Wow, what an episode! We had two really in-depth, detailed issues in this episode. Topics I honestly never expected to cover in a cutesy isekai.

The first half of the episode presents the return of Elaine. Her father, Casty, has asked to speak with Reiji because after a mixed-up-underwear situation (one of her lacy pairs of panties got mixed in with her father’s laundry), Elaine has started to reject her father and he’s rather hurt by this sudden change in her behavior. Why now?

Reiji explains that Elaine is at about the age when she’s starting puberty, and there is often an opposite-gender rejection from the child around that age. Elaine’s trigger seems both to be the underwear incident and her father’s very musky scent.

Reiji gets the idea to create a more neutral scented soap for Casty to use in the hope that a gentler scent might not create such “division” in Elaine’s mind. In essence, the goal is to get Elaine to still see her father as her father and not as a man.

Casty agrees to try the new soap immediately, but he goes one step further and shaves off all his facial hair so that he looks like a much younger man! It’s a good effort but with his very jubilant energy and determination to get Elaine to “love him again,” he might have gone a bit too far. >_>;;

Elaine shows up after her father’s big reveal and, as Reiji predicted (due to Casty’s very dramatic change in appearance), turns to Reiji instead of her father. Reiji tries to get Elaine to act along with his plan, which is to be the “bad guy” in an effort to turn her back towards her father. Head over heels in her crush with Reiji, Elaine refuses to play along and tells Reiji that they might have to elope if Casty doesn’t approve of their relationship. ^^;;

At the end of the day however, it’s Casty’s big emotional speech to Elaine about how much he loves her and she’ll always be her daughter that pushes Elaine back into her father’s arms for a hug. And it turns out that the gentle scent Reiji infused into his soap is the scent Elaine uses as her perfume. Whether this was intentional or not, I’m not sure, but it’s a familiar scent for Elaine so the chances of her outright rejected her father’s presence is much lower now.

I thought that this was a neat lesson to inject into Cheat Kusushi no Slow Life, and it definitely wasn’t one I was expecting. Highlighting Elaine’s relationship with her father also fleshes out her character more and changes her from being a bratty girl eager to fall in love into a young girl who’s about to hit puberty and see more of the world, and as she grows up she’s bound to hit a few road bumps along the way.

But speaking of topics I wasn’t expecting this anime to cover, the second half hit me like a goddamn truck out of nowhere. (Trigger warning for those who’ve lost a loved one or who have a rough time handling grief.)

So in the second half of the episode, Mina is sick with a cold. She’s a ghost so it’s unusual for her to get sick, but it does happen on occasion. We don’t know how old Mina is, but she’s older than Elaine so I’d guess somewhere around 14-16, while I’d put Elaine around 10-11.

This episode gave us a bit more info about Mina’s backstory. We learned that her mother was the one to take care of her, and Mina has always suspected that her mother was resentful of her for not getting better. Mina divulges to Reiji that she ultimately died from an illness and that her death had occurred more than 100 years in the past (so her family has all passed away by now).

Reiji asks Gallow to go find some exotic ingredients for a recipe has in mind. While the kid is gone, Reiji and Noela go into the basement of the pharmacy, Mina’s family’s former house, to try to find something belonging to Mina’s family. In a drawer with some knitting supplies, Reiji finds Mina’s mother’s journal. However the writing is really faded.

After Gallow returns with the ingredients (and gets rejected for a tail petting from Noela), Reiji puts together a revival potion for Mina. His idea is to put the medicine on the journal and doing so will “revive” the spirit of Mina’s mother. The goal is to give Mina some closure over her death and her relationship with her mother.

The potion works and initially the spirit of Mina’s mother plays right into Mina’s fears. Mina is angry and upset that her mother’s words seem to initially blame her for not getting better. Her mother also mentions that Mina’s father provides no support for the care of his sick daughter, so Mina’s mother feels guilty and likely very overwhelmed and burdened by trying to care for her dying daughter.

But the scene takes a turn into Tearjerk Alley when Mina’s mother’s final words speak to the love she has for her daughter, and that she is sad Mina passed away so young before she had a chance to experience her life. Mina’s mother says that she was glad she had Mina as her daughter, words Mina initially rejects but slowly comes to accept by the time the potion wears off.

The symbolism of Mina’s family’s brooch also comes into play, but this scene is very emotional so if you feel up for it, I highly recommend watching this episode instead of me spoiling it for you.

I won’t go into detail about my own life, but suffice to say that I’m someone who doesn’t handle grief well. I don’t usually expect to have to confront it in anime, especially a fluffy title like Cheat Kusushi no Slow Life, and oh man did I need tissues for this scene.

No parent should have to lose a child. Children “expect” to lose their parents and their grandparents eventually as they get older, but no parent expects to birth a child and then watch them die before they themselves go. It’s a heartbreaking situation and Mina’s mother no doubt went through hell watching Mina get sicker and sicker, knowing their family had no more money for medicine and that Mina was going to eventually die so young.

To reflect the mood of this half of the episode, the “Closing Time” segment at the episode instead has Mina step outside to look at the stars. Instead of our main trio thanking the viewer for “visiting,” Mina quietly says, “Thank you. See you later.”

There was a small subplot going on in the background about Reiji making a “substitute Noela doll” for Gallow to go ga-ga over instead of the real Noela (since she still doesn’t like him), but thankfully both the doll and Gallow took a backseat to this dramatic episode.

I think both the topics of growing up and grief were handled brilliantly in this episode, and it’s now officially one of my favourite episodes so far.

It looks like we’re going to meet a new character next week, the last of the cast I think. I wonder which direction this series will go in for its last few episodes!