Episode 12: Losing All That Was Gained! The Garden Of Hope!

The second to last episode of Haunted Junction doesn’t get its ratio of humor-to-seriousness right it is just too bland to have any impact. Luckily, this final episode doesn’t have those problems. Haunted Junction doesn’t go out with a whimper of maudlin emotionalism, but it doesn’t shy away from giving its protagonists some real feelings, either.

Now there isn’t any Evangelion-style hand-wringing, soul searching, or goat exploding, but the events at the end of Ep. 11 were sad, and the characters here spend the episode dealing with them. The crux of this episode is the box that the Chairman purchased at the beginning of the previous one. It arrives, and immediately Haruto is seeing visions of the exorcised Chairman admonishing him not to open it.

Kazumi and Mutsuki, both real mad at Haruto for helping out Exorcist Joe, think the box will allow them to bring back the school spirits. They’re wrong, and the actual contents of the box prove a danger to the entire world.
This episode accomplishes everything the previous one failed at, and does more. It maintains a sense of humor (particularly in the machinations of Mutsuki and Kazumi to retrieve the box), and when Haruto eventually opens up the box, the show comes up with some genuinely disturbing visuals and ideas.

The underlying element that makes this episode good, though, is an explicit return to the theme that’s been underlying the whole damn show: it’s good to be a nice guy. When Exorcist Joe’s motivations are finally revealed, they aren’t based in malice, he just has a misunderstanding of school spirits. Looking back throughout the whole show, there aren’t, I think, any of the villains that you could really call evil. Their antagonism is based on misunderstanding, or stupidity. And in the end, everyone forgives everybody and helps everyone out.

What’s neat is that Haunted Junction did this without becoming cloying or sappy. There’s still enough ecchiness* and irony to keep the show from being saccharine, but it’s done with heart. Awww…

*I know, I hate it too when reviewers use Japanese and French words in the middle of their reviews, but face it: ecchi is a really useful word. It means “kind of dirty, without being outright pornographic.” Very descriptive.

Rating :A-

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com