Gugure! Kokkuri-san thoughts

Overall: A fun, sweet romp with loveable characters. A wandering, comic slice of life piece with the cute and peculiar.
Rating: Favourable.
Genres: Humour, family, supernatural
Summary: A doll-like child named Kohina makes friends with the fox spirit Kokkuri-san, who then decides to look after her.

kokkuri

Kokkuri-san is very good at housework.

Thoughts

I finished this anime a few days ago, and the charming characters have been sporadically walking through my thoughts ever since… or rather hopping through like big cute balls of fluff.

G!KS is not an anime that can win any points for a strong overarching plot. This automatically loses it some points in my book, but by far not as many as it could, due to the heartwarming joy of simply watching these loveable characters interact. I was recommended this anime by a friend who knows I love and watch Kamisama Hajimemashita (which does have an overarching plot). Whilst there are immediate obvious similarities – young school girl bonds with supernatural fox spirit – this is where the comparisons essentially end.

Kohina’s doll-self is a very cute, small girl with an overwhelming love/obsession for cup noodles and an amusing school-girl-soul-meets-robotic-expression. This is about as much as you see of her character for the vast majority of the anime – despite the fact you might, at least initially, expect her to be the main character. She is fleshed out a little more in the first couple of episodes, so that it is implied why she chooses to identify as an emotionless doll – a note that briefly touches the heart in sadness before never really being touched again. In many ways I think it would have added a lot to the anime in terms of depth if this had been developed further, showing more of her history and perhaps a character development throughout the season – but this is very minimal, if at all. But she is by no means not entertaining to watch for her lack of true depth – she is a doll 99% of the time after all – and the charm of the anime comes from her interaction with the other characters.

This would lead to the character whose name is in the title – Kokkuri-san (the central figure on this post’s feature image – the yellow fox is his animal form). To Kohina he instantly becomes a mother figure, trying to make her eat more healthily (with mixed success) and taking care of her. He ends up forming the highlight of viewer sympathy and identification, trying to make Kohina come out of her shell and win her love. His attempts inevitably fall short of instant cup noodles, but the two do have an implicit closeness that carries through more in physical closeness – when he carries her and when she holds onto his robes. With his occasional neurotic bouts and impeccable sense of grooming he is the natural victim for disaster.

fluff kokkuri

Kokkuri-san is bad at dealing with moulting season, paranoid of going bald, and buys a lot of hair growth products with the expected result.

Inugami and Shigaraki are the perverted disasters that fill this role, Inugami in particular, who is insistent on getting Kohina to love him most. Shigaraki is developed a little more, a mixture of perverted slob meeting surprisingly mature and caring moments. Anyone watching episode 8, where Kokkuri-san is temporarily stuck in a female form – don’t ask – will inevitably see the hinted pairing – for comic value or not – and the family dynamic that Kohina now has surrounding her.

I feel the best way to describe this anime is a slice-of-life with supernatural flavours. Stuff happens. The ending of the anime feels arbitrary rather than the conclusion of any large arc, a ‘here have some icing for your randomly swirled marble cake’ rather than ‘here’s your dessert course to conclude the meal’. If you are unlikely to fall for the cute that is Kokkuri’s mothering and the spirits’ animal forms, or the ‘aww, what the -, really? pfffft‘ humour there, you are unlikely to find much else to grip you. Personally, I enjoyed the journey, if a little aimless, and would attempt watching a second season in the hope of seeing Kohina’s character given proper development and growth, as well as all characters getting more growth beyond that required for more in-jokes – but as a light-hearted pick me up it definitely hits the spot. I’m getting a stuffed plush Kokkuri-san toy. He’s adorable.

kokkuri 2

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