How to Keep a Mummy (2018) ANIME REVIEW
Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 4th May, 2018
Kashiwagi Sora has a self proclaimed adventurer father who travels the world, he often sends Kashiwagi strange gifts he’s found, but Kashiwagi never really appreciates them, because they can be overwhelming dangerous sometimes, but that all changes when he receives an adorable baby mummy from Egypt, and names it Mii-kun! While trying to raise this weird little cutie, Kashiwagi’s friends all end up getting creatures of their own, and they all start getting together to discuss how to look after their otherwordly friends.
This show, is so so so so so so so so so so cute, it’s so Kawai that you could die from whimsy injury, or be sent to the hospital with a heart melted grin. If that’s not your cup of tea, then this show isn’t for you, because the adorability is layered thick in every episode. It’s very much a slice of life formula, with the focus on high school teens bonding with each other and their sweet tiny critters, while also dealing with everyday problems.
Although, the stakes are sometimes raised from time to time, like in one episode, a mandrake escapes from Kashiwagi’s garden, and threatens to kill the townsfolk with it’s dangerously loud scream. However, for the most part, it employs a relaxing tone, relying on the charm of these cute little monsters to keep audiences smiling, and I liked that it didn’t suddenly become a cliche “We must protect these creatures from the suspicious authorities!” kind of story à la Spielberg’s E.T.
Saying that though, the show does end up having a climax that steers the tone from zero to eleven out of nowhere, throwing a villain into the mix who poses a hazard to little Mii-kun, and forcing Kashiwagi to take action. I’ll admit that this sudden shift in mood was the only part where the show lost me, as it took away the initial charm of the anime, and ended up becoming forced melodrama to compensate for the lack of high tension. Slice of life is at it’s best when it affectionately embraces it’s laid back mundanity, never forgetting what it’s appeal is, and loses that spirit when it attempts to escalate things into something over-theatrical.
Anyway, the creatures are the biggest part of the show, the heart of it even, being treated as a fine line between babies and pets. I really like how each monster ranges in personality, varying in maturity, bravery, or intelligence in differing ways, because it not only makes their interactions together unique, but also creates a diversity of creature x human relationships. I also like how the show has to be visually inventive when making the creatures communicate, because they can’t directly talk, cleverly relying on gestures or notes to send signs to humans, or providing humorous subtitles for the audience. Sure students do freak out or get annoyed when they first meet their little monsters, but with Kashiwagi’s help, they learn to see how friendly and loving their new family members are.
Kashiwagi makes for a really likable protagonist! He’s immensely empathetic to those around him (even if they pose a threat), has so much love to give out, is full of helpful folklore knowledge, and isn’t ashamed to show his more feminine side. Although, the series doesn’t portray him as some messiah, he can show anger sometimes, and one episode addresses how his selflessness can frighten his friends, because he takes his willingness to sacrifice himself too far. I loved this guy! I respected how shameless he is about being a big softie, adored how caring he could be to little Mii-kun, and it’s this love that brings out his more brave moments.
Kashiwagi and Mii-kun grow a very heartwarming bond together, with Mii-kun always being eager to help out around the house despite his size, and Kashiwagi demonstrating some impressive maturity as a young parental figure. Little Mii-kun clearly adores Kashiwagi, worrying about him if he gets sick, or showing affection for him through his own personal ways, and I couldn’t help but smile widely at this tiny mummy’s ability to express love to a human.
Kashiwagi’s close friendship with his childhood pal Tazuki, who gets a child Oni called Conny, is a strong point of the show too, because it’s this whole pet creatures situation that pushes them to confront their internalized feelings, and brings out the sweeter side of the hard nosed tsundere Tazuki. The two of them have a lot of endearing love for eachother as friends, and even though he’s often very cold (and sometimes a little dark), Tazuki does clearly think the world of his best friend; to the point where he’s VERY protective of the guy.
Motegi and Daichi are the two other high school students who get their own creatures, being much more sweeter to their pets than Tazuku is to Conny. Motegi is delightfully upbeat, adding to the cuteness of the show, while Daichi starts off as a conflicted boy who is being haunted by bad dreams, but Kashiwagi helps him loosen up, and he turns out to be one of the more emotionally fragile human characters. I feel as if these two bubbly characters are a perfect addition, as it would have been a difficult show to watch, if the stone faced Tazuki was the only member of Kashiwagi’s new creature care club.
There’s also a fantastic assortment of supporting enchanting characters, from a motherly goddess who turns her temple into a daycare for the creatures, to a neurotic and easily excitable Anubis statue, who I loved so much, that I wish he was introduced sooner. These characters add a little extra something to the show, expanding the gallery of supernatural cast members and giving the students people to turn to as new carers. But luckily, one other human DOES know about what’s going on, Kashiwagi’s giddy but kind aunt, who acts hilariously nonchalantly about these creatures, and it’s this calmness that makes her a gentle presence in the show.
I do think the show suffers from some iffy world building though, as it rarely goes to much length to develop the public’s relationship with these folklore creatures, sometimes portraying it as the norm, but other times our heroes fear what’ll happen if people discovered their new fantastical friends’ existences. It’s a tad confusing, raising questions about how this world works, and making us ponder about the bigger picture. It didn’t bother me too much, but I saw folks in episodes’ comment sections on Crunchyroll getting worked up, performing mind gymnastics about this show’s universe.
To Conclude, How to Keep a Mummy is an adorable show! It has a lovely likable characters, the supernatural elements are fun, and the creatures themselves are too cute for words. I’ll admit that it can sometimes shift it’s tone drastically out of nowhere, and struggles to build a coherent setting, but I still enjoyed watching it each day lately! If you like the slice of life filler episodes of Pokemon, where they stop for a food break or chill, then this is the anime for you.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH IT ON CRUNCHYROLL
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