Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anime — Wagaya no Oinari-sama

Our Home's Fox Deity was one of the surprises of the spring season. The first episode, which introduces the main characters -- two brothers (Tooru and Noboru Takagami), the fox spirit that their family had sealed away (Kuugen Tenko), and Kou, the guardian priestess of the clan -- is all SERIOUS BUSINESS, with plenty of archaic and technical (for the purposes of magic) Japanese, until it at the close, when it looks like it's going to become a magical girlfriend series.

Next episode changes the mood again -- we meet the local deity where the Takagamis, and their new guests, live, and he's the manager of the local 7-11 equivalent. And so it goes -- while the original motivation, that Tooru is at risk from spectres, powers a few fight scenes over the first third of the series, that quite soon fades into the background. What becomes important is that with such houseguests, all the local supernatural goings on start to leak, in a comedic fashion, into their lives -- a neighbouring kami has lost an item of power, the recovery of which intrudes into their lives, as do a homeless family of fox-spirits, the local church run by oni, a werewolf, and the celestial agents trying to keep life tidy for everyone.

Meanwhile Kou and Kuu, both unfamiliar with modern life, provide a constant source of broad comedy -- and the appearance of rivals for Noboru's affections in the eyes of the girl who really fancies him. And in this way, 24 episodes pass, with each little episode tidied up, but no conclusion yet in sight.

I had been prepared to drop the series after a couple of episodes, when it hadn't properly gelled, but Karen was attracted to the whimsical style, so we kept on watching -- and I'm glad to have gotten over that initial hump. So, not a classic of the ages -- just something fun that doesn't take itself too seriously, and makes effective use of the creatures of Japanese folklore dragged into the modern mundane world of tight household budgets.

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