Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha: Episode 10 – “Inari, Konkon, ABCs of Love”

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha focuses on a middle school named Inari, and she’s in love with her classmate, Kouji Tanbabashi. One day, she overhears Kouji and a popular girl named Sumizome, and it sounds like they’re talking about a love confession letter from Kouji to Sumizome. Upset, Inari runs to a nearby Inari shrine that she’s loved and visited since she was a child. Uka, the resident god of the shrine, grants Inari’s wish, which is to be Sumizome. After physically turning into her but still having her own personality, she wants to return to normal. While Uka can’t return Inari to normal, she is able to give her 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.

Nearly the first two minutes of episode 10 is spent recapping what happened near the end of episode nine. After this, we see all the various spirit foxes leading Inari to the Celestial Plains and to where Uka is being held captive. At the same time, Uka’s brother Otoshi is using his sword to cut down the ropes in front of the boulders that seal off the cave’s entrance. As Otoshi is about to head toward the cave, the group of spirit foxes knocks him down onto the ground and runs over him.

When Inari reaches the cave, she works at trying to make them budge so she can get inside. The group of spirit foxes, Kon, and even Otoshi join her and work together. After some effort, they manage to make an opening big enough to be able to talk to Uka. When Uka apologizes to Inari for not being able to protect her because she’s fading away, Inari says she’s not giving up. Inari and the others work at moving the rocks some more, and the gap is opened enough where Inari’s top half can easily slip in. Uka’s two foxes help push her the rest of the way in.

Uka and Inari talk in the cave, and Inari gets upset with Uka for not telling her about the fact that she’s fading away. Uka explains that she didn’t want Inari to worry, and then Uka gently reminds Inari that Inari never told her the divine power surging out of her. After Inari admits that she had withheld that information for the same reason Uka hadn’t mentioned the fading away, Inari realizes how much of a hypocrite she was being.

Inari then tells Uka that her divine power helped her get closer to Tanbabashi as well as helped her to be able to tell her friends what’s on her mind. Uka tells her the divine power had nothing to do with it; it was all Inari’s doing. After that, Inari returns Uka’s divine power. Afterward, Inari is returned to the shrine in a daze, where she finds her friends and Tanbabashi waiting for her.

I think what I liked best about this episode was 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, returning Uka’s divine power symbolizes that Inari had grown up and no longer needs the “crutch” that she thought the power was giving her.

As I watched this episode, though, it felt like the first half was being stretched out a bit, and the second half felt a little on the rushed side. It almost felt as if there wasn’t enough left of the story to fill the entire runtime, but it also needed a little more than half of the episode to get through. I thought the length of some of the scenes in the first half could have been cut without hurting anything, and that time be used in the second half to help keep it from feeling quite so rushed.

The only definite thing at the end is the fact that Inari can no longer see Uka. It’s not made clear whether or not Touka can still see her, though. Also, the audience can infer that Inari and Tanbabashi ended up together as a couple, but again, nothing blatant had been stated. I read that there’s supposed to be an OVA episode this summer, so perhaps some of my questions may be answered in it.

Overall, I enjoyed Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha. However, I have to admit to being slightly disappointed by the ending and how rushed it felt. After having a lot of time being spent earlier in the series to build up the story, the ending just whizzes by. Even with that complaint, I still found this to be a sweet series and a good “coming-of-age” story for Inari.

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