(Hi friends! My daughter, MiniPrimes, has had this prepared for quite a while, and it’s my fault it hasn’t gotten posted until now. How to Keep a Mummy was a sweet show from the Spring 2018 season, one which my family and I very much enjoyed watching together.)
Along with A Place Further than the Universe, How to Keep a Mummy ranked in my top favorites of that season. Like Ancient Magus’ Bride, it did something I consider very difficult: an interesting and realistic uptake on fairy-tale creatures—in this case, a mummy, oni, dragon, and baku. What’s also new is that unlike in most fairy tales, these creatures can’t talk. And consequently are often misunderstood if they try to communicate with someone who is familiar with oni, mummies, etc. And if they try to communicate with each other, it’s even worse because with humans at least one party can talk, which they can understand if not imitate. (Grown-up oni, however, can talk, unlike most.)
One funny ongoing theme is Sora-kun’s father, who’s always sending him creepy (and also dangerous) presents, like the doll that tries to kill him and the like. Most of these threatening oddities Sora-kun keeps locked up in a special room, with the exception of a beet-like creature whose scream knocks you out in five second and if you keep listening to it you die. This Sora-kun’s Aunt Kaede-san keeps buried in her bedroom most of the time but uses an automatic system of ropes and pullies to pull it out at a certain time each morning, thus functioning as an alarm clock. Of course, as Sora-kun’s friend comments, “One wrong move and it’s eternal slumber for her”; but apparently Kaede-san feels it’s worth the risk as long as she wakes up on time.
There’s also Kaede-san’s personality change when she puts on glasses, which to me seems remarkably like a smaller version of Sora’s mental image of the mummy (namely a cute mummified girl with long golden hair who tries to squeeze him to death).
How to Keep a Mummy also does a relatively good description of mental illness with Daichi or whatever his name is. Daichi is constantly trouble by nightmares and because he can’t get enough rest is always falling asleep at school. This leads to complicated issues like him trying to punch classmates when he’s half asleep. Consequently he gets banned from the nurse’s office, which to me seems unfair considering he probably needs the care more than most students. Sora-kun one day brings him a band-aid and makes friends with him. When Daichi describes his problem, Sora-kun discovers Daichi has too many charms in his house, including one that wards off baku, a creature that eats your dreams. That night, after Sora cleans out the house, a baku does come, which he describes as “fua fua,” fluffy and pillowy. The effect is comical, however, since the Japanese pronounce ‘f’ without touching the teeth and mouth.
The story starts out as fun and cheery but deeply emotional, though with a remote but present shadowy background. This background becomes more present as the story continues but so gradually that only the last episodes have fighting, and not a lot either. Like A Place Further than the Universe, it depends on more realistic and natural tension. The difference, however, is that How to Keep a Mummy keeps that tension using multiple mystical and unrealistic creatures woven into the story. The effect is beautiful and fresh. (In fact, I can’t think of any tropes to mention.)
Unlike A Place Further than the University, I don’t know how popular it is; so I would like to know how many of you have watched it and if so whether or not you liked it.
Thanks for reading! If you want to support Curiously Dead Cat and your favorite anime shows, please consider purchasing schwag like this adorable plush of Mii-kun’s dragon friend through Amazon. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)