“Food always tastes better when you eat it with friends.”
Overview (Spoilers Below):
When Shunzo decides to go look for the lost black cat from his painting, Mei cuts short her dance lesson with Ougae and tags along with him. They quickly run into a number of people they know, like Kyoka and Yakumo. They all head to a cat cafe (which turns out just to be Fujita’s house) and partake in good food, good company, and good competitions to see which guy can spend the most time with Mei.
Okay, that opening scene was straight up spooky! Fujita is locked in combat with a creepy spirit warrior whose eyeballs stretch out and enwrap his sword. It’s a pretty intense scene, and a lot more gross and violent than I’m used to expecting from Meiji Tokyo Renka. It definitely seems like this scene was foreshadowing something, even though it didn’t directly relate to anything in this week’s episode. Perhaps Mei will have to team up with Fujita in the final arc to defeat a high-level ghost?
Moving on to the actual plot of Masagocho Cat Café Incident, it’s basically a complete 180 from the opening scene, which was merely a dream that Fujita was having. After leaving a dancing lesson with Ougae, Mei and Shunzo head into town to look for his black cat. At this point, it’s pretty comical to even suggest that they might find it before the final episode. Really, this entire episode relies on humor more so than previous outings. Rather than having a supernatural ghost to deal with or a mystery to solve, Mei just gets to eat yummy food with a bunch of dudes who vie for her attention. Her constant run-ins with past acquaintances who invite her to come to hang out with them are pretty funny. It’s kind of like a knowing nod to the dating sim the anime is based on, and it gained a few chuckles from me.
From preparing her food to challenging each other in a game of ‘Tiger Tiger’ to see who gets to feed her, this episode lets Mei take a well-earned break and let her friends dote on her. All the guys get turns being jealous of each other, and it’s honestly one of the more enjoyable episodes in a while. “Don’t forget she’s my fiance,” Ougae keeps saying while shooting eye daggers at Fujita. Then they all get drunk and Shunzo tries to draw an eel, which everyone finds extremely delightful in their drunken stupors.
The dub is very good this week, especially with all the guys turning in fun performances. “Once again, I’d like to point out she had plans with me first,” Shunzo keeps saying to the others. Methinks he might be harboring a tiny crush on Mei? And Mei might be receptive: “Helping you find a black cat is more important than learning a dance.” Kyoka is such a fun character: “The dog’s only chasing you because you’re running away!” It’s a vicious cycle, being chased because you’re fleeing! Fujita and Mei have some nice moments: “I used to think you were scary, but in fact… you’re more like a mom.” I still think he’s sorta scary. Another great line: “What the hell is going on here, you handsy bastard?” Finally, this statement from Ougae made me cringe a bit: “She’s supposed to belong to me.” Let’s just chalk it up to him being jealous and drunk at the same time.
Masagocho Cat Café Incident is an entertaining episode of Meiji Tokyo Renka that finds Mei taking a break from supernatural sleuthing to hang out with her friends. All the antics from the guys are a lot of fun, and everyone gets a chance to shine with their quirks. (Kyoka’s pleasure at how clean Fujita’s home it was great, as was his need to boil the soup until it burned to kill germs.) I wouldn’t mind a little less mystery and a few more episodes like this one!