Title: Our Home’s Fox Deity
Alternate Title: Wagaya no Oinarisama
Encompasses: Volume 1 and Volume 2
Published by: Nippon Ichi Software America
Based on: Based on the Light Novel series of the same name by Jin Shibamura
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy
Audio: Japanese Dub
Aspect Ratio: 480i MPEG-2 16:9
Runtime: 596 Minutes
Cost: Contact your nearest seller of anime
Special Thanks: Nippon Ichi Software America who kindly provided Standard Editions of both Volumes
Following from their Premium Edition releases of Our Home’s Fox Deity, Nippon Ichi Software America have finally decided to release a standard edition of the series and I have been fortune to acquire the two volumes to finally put forward my two cents on the series. NIS America do release some of the best collections of anime which usually come with at least a hard-cover box and artbook with them, however these do come at a cost and even more so for those internationally who have to import them. The standard edition releases do not include any of the fancy physical extras – but all on-disc content remains intact, comes with a small and nifty Story Guide and a price that will put a lesser dent on your wallet. Like Toradora and Wagnaria before it…. Our Home’s Fox Deity merited a Standard Edition release… but is it worth checking out? Read on to find out in my review of the complete series!
Volume 1 Synopsis
The Takagami family have unsealed the ancient fox diety known as Kugen and brought it into their home. Its orders are to protect the youngest member of the family, Toru… but they soon realize their entire livelihood may need to be protected from Kugen.
Volume 2 Synopsis
As the Takagami family tree’s branches extend ever further, more and more creatures come after not only Toru, but Kugen as well! How will they react when their newest family member arrives at their doorstep in a box!?
Going through all 24 episodes in the series, I was unsure where to place this series, it invested much time in character development however didn’t so much deliver in bringing an overall plot together… it had a good sense of comedy but only teased action while failing to really deliver what I was personally hoping for. Of course none of these elements were actually bad, but were a separating point between say… an A and a B (or B and C) grade overall for the storyline department.
The tale begins with the younger of two brothers Toru reveals his name to a spirit in his dream. Finding out that he can be possessed by this very simple deed, their grandmother (Who is the current family member looking after a shrine) enlists the help of the fox diety Kugen who had been sealed away for a number of years. Upon completing this task and as both Toru and his older brother Nobara are members of the Takagami family, Kugen takes a liking to them and decides to become their protectors…. but while she protects, she faces her own problems of adapting to modern society, the brothers face the threat of more spirits and gods going after them and to add to the mix – a shrine maiden Kou who is asked to live in with them who is perhaps less adaptable to moden life than the deity.
Before going any further I would like to state I did enjoy watching this series despite a few areas I could identify that could have used some improvements. The series is not one full plot but instead a number of mini-stories spanning from one to several episodes in length and often involving either Kugen doing something in order to protect the brothers or enjoying/adapting modern life or dealing with an issue relating to one of the many spirits, gods etc that make their way through the town. While these separate plots do present a plot that works well to the aspect of character development, it is lacking in the fact that you can watch all 24 episodes and realize that there was little to no climax or resolution to the show. If this were a pure comedy show or something along those lines I wouldn’t mind so much – but with the final two episodes practically being filler and the ending of the episode prior to that only being a normal plot conclusion really left me wanting more closure or at least something to set it apart (Eg. More action or a *gasp* big secret revealed).
As I said in the previous paragraph, I did enjoy watching this show so they must have done quite a few things right. It was a show you could just pick up, watch, not have to think about too much and just enjoy the plots presented to you. This was a series more about character development than anything else, and I felt this is what they did best in. The relationship between Kugen and the brothers was the most prominent aspect as while she is indeed the main character, most of the plots aspects revolve around the them in some way. Comedy generally comes in the shape of two key characters – Kou who having lived in the country as a shrine maiden most her life – is incompetent at the most simplest of tasks along with Nobara’s friend Sakura who is delivers both that romance element to the show but also comedy through her over-analytical misconceptions.
Perhaps most appreciated were the secondary characters, for which there were a sizable number of them in the series – both as recurring and one off characters. In a series that is set in a modern society and in a way tries to pull off the slice-of-life genre only with deity’s and other fantastical beings, they chose a very creative way of introducing characters who fell into the category…. by making them completely normal albeit weird people. For example, early on in the series we are introduced to Ebisu who is a God of Commerce…. and runs a convenience store. It is a simple idea but they pull it off effectively. Characters who are vital to a particular plot never really disappear, and instead become recurring characters throughout the remainder of the episodes allowing further development down the track. The character development overall is to be the winning aspect of this show.
Overall, the series delivered what I would consider a good idea presented simply and for a more casual watcher of anime who wants little hints of supernatural or action elements I think it is a perfect example of a series you should like. The character development and relationships between the characters were solidly built however not having any sort of conclusion to the series was a bit of a downer. For those after a more serious storyline that has consistently building plot without any fuss, I will be bringing you reviews of two other NIS America anime releases (Persona – Trinity Soul- and Pandora Hearts) which you might find more up your alley.
The design quality of the series is pleasant and enjoyable to the eye, and while it doesn’t have the level of detail that other series released around its time had, I felt it worked well for what I feel were trying to get across from the whole series… clean, colourful and simple. While there were a lack of action sequences (Not including action-causing dialogue) in the anime, I felt what they did present was only average and felt tacked on for the purpose of being there rather than providing a visual experience. But moving away from the action-oriented animation, they made use of the characters facial expressions and other possible means for getting across characters moves and intents to a good degree. With the exception of Kou who spent most of her time in the same miko garb throughout the entire season – most of the characters recieved at least the occasional clothing change, while their designs themselves were simplistic but worked with everything else about the character. As the series took place in a more village-like locale and spent most of its time in it, there was not all that much diversification with the environment designs, but what they presented was fine.
In terms of music, I cannot say it was all that noticable whilst I was going through the episodes, but keeping with the evident “Clean and Simple” theme the rest of the series seemed to be made up of, there were no epic battle tracks or music that I would have on loop listening to over and over again…. but it was music that worked well for the intents of the show. As with all other NIS America anime releases, there was no English dub included in this release however the cast was pretty enjoyable to listen to. The best roles by far were presented by Yukana Nogami as Kugen, Daisuke Ono as Ebisu… and heck I will throw in Yu Shimamura as Toru – however the cast was well suited to their roles to simply put it.
This series comes equipped with a total of one opening sequence and two ending sequences. The opening sequence is titled “KI-ZU-NA ~Haruka Naru Mono e” and is performed by Hitomi Sora. It proved to be a very enjoyable upbeat song that came with some creative animation that set the tone for the series and introduced the characters as well. Unfortunately the same could not be said about the first ending “Kaze ga Nanika wo Iou to Shiteiru” by Saori Hayami. The song is enjoyable by itself but when coupled with the animation it sort of comes off as bland. While the first ending sequence runs for the first eighteen episodes, it does make amends for the second ending sequence with the song “Shiawase no Kotodama” performed by Yukana, Hayami Saori and Takahashi Mikako. Unlike the first ending which was devoid of animation, this includes a very upbeat song and a really good choice of chibified and normal character designs and animation.
While this set lacks the Premium Edition physical goodies, it does not miss out on much if any on-disc bonus content which I thought was perhaps the most extensive for any NIS America release I have watched so far. In the first volume, four commercials, Clean Opening and Endings as well as four bonus short videos (World Setting, Tenko Kugen, Ko and The Fox and Friends) were included while in the second volume, four TV commercials and a clean version of the second ending was included. While this might not sound like much, I found it all pretty enjoyable. The TV commercials were perhaps the most enjoyable element, using witty dialogue between characters similar to that of the “Next Episode” previews. The set also came with small story-guides in each of the volumes, which was a nice touch (and great tool when writing this review).
Overall, despite my issues with some elements of the storyline, I thought this was a decent light-hearted anime release from the team at NIS America, and was a nice addition to the standard edition releases of Pandora Hearts and Persona -Trinity Soul- which are perhaps a bit more serious and plot driven. To me at least, it didn’t venture into any territory it had a risk for failing at, but by keeping it simple and spreading out into multiple episode sets really helped develop the world and its characters. While I doubt this series would win any awards, it ended up being enjoyable and doing just what it set out to do – feature the story of a fox youkai who sets out to protect a family from those who may do them harm.
Storyline / Character Development: B-
Music/Voice Acting: B
Personal Preference: B
Extra Content: A
Overall Score: B