A Bunch of Weirdos till the End!
It’s been a damn good year for comedy anime.
Gugure! Kokkuri-san was one of those shows that flew under many radars, but was enjoyed and appreciated by almost all who were watching it – or so it seemed, having me spend the past few months wondering if I had missed out on something big here. With that in mind I decided to marathon it all in time for this finale, and I’m glad I did. By no means was it groundbreaking or anything that new, but it was a damn solid show that knew what it was doing, and wasn’t afraid to make some out-there jokes along the way.
Considering how many hilarious anime we’ve been fortunate to have this year, this one doesn’t quite reach the top of the list for me. I probably only laughed out loud about six, maybe seven times during the entire run, which isn’t ideal, but then again a lot of the gags just didn’t do it for me. But don’t let that sway how funny you may find it to be – comedy is subjective as hell. What may seem side-splitting to one may just fly over the head of another.
If there is one aspect that I felt Kokkuri-san excelled, it would be in its production – especially the directing. It’s simple, sleek, and effective. The visuals by TMS Entertainment were crisp and colourful, the eye-catches provided great transitions, and the delivery in the jokes (even if I didn’t laugh for most of them) was always on point. For that, I give it credit.
My reason for not enjoying the comedy comes down to something very simple: the characters. If I had to sum the cast up in a word, it would be iffy. They were a collection of hits and misses for me, and for the most part the misses got more focus than I would have liked. The two obvious exceptions to that are Kokkuri and Kohina. I wasn’t sure about Kokkuri when he was first introduced, but he quickly grew on me. His doting nature, his love for housework, and his relationship with Kohina all made him a great one to watch. Kohina, though, was the star of the show. That little girl was straight up hilarious at times, sympathetic when it mattered, and was the anchor for the series as a whole. Her doll-act, her ridiculous smile, and her love for cup noodles were three recurring gags that never fell flat, and for that I’m grateful. It’s nice to see such a young main character carry a show as well as she does.
But for all the good, there is bad. Or this in this case, creepy. Nearly every recurring character was a bit of a freak, unlikeable and occasionally charming at the same time, but simply too overbearing for me. Inugami is perfect example. I just never got him, never enjoyed his disturbingly over-the-top love for Kohina, and was genuinely glad whenever he was absent from an episode. The doll-collecting Tama never did it for me either, less because of her creepiness and more because I simply never found her character that funny. And then Tengu – probably the most unsettling of all. You could call it bold to have a character like him included, but I’d call it offensive, and done in poor taste.
Out of the supporting cast, Shigaraki and Yamamoto-kun were the most entertaining for me. Shigaraki was certainly the most believable in his scummy ways, and had some really endearing qualities to him – the scene at the orphanage really proved his character’s worth. Yamamoto-kun was… well… an alien. It was the most random thing ever, and yet the funniest part of the whole series. I only wish we saw more of him, because most of my laughs came from him.
Whilst I found some of the characters and their jokes to be crude and lacking in taste, I was never disappointed when things occasionally went serious. There were moments throughout when the mood shifted – whether it was Jimeko replacing the flowers in Kohina’s vase every day, Shigaraki’s monthly donations to the orphanage, Kureha waiting under the maple tree for her love to return, or Kokkuri helping the a deceased father move on, all those moments were spot on. I would have been happy to have gotten more of them instead of say… Inugami and his obsessive tendencies, or having Tengu even existing.
As a whole though, Gugure! Kokkuri-san was a comedy worth a watch. I wouldn’t consider it the best of the year, but that says just as much about its competition as it does about its own merits. This was incredibly easy to marathon, but I imagine it was also a fun watch from those who tuned in every week to see what mischief these weirdos would get up to next.