Tenma’s greatest fear may hurt his job with the Insect Magistrate, but Jinbei is determined to help him.
What They Say:
“Ichinotani Tenma! I Can Do It!”
Content: (please note that the content portion of a review may contain spoilers)
Mushibugyo continues its examination of all the side characters with this episode, this time focusing on the very young onmyoji, Tenma. The episode begins right in the action, as the whole group fights a bug. With Hibachi and Shungiku too busy arguing to do anything, little Tenma, who we haven’t seen much of since episode 1, gears himself up and the uses his shikigami, a pair of paper dolls that grow giant, to beat the bug into submission. After annoying Hibachi and Shunjiku he returns home, only to get terrified by a normal, tiny bug. Jinbei figures this out, and vows to keep his secret and help Tenma overcome his fear, but things start to go wrong when the perturbed teammates eavesdrop on the conversation.
While this episode follows the same theme of the previous two, with Jinbei striving to learn more about his teammates and to help them, this one definitely has an overall goofier feel. Tenma’s problem does have some serious, as he worries over disappointing his dead parents, and even displays a moment of sadness as he watches a father praise his child. But the big focus leans to the goofy side, as we learn that his biggest weakness is a fear of bugs — specifically, the creepy crawly kind, causing an immediate freakout when one gets too close to him. Even the traumatic experience flashback is pure humor, as a bunch of peaches fell out of a tree around him, and he saw that they were infested with big, squirming bugs (honestly, it looked freaky enough it could give someone without a phobia a heart attack).
So this episode does make better use of its humor than in previous episodes, so that it’s actually pretty funny, rather than sort of awkward. And without a lot of backstory more of the episode is dedicated to bug battles, though the animation does cheap out at times and flash everyone in an action pose, rather than actually show the action. Where it does fail is in Tenma’s character, which feels inconsistent. We first see him fight the bug with a nervous, sweaty expression, but he turns down compliments (“You guys are just lame.”) with a petulance that doesn’t really match up. Then there’s when he becomes angry with Jinbei, thinking he revealed his secret, but he seems to utterly forget this anger until the end of another fight, when it’s conveniently important for character development. So while the writers seem to have a good handle on the other characters (probably because they fit so easily into their stereotypes), they don’t seem to have a good enough handle on Tenma.
Tenma seems to have the least depth out of all the characters the anime has focused on so far, but while that’s no good for his potential development it gave the episode room to focus on other things, like some pretty decent humor. There is still not much going on in the way of plot, and Jinbei’s character is basically at a standstill as we focus on all the others. But the episode ends with him being sent on a secret mission with only the mysterious Mugai, so something interesting should come out of the next installment, even if it’s just more insight into Jinbei’s silent idol.
Streamed by: Crunchyroll
13″ Apple Macbook set to 720p