OP: 「今日に恋色」 (Kyō ni Koiro) by May’n
「いなり、初恋、初変化(へんげ)。」 (Inari, Hatsukoi, Hatsu Henka [Hen-ge].)
“Inari, First Love, First Change (Transformation).”
That was a pleasant premiere.
Once every so often, you stumble on the rare anime adaptation that actually improves upon the source material a little. Inari, Konkon is such a series, though not for any immediate or monumental reasoning. What the show does for the series is inject a little bit of atmosphere and style into the premise, and a little embellishing in this case goes a long way. Make no mistake, however; I enjoy Inari, Konkon the manga just fine, but there’s something about the music, the direction, and even the rather beautiful art that just make this so much more charming once its come to life.
That being said, don’t go into Inari expecting this much-spoken-of “saviour of anime”, or something gripping and high-brow. This is a good little show so far, that’s true, but it isn’t unique or particularly different from other offerings in its family. Chances are you’ve seen every trope in the book by the halfway point, and you can probably name a few siblings it reminds you of in seconds. But that isn’t really the point when it comes to shows like Inari, Konkon; it’s not about how new or interesting the premise is, but how much entertainment you get out of the tried-and-true ideas, and how invested you become in the world and characters. Everyone is attracted to certain general premises depending on individual taste, and Inari is definitely in the “mystical fantasy” and “shrine anime” categories, with a little comedy here and there. Think series like last season’s Gingitsune, though not quite as profound, and you’re definitely in the right area.
The story revolves around Fushimi Inari (Ohzora Naomi), a fairly stereotypically clumsy and shy girl who holds a secret crush for her classmate, Tanbabashi Kouji (Okamoto Hiroshi). Unfortunately, Inari accidentally pants Tanbabashi in public one day (c’mon, you’re in middle school; I’m sure she’s seen plenty of “junk” drawn all over the school property, and she only even saw his butt in underwear anyway… everybody has a butt, Tanbabashi), angering him and leading to Inari accidentally witnessing his confession to Sumizome Akemi (Minase Inori), the prettiest and most popular girl in school. In return for saving her familiar, however, the goddess Ukanomitama-no-kami (Kuwashima Houko) grants Inari one wish, through which Inari eventually gains a little of the goddess’s power for shapeshifting.
What makes the story pleasant isn’t necessarily the premise so much as the atmosphere. It isn’t the most beautiful show ever produced, nor is it likely going to be the best thing (it’s only ten episodes, that’s rarely enough time for anything), but it’s charming, it’s character driven, and it’s cute in an almost playful way. Should the material stick to the manga, the character driven portions should be a treat, especially when it comes to relationships. It may not be a surprise hit of the season, but I definitely recommend Inari, Konkon for anyone who likes the sound of any of this, and for those that enjoy atmospheric series.
There are no immediate plans to cover Inari, Konkon on a weekly basis. Check back on the schedule over the week for any potential changes.
ED: 「SAVED.」 by 坂本 真綾 (Sakamoto Maya)