Kohina Ichimatsu is a girl that has adapted a level of solitude that she has convinced herself that she's a robot. But she's not so robotic that she's above using an ouija board and accidentally (or unintentionally) summons Kokkuri-san, a fox spirit that invites himself into her house to become her guardian and caretaker.
I don't know. I just don't know what to do here.
See, this is a case where the whole "expectations" thing enters the equation again. I read about this show and I expected that it would be about Kohina coming out of her shell with a little help from her friends, the local neighborhood spirit people.
There is no personal development on Kohina's part. There is no story on her behalf. There is only comedy. Really ugly and meanspirited comedy.
The show isn't above putting out the bait. Most of the first episode is centered around Kohina and Kokkuri-san establishing their relationship, and while Kohina spends most of her time in this odd wooden doll form, for a couple of episodes, you will have one brief glimpse of her in what could probably be considered her "regular form". As mentioned, she thinks she's a robot. She also likes instant ramen. A lot. And... that's about it.
As it turned out, the show is really more about Kokkuri-san himself, as well as some of his colleagues, all of which enter the Ichimatsu household pretty much uninvited. Kokkuri-san can in many ways be seen as the most benevolent of the main characters. He's just... well, a little overprotective. And a bit creepy when it comes to Kohina and her life (as it is.) But.. he's mostly good.
Inugami is... far less so. Originally an abandoned dog whom Kohina gave her attention to for a short while, Inugami became the volative, antagonizing spirit that takes up most of the rest of... his? ...appearances. (Unlike the others, Inugami is a bit gender ambigious.) He... she... takes a liking to Kohina after she had given Inugami some affection, and then commences to take creepy possessiveness to a whole new level, alongside antagonizing whoever gets in the way of... his/her affections, Kokkuri-san chiefly among them through bullying. Inugami is so unlikable that he... she... whatever... sucks up much of the fun that could otherwise been had.
Shigaraki, the tanuki bonze, is marginally better, mostly because he's at least actively not trying to antagonize anyone, but his laziness and complete lack of shame ensures that he doesn't come off as anything remotely admirable. He's kind of a drunkard, and tends to mooch off others without providing anything himself. There is a scene where he provides for an orphanage, which might sound like a good thing, but he does this through money he has borrowed from someone else -- money he will most likely not ever pay back. He's basically taking credit for someone else's generosity. Yes, the fact that he's not just spending said money on himself instead does deserve some credit, but it's still not right.
Those are the regulars, but there's also a few minor characters, like Tama, a cat spirit (nekomata, I think? The two-tailed ones?) who also adapts a stalkerish affection for Kohina, though for different reasons than Inugami. There's also Tengu, a... well, tengu, who is also kind of a shotacon pedophile. It's like... with the exception of Kohina.... and Kokkuri-san, I guess; the better a character is, the less screentime they get. Kohina has a bit of a tsundere classmate who's... sort of OK, and she shows up for about an episode and maybe a few brief appearances later on. One episode is centered around a woman whose spirit was tied to a maple tree, and it was kind of sweet as one-episode stories go.
I can't really say the show is terrible; it's... doing the job of presenting terrible people pretty well. But despite all this comedy, Gugure! Kokkuri-san is thoroughly unpleasant. Was this what the creators planned? Is the manga as mean-spirited and unpleasant as this show?
On that note, I think I can respect the show that sticks to a theme that's bound to alienate a lot of people. And the truth is; I did not enjoy Gugure! Kokkuri-san. I enjoyed some parts of it, where the show managed to put away its uglier side for a little while. Yet, I can't really fully endorse this show simply because it didn't follow up on its own bait: Kohina's personal development as a human being instead of a gag tool for instant ramen-related gags. Personally, if you want to watch a show about a group of characters with variable levels of admirable qualities, I'd recommend you check out Hozuki's Coolheadedness instead. (Goes under "Hozuki no Reitetsu" on Crunchy.)
Maybe add one star if you like your humor crass, mean and somewhat dark. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: While Inugami fires guns a lot, his shots tend to be aimed at the other spirits in the household, and as such tend to be non-lethal. There is also some relatively mild fanservice, especially in the episode where Kokkuri-san involuntarily gets himself cursed into a girl (and as such becomes the target for Shigaraki's lechery and sexual harrassment.) Other than that, most of the comedy tends to be centered around really bad behavior or personality traits, which makes it somewhat unsuitable for minors.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Gugure! Kokkuri-san © 2014 TMS Entertainment, Kadokawa Corporation.
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