Here’s where things stand with Inari Konkon at the moment, as far as I’m concerned. For me it’s like sitting down at a restaurant and being served a meal where the side dishes are excellent (or at leasInari t quite good) but the main dish is rather boring. Is that a meal you’re going to walk away from satisfied? Probably not, and the thing is that the drab main course ended up being something I thought I was getting as one of the side dishes. At heart, I think, this turns out to be a cute girls being cute series more than anything else – and even as played out as that genre is, this isn’t one of the better-executed examples.
But there’s a flipside. There are other elements Inari Konkon does quite well, and apart from last week’s snoozer they haven’t been totally buried in the moe-fest. And the be brutally honest, it airs on a day with no other shows that interest me in a season with very few real standouts, and it’s already just four episodes from the end. It would be silly to drop it now, and it’s not as if it’s a show that I ever hate or that makes me angry – it’s just boring when it indulges itself. It’s harder to write about that kind of series than one you do hate, but even if it’s easier that kind of writing is poisonous to the creative soul and I try and cut the cord when it becomes obvious that’s the road we’re headed down. So I’m sticking it out and hoping the last four episodes pursue the threads that showcase the series at its best.
The first part of the episode finishes off the drama left hanging last week, and though it takes rather too long to do so, at least it’s done with a bit less preciousness and histrionics. I like the fact that we have a same-sex attraction here that isn’t being played for prurient yuri appeal, but apart from that I’m afraid I find Inari a pretty boring lead and everything involving her (now) foursome fairly generic. There’s also quite a lot of the other thing Inari Konkon doesn’t do all that well, and that’s broad comedy. Exploding soda cans and the antics of Inari’s father are attempts at humor that pretty much fizz out (pun intended) as soon as they’re attempted.
The B-part, happily, is as if someone flipped a switch that said “Interesting” beneath it. Touka is more interesting than his sister to begin with, as an eccentric and somewhat edgy oddball, and we already knew Uka-sama was one of the best things about the show. Seeing the otome Goddess obviously falling for the human boy is potentially a far more compelling romantic storyline than any of the others here, for its sheer unlikelihood if nothing else. This also obviously bridges the story back into the world of Shinto and Fushimi Inari (I stop at that Daily Yamazaki every time I visit the Shrine – it’s where I told my first-ever successful joke in Japanese), which is where the series gets a chance to showcase its often quite lovely background art.
I was pretty much sold on all the scenes between Uka and Touka, from her scolding him for throwing his game controller because “There are Kami in there!” to her sneaking a look at his photo album (from which he deftly redacts several snapshots before allowing her to continue). Reflecting on how quickly humans grow is uncharacteristically reflective for Uka, but it’s a necessary component anytime Kami or youkai interact with mortals, much less romantically. I also thought it interesting that Inari ended up giving Uka sake as a souvenir from her trip – presumably she wouldn’t have been allowed to but it herself, so who did she tell her parents she was buying it for, I wonder?