House of Five Leaves Episode #10 (of 12) (Mania.com)

By:Chris Beveridge
Review Date: Thursday, June 17, 2010
Release Date: Thursday, June 17, 2010

Yaichi's past has been a mystery from the start, but it becomes even more of one right from the beginning here.

What They Say
Yaichi's strange behavior is becoming a concern for people at Katsura-ya. Meanwhile, Masanosuke learns more about Yagi's past following a graveside visit.

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
A small flashback to the past showcases how Yaichi came to meet Take and the introduction the two of them had, which is much how their relationship has been ever since. With everything starting based on a lie, it's little surprise that nobody really knows all that much about Yaichi even after spending a fare bit of time together since then. Yaichi's the kind of quiet and reclusive personality that doesn't share much yet he's quite attracted to Masanosuke in a way that makes him want to share things with him. Masanosuke doesn't have a lot of real history to him, but we've learned a fare bit about him and now that Sachi is there we get to see a slightly different side of him as well.

Masanosuke's time is mostly spent with Yagi at this point, though the two of them seem oddly matched in a lot of ways. Yagi's not exactly outgoing, but he's a bit more sociable than Masanosuke and has this feeling of wanting to draw others into his lifestyle of sorts, whether it's drinking a bit with kids or just hanging around talking about nothing. He's not as vapid as Masanosuke is, but he's just as uninteresting in a different way because of what they talk about. In fact, it's what a lot of the episode is like as everyone is talking, talking and talking some more but about nothing of consequence for the most part. We get a few nuggets here and there, such as that opening scene for instance, but the majority of the dialogue is just the kind of mundane things you talk about throughout your day at home with someone. It's not exactly exciting storytelling.

Yagi does probe lightly towards what he's really after as he asks Masanosuke about a scar that he might have, but he brushes it off as inconsequential when Masanosuke doesn't know anything about it. He's not exactly intrigued by the comment, but you can see Masanosuke's mind running through it just a little with some curiosity as to why he was asked. The only moments that worked for me after that involved Masanosuke being approached by a few of the girls at Katsura-ya in trying to be his girlfriend, though they're seemingly only doing it jokingly. He's such a nice affable guy that they have a spot of fun with him while liking him because he's a good guy, albeit one I can't see anyone finding actually interesting. And that lack of anything interesting about him is just another black mark against the larger narrative of show when the ostensible lead is just too bland for words.

In Summary:
After ten episodes, Masanosuke's nature is how I feel about this series. Slightly hunched over, slightly depressed and mostly just going through the motions. There's a lot of dialogue from numerous characters but it's mostly about things of little or no consequence. The show is slowly drawing towards something with Yagi in relation to Yaichi where he's using Masanosuke to achieve it, but it's looking too obvious at this point and I'm hoping that it's something a bit more involved than what's shown fairly blatantly in this episode. I really loved this series when it opened up, and the atmosphere sold me for awhile, but now it's becoming fairly tedious because of the characters themselves, unfortunately.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.



Mania Grade: C
Audio Rating: NA
Video Rating: NA
Packaging Rating: NA
Menus Rating: NA
Extras Rating: NA
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
Running time: 24
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: House of Five Leaves