Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the Gods focuses on a girl named Makoto Saeki, who lives at a shrine with her father. Makoto is able to see Gintaro, the fox spirit who is the shrine’s herald; while Makoto’s father may be the priest at the shrine, he married into the family and as such cannot see Gintaro. In episode four, a boy named Satoru and his small fox herald, Haru, moved into the shrine with Makoto and her father.
Satoru ends up being the major focus of this episode. At the beginning, he’s outside the temple, practicing kendo. Makoto’s father comes up to him. He tells Satoru that Makoto told him that he’s going to be a starter for the school’s kendo team, and Satoru says he doesn’t know yet. Later, Makoto’s father comments that they need to start preparing for the summer purification ceremony. Satoru says he can skip kendo practice for that, but he’s told that Makoto and her father can handle it. However, he can help by bringing his friends, since Makoto will be bringing hers. Satoru is flustered, because he doesn’t really have any friends at school.
Later, we see Satoru talking with the coach of the kendo team; it appears he’s telling the coach he has to miss practice. After the coach leaves, one of the other guys on the team pushes into him and says that Satoru may be good, but that doesn’t mean he gets to skip practice all the time. After some more disparaging remarks, Satoru asks if this guy wants him to quit the team. The team captain comes over and says if they’re going to fight, they need to put their helmets on. The teammate and his friend leave, and Satoru and the captain have a bout.
Afterwards, we learn the captain’s name is Taisuke Kinukawa. As they talk, Satoru claims he’s going to quit the kendo club, because he doesn’t need to be in a club to practice. After school, Taisuke drags Satoru with him around to various places to hang out. The day ends with them going to Taisuke’s home, which is a well-known tofu restaurant. Satoru has an uncomfortable dinner there, but an important conversation takes place between Taisuke and Satoru afterwards. Satoru realizes what his dream is, and that kendo can come in second.
There’s also a scene in the episode that features Makoto and her friends talking about what they want to do in the future. Makoto realizes that she doesn’t know what she wants to do.
This was an extremely important episode of Satoru’s character development. This episode also allowed us to get to know Taisuke, the kendo team captain. After seeing Taisuke in this episode, I have to say that I really like him as a character. He’s a nice and personable guy, and I think he’d make a great mentor for Satoru for kendo. I hope to see more of Taisuke in the remaining episodes of the series.
Another thing I really noticed in this episode is how Makoto’s father has really become a kind of father figure for Satoru. This is something that Satoru has definitely needed, and I think having these kinds of interactions with Makoto’s father is also helping Satoru with his character development.
While I thought this episode did a great job of progressing Satoru as a character, I wish it had been an episode or two earlier in the series. Oh well. Perhaps after I have a chance to watch the remaining episodes, I’ll be able to understand why this character development episode was placed where it was in the series.
According to the preview I saw for episode 11, the title for it is, “Makoto’s Future.” So it looks like a concept that was just a minor part in this episode will be playing a much bigger role in the next episode. At the risk of being a “shipper,” I admit that I’d like to see Makoto and Satoru get together, get married one day, and run the shrine together; and by doing that, Gintaro and Haru could be the two heralds for the shrine.
From what I’ve read, it appears there’s only two more episodes left of Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the Gods. If this is right, then I’m looking forward to seeing how the series will end over the next two episodes.
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