance elegantly,
creating a sweet and pleasant story. This one just comes off strange and weird. When we
learn the history of the poor little school spirit, everything is black and white and very
sad, but it just feels out of place, or even a little hamfisted.

Mutsuki’s Shouta complex gets frontstage here, in all its creepy glory. The school
spirit happens to be a little boy, so of course Mutsuki lusts after him with unnatural
abandon. This leads to the show’s funniest scene – Mutsuki’s prayer to
Kami-sama. It’s really the only laugh out loud scene in the episode.
There are some other funny moments, and a great running gag (“Don’t call me
president!”) but the whole is far less then the sum of its parts. Since it isn’t great
comedy and it isn’t great drama, it simply becomes dull. It doesn’t go for any
cloying ‘messages,’ and it isn’t a “very special” episode of
Haunted Junction, but it does feel shapeless and confused in tone.
Rating :C

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com