「お稲荷さま。初詣に行く」 (Oinari-sama. Hatsumoude ni Iku)
“Oinari-sama. Goes to the New Year Shrine Visit”
Episode at a Glance:
In preparation for welcoming in the new year, Noboru has everyone help clean the house, but is forced to do most of the work himself because of Kuugen and Kou. Outside, Gyokuyou notices Noboru ordering Kuugen around and isn’t happy about it, so he uses a fake advertisement about giving away sticky rice cakes (i.e. mochi) to lure Noboru and Tooru out. Noticing that they’re taking unusually long, Kuugen and Kou go out to investigate and find out that Ebisu never heard of a mochi festival taking place in Suzunose.
After stumbling upon the flyer and a trail of mud from Deima, Kuugen and Kou find Noboru and Tooru trapped inside a cave. Despite their attempts to free them, they’re unable to do so, so Kuugen attacks herself to draw Gyokuyou out. Claiming to make them suffer the same fate they put Kuugen through, Gyokuyou refuses to free them after seeing Kuugen forced to clean and ordered around. Amused, Kuugen figures that it’s fun in its own way, prompting Gyokuyou to ask if those were the fun memories she mentioned before. The two then get into a clash, with Gyokuyou questioning if Kuugen cares about humans more than him, before Kou douses them both with water to stop their fighting.
Gyokuyou then agrees to free them provided that Kuugen never come in contact with the Takagamis again. Otherwise, he claims he’ll continue hating them until he ends up killing them, and also suggests that they’re better off without her anyway with all the trouble she causes. Shocked to hear this, Kuugen agrees to his terms and tells him to leave Noboru and Tooru alone from now on, so Gyokuyou frees the two of them before taking off. After frantically searching for Kuugen to no avail, Noboru, Tooru, and Kou head to the Mizuchi household and find out that she’s returned here.
At Kuugen’s previously sealed cave, Noboru and Tooru try to convince her to return home, but she tells him that she’s sick of living with them and being ordered around when she’s free now. Hearing this, Tooru figures that Kuguen’s only saying this as part of her promise to Gyokuyou, whose feelings he claims to understand. However, Tooru says he wants to get along with Gyokuyou as well since he’s Kuugen’s family and asks her to return. With Kuugen not responding, Noboru tells her that they’ll wait in front of the shrine until she decides to return, regardless of how long it takes.
Outside, they find it’s a lot colder than expected, but Tatsuhiko comes by shortly after to check up on them. With Noboru and Tooru refusing to leave, Tatsuhiko offers to bring them some food, so Noboru asks him to bring other things as well. Cooking food outside, Noboru and Tooru attempt to lure Kuugen out, who questions how little they think of her. Their plan unexpectedly works though, with Kuugen taking all the food for himself, save one bowl for Tooru. Meanwhile, Kou notices Gyokuyou observing from the forest.
With everyone returning home, Haruki welcomes them back, after which they all head out for a New Years shrine visit. Being at Mubyou’s shrine, Kuugen is happy about not having to make a monetary offering to Ebisu. After paying their respects, everyone learns that Kou wished for everyone’s health and a bunch of other things that no one understands. Before long, Misaki and Noboru’s other friends arrive, the latter of which wonder if Noboru will realize Misaki’s feelings this year. Misaki on the other hand is pleased about being complimented on her kimono, but is shocked to hear Noboru say that it would’ve been nice if Kuugen and Kou wore kimonos as well. To make things worse for her, Momiji arrives and invites Tooru to meet her father, who’s finally come to see her, before giving him a marriage charm, which Noboru is clueless about. Mubyou then comes by, thanking them for coming to her shrine, making everyone wonder who this new woman is.
Back at the Takagami house, a bunch of their friends gather for a New Years hot pot meal. Kuugen then checks outside, figuring that Gyokuyou is around, and apologizes for breaking their promise. Showing herself, Gyokuyou says she still doesn’t quite understand why Kuugen protects those who sealed her away, but is slowly starting to realize that she’s having fun after being alone for so long. Figuring that might be the case, Kuugen invites Gyokuyou inside as well, saying she’s her family, and manages to convince her to wear a kimono too. Inside, Kuugen introduces Gyokuyou to everyone, who warmly welcome her. Gyokoyou is still a bit bothered about being called “Tama”, with Noboru even dropping the “-chan” suffix, but Kuugen tells everyone that Tama is fine. After which, they all enjoy a meal together, prompting Kuugen to declare that New Years is the best.
In lieu of a preview, I decided to add a video of the last bit of the episode, including the ending sequence because it’s so cute:
Overall, it was a relatively laid-back conclusion to the series, but I rather enjoyed it because it featured almost all the characters at some point, including both the male and female forms of Kuugen and Gyokuyou. As per the preview last time, the episode involved Gyokuyou’s detest for the Mizuchi family, so it wasn’t completely without any sort of conflict. In fact, I was a bit surprised at how well they quickly worked in Kuugen’s departure from the Takagami household.
Given the pacing, I thought they were going to conclude with Kuugen’s return (which I felt would’ve worked well), but was pleasantly surprised that they resolved it earlier, leaving time to wrap up the series with a New Years shrine visit and the subsequent New Years meal. I was happy to see them bring Gyokuyou around too, as that was one of the main “issues” in the series I wanted to see reach some sort of resolution. While there was no definite conclusion in the love rivalry between Misaki and Momiji, I’m a lot more fine with that one continuing on open-ended since it never really took off as more than a comedic sub-plot anyway. I think it would’ve felt strange if they didn’t go out with one of Misaki’s rampant imaginations too.
With that said, the finale wasn’t without its sentimental moments, so it did give us a little bit of everything. They used the slow remixed track of the opening song that I love so much during the scene where Noboru and Tooru tried to convince Kuugen to come home. Thanks to the mood that music set, I think I would’ve been moved pretty close to tears if Tooru started crying there. Likewise, I found it touching hearing Kuugen tell Gyokuyou that she’s her family and should take part in their New Years meal.
Wagaya no Oinari-sama started out as series that I didn’t quite know what to expect from. Sure I read the synopsis, but it was really more the cast than anything that drew me into the show in the first place. Namely, Yukana and Nakamura Yuuichi starring as Kuugen. Because of the lack of initial appeal, it’s understandable why most people would simply pass on this series. However, it surprisingly turned out to be a light-hearted show that’s easy to sit back and enjoy, so I’m quite glad I chose to keep watching it.
Production-wise, I didn’t have a complaint once, as the animation quality was pretty consistent throughout the entire 24 episodes (which really can’t be said about some of the more popular shows that have been airing at the same time). In addition, I really liked the music by Takanashi Yasuharu, who composed tracks for series such as Itazura na Kiss, Seto no Hanayome, and Naruto Shippuuden. One of my goals when I started blogging here was to shed some limelight on the less popular anime series out there, so I hope I was able to do that a bit with my coverage of Wagaya no Oinari-sama. In any case, thanks for reading!
– Tenko Kuugen (天狐 空幻) / Yukana (ゆかな)
– Tenko Kuugen (天狐 空幻) / Nakamura Yuuichi (中村 悠一)
– Kou (コウ) / Hayami Saori (早見 沙織)
– Takagami Noboru (高上 昇) / Mizushima Takahiro (水島 大宙)
– Takagami Tooru (高上 透) / Shimura Yuu (嶋村 侑)
– Sakura Misaki (佐倉 美咲) / Kano Yui (鹿野 優以)
– Miyabe Momiji (宮部 紅葉) / Itou Shizuka (伊藤 静)
– Ebisu (恵比寿) / Ono Daisuke (小野 大輔)
– Mubyou (六瓢) / Mizuhashi Kaori (水橋 かおり)
– Takagami Haruki (高上 春樹) / Miyamoto Mitsuru (宮本 充)
– Gyokuyou (玉耀) / Hatano Wataru (羽多野 渉)
– Gyokuyou (玉耀) / Takahashi Mikako (高橋 美佳子)
– Ogami-san (拝さん) / Yamaguchi Kappei (山口 勝平)
– Daigorou (大五郎) / Ishikawa Ayano (石川 綾乃)
– Bekira (汨羅) / Asano Masumi (浅野 真澄)
– Oobaba-sama (大ばば様) / Sadaoka Sayuri (定岡 小百合)
– Tatsuhiko (龍彦) / Furusawa Tooru (古澤 徹)
– Sugino (杉野) / Nakayama Masahiro (山中 真尋)
– Ootsuka (大塚) / Fujii Keisuke (藤井 啓輔)
– Teraoka (寺岡) / Nakano Daiki (中野 大樹)