When I realised that this was going to be a hot springs episode of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki, "Oh God no, please anything but that!" was my instant natural response - Surely nothing good will come from mixing the clichéd hot springs scenario favoured by so much anime with a rather hit-and-miss series that tries a little too hard to be crazy sometimes?
Well, I have to confess - I was wrong. This episode was, by all accounts, really quite good, and managed to get more laughs out of me than any episode of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki since goodness knows when. The antics of the Midarazeki family themselves were worth the price of admission in their own right, from a drunk Kyouka and Gekka through to some brazenly hilarious discussion of breasts, and the addition to the episode of a 'klutz devil' Hell-bent (do you see what I did there?) on collecting a soul from someone who she believed was guaranteed to die at the hot springs that night actually added a little to the episode rather than distracting from it.
Away from the fun aspects of the episode, we also got yet more "Awww, they're a family" posturing, which was by far outgunned by the reintroduction of Kiriko from earlier in the series to the story. Her relationship with Hyouka is probably the sweetest depiction of blossoming love between a simple girl and a biological weapon. Okay, so it's also the only depiction in anime of said relationship, but it works and I like them both so be quiet.
While it's actually been quite painful to watch episodes of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki of late, it's a bit of a relief to be able to sit down and actually enjoy an episode for once. Sure, it isn't blazing new trails, and once again it occasionally tried too hard to be zany, but overall this episode got the balance of storyline, gags and family love just about right, making it one of the better episodes of this series when it comes to living up to the potential that the show has occasionally promised.