We’re one episode from the finale now, and it seems time to accept the reality that Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha just isn’t that good – in anime form at least. It’s pretty good, don’t get me wrong – and some episodes have been better than that. But the reason the series is so inconsistent is just that it is what it is – a fairly thin idea stretched just a bit too far for the caliber of the execution. I started out thinking that ten episodes was too few, but now I wonder if this show wouldn’t have been best served as an OVA series – if you condensed all the best material down to two or three episodes worth, you’d have something really solid.
I tend to lose interest pretty quickly when Inari Konkon focuses in on the self-important schoolgirl crises as it did this week. This ep was better than the the last time that happened, but still pretty indifferent on the whole. You need really exceptional writing to give that sort of material real weight, and that’s punching above the weight class for Inari Konkon. Instead you get exactly what that sort of theme delivers most of the time – pedestrian anime that doesn’t linger for long once the credits have rolled.
This series can do better, and it does when it turns its eye to the mythological side, but there too I think we see the limits of the premise at work. The basic nut of the problem driving the story has been evident from the beginning – middle-school girls and Divine powers are an atrocious combination. The show doesn’t seem willing to follow this road to the point where it might generate real drama by plausibly introducing the possibility of real consequences, though, so here too things seem a bit inconsequential. Uka herself is so fallible that she seems borderline incompetent as a Kami, and Inari’s loss-of-control episodes come off as adolescent hissy fits with unusually violent repercussions.
There are repercussions, at least, and we’ve known that all along. Every time Inari loses herself Uka gets a little weaker, and her latest episode – generated by an angry classmates physical confrontation with Maru – seems to have given her a dose of Yato-style blight and caused her to physically start to fade. That should carry a greater impact than it does, at least for me, but every time the show loses itself in the trivial it diminishes that which could be substantive. We’ve known where this was headed for a long time – by now I’m just ready to get there and deal with the problem.
The big question for the finale at this point, I suppose, is how Uka is going to manage to take her powers back without Inari losing the ability to see her (and turning back into Sumizome, for that matter). I’ll be very surprised if someone (maybe Susanoo, who knows) doesn’t figure out some way to do that, and this doesn’t seem like the sort of show that’s about delivering surprises. What I’d really like to see but don’t expect to is some sort of forward movement in the relationship between Uka and Touka, even an acknowledgement that it has absolutely no chance to succeed, but that would be an even bigger surprise so I’m not getting my hopes up.