Well… time for a trip to the dentist.
The problem of the barrier around the neighborhood persists. And so do many of the series’ flaws. Urahara is in a weird spot. See, this is by far the best episode the show has managed to put out. It actually has a decently established arc, some charming dialogue, and so much cuteness, I had to brush my teeth after watching it. But it’s still inescapably mediocre, by virtue of all the series’ other problems.
Placing Rito at the forefront of the episode made sense. She is, by far, the most fleshed out character. And that still isn’t saying a terrible lot. We get a little bit of backstory out of her, which is more than we can say for the other two, who are essentially defined by their archetypes and what they like to do. Did the episode play with this? Actually, yes. It didn’t go so far as to actually show a glimpse of what happened with her, but it did at least bring it up in a way that helped get us to the payoff of the arc. Was it anything stellar? No, but it was satisfying enough.
Where the series ultimately falls apart the most, aside from simply not being funny, for a comedy, is the lack of opposition. The “Scoopers” are the only antagonists seen thus far. Three episodes in, and they’ve defeated every threat to them with relative ease. In fact, this episode’s climax was even easier than the previous one.
One could easily argue that the problem with these things is that they’re presently just cartoonish UFOs. We know not who drives them, who commands them, or anything. They’re a faceless enemy. Because of this, they’re uninteresting. But faceless enemies aren’t necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of series out there that can make effective antagonists out of faceless adversaries, or even sheer forces of nature. How do they accomplish this? One of any number of ways.
We’ve come to recognize that the personal attacks are simply more interesting than attacks which transcend their opposition in scale. Global invasions are typically not as compelling as a villain specifically acknowledging another individual as an opponent. But honestly, that isn’t always necessary, and that necessity depends on the story. Many good series can make the situation personal, even without the villains being a recognizably human (or generally familiar) threat. For example, they may emphasize the personal effects that the antagonist’s victory would have on the hero and their loved ones with their continued activity. Or in the cases of some series, it’s the exact opposite: the cost of the hero’s victory.
The Scoopers don’t provide any of that. And I’ve even pointed out, before, exactly what could be done to make things more interesting. Emphasize the effects of stripping a place of its culture. It’s practically gift-wrapped. Culture is an important thing, especially in areas like the show’s Harajuku setting. It would be extremely easy to show how the systematic collection of the culture of the area starts to interfere with the daily lives of the people living there – the heroes included. But as I stated before, this is probably not going to be the series that explores such an interesting concept. Pity.
As they are, the Scoopers are uninteresting. And since they can’t even alleviate that much by being threatening, there’s not much in the show’s core premise to be invested in. That said, the series has also done that thing again where it poses questions with the expectation that people will be curious enough to tune in next time for the answer. Though it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if none of these questions get answered until the midpoint of the series.
As things are, I still can’t effectively recommend watching this series. It’s still entirely possible this series will wind up getting incredibly warped, right out of nowhere. But I’m not holding my breath. The verdict at the moment is yet still to give this one a pass.
But if you don’t wanna take my word for it, Urahara is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Wednesdays at 7:15am EDT.