When I think of how best to summarize Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou I think it’s like a student's passion project. Its heart is in the right place and it's trying its best to make the audience happy. Although it may be a bit on the amateurish side and it’s clumsily made, it’s so endearing in its struggle that you can’t help but cheer it along regardless.
It’s slice of life so there's no major overarching plot. In the first half of the show, the main character Inaba goes to the wonderful Youkai Apartment and we meet all of the fanciful inhabitants. Most episodes take place within the apartment, at Inaba’s high school, or in the town he lives in. From his new roommates, he learns that about the good and bad ghosts that inhabited his world all his life. This structure is used through most episodes of the first half of the show; Inaba encounters an evil ghost, exorcises it, then offers a life lesson to close off the chapter. Many of the lessons are what you’d expect to hear from parents or teachers, but they’re the kind of lessons anyone should be taught at least while they’re growing up. Some of the morals were; do right by others, respect your elders, always be polite when you’re a guest, so on and so forth.
While the lessons sometimes feel a bit forced into the show, they always do a great job of forming the main characters into role models as the is value in their words. Even if the characters come off a bit heavy-handed that’s part of their charm I suppose.
There are only minor side stories that compiled together take up most of the screen time in the later episodes. After one minor plot thread is resolved a new one appears. One pretty big disappointment with the story is that the supernatural element becomes little more than an afterthought during the second half of the show. I really started to wonder if that “Youkai” in the title was really justified at all given how infrequently it was utilized by the show. The whole second half of the show felt overall very unnecessary. While there’s still a lot to enjoy, focusing on the Inaba’s classmates was a mistake. It totally wasted the far more interesting residents of the Youkai Apartment.
Your enjoyment of this show depends on how much you like the characters. Some of them have enough charm and charisma to keep you entertained while their on screen, but others just blend together due to a lack of defining traits. Nothing much really happens to the characters after 26 episodes. Looking back on the experience, for all the life lessons they preach we learn very little about the cast and they don’t grow or change in ways to make them believable as people. Many of the residents of the Youkai were still being depicted as lead characters by the end, with close-ups and all, yet I couldn’t for the life of me remember their names or why they’re special enough to deserve individual screen time.
The animation isn't outstanding because there isn’t a whole lot of it. Thanks to solid directing, I was always able to understand what was occurring in scenes. The Yokai Apartment is well designed so you understand where scenes take place in reference to the room layout. Each character has a simple design, at first they may look generic but they’re given life through well-defined personalities and enough chances to show their varied expressions.
An upbeat opening prepares the viewer for an easygoing 20 minutes; the soundtrack that backs most scenes is really peppy and rhythmic. While it's not the most complex scores I’ve heard, it does a great job at setting the atmosphere and always feels appropriately used. Amateurish voice acting, hilarious engrish. The main character is in the Engrish Club so you better get used to hearing the actors struggle through their English lines (because it never gets better).
It's melodramatic at times, but its uplifting tone prevents the drama from becoming overwrought. Sometimes I found the long scenes (in the second half) of characters conversing boring because the topics wouldn’t interest me. Those conversations add very little to the characters so it was inevitable I would lose track of who’s who. Also, there’s a ton of fujobait in this show, not that I'm complaining, it actually made the whole thing way funnier and feel self-aware.
Overall Score: 5.6/10
Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou is a surprisingly lively ghost story that is content with its simplicity, occasionally it steps out of its comfort zone with varying degrees of success. Despite its flaws, it is uplifting enough to be watchable. I feel like I may have harped on it a bit too hard because it’s clearly not a show with a high budget. However, it is asking a lot of the audience to devout around 10 hours in total to it. 26 full-length episodes was definitely longer than it needed to be. I feel kind of bad for being so hard on the underdog, but even as when I went into it with underdog level expectations it’s still far from being great.