This is review number two hundred and fifty seven. This anime is part of the Fall 2013 lineup. For this lineup, I have set up a poll where the readers of this site can help me choose the anime I’ll review next. Last week, I reviewed the most voted show called Diabolik Lovers. I hate you all for voting it so high up. For this week, I’d be reviewing the least voted. Rather, the show no one voted for. There are actually a few of them but I’m going alphabetically here. I’ll be reviewing the most voted again next week so if you want your show reviewed, then click on the picture of that cute girl with the words “Review Poll” next to it and cast your vote.
The show I’ll be reviewing is called Gingitsune or Silver Fox. It’s a twelve episode anime about a girl and her fox friend. It’s actually a really surprisingly complex show and probably a big shocker of the lineup for me. It’s really good. Let’s read on.
The anime is about this girl named Makoto Saeki. She is a normal high school girl that has a priest for a dad. She lives in a shrine and she has this power called “the Sight”. It’s the ability to see a shrine’s herald. These are creatures that live in the shrine and they are the mediator between the humans and the gods these people worships. Anyways, this show is about Saeki’s normal everyday life. These are quiet days spent either with her school friends, doing busy work at the shrine, finding new wonderful things with her power and spending time with her shrine’s herald, a giant fox spirit named Gintarou.
Taking the Pants Off
So for the Fall 2013 lineup, I decided to give my readers a choice on what I review next. One week, it’d be the most voted. In the next, it’d be the least voted. I’m now reviewing a glorious anime that received no votes. It got a fabulous zero percent from my readers. This is why I created this little site. I wanted to give even the most insignificant anime a decent chance to state its case. Some anime have great content but it gets shoved to the sidelines going by unnoticed. Such was the case for this wonderful little gem called Gingitsune. Most anime gets zero attention and that’s really the nature of the beast. I just can’t believe something as great as this show got no heads turning. I guess the first episode wasn’t really that great and the initial premise was muddled all throughout the first half. It’s no surprise if people didn’t find the idea of a girl that can see a talking giant fox with an apathetic attitude not that promising. A lot of people missed the fact though that this show is one of those “healing anime”. I personally don’t use the term because it’s pretty unfamiliar to me and people kept telling me to try Aria to understand the powers of a healing anime. I’ll get to that show soon enough. It wasn’t until I watched Aria’s successor, Tamayura, where I got an idea of how healing anime works. I’ll go into that in detail soon enough. For now, the one thing you need to remember about this show is that it is non-episodic. It has the familiar setup of Natsume’s Book of Friends but with the laidback appeal of Kamichu. If you haven’t seen both show then don’t worry, let me help convince you to try this show out.
If you saw the first episode of this show then chances are that you aren’t impressed with it. It was a bit clunky and it ran way too long, to be honest. The show had this wonderful premise of a girl being able to see creatures yet it somehow focused on this little story about a lost cat. It felt like the show was wasting its potential and it comes at a bad time when you’re still feeling out what the show is actually about. I admit that I wasn’t truly impressed with the show when I first saw it. Something about it just doesn’t seem right. Maybe it’s the lame giant fox or the uninteresting girl but the show just don’t quite catch on. There was this idea at the back of my head though that the show will get better later on. I trusted my anime addict gut because it never let me down when it comes to shows with a slow start. I think the whole premise of the show starts to come together after the third episode. It’s a basic rule: never drop an anime after you’ve seen the first three episodes. It’s a rule I follow by heart. Anyways, the main appeal of the show is really about Saeki’s normal school life and her supernatural adventures with the giant fox as her sidekick. After the third episode, it’s also clear that there are no conflicts to be seen here. It’s not like that certain drama anime with a handsome lead that gets chased around by ghouls as he tries to return names that his grandmother took from supernatural creatures. No, the approach is different in Gingitsune. The show is predominantly slice of life with a twist of supernatural and it is very character driven. These are two traits a healing anime possesses.
I’m new to the term so forgive me if I’m off base. I can only judge on the things that I experienced while watching these shows. Healing anime has one purpose. It’s to create a calming atmosphere for the viewers to enjoy. It’s a haven to escape from and just enjoy a simple show about simple people. It has a high focus on visuals and the beauty of nature to set up the mood. The content is mostly about the simple things in life. In Tamayura, the story of a girl rediscovering herself and finding new found respect for her father, as the show emphasizes the beauty of capturing special moments, made for one amazing healing anime. It has a soothing effect that audience gravitates to and, as the stories relates deeply to everyday life, the audience also establishes a connection with the show. This was the case for Gingitsune as well. Despite the promising premise and the supernatural elements, things that hide beneath the folds are often the simplest of things. Stories about families, friends and that special someone makes up the show. As each episode focuses on different relationships, there was this really heartwarming and sentimental appeal to the show that gradually develops as you keep watching it. It’s personal, soothing and definitely an effective healing anime I urge everyone to see. I seriously watched this anime last Sunday and found myself halfway through the show without even realizing it. I had to stop myself though because I had to sleep early. As the show eventually starts to make sense and the premise takes form, I suddenly can’t stop watching it. It was a different show from the usual anime I encounter so I really just took my time with it. To be fair, this kind of show isn’t for everyone. There is no progressing plot and the pacing is a bit slow. It’s not for the impatient and the kind of people that enjoy exciting buildups in their anime. This show is the opposite. Its main purpose is to calm you down and you’ll just feel impatient with it if you’re not looking to slow down.
The anime has three plot points that all have different content but shares the same healing idea. The first plot point is about making friends. It’s a pretty vague plot point but the show often had a lot of episodes surrounding people becoming friends. The show actually opened with this despite dangling a giant fox in front of our faces. It started the anime with a story of how Saeki met her two close friends. The highlight of this plot point is about how two complete strangers can suddenly become friends. The shows setup a pretty relatable sequence to this plot point and I love how characters would open up to one another or how a serious event can just change people. As the show progresses, we also see more people gaining friends in the most ordinary of ways but often serving up an interesting side story to go along with it. Since the show is character driven, we also get to see interesting personalities interacting in an entertaining way. It’s not much of a plot point but it had the laidback appeal that made the show an effective healing anime.
The second plot point is about the supernatural elements of the show. This one is fairly big but it also doesn’t really consume the show. It’s just a significant part of it. This also had some of the most dramatic moments of the show. As you know, Saeki is special. She has the power to see heralds with this thing called the “sight”. No one else can see the heralds so it’s often a bit tough communicating with them. There are a lot of layers to the second plot point that I actually quite enjoy. I’ll call them subplots and just slowly dissect my way to the point. The first subplot is about the humans and their sight. For Saeki, her dad actually has no problem with her seeing supernatural monsters. He understands since his wife once had it and it was passed to his daughter after she died. It’s not always that way for most people with the Sight though. Some of them are mistreated and some of them are misunderstood. There was another character in the show that had the Sight and this person was distant, cold and silent. This person had a really rough childhood. This person was happily consoled by a loving person but once he died, this person just had a hard time growing up. The Sight is double edged for this person. This person was hated by people all around him but was fully embraced and taken care of by the herald that the loving person once saw. I’m trying not to spoil much here but there is this really sad aspect of the anime that I really enjoy. Even though the show really didn’t attempt to turn on the feels, it was still able to make the experience very well rounded.
The second subplot under this plot point is about the heralds and their interesting experience with humans. It’s a pretty easy concept to grasp. These heralds live for a long time. They still die but the humans often die first and they get to see time unfold in front of their eyes. There are interesting stories of how people change over time. The show also had this little story of how people used to worship a lot of gods but it soon dwindled and long forgotten with the heralds seeing their shrine losing visitors. It’s a bit sad and these stories often make you feel sorry for the heralds. There are stories of how heralds would establish a relationship with people that inherits the Sight only for them to die and the herald living with the fact that they will experience more goodbyes as long as they live. The show certainly knows how to spin a story in such a sad way that it often does get to you but I also admire how it can make a really sad story seem heartwarming. It’s a bit hard to explain but even with the goodbyes, the show would often highlight the now and the wonderful things it brings. It’s a great element of the healing aspect of the anime I really like. The heralds live a long life and experience a lot of things but they still find it in their heart to live in the moment and cherish the things they have now despite the sad things that comes their way.
Under the big umbrella of the second plot point involves the third subplot, the relationship of heralds and humans with Sight. This one is pretty simple. It’s about Saeki and Gintarou as well as two other characters introduced late in the show. It’s about the wonderful relationship they have established in the long time they’ve been together. This really rounds up the second plot point because while the first two subplots are a bit dramatic, this one focuses the happy times of the characters. It features the fluff of their relationship. From the mutual understandings they have established to the rich past the two of them have built. It’s really a sentimental moment in the show when you see Saeki hug Gintarou despite his objections. I love how she’ll be mindful to give him his offering of tangerines when she has the time and I love how Gintarou is mindful of Saeki’s feeling whenever she is troubled. Most times it stems from trouble with Saeki’s normal life and Gintarou would try his best to help her. It’s a cute relationship that often ends up giving the show a lot of fluff moments and sentimentality that really brightens the show up. This comes doubly effective when you see the things the characters have gone through. This aspect is clearly presented in the two characters later on in the show. I won’t expand much because their relationship is such a delight that I think everyone should enjoy it themselves.
The third and final plot point of the show is what I’d like to call “relationships”. I know it’s vague and I think the whole concept is subtle but it features other characters and their interesting side stories. It often overlaps with the two plot points but I think the third one has a charm uniquely its own. As the show progresses, it soon introduces a lot of characters. Saeki’s school friends, their close acquaintances, other shrine people, their heralds, people visiting the shrine on a daily basis and even relatives of people visiting the shrine on a daily basis. It just expands but without losing sight of the main focus of the show. While the first two plot points are about Saeki and the other main characters, the third one is about the side characters. The show would feature different people at certain times and their stories are often as interesting as the ones the main characters partake in. From a club captain that loves his family to an associate that is slowly falling in love with his boss’ daughter, these stories are often really fresh and unique. It’s a different fare from the ones the show usually presents. It’s still slow paced and character driven but I think it gives the show a certain charm that enhances the experience. It has simple delights of life about different people from different walks of life. From playful kids to serious adults to lazy high schoolers, the show is able to present a variety of side stories for the audience to indulge in and I love that part of the show.
There is no actual structure to the plot points though. The show isn’t episodic so there is no main story and the anime will just present one plot point at a moment’s notice. Some episodes have all three plot points if you can believe it. It does make the show a bit messy especially since the random sequence of events make it seem like the show has no direction. As long as you keep in mind that the show is laidback and it’s meant to wind you down then I’m sure you’ll get the appeal of the show. Of course, it’s not a perfect show. Since it doesn’t have a main story, some of the episodes may seem a bit boring. It happens to me especially when I don’t like the character being focused on the episode. I would often just lose interest until the next episode comes. Hey, a great slice of life anime can be repetitive and boring and it’s a trait all successful slice of life has in common. There also some things that bother me about the show though like how it introduces certain things at times but without really following through with it all the way. It would present how a herald is born but it doesn’t really connect to the show in anyway. It would introduce a story about two heralds but without following through with the story. It would open up how Saeki’s mom and dad met but never really exploring it much deeper. There are a lot of setups like these that often leads nowhere. There is also this little thing about heralds eating tangerines. Do, um, the fruit disappear as well or do they just float while inside the heralds stomach? I suggest that you just overlook these details and enjoy the show for what it’s worth. You’ll be fine.
I am starting to enjoy Diomedia. I knew them after watching Squid Girl but they actually have a really wide variety of anime. They don’t stick to one genre or one kind of anime. They love to go out of their boundaries and explore genres they aren’t familiar with. I hope other studios had the same courage as this one. While most of their ventures are left unappreciated (as you can see, no one cared about a healing anime they just released), I do love how they don’t back down. They’re a studio that surprises you. From a story about a squid girl to bland ecchi harem shows to something heartwarming, I’m getting a bit excited about Diomedia. God only knows what kind of show they’ll be releasing next. Either way, next to Bones and Production IG, I think Diomedia is now among the studio I’d be happy to look out for in my journey to 1000. They did a wonderful job with Gingitsune and they’re releasing more and more anime. I think it’s only a matter of time until they get that one stand out anime that truly defines them and I’m getting a bit excited thinking about it. For now though, I’m just happy something as surprising as Gingitsune came out with its wonderfully presented healing aspects that really does make it special.
Sight and Sound
Character design isn’t really that remarkable. The way the author presented the characters made sure they adapted well to the close to life pacing of the show. They often have really ordinary designs to them. They all have big round faces though that is often emphasized by the way their hair meets the roundness of their face so it looks all the more bigger. I do notice though that the girls often have plain designs to them. It’s often just a dull uniform or some dull clothes with their dull hair style. It doesn’t really stand out and there is no effort given to providing any sort of fan service. Not in the dirty kind of way, but in the crisp kind of glossy animation I’d expect from a slice of life anime. I think the author doesn’t really emphasize much on the characters rather than making sure the content is ample and can hold on its own. I appreciate that but it does suck a bit knowing the characters lack some visually pleasing aspects to them. The boys are a bit different though. Despite looking plain, they often have more details to them. Some of them would have fierce eyes. Some would have colorful hair and others would often just standout by the way the personality matches their appearance like Saeki’s dad. It’s odd that I find the male characters more appealing that the female characters. I’m not really sure if it was done on purpose or something. Maybe Diomedia adapted it differently though but I can’t be sure.
The designs on the supernatural creatures are exquisite. They all look cute with the way they look like humans but sharing some details of different animals. I also love how they all have unique outfits to them. They have shrine clothes on usually but their designs are all different. Some would have big ribbons around their neck while others would have a big fluffy tail behind them. I especially love the design of the older heralds in the show. They often show up in flashbacks and what not but you can see how much they have aged but the design emphasizes on how experienced and knowledgeable they are as well. They’d have arching backs and canes in their hands but it’s probably the most detailed aspect in the author’s design. I also would like to give a nod to the cute mascot of the show. I love that character and how every moment about her reminds me of a playful cute cat.
Animation is decent. It’s not a stand out but the movements are precise and it carries the story along quite nicely. There some great moments that is really just enhanced by the color palette and the animation doesn’t really give it more emphasis. Diomedia is a small studio with only a handful of anime in their belt so you can’t expect something grand from them. The animation was decent and that’s all you can ask for. It did capture the personalities of the characters though and their complex behavior was given justice by the animation. It also is a bit inconsistent though with how it doesn’t really keep up with the standards it has presented on other episodes. The background work is pretty great though. The CG work is pretty good and it does elevate certain scenes. The camera angle looks great with the way the CG is incorporated in the scenes. The display of nature is a wonderful aspect of the show. It’s not a standout display of nature but it elevates the show in establishing its laidback aspects. The designs on the trees are given careful consideration and it was able to capture the slow lazy days you’d expect in a quiet shrine.
The music played a huge part in this show. It established the calming effect of the show to a high degree. It showcased a lot of really soothing music from a wonderful piano arrangement to a touching violin piece. The show really felt special with the way the music gave off a really personal vibe to it. The music is a great part of a healing anime and this show has that aspect nailed pretty damn perfectly. The anime’s OP is “tiny lamp” by fhána. This is a really touching song about two people making a special bond. I suck at analyzing music and my stupid sister recently pointed that out but I think the song is about the mother-child bond or something. It’s something that personal that does translate well to the bonds established in the show. The verse had a nice spring to it with a vibrant beat and it leads to a wonderful chorus made even more special by fhana’s amazing voice. It’s not showing off in anyway and letting the music speak for itself. I really love it. The OP sequence features a small sampling of the events in the show and all the characters wrapped in a nice montage. It’s short and sweet.
The anime’s ED is “Gekkou STORY” by SCREEN mode. Unlike the OP, I had no idea what the song is about. I guess something about being lonely or I dunno. It escaped me. The song’s appeal though is the singer’s voice with its high notes and its mesmerizing tone that is really captivating by itself. The ED sequence features chalk drawings of two heralds climbing up the stairs of the shrine only to be picked up by Gintarou and placed on his head. It’s a cute sequence.
8/10 “A wonderful healing anime you might’ve overlooked.”
This was a great surprise in the lineup for me. I don’t see a lot of healing anime so I’m really happy I get to see one in the last lineup of 2013. This is a really great character driven slice of life show. If you’re into that then you should check this show out. There are also some small drama and fluff components that make the show special. It’s really well rounded so if you like supernatural shows then you’ll love this show. If you’re a fan of the laidback kind of shows then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one. I recommend it.
I’m three episodes in right now. And like you said, the first episode is a bit slow, but it picks up. I kind of like the idea of a healing anime. There have been so many shows that I’ve watched that I honestly don’t want any plot progression. Since the characters are so awesome, I kind of just want to watch them go about their daily lives.
glad you like it 🙂
can you believe it went by unnoticed? It makes me sad when good anime gets little respect.
And that’s why we have TPAB: To show us the great anime that would have otherwise been missed. I’m like 8 episodes in now. I’ve had to slow down my viewing for a bit. 😦
I finished this series last week, and you were correct in your judgement of this anime. It was my viewing choice when I just felt like watching a story with little conflict or ill will, and it entertained me enough to carry me through all the episodes.
I really like this review. It captures all the touching features of the anime. I also feel the opening episode is a little weak with a different reason. The heroine keeps blaming Gintarou ‘baga’ is kind of cliche childish scene to me. With the plot moving on, characters gain more pleasant personalities, and the anime gets better and better.
Comparing to other recent healing animes, Gingitsune stands out IMHO. It’s really warmhearted, and full of real-life-style humor. The mythology elements presented by heralds blend into the story naturally and peacefully, rise a special aura of eastern philosophy of life.
The anime is underestimated in both US and China anime-fan-circles. Very few people see this lovely piece. Maybe few years later, even fewer would remember it. Thinking of this make me a little sad.
Well, as long as people who enjoyed the show keeps on supporting it then it’ll grab people’s attention. Its an easy show to love and its a damn good healing anime. You can expect me to recommend it to people as much as I keep on recommending this moe baseball show called “Taishou Baseball Girls” and that show is barely known as well. 🙂
I watched “Taishou Baseball Girls” also. Characters there have even rounder cheeks:)