Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the Gods: Episode 1 – “The 15th Successor and Gintaro”

Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the Gods (which is known in Japan as Gingitsune) is an anime based on a manga by Sayori Ochiai. The anime is produced by Diomedea, and it is directed by Shin Misawa. As of this writing, Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the Gods is being simulcast on Crunchyroll on Sundays.

The series opens with a 4-year-old girl named Makoto Saeki at her mother’s funeral at a shrine. While stomping in a rain puddle, she sees the reflection of a big fox spirit. When she looks up at the spirit, he asks her if her name is Makoto and if she can see him, After Makoto smiles wide and nods her head, the spirit tells her that this makes her the 15th.

We move ahead in time to Makoto when she’s in high school. In true high school girl fashion, she is startled awake by her alarm, rushes down the stairs after changing into her school uniform, and grabs a piece of toast before heading out the door; miraculously, Makoto has actually finished her slice of toast before exiting the house. Yeah, as soon as I saw her freak out when her alarm went off, I predicted the whole rushing off to school and grabbing a piece of toast bit.

Before she leaves the shrine that she lives at, Makoto talks to her father and also calls up to Gintaro, the big fox spirit. We learn that Makoto’s father is unable to see Gintaro because he married into the family; as it’s revealed later, Makoto’s mother had been the priest of the shrine before she passed away. When Makoto’s father asks if she should be heading to school, she panics and runs off.

Unfortunately, Makoto misses the bus and starts running to school. She is distracted by two young girls in the park that have found an injured cat. After a brief chat with the girls, Makoto realizes she’s going to be late to school and runs off. From these two scenes, it seems that Makoto can be easily distracted.

When Makoto gets to school, she is approached by a girl named Yumi Ikegami and her two friends. Yumi says she’s heard that Makoto can tell fortunes and wants to have her fortune told. When Makoto gets home from school, she asks Gintaro to help her, and at first, he doesn’t seem interested. However, after Makoto offers an orange, he can’t refuse. When Makoto tells Yumi’s fortune, she doesn’t wait for Gintaro to finish before telling Yumi, and this causes trouble later when Yumi becomes upset because the fortune didn’t turn out the way Makoto told her it would.

After the confrontation with Yumi, Makoto has an argument with Gintaro, which causes her to yell at him that she hates him and that he should leave. Gintaro does end up leaving, and Makoto comes to regret it. She realizes she needs Gintaro when the two younger girls come to the shrine asking for Makoto’s help, because the cat they found ran away. Yumi also ends up becoming part of this storyline, and these various elements that originally didn’t seem to have anything to do with each other come together in the end, and it comes together in a way that’s satisfying to the viewer.

Overall, I thought this was a rather strong establishing episode for an anime series. Admittedly, there is some slight “info dumping” early on in the episode, but there’s enough action and movement of story that the info dumping isn’t a big distraction from the overall episode.

Admittedly, the animation is rather average, but it’s not bad. And this animation style seems to work for the type of story that’s being told in the series.

So far, Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the Gods is one of the more promising series that I’ve sampled from the Fall 2013 season. I’ll definitely be watching the next episode to see if I enjoy it just as much as episode one.

Additional posts about Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the Gods:

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