Gugure! Kokkuri-san
Episode 7

by Amy McNulty,

A new character arrives! Whether she'll be a one-time "guest star" à la Jimeko or a more central figure remains to be seen. In true Gugure! Kokkuri-san fashion, the show paints Tama, a sweets shop proprietress and Cat God, in broad strokes and gives her an adorable animal form. Tama has a thing for macabre dolls, which is convenient since the show is centered around self-proclaimed doll Kohina. (Even if, as the show itself states, that aspect of her character has taken a back seat in recent episodes.)

The segment introducing Tama is good for a few chuckles, as much for the misunderstandings as Tama's obsessive and controlling nature. It's not the show at its funniest, but Tama makes for a fine enough addition to the cast. Her obsession with Kohina as a doll instead of Kohina as a love interest or needy child is refreshing. Although not quite to Jimeko levels of hilarity, she has the potential to be a funny female character, which helps balance the reverse harem-like nature of the show.

The second segment revolves around another (temporary) female addition to the cast when Kokkuri ignores the warning on a cursed box and turns into an attractive woman. The segment drags a bit as it builds up to the funny, and the situation evolves much as you'd expect when girl-crazy Shigaraki and emotionless Kohina weigh in on the scene. Inugami doesn't react much, but the narrator cuts in to explain the segment will be continued in the next episode in the show's first "to be continued" moment. If true, the situation could produce plenty of humor, even if it's twenty-five years too late to be considered original thanks to Ranma ½.

More than once in this episode, Gugure! Kokkuri-san breaks the fourth wall for comic effect, but on a critical level it's beginning to strike me how one-dimensional these characters are. They each fit into a certain role and do their shtick again and again. (Thankfully, said shtick is amusing most of the time.) Nonetheless, pure comedy series aren't usually known for gripping character development. As long as the cast can produce laughs regardless of the situation, characters who never evolve aren't an issue, as evidenced by popular American animated sitcoms like The Simpsons. Kohina references Kokkuri's characterization not once but twice in episode 7, making the show all the more tongue-in-cheek.

Now that we're familiar with the characters and their shtick, Gugure! Kokkuri-san teeters on the edge of predictable. Still, it continues to establish itself as a situational comedy that's a step above the rest. Gugure! Kokkuri-san episode 7 isn't as edgy as previous episodes, but it entertains nonetheless.

Rating: C+

Gugure! Kokkuri-san is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Amy is a YA fantasy author who has loved anime for nearly two decades.


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