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House of Five Leaves Episode 12 (Final)

July 9, 2010

After spending a little time on its various characters, the final episodes of House of Five Leaves have very much been about Yaichi as his past and present threaten to collide, and of course that’s exactly what happens as we reach the finale of the series.
This whole chain of events begins when Yagi tracks down Yaichi and invites him to stay for a drink, using the opportunity to recount his past and the Yaichi that he remembers. While our present-day Yaichi manages to deadpan and shrug off most of Yagi’s comments, we do see one flicker of emotion out of him as he hears the talk of Yaichi and Seichiro’s deaths and how suspicious they seemed. Between this talk and rather too much sake, Yaichi is clearly a preoccupied man with plenty on his mind – Perhaps not the best moment for him to run into his former Bakuro gang-mate, who wants to know if he was responsible for the death of one of his “brothers” as well as revealing the gang to the police. Again, Yaichi looks to deadpan and brush off everything that is said to him, until a revelation finally causes him to snap – A breakdown that manifests itself first as rage, then all kinds of other emotions – Regret, sorrow, and so on; the full gamut of human brief.

It’s outside of Yaichi’s traumatic experiences where we really find the central theme of the series however, as we find the other Five Leaves members gathering not upon a call to work or at anyone’s behest, but each under their own steam due to their worries about Yaichi, before the series ends with a mirror of the first meeting between Masa and Yaichi; a pairing who understand one another better than should perhaps be expected given their respective personalities.

Although this has been very much a slow burner of a series, sometimes almost painfully so, House of Five Leaves managed to bring enough to the table to win me over in the end on account of its delicately created, built and portrayed characters and their relationships, which proved to be frequently both enigmatic and fascinating. Almost everything about this show was subtle, from its art style (no over the top facial expressions here to give the game away) through to those characters and how they behaved, to the point where we’re still not given explicit affirmation or denial of certain key points. With some shows that over-reliance on leaving it up to the audience might frustrate me, but given the overall tone of the series and the enigma that is Yaichi (even now we know so much about him) it feels just about right. House of Five Leaves might not be a show that we’ll continue to talk about in years to come, but it has proved itself worthy of the noitaminA name in style and content if you ask me.

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One comment

  1. House of Five leaves was indeed an excellent anime for only being 12 eps long. I really enjoyed it.



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