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Konohana Kitan – Pure Bathing Culture


Just in time to enjoy Toshikoshi Soba for the New Year

Konohana Kitan was one of this season’s cozier slice-of-life anime as a comforting alternative to the zanier fare this season with emphasis on character development, tasteful yuri, and the mysticism of Japanese folklore. Yes, the fox-girls are incredibly cute in looks and personality as they interact with supernatural entities, but they are also nuanced characters with motivations and interests beyond working with each other at the inn. Yuzu is the glue that holds everyone together as the protagonist who aims to keep everyone united and energized when the going goes rough. Her positivity is an influence on the rest of her co-workers and the inn’s guests as they look up to her despite the deep respect she has for them as her superiors.

Satsuki, my personal favorite, is a no-nonsense employee who takes her work seriously, and expects her colleagues to do the same. But over time, we see insight into her vulnerabilities as she has to content with the expectations of having to fill in the shoes of her highly talented sister as a prospective miko. The gradual warmth she has towards Yuzu is something that slowly builds, and you get a sense that Satsuki’s feelings about her are strong despite not wanting to be outwardly about her emotional state.

Although Satsuki is too shy to express her fondness for Yuzu, the most heart-felt relationship is through Natsume and Ren. Ren, a perfectionist with high pride, has a not-so-secret crush on Natsume, her childhood friend whose tomboyish looks and personality won her over. Natsume initially acts oblivious to Ren’s affection, but over time, we learn that Natsume is observant of her and wants to spend more time with her. Sakura and Kiri don’t get as much attention, but Kiri as an older mentor figure for the girls is another great character on the show.

Within the last two episodes, we learned about a character I’ve been wanting to know about the most; Okami. At first, we see her as the stern yet caring inn-keeper who resembles an actual fox. By the end, however, we see that there is more to her when she appears in Episode 11 with her make-up (looking like an actual person) visiting her sisters and in Episode 12 as a young girl that Yuzu visits in the past. Okami’s past visit from Yuzu turns out to be what inspires her to go from answering New Years wishes to starting the very inn that Yuzu ends up being a part of. We’re even able to see the person who runs the inn as a full-fledged character who enjoys company and hospitality as much as Yuzu and her fellow employees.

But Konohana Kitan‘s depth isn’t only with the main group as the guests and spirits that come to visit the inn are also given deep, personal stories that are resolved beautifully through reflection and introspection. Episodes such as “Spring Journey” and “The Transient Guest” soar above and beyond as stories that are visually captivating and thought-provoking. They are only some examples, but they are indicative of how much love the series puts into the artwork, visuals, and storytelling. For a cozy anime that has the charm of a slice-of-life set in the hot springs and the captivating lore and feel of Natsume Yuujinchou, then I couldn’t think of a better way to cool off than with Konohana Kitan. I’m excited for what the future of this series holds, and would be happy to check out the manga.

End Card:

December 20, 2017 at 1:03 pm
12 comments »
  • December 20, 2017 at 4:34 pmKarmafan

    I loved this series and looked forward to it each week. Was a throwback to earlier times in anime.

  • December 20, 2017 at 9:58 pmArche

    I went in expecting a straight-up slice-of-life given I had originally mistaken this for a series of yuri doujins involving fox girls. Getting nice, weekly character-driven stories was a welcomed twist

  • December 21, 2017 at 2:18 ammaximus459

    I had initially written this series off, it seemed too cutesy moe moe…
    But I’m so glad curiosity got the better of me and proved me wrong!
    This was one of the more endearing and warmer series I’ve seen in quite a while..
    …and probably the only one I consistently watched as soon as it became available.
    …and genuinely laughed out lout in places!

  • December 21, 2017 at 2:22 ammaximus459

    Also.. yeah… Satsuki’s my favourite… Taking your work seriously, and expecting colleagues to do the same is something I can soo identify with…

    ….too bad it doesn’t always work out as expected….

  • December 21, 2017 at 3:19 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    This and Blend S are, out of the series I’ve seen anyway, the most adorable series’ of the season, but in terms of complete and utter diabetes and feels, this wins hands down.

    Satsuki was also my favorite, but I wish there was more Kiri too.

    As I mentioned in the first episode blog, this is what happens when Hanasaku Iroha and Urara Meirochou mate, lol.

  • December 21, 2017 at 4:00 amdnangel

    After a hard day of work you come home, check this show and you feel relaxed. I loved the show, it has a cheerful, adorable and good character development. Nothing complex just simple slice of life storyline. Its a show im really gonna miss, hopes up for a season 2 (original or manga).

  • December 21, 2017 at 5:15 pmPuffles

    This was a really nice series. Each episode had something to say, it was great to look at too. It reminded me of Aria in that it mixed SoL with character stories and a bit of magic, all in a relaxed old-fashioned setting. Like some other commenters I also dismissed this show at first, but I’m very glad I picked it up. Easily in my top 5 for this season, and probably in the top 3.

  • December 21, 2017 at 10:52 pmHikarub

    I wasn’t really expecting much from this series in the beginning, but I’m glad I stuck with this til the end. The relationship with each character made this a special show to watch. Each episode was interesting and made me laugh and tear up at the same time. I wouldn’t mind another season of Yuzu and her friends at Konohana Kitan.

  • December 22, 2017 at 11:08 amRenaSayers

    I was kind of surprised that after putting on makeup Okami appeared with a human face. I guess this is what children mean by Mommy is putting her face on…at least that’s what I said whenever my mum put makeup on. But does this mean that without makeup Okami is just scruffy looking or just an old hag? All with a conscience (Okami) will eventually go through this pensive response, when things have been lively a generation ago like previous generations prior, it’s natural to feel a sense of loneliness or not being whole; when all event’s have been toned down. Hindsight being 20/20 one really shouldn’t take the present for granted when it’s all over it’s over?

    I don’t question that Yuzu play an important part in the Inn and in this Anime, with labor and screwing up (for entertainment of course), but I feel the crew could have gotten a long fine or resolved the issues without Yuzu’s appearance. Instead I think Yuzu’s joining the Inn was an enlightenment Yuzu feels wanted, Yuzu feels needed. Those that she interact with gave her a purpose in life.

    What an overachiever Satsuki is, and too a fault at times. I found this part of the purple hair fox girl really hard to digest because of this I do feel Yuzu is Satsuki’s better half in their relationship…actually Yuzu is the better half of all the fox girls except for Natsume, she amuses me.

    I haven’t figured out Sakura yet, I guess she is the comic relief in the anime? The one who begins the misery for both Satsuki & Okiku then the circumstances end with a light hearted resolution? The most aloof character I have ever met—almost.

    • December 22, 2017 at 2:02 pmPuffles

      I think Sakura is often used for comic relief like you say. She also she offsets Yuzu and makes it so Yuzu isn’t the youngest one at the inn, which I think helps give Yuzu a bit more weight as a character. There were a couple of stories involving Sakura that had a lot of childlike charm to them, like the one in the first episode’s second half, and the one later on with the warrior god.

  • December 24, 2017 at 12:15 amRifuloftheWest

    So glad I wasn’t the only one that enjoyed this show. For me each episode seem to always provide a warm and fuzzy feeling. Yuzu’s earnest demeanor never failed to bring a smile to my face. And all the other characters each had their own charm – Satsuki for best girl!

    The last two episodes of the series were a treat. Especially, the final one with the backstory of Okami-san. I absolutely loved the fantastical elements in the telling of Yuzu’s inadvertent time travel and indirect influence on Okami-san’s future.