Hyakko 8

The first thing to notice when episode 8 of Hyakko starts is that the opening sequence is slightly different. Instead of just reused footage from the show itself, we actually get to see some of the characters animated in their own shots.

The actual episode starts off with an odd lack of color, where students are gossiping about ghost stories at school. It sets the stage for the appearance of the creepy girl. When a couple of girls pass by her, and one of them accidentally drops her cellphone, the two girls experience horror as the creepy girl creepily picks up the cellphone and offers it back with a creepy smile. The girls barely manage to express thanks before fleeing in terror.

Tsubomiya Inori
Tsubomiya Inori

The creepy girl, Tsubomiya Inori, is disappointed as she realizes the girls are avoiding her, yet another case in a long line of people who have avoided her. This despite smiling and giving a nice word as one of her books suggests her to do in her quest to make even one friend, something she hasn’t been able to do for the fifteen years of her life. Sadly, her creepiness just made the smiling and speaking even scarier. Inori is like Ayumi was at the start of high school, in that she really wants to make friends, except her problem is that her creepy appearance and demeanor scares off people. But unlike Ayumi, the more she tries, the more she seems to scare people off.

Inori reminds me of Nakahara Sunako from The Seven Transformations for Yamato Nadesico and Kitano Seichiro from Angel Legend, both of whom tended to terrify those around them. Like Sunako, Inori exudes creepiness, although unlike Sunako, she doesn’t appear to have a fancy for scary things at all. On the other hand, Inori doesn’t seem to even realize that people perceive her to be creepy, something she shares with Seichiro. I wonder if she would be a stunning beauty with a bit up cosmetic help?

Inori is smitten with Torako when Torako bumps into her and apologizes with no sign of fear. She wishes she could be as outgoing as Torako as she heads to the restrooms, where her mere walking terrifies everyone in the corridor, something she notices quite clearly. Even thinking and wallowing in her angst terrifies people in the girl’s restroom, as she unintentionally makes sounds that make people think of ghosts. After a whole lot of thinking, Inori decides she’s going to approach Torako and try to become friends.

Unfortunately, Torako just comes out and heads to the washing bins, which is a bit too much for the completely unprepared Inori. But noticing that Torako had misplaced her handkerchief, Inori tries to offer her own as the first step to becoming friends. Unfortunately, Inori’s nervousness prevents her from speaking properly, and her determination to lend her handkerchief only ends up looking like an attempt to trap Torako for some nefarious purpose.

It’s in this situation that Suzume emerges from her stall, apparently unaware from the ruckus just outside, but when she sees Inori with Torako, she tries to save Torako from a gruesome death a week later. Inori’s similar appearance to Sadako from Ring made Suzume think that she was Sadako. Unfortunately for Inori, she’s knocked out after being pushed by the super-strong Suzume.

After Inori regains consciousness, everything is fine again with no terror or nervousness between everyone, although Suzu does commit a social faux pas as she explicitly calls Inori “Sadako”. Before Torako and Suzume can walk away, though, Inori manages to gather the courage to ask for an exchange of cellphone numbers. To her surprise, Torako easily accepts, which gives us a rare clear glimpse of Inori’s pretty eyes. Suzume is still afraid that Inori might curse her, which exasperates Torako, but Torako might be having second thoughts as Suzume and Torako are terrified at the happiness expressed by Inori.

The first half of the episode ends with a cute segment by the kids Yagi-chan and her friend, where Yagi-chan quotes the novel they just read when asked about her fears as her own thoughts to the friend’s exasperation. And Tatsuki points out to Ayumi that it’s finally time for them to appear in the episode.

Back at class, Inori wonders why everyone seems to be scared away from her. And Torako, Suzume, Ayumi, and Tatsuki quite aptly figure out that her creepy appearance is a large factor in scaring away any potential friends and try to think of ways to make her appear more approachable. This soon sends them into a flurry of activity to pretty Inori up, soon joined by Koma, although Torako also ends up sidetracked a lot as she plays with everyone’s hair with a large variety of hair styles.

Tsubomiya Inori.  Really.
Tsubomiya Inori. Really.

In the end, Inori ends up being quite a pretty girl who is not creepy at all. Not only is she happy about the change of her appearance, she is also very happy with being friendly with so many people as they worked on her appearance. Satisfied with her work on Inori, but having caught the hairdressing bug, Torako heads to her teacher as her next victim and works on his hair, although everyone in class laughs at how it turns out.

The next day, most of the class has returned to their normal hair style. Unfortunately, even Inori is back to her normal creepy appearance. Everyone is wondering how she could have reverted so quickly, but it turns out that Inori is a klutz with makeup, as she undid all the work of the previous day as she tried to do the same things. At least many of her classmates are no longer terrified of her as a potential evil ghost.

On the other hand, a couple of people were very happy with the hair that Torako had dressed up for them. Surprisingly, especially to Torako, the teacher is one of those people and even worked on it a bit more, including glasses. And even Ushio, who was rather unhappy about it the previous day, seems to like her own change in hair style, although she’s frustrated when Torako wouldn’t even notice her.

By Shounen A

伝説の少年A. The Legendary Boy A. The counterpart of Konata Izumi from Lucky Star, he is an otaku of legendary reputation whose tastes foretell the rise and fall of anime series. Or not.