Sleepin’ in your bed
Sometimes, what you expect from an anime is comfort, familiarity, and, above all else, gratification. These are qualities that Yuragi-sou takes with full stride as its lovable supernatural cast comes together for a harem anime that is entertaining, charming, and seductive, as it should be.
Harem protagonists that don’t have abhorrent or milquetoast personalities are a rarity as our dime a dozen protags tend to indulge in their worst qualities. However, Fuyuzora Kogarashi was a surprising breath of fresh air for the genre with how honorable yet unfortunate he was throughout the season. As a young monk who turned out to be a prodigy after spending his childhood without a home and haunted by the ability to see the supernatural, he is far more humble than the rest as he takes conflicts he faces with stride. Because he follows the contemporary trend of being a one-track minded harem protag who is only focused on one girl and just so happens to attract many of those around him, it gives him leeway to be tolerable in the sense that he isn’t shackled by unbridled lust nor is he physically unable to have a normal conversation with the girls around him. In fact, he has as many humorous moments as the rest of the cast with his timing in some scenarios such as his one-sided fights with characters who seem overpowered until they have to fight the guy who can exorcise ghosts with his fists. He still gets embarrassed easily and gets punished quickly for stumbling into perverted situations out of his control, but it wouldn’t be a harem without tropes like that.
The Yuragi Inn is presented as a delight to be in as soon as its inhabitants are introduced, and with good reason because the girls of this series are peculiar, cheerful, and alluring. Yunohara Yuuna is absolutely adorable as a timid and concerning spirit who makes a solid argument for Kogarashi to fight for her and fall for her with how much value she places on his kindness and understanding. Ameno Sagiri is another stand-out as a tough, no-nonsense kunoichi who finds herself caught off-guard by her budding feelings for Kogarashi. It’s always a pleasure to hear Takahashi Rie in a role where she’s playing a character with a serious personality, so she’s able to blend in nicely with her role as Sagiri, capturing both her anger and bashfulness with perfection. As an outsider to the Yuragi Inn, Kogarashi’s classmate Miyazaki Chisaki adds a down-to-earth feel to the girls as she befriends Kogarashi upon receiving his assistance for supernatural issues on her end while becoming a formidable yet sensible love rival.
Although the anime tends to focus on these three over time with the most predominant amount of screen time, they still give the other girls in the cast ample time to shine through. Arahabaki Nonko has a lively arc as a well-endowed oni who values her manga authorship, a hard drink, and ample skinship. Koyuzu Shigaraki is an adorable tanuki youkai with crafty shape-shifting abilities and a cute attachment to shipping Kogarashi and Yuuna together. The zashiki-warashi innkeeper Nakai Chitose is similarly endearing for her cute looks as well as her position of authority as the master of the house. There isn’t as much attention given to catgirl Fushiguro Yaya, but her earlier appearances were amusing in how she would transform from cat to person at the drop of a dime. Shintou Oboro is the newest girl, but still leaves a strong impression with how adorable her stoic and frank demeanor comes off when she is trying to charm Kogarashi into giving her a child.
The narrative of Yuragi-sou is relatively episodic as it focuses on Kogarashi’s growing relationship with the Inn’s inhabitants and his fellow students. Although most of the episodes involve hanging out together or an issue outside of hunting the occult, there are some brief arcs that are always welcome onboard such as fighting Genshiro or the beachside school trip. In its harem trappings, it takes form as somewhat of a comfort anime based on how easygoing and bright the atmosphere is, as well as the older trends that the series embraces. With aspects that harken back to harem anime of the yesteryears such as conveniently inconvenient tripping, the traditional Japanese inn setting, and the punishment Kogarashi is dealt for misunderstandings of perversion, it feels like home for viewers who grew up on similar stories like Tenchi Muyo or Love Hina. And with enough fanservice, curves, nude sleeping, and face-sitting, it contemporizes these old conventions to create a racy ecchi that is also fun.
It might not have as much generosity as the manga and OVA’s did as far as its massive quantities of fanservice and censor-free material, the TV adaptation of Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san is still an appealing show that brings out the best of both classic and modern harem anime/manga. It’s certainly a series that I would look out for with great interest as it would be an entertaining anime to see continue on through the manga or an OVA series that could do justice to the fanservicey aspects of the series. They hint at deeper facets of Kogarashi and Yuuna in the last episode with an exploration of how his past changed his mindset about the occult and what her past might have been like when she was alive, but these are kernels of info that I could see being further emphasized in future installments.