by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 1 of
Konohana Kitan ?
How would you rate episode 2 of
Konohana Kitan ?
How would you rate episode 3 of
Konohana Kitan ?
Konohana Kitan is unlike any show I've had the opportunity to review for ANN up to this point, and I have to say it's a refreshing change of pace so far. We're only a few episodes into the season, but Studio Lerche is already delivering a warmly animated story filled with lovable characters and an interesting world. The fact that the characters are all adorable fox girls is just an added bonus.
What I've enjoyed the most in this first set of episodes is the strength of the characters and their chemistry with one another, which is a good sign for the rest of the season, since Konohana Kitan is a slice-of-life dramedy. The first episode introduced us to our primary protagonist, Yuzu, and established her budding relationship with Satsuki, which serves as the emotional core of the show so far. The second episode expanded on that relationship nicely, showing us how the two are warming up to one another while also giving Satsuki a compelling backstory of her own that involves her family's traditional involvement as priests and priestesses in the local temples. Her rivalry with her more successful older sister isn't anything new, but it does help explain Satsuki's personality quirks and contrasts with how she and Yuzu play off one another.
Episodes three gives the other employees of Konohanatei a little time in the spotlight, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I was able to enjoy the show when its core duo weren't the central focus. Ren and Natsume's dynamic is pretty familiar to anyone who's watched an anime rom-com in recent years, but it's different enough from Yuzu and Natsume's rapport to stand out enough on its own. Seeing Ren get jealous over the attention Natsume receives from Aoi was funny and sweet, helping to bolster the already strong yuri subtext running throughout the series. Nothing has been made explicit so far, but it's clear that none of these girls have much problem showing affection for one another (Yuzu and Satsuki's outing in episode 2 is even casually referred to as a date.)
Combine that with the fanservice that's mostly played for laughs throughout these episodes, and Konohana Kitan looks like it may be willing to add a little romance to its formula, which would be nice given the chemistry of its characters. My one hope would be to see Yuzu develop into more than the ditzy, naïve archetype she feels like at the moment. Her role here is overly familiar, and while I do find her rapport with Satsuki unbearably cute, she's also probably the least interesting character we've gotten to meet so far. Since this is such a breezy and enjoyably light show though, I suppose I can't fault it too much for keeping things simple.
Simple is the operative word for Konohana Kitan so far, which is actually a good thing. While I hope I get more to chew on in regards to its fantastical world at some point, I'm perfectly happy to see these charming characters simply spend time together and grow closer. Yuzu and Satsuki especially have chemistry galore, and if the show does choose to emphasize the romantic possibilities of their relationship, I would not complain. Even if the show stays in the realm of teasing that possibility without following through on it, I don't doubt that there will be plenty of fun to be had with the Konohanatei crew. Every season needs a relaxing, refreshing show that serves as a breather more than anything else, and Konohana Kitan seems to fit the bill perfectly for this fall.
Konohana Kitan is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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