This is review number three hundred and fifteen. This anime is part of the Winter 2014 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is called Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha or InaKon for short. It’s a ten episode anime about a girl and she has this crush and there are foxes. It’s a really great show. Let’s read on.
Inari Fushimi likes this guy named Kouji Tanbabashi but she is too shy to do anything about it. Seeing Tanbabashi act all cute towards another girl got Inari insecure. Seeing her down, the goddess Uka-no-Mitama-no-Kami decided to grant her one wish. As thanks for saving his fox pup, Inari was given one wish. This resulted in disaster though when Inari realized she want her wish undone. Uka can’t do anything to help her though and, in a last ditch effort, decided to give Inari some of her divine powers. Little did she know that this would bring and even bigger disaster down the line.
Taking the Pants Off
So, apparently, Animax Asia will be airing Mahouka soon and I kinda just facepalmed when I saw it in the commercial previews hyping the upcoming shows. Really, Mahouka? What the f*ck, Animax? They always seem to get the crappy shows of the season and air them to unsuspecting anime fans. Poor uncultured minds are getting treated to BroCon, Coppellion and now, Mahouka. It’s like Animax hate its audience. It’s pretty uncanny. This leads me to watch Inari Konkon. You might be wondering how my small rant about an anime channel I used to like connects with the show. Nah, no big reason. I saw a scene of this show air in Animax alongside Kamisama Hajimemashita and Golden Time. I facepalmed when I saw those two shows as well. My curiosity peak though when I saw this anime included in that group. This probably sucks too. I basically wanted to watch this show on the idea that anything on Animax sucks nowadays. Seriously, Mahouka. That f*cking sadist of a channel. Whoever picks up shows for that channel should be shot. In the face. In front of everyone he loves. But, I was wrong though. Inari Konkon Koi Iroha is a really good show. It’ll pull you in with its beautiful visuals and then treat you to a romantic story that’ll make you smile. It has a lot of things going on but I think the beauty of the show really does come through the more you watch it. The story is engaging and the characters are adorable. I think this is also the first time I saw a healing anime with a strong reliance on romantic elements. Healing anime usually doesn’t have any story as it just features the laidback beauty of life and the characters that experience it. Romance is often dialogue heavy though that focuses on the characters and their personal drama. I am amazed these two genres play well together considering they have different specifications to work. I have seen Sports and Shoujo come together though so I guess anything is really possible. Still, a laidback show about the characters experiencing love is really one of the big highlight of this anime.
This show is about a girl named Inari Fushimi who has a crush on this guy. She is the type that fumbles around her crush though and ended up making him mad. On her way to apologize, she spots him mingling with this very pretty girl. Insecure and hurt, Inari ran away crying. She went to her town’s shrine and was suddenly greeted by the shrine god, Uka-no-Mitama-no-Kami. For saving one of her familiars, Uka-sama has decided to grant Inari one wish. Inari made her wish halfheartedly though and it created a big mess. Unable to fix it, Uka-sama has decided to give a small portion of her divine powers to Inari. The girl now has the powers of a god and she hopes that this divine intervention can help her become closer with the guy she is crushing hard on.
This is a pretty straight forward show. It’s really just about a girl with a crush and the deity that gave her powers of a god. A lot of the episodes are about the romance being prominently displayed while other scenes simply involve Inari and her powers. For the most part though, this show is a healing anime. I think this is actually the first thing you’ll notice about the show and it’s the one that’ll make you keep on watching. Healing anime is pretty easy to spot. The visuals will be the biggest giveaway. These shows have beautiful visuals often about nature. The highly detailed background of this anime featuring the colorful shrine and the scenery around it gives off a calm effect usually typical of a healing anime. These shows also have very little conflict and, if they do, it’d be resolved in a light hearted way. There is nothing overly serious and I’m pretty sure the laidback pace of the show won’t really trigger anything huge conflict wise. Everyone is a good guy and anything can be resolved by talking to one another. Conflict does not matter more than the wonderful feeling of having it resolved. Lastly, healing anime often has a feel good story designed to make you smile. The laidback atmosphere is often accompanied with endearing characters that experiences the joy of life in their own special way. It’s very hard to explain. These shows just really have a simple narrative that’ll make you happy. I have reviewed two healing anime and they progress the same just like Inari Konkon Koi Iroha. Tamayura is a beautiful anime about this girl celebrating his father’s life by moving back to his hometown and experiencing her own along with her friends. Gingitsune is a personal favorite of mine wherein people and shrine spirits live happily together despite the adversities they face. Inari Konkon Koi Iroha follows the same pattern as these two shows. There is a big difference between Slice of Life and healing anime though but I’m not really sure how exactly. I rely on the story patterns of a healing anime to spot it but I think healing anime is a sub-genre of Slice of Life. I’m not sure. It’s kinda like NTR being a sub-genre of Hentai but I’m sure most people would not agree to it. And I just ruined this review by mentioning NTR. Way to go, TPAB.
Anyways, this anime has two plot points. As I said, it’s pretty straight forward and it just follows the two things introduced in the initial premise. The first one is obviously the romance aspect of the story. Inari loves this guy named Kouji Tanbabashi but she is too shy to do anything about it. She has been admiring her from afar and she just can’t work up the nerve to walk up to him to even say hi. With some divine intervention though, Inari was able to get some help into finally getting close to Tanbabashi. Their love story is absolutely freaking cute. It’s your typical type of puppy love dog story where the girl has this cute crush on the cool guy that also silently likes her back. The show was able to present Inari’s side of things with how she fell in love and how that love is expressed. It was also able to evenhandedly present Tanbabashi’s side of the love story with how the guy is slowly falling in love with the girl. The right romance can really pack a punch and this one really does. I personally like it because of how Inari comes off as somewhat relatable. For all the people who can only admire their crush from afar, Inari is here to voice out your concerns and your feelings. I think the very first monologue of her admiring Tanbabashi is enough to like this character. It’s really cute when you see her act all nervous when he is around or see her friends try and hook them up. It’s something anyone with a big crush has ever experienced but I think you’ll smile when you finally see them talk. Inari is such a great character that it can really make you smile seeing her finally become close to the guy she likes. Tanbabashi plays his part well too. He is this cool guy but the show also gave us a good fleshing out for him enough to give us an idea of how he feels towards Inari. As the show progresses, seeing him slowly look at Inari in a different way is so f*cking satisfying that I wished the show was longer so I can soak in the feel good moment some more.
The romance comes in two parts though and even three parts if you’re hoping the other couple really does become an official pair. There is another romantic story being presented in the anime as well involving the deity, Uka-sama, and Inari’s older brother, Touka Fushimi. At first this one just felt like a running gag in the show. Touka is this weirdo, despite being absolutely f*cking hot, who is obsessed with protecting his sister from this spirit hanging around her. He would intrude with Uka and Inari from time to time as if Inari is about to be spirited away. He would act over exaggeratingly rude towards Uka for no reason and Uka would just fire back with her own quips. The back and forth is cute and the idea that they look good together will cross your mind but I am really surprised the show took it there. Uka has sworn off love because most people are only after her rank as a first class deity. They don’t really like her, they like her rank and it makes her mad. She has since become wary of men knowing they all have ulterior motives when talking with her. I think that’s why seeing her act hot and cold towards Touka will make you smile as well. He treats her nothing like a god and often just annoys her to no end. Still, the slow blossoming romance is so wonderful to watch that you hope the two would really end up together. Their romance isn’t as puppy dog as Inari’s though. They aren’t as direct and it’s certainly a different kind of love story. I think the whole deal of her being a deity and him being a human is what makes things a bit difficult for the two. It still feels familiar though and it’ll soon become one of the strong aspects of the show. The huge “what if” regarding their relationship always intrigues me with the way it progresses and every high moment involving the two is often some of the best scenes in the anime.
The second plot point is about the powers of Inari. She has this ability to transform into somebody else and she often uses these powers to get out of sticky situations. Her powers are more of a curse than a blessing though as they often complicate matters more than actually help resolve it. The whole idea of a human being given the powers of a god plays a part here as we see Inari struggle with this really unstable power. This power is a blessing for her though because Inari is such an emotional person. After using her powers and discovering its effect, it often leads to her understanding herself a lot more. There is a beautiful character study happening here and I love how the show is able to stay true to its healing roots while developing Inari’s character in such an effective way. Most of the episodes where Inari uses her powers also have some life lessons presented towards the end that I find quite smart. They’re often subtle in their delivery but I think it really does elevate the story in a unique way. It adds to the feel good element of the show. Inari would often use her powers blindly, realizes her mistakes and then grow as a person by learning something from it. It’s not much but it really does help improve the story some more. I am honestly a bit disappointed at how the whole magical girl riff was handled but I think the supernatural elements are restrained to make sure it doesn’t overpower the healing elements. I find the whole thing a bit gimmicky though since you do feel from the first episode that the entire supernatural angle feels a bit forced. There is a much better way to marry supernatural, romance and slice of life to create a better story and I think this show missed a great potential. I guess, it just doesn’t want to get too serious and that’s fine by me since it doesn’t really ruin anything in the overall run.
The second plot point’s main focus is on the relationship of Inari and Uka though. Ever since Uka gave her powers to Inari, a lot of the other gods and deities started butting in. Concerned about the two, the second plot point explores the effect of this little power giving. This often involves other characters trying to separate the two or finding a way to restore Uka’s powers. There is this idea that humans and gods cannot become close and it’s really the rough patch that makes Inari and Uka’s relationship interesting. Why does Uka love humans so much, especially Inari? What exactly does she see in her that she would do such a reckless thing? This was never properly explained but Uka really does give a lot for Inari and you will also feel a bit concerned for her. It turns out that Uka’s decision to give Inari some of her power has some unexpected side effect that will ruin both of them. For consideration towards the other though, the two girls give their best to make sure the other is happy. It’s a rather bittersweet deal but their bond is really something. As I said, there are a few loose ends here but I think the delivery is still pretty powerful. The lengths they’d go to just to make the other smile is pretty sweet and the sacrifice they would make is really something surprising given the feel good aura of the show.
The characters are all adorable. Inari is your typical energetic lead but I love how her character is nicely presented. She is honest, very driven and determined that you’ll often want to root for her when she faces all of her adversities. I also love her insecure personality because it makes her really relatable. It makes her human and it makes her an engaging character. Whether gushing over her crush or trying to handle the various gods of the Celestial plain, Inari is a well-rounded character through and through. I also think that her best feature would have to be her monologues. It captures everything wonderful about the character from her insecurities to her determination and her moments of self-realization. The monologues really make her one endearing character you’d want to keep cheering on. She is also flawed, which I think is brilliant. Throughout the series, she’d make decisions that are questionable and just plain stupid. Caught in the moment, she would do them and the story will find a way for her to regret it. I think her flaws stems from the feel good aspect of the show as well. As I said, it’s not about the conflict but the satisfaction of resolving them and this comes through nicely when your main character makes mistakes from time to time.
Uka is also a pretty adorable character. Her status as a deity makes her a serious character but then the show slowly breaks that illusion. I think it’s her obsession with otome games that’ll shatter that illusion effectively. What the hell, right? She’s a really complex character though. Inari is nothing special and she doesn’t even have the ability to see spirits like her brother. Still, Uka is attracted to her and it’s never really explained why. I think it’s more maternal than anything but it does make her complex. I spent a good amount of time answering that question but Uka would often just conclude that she loves Inari and I guess that’s enough of a reason for her. Uka is a really vulnerable character though that seeks love in all the wrong places and you do feel bad for her. You often just wish she is human or maybe just give her a chance to not be this poor girl pressured to get married yet completely turned off by how men only want her status as a first rank god. I love how she would just keep it all to her herself because this makes her pretty human as well. She’s relatable and it’s this one aspect that really makes her a really beautiful character. I honestly didn’t care for her at first but the show fleshed her well to the point that you’d want to hug her so she can feel better. Or, you’d often want to force Touka to make the first move. I think he is distant because she is a god and he is a lowly human. He often says the wrong words to Uka though and it does bother me sometimes. After favoring Uka and her situation, you really just want Touka to just shut up and take her away. Despite being frustrated at him though, their playful banter is really fun to watch and Touka still gets some points when he would reach out to Uka when she’s at her lowest. I love their little romantic story. It feels different from the Shoujo shows I’ve grown accustomed to but it still feels familiar. You still know they’re hitting all the right notes in their love story but the approach just feels new. *sigh* I hope they end up together.
There are a lot of side characters and they’re all pretty great. Some are one dimensional like the other deities hounding Inari but they still add value during certain slow moments of the show. Each character has their own quirks which makes them special. The balance among them is pretty great that even Inari’s parents’ standout despite having no actual role in the story. The ones that are actually pretty great characters though would have to be Inari’s friends. They’re pretty well-rounded as well and the group has a solid interaction that is fun to watch. There is the sporty character that acts as a protective sister for Inari, there is the bulky otaku character complete with the big glasses that acts as the quiet supportive friend for Inari and then there is the popular girl that later joins the group. Everyone in Inari’s circle of friends is an amazing character because they also share their own insecurities and the others try to cheer them up. They add depth to the show and develop the story in a smart way that doesn’t ruin the healing aspect of the show. They are limited characters but Inari often learns a lot from the things she discovers about her friends and it is pretty adorable. There are a lot more characters related to the story. I think discovering them and their role to the plot is part of the fun. Make sure to go “aww” when you see Kon cry though.
If there’s one thing I don’t like about this anime, it’d be the episode length. Ten episodes is a short time and it basically just made me want more. I want more stories of Inari being the best she can. I want more stories of Touka and Uka developing a sweet love story. I want more puppy love dog scenes involving Tanbabashi and Inari. I want more. The ending also felt a bit forced which does leave a feeling of dissatisfaction when you finish the show. It’s basically a mangalure show where the anime’s intended goal is to urge you to read the original source. It’s a pretty effective mangalure though and I’m sure you’ll easily be hooked by the series the moment you finished the anime. The episode length also left some things mangled and forced. Some scenes in the anime aren’t executed as effective as you’d like and certain moments really felt forced. I admire how the healing aspects still shined through but you can still feel the anime being rushed to cover the short episode run. It’s not that big of a downside though because the romance does hit all the right notes and the characters make this show special. It’s a bittersweet experience for me though since I don’t like reading manga. This is probably the only thing that hasn’t change in my three years as a reviewer.
Production IMS is a fairly young studio. They are the studio that brought us Date A Live though and I think that’s enough to know how talented this studio is. They’re pretty inconsistent though delivering a visually crisp show like Date A Live and then a clunker like Fantasista Dolls. They’re showing great range though so I do hope they keep it up. They should stick to their high quality animations though since they can really pack a punch with their visuals. I understand that it’s hard to keep making high quality anime though but I think a few more shows and they’ll realize their visuals are giving them fans. Most of their low quality shows really suck as if they didn’t really put any thought into it. Production IMS is pretty dodgy for now but I’m sure they’ll get the hang of it soon. KyoAni struggled to get a footing early on in the game as well but the bastards are pretty huge now. Judging by this show alone, you can tell IMS has talent since it was able to capture the author’s vision of a laidback romantic show and it was pretty dedicated to the manga since it captured it to a tee. If IMS puts effort in it, you can tell it’ll be hit so they better keep being consistent, damn it. I’ll also happily watch another season of this anime if they’re willing to make it. Someone please tell me how Touka and Uka ended up though. I want to know, badly.
Sight and Sound
Morohe Yoshida’s design is outstanding. I absolutely love it. The characters are really alive in her manga. Each panel wonderfully captures Inari’s bright personality with every facial expression nicely represented. Her designs really leap at you. It’s not the most original but the small details really make the big difference. I love her big bulky designs since it can nicely feature the facial expression she absolutely gives close attention to. Every happy gaze, sobbing face and solemn look is nicely presented to fully capture the emotions of the character. Even if the characters are seen afar, you can still see the facial expressions nicely come through. The design itself is pretty widespread. We have the typical slender type characters that have a long build complimented by a strong masculine face. She has specific specifications for these characters since you can see Tanbabashi and Sanjou sharing the same look despite having different genders. Inari’s design is pretty great. She looks like a really energetic middle school girl with her mature face combined with her small frail limbs and average height. She still looks great though in whatever dress she puts on. The deities are also nicely designed. Uka looks rather simple but the details really make her standout. Again, a strong detailed face combined with a nicely shaped body in a highly detailed kimono. Her design is also flexible as we see a lot of differently designed character like Inari’s otaku friend and a slew of animal faced deities that Inari encounters. She makes really pretty characters but I also love her mature male characters. Have you seen Touka? That guy can melt butter. The emphasis on his muscles and chest is pretty funny but the detailed face that comes along with it really completes the character. I also love how he often appears shirtless in her manga. All the detail work in the character pales in comparison to the insane details she puts in her background. I think they’re captured from actual photos but the inking is insane and even the smallest panel have some insane details. You can tell Morohe is a tedious mangaka but her emphasis on the background really does scream “healing” as you spend more time appreciating it than anything else.
Production IMS did their best in capturing Morohe’s vision but you can tell this is just half of the awesomeness of the visuals the manga boast. I still admire the effort though. Utilizing a bright color palette that Morohe actually utilizes and capturing the intricate facial design she values makes the anime a pretty great adaptation. Animation itself is pretty decent. There are moments that could’ve been better but I can’t complain that much. Certain “action” moments could’ve been given more flare in the show since it does represent the wonderful powers of the deities. The romantic moments are captured to a tee though. The atmosphere of the scene and the movements of the characters are so wonderfully presented. Of course, the manga did it better even offering different angles to certain scenes to make them look more engaging. Morohe is a genius but I think Production IMS’s vision is pretty solid as well. The computer generated background is decent but you often can’t love it as much once you see how Morohe presented it with more details and eye catching appeal. The animation has kept up with Inari’s energetic personality though and I love the personal close up of the characters as it does capture the appeal Morohe is aiming for. I’ve seen Date A Live though so I know Production IMS can do better but it is nice to see their effort at capturing Morohe’s vision. Animation wise, it is pretty solid as it does capture the healing aspect and the comedic scenes of the manga. It just could’ve been better though.
Let me just say that I love the Kyoto dialect of the characters. This is a nice touch and it adds a unique appeal to the anime. It felt weird at first but it does tie the whole feel good aspect together since the dialogue and the dialect felt more sincere in its execution. Anyways, the anime’s OP is “Kyou ni Koiiro” by May’n. This is a really wonderful song about someone confessing their love to another but being unable to, decided to just whisper them to the gods. It’s a cute song that is made special by May’n’s beautiful voice. Her voice really captured the sincerity of the lyrics as it matches the sincerity in the show itself. The OP sequence features the healing aspects of the show along with the characters slowly introduced. It summarized the show and a few important events without spoiling the story. The Op will make you smile once you realize who the wonderful characters are. The anime’s ED is “SAVED.” by Maaya Sakamoto. This is another sincere love song but more on the perspective of Uka. It’s a really solemn song about someone trusting destiny to her one true love. It makes me smile knowing the events of the anime. It’s a heartfelt song made more personal by Maaya’s voice which is really has a graceful tone to it. The ED sequence mostly just has a few shots of Uka looking sincere and stuff. It adds some more points to the lyrics of the song.
7/10 “The balance of the slice of life and the romance is perfect as you see characters experience life and love in a spectacular manner.”
This is a really wonderful show. The characters are all likeable, the story is engaging and the romance is delightful. It has a lot of positives albeit a few minor negatives. Still, the relatable feeling the show gives off as it pulls you into a laidback feel good atmosphere is one anime experience I urge everyone to try. If you like romance anime then you’ll love this show. If you like healing shows with a laidback look at everyday life then you like this show as well. If you like strong characters in your anime then I urge you try this. I recommend it.