Genre(s): Fantasy, Slice-of-life, Seinen
Aired: Oct 2017 – Dec 2017
Also known as: このはな綺譚
Summary: The series begins with Yuzu, a cheerful yet clumsy fox girl, starting her first job as an attendant at the traditional hot springs inn, Konohanatei. Her co-workers include Kiri (who is the friendly, cunning, and reliable head attendant), Satsuki (who is the stringent yet reasonable stickler), Natsume (who is the easygoing tomboy), Ren (the girly tsundere), and Sakura (the quiet goofball).
Behold Konohana Kitan, a show that revolves around a plain yet kind fox girl growing closer to her fellow fox girls and other spirits as she learns how to be a proficient inn attendant.
Review: Even if you didn’t know that the original source material was a reboot of Konohanatei Kitan, which has erotic lesbian kisses, you should be able to easily tell that this is a Cute Girls Doing Cute Things show with a strong emphasis on yuri subtext with a single glance.
Make no mistake, however: Konohana Kitan also could be considered to be an iyashikei series with a focus on mystical, mythical stories, emotional developments, as well as gradual yet satisfying character development. It’s an unexpected yet effective combination that will leaves viewers crying tears of joy and/or sadness after being emotionally moved (source: me).
Admittedly, the premises for the series initially seems to be unoriginal. Many viewers were comparing Konohana Kitan to Urara Meirochou (which was about cute girls who were training to become fortune tellers and who had to deal with spirits and gods) or Hanasaku Iroha (since said show also primarily took place in an inn) and the general sentiment seemed to be, “Oh, another CGDCT show.” Furthermore, aforementioned category is one that some anime viewers care little for.
But I believe originality is overrated. What truly matters is execution. And in this case, I would say that Konohana Kitan is successful for the most part. Early on, the series may not be completely on-point in regards to making the emotional scenes “stick,” to be fair (in other words, I wasn’t as “invested” in the show early on). But after a few episodes, it becomes clear that Konohana Kitan is opting to stick to its formula and include several stories within each episode. Some stories are interconnected and some are not; some focus more heavily on characterization for the primary characters while others are dedicated to the side characters who come and go.
The end result: a series that depicts a slow yet steady development while featuring poignant scenes that really serve as a form of release. A lot of detractors against the CGDCT category will say that nothing really happens in said shows, which is fair. And yet, the girls in Konohana Kitan are most certainly changing for the better bit by bit. So what if most situations or problems are resolved within the episode? The series certainly improves in making you want to care about the character and can leave an emotional impact without relying on several episodes’ worth of build-up. In fact, it’s closer to being overwhelming instead of being underwhelming in that regard. You get to experience emotional roller coaster every week!
Part of its success likely has to do with the setting. The pieces will gradually (and carefully) come together and the audience end up being able to puzzle out some general ideas about the this magical world of spirits. It is, by the way, interesting to note that the only human who didn’t accidentally end up in Konohanatei isn’t necessarily a regular human… A job well done if I do say so myself. The audience had plenty to think about it.
What probably helps establish this series as an iyashikei is that there’s almost no “bad endings” – nearly every story or episode ends on a happy note. I can almost hear the critics complaining already. “There’s no source of tension,” they’ll say, “so people can’t get into the series.” Well, perhaps you folks are right. But for me, the undertones within the series is what really grabbed my attention. Nearly every potential issue is peacefully resolved, but the series isn’t afraid to address suicide, helplessness due to a sudden and crippling accident, feeling less loved by parents, and so on. Serious topics are tackled and respectfully handled and I’m left feeling more positive about my own in-real-life situation after watching episode. That’s healing done right. That’s encouragement done right.
I’m underqualified to really talk about this, but I sure do love the artstyle of the series. The characters all look beautiful and the backgrounds are both incredibly detailed and pretty.
I’ve already talked about the yuri content in this show earlier. Let me just say that fans who enjoy shipping will very likely enjoy this show.
In a season where everyone is choosing to champion Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko as the leading iyashikei, Konohana Kitan has been, in my opinion, overlooked. The series may start off slowly and it’s likely that none of the characters can be considered as charming as Yuuri or Chito, but both shows tackle philosophical ponderings in their own ways. Ahhh, I often cried tears of happiness or of grief while watching Konohana Kitan, but now I’m just left feeling regretful that the series ended already.
A great series to watch if you’re in the mood for some healing. If you’re feeling lost and depressed, you should also consider watching Konohana Kitan. Not bad for a show about gay fox girls, huh?
Also, the series has a new ED every 3 episodes, give or take.
New song, new pictures. The works.
4 EDs, 4 seasons. The events shown in each episode aligns with the changing seasons, too. I thought it was very neat!
But, wow. What a show.