HaruChika Episode 9 (The Gaze of Asmodeus) Review

Beware of Asmodeus, the peeping tom!

Have you ever made a choice in the past that you now regret? Perhaps your regrettable decision can’t land you that job you want to eagerly pursue? Or maybe some people who know of your regrettable decision shun you, causing you to wallow in your regret. Well, this episode of HaruChika involves that in its mystery and more!

Spoilers ahead! If you haven’t seen this episode, I suggest you stop here. If you haven’t watched the series, please have a look at my first impression of the show (Spoiler Free). 

JuJu Reviews: HaruChika - Haruta & Chika Episode 9 JuJu Reviews: HaruChika - Haruta & Chika Episode 9

In all honesty, I really don’t know how I feel about this episode. I’ll get more into why later, but I feel like this mystery and the characters could have been handled better. The episode starts off with the usual band practice, but all of a sudden Kusakabe faints! Remember that one character Kusakabe shook hands with a while back? It’s okay if you don’t remember, it’s explained relatively quickly. His name is Sakai and he’s a music teacher at Fujigasaki High School, but it turns out that he has been suspended. This prompted Kusakabe to cover for Sakai, causing Kusakabe to overwork himself. Ouch. Haruta, Chika, and Kaiyu go with two students from Fujigasaki to their school in order to get to the bottom of this, where they meet the student teacher Yuka Ogawara.

JuJu Reviews: HaruChika - Haruta & Chika Episode 9 JuJu Reviews: HaruChika - Haruta & Chika Episode 9

The mystery starts building here as we find out Yuka used to be a student at the high school as well, and that Sakai was her former teacher. To add to that, the episode also dives a little into her backstory and how Sakai and she are connected. One of the problems of the episode is that it leaves out Sakai’s character. He is described as a passionate teacher and is seen having this bold demeanor, yet he hardly shows up. Sure, he’s suspended and all, but it would be good to get more characterization of Sakai, since it’s hard to sympathize with his cause without getting something more from him. Despite that, the mystery goes into the seating mechanic, which looks suspicious and interesting at the same time. The way each seating is set up, it appears intentional, as if someone is looking for something. Hmm! Well, as it turns out, this leads to Asmodeus, the peeping tom or demon of lust!

JuJu Reviews: HaruChika - Haruta & Chika Episode 9 JuJu Reviews: HaruChika - Haruta & Chika Episode 9

Asmodeus has been a baaaad demon! The monster has been making images of female high school students, then posting them on the internet for all to see and unfortunately, the class leader is a target. Out of most of the mysteries HaruChika has delivered so far, there really hasn’t been one that actually had a culprit involved. Remember, HaruChika’s mysteries are character-based, so for it to include a culprit would be a step up for this series. However, the lack of characterization of Asmodeus and the motive makes the adding of a culprit aspect not work out well enough to be consistent, which is one of the problems of this episode. Again, it is a matter of not even seeing Asmodeus’ character in the episode as we just….know that Asmodeus did something; that’s it. We also find out that our peeping tom is getting the images by using a infrared camera, and the fact that Asmodeus is a girl! Also, Sakai is protecting Asmodeus from being punished! How interesting…

JuJu Reviews: HaruChika - Haruta & Chika Episode 9 JuJu Reviews: HaruChika - Haruta & Chika Episode 9

Haruta and the rest go to the class leader and find out that Sakai’s suspension was voluntary; he wanted to take the fall for Asmodeus, much to everyone’s shock. As the mystery reaches its climax, and after some deducing from Haruta, we find out that Ogawara was a target of Asmodeus’ sinister crime, but apparently she struck gold as we see that Ogawara has a tattoo! I’m sure some may know this, but for those who don’t, getting a tattoo is a big deal in Japan. After getting some knowledge on the subject, it is basically a sign of being affiliated with a gang (yakuza), which is bad news if one ever wants to seek employment, especially in teaching. This information explains a lot about Sakai’s actions and his desire to protect his student. Seeing Asmodeus with that photo of his former dear student and her tattoo must have shocked him with fear that the students would see it, so to protect Ogawara, he took the fall for her and even got suspended for letting Asmodeus get away with her crime. With the mystery solved, Kusakabe is well again and Ogawara and Sakai share a moment, which was a nice way to end the episode.

All in all, the episode was good, but was a step down from the previous two episodes. Actually, I feel like every episode is starting to step down a bit each week, which worries me. We know what Sakai went through and the sinister crimes Asmodeus has committed, but we do not get enough screen time of their characters and personalities to sympathize or fully accept that the mystery has affected them; the same goes for the class leader. The utilization of a culprit was a nice step, but could have been done better. With that being said, at least we got some characterization for Ogawara in regards to her victimization. Let’s see what else HaruChika has for us.

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