After coming down with so-called "Edo disease" last episode, this fifth instalment of House of Five Leaves finds Masa recouperating on the outskirts of the city with the Elder who helps out the group from time to time - Not that this stops him taking an important role in proceedings, from a character progression viewpoint at least.
While we watch the rest of the Five Leaves take out their vengeance on a guy who tried it on with Ume's daughter, this draws us in to an opportunity to learn a little more about Ume himself - His past, his motivations, and of course the generous streak beneath that seemingly harsh exterior he carries around; an exterior that Masa seems keen to penetrate as he continues to show an interest in the various members of the Five Leaves despite still being torn as to whether to actually join their merry little band officially or not.
Perhaps it's just because it's a Sunday evening and my brain isn't quite switched on properly, but this particular episode of House of Five Leaves felt really quite disjointed. Although this instalment continued the show's admirable trend of growing its characters subtly and quietly without huge revelations or explanations, the down-side of such a technique is that things can become sedate to the point of actually being quite dull on occasion, and at times here even the supposedly more dramatic moments were at risk of toppling over and falling a little flat. I'm not asking for House of Five Leaves to suddenly become some samurai action show, but perhaps it needs a more concrete central thread running through it to give it a little more direction; something which it increasingly seems to be lacking at the moment for all of its more enjoyable quirks.