Anime Spotlight: Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha is an anime based on a manga series by Morohe Yoshia. The anime is produced by Production IMS, and is directed by Toru Takahashi. The 10-episode series aired on Japanese television from January 15-March 19, 2014.

As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American streaming rights for the series.

Inari is a middle school girl who has a hard time expressing what she feels to her friends; at the beginning of the series, she could also be a little clumsy. She has a crush on a boy in her class named Koji Tanbabashi.

Inari also loves going to an Inari shrine that is near her home, and she goes through it as a shortcut one day when she’s running late for school. As she runs through, she finds what she thinks is a dog that is scared and stuck on a riverbank. Inari saves the animal, but ends up being late for school.

Inari ends up causing something embarrassing to happen to Tanbabashi during gym class, and he keeps running away from her whenever she tries to get close to him to apologize. Later, she overhears Tanbabashi and Sumizone, a girl in her class, talking about a letter she gave him. Inari assumes it’s a love confession letter , and she runs off, crying.

When Inari arrives at the shrine, she calls out for the gods to help her. A couple of foxes appear and lead her to Uka, the resident god of the Inari shrine. Uka thanks Inari for rescuing her familiar that morning and says she will grant one of Inari’s wishes. After a moment, Inari blurts out that she wants to be Sumizome. Inari looks just like Sumizome, but her personality hasn’t changed. After spending some time as Sumizome and being around Tanbabashi, she realizes she hasn’t truly changed at all.

Inari returns to the shrine and cries. The two foxes take her back to Uka, but Inari is told that Uka cannot return her to her normal form, because a god granting multiple wishes for a single human would violate the rules of the Celestial Plains. However, Uka is able to give Inari a portion of her power, which is the ability to transform into other people. Uka also gives Kon, the fox that Inari rescued, to serve as her familiar.

Over the course of the series, it’s revealed that it turns out Inari can do more than change into other people; she can also unconsciously use her divine power to make her hopes come true.

As the series goes on, Inari becomes friends with Sumizome, and she also becomes closer to Uka. She also gains the strength to be able to tell her friends what she thinks.

Inari’s older brother, Touka, also becomes involved in the story. The story reaches its climax when it’s revealed that the more Inari uses the divine power, it’ll cause Uka to fade away.

I have to admit that at the end of the first episode, I wasn’t entirely sure if I was going to like Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha. However, I decided to keep watching to see if the story would improve. After finishing episode two, my opinion of the series started becoming more favorable. As the episodes went on, I continued to enjoy the series more and more; I’m so glad I didn’t let my initial unsure impression keep me away from this series.

Overall, I thought the series is good, although I thought the last couple of episodes felt a bit rushed compared to the other episodes, although I have to say episode 10 had more issues with being rushed than episode nine did. The action in the first half of episode 10 felt stretched out, and then the story in the second half ended up feeling rushed.

In the final episode, I appreciated the fact that it demonstrated just how much Inari has grown as a character over the course of the series. In a lot of ways, when Inari returned Uka’s divine power at the end of episode 10, it symbolizes that Inari had grown up and no longer needs the “crutch” that she thought the power was giving her.

In a lot of respects, though, there is some vagueness at the end of the final episode. Do Inari and Koji ever end up together? Is Touka still able to see Uka even though Inari no longer can? It appears that the manga series is still ongoing in Japan, so that might explain why the ending of the anime is a bit ambiguous.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha is a sweet series and it has a strong “coming-of-age” component when it comes to Inari. If you enjoy anime series that feature shrines, such as Gingitsune: Messenger Fox of the Gods, then you might enjoy Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha. However, if you do decide to check this series out, be aware that the ending of the series is a little rushed and a bit ambiguous. Even with the issues I have with the end of the series, I would still recommend it.

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