The Mizuchi bloodline has long been hunted by Yokai, or monsters. Toru and Noboru Takagami are descendents of this bloodline, and under their grandmother's discretion, are given a secret weapon to combat these monsters. It is Tenko Kugen, a fox deity who can take the shape of a man or woman at will. The mischievous deity is accompanied by a shrine maiden, Ko, who will both live with the Takagami brothers at their house. Life just got complicated.
I always find it odd that so many shows get labelled as something other than what they are. Even stranger is the fact that almost everyone will view the series in a given way, often missing a prominent feature of the show.
Wagaya no Oinarisama (or Our Home's Fox Deity), is just such a series as, whilst very clearly being a supernatural/fantasy tale, the strong slice of life tone of the story is often overlooked or completely ignored.
Based on a series of light novels by Shibamura Jin (with illustrations by Hoden Eizo), the series was first adapted for manga by Shofu Suiren, and was originally released
in Dengeki Comic Gao! from February 2007 before being transferred to Dengeki Daioh in April 2008. The anime adaptation, produced by Zexcs, and directed by Iwasaki Yoshiaki (Gokujou Seitokai, Hayate no Gotoku season 1, Love Hina, Zero no Tsukaima season 1), began airing in April 2008 on Chiba TV.
The story is surprisingly straightforward, and centres around two brothers - Takagami Noboru and his younger brother Toru. Noboru is the head of the Mizuchi family who, for many generations, have been exorcists, priests, and practitioners of arts involving water ki (lit. Mizu-chi). Because of their strong spiritual power, the brothers find themselves the target of a youkai. Noboru, because of his age, is less prone to attacks, however Toru represents a tasty morsel for any passing demon.
Enter Kuugen, the fox deity that used to be the guardian of the Mizuchi family until it's meschievous behaviour managed to get it sealed away in a cave. Noboru and Toru release Kuugen in orderto protect them (especially Toru), from the various demons who want to eat them.
The animation throughout the series is generally very good, however there are some noticeable flaws with some of the characters faces and body movements at times. The character designs are a tad on the generic side (I'll go into this in more detail in a bit), however this isn't really any big issue with the series, especially given it's focus.
The backgrounds and settings are also verging on genericism, and whilst the art may be detailed, the often cheery overtones can be at odds with some of the "darker" story elements.
The sound and music is of a very good standard throughout the series. The voice actors are generally able to bring the characters to life, and whilst I would have wanted Toru to sound more "boyish", Shimamura Yu does well to bring a certain air of gentleness to the character. The fact that Kuugen requires two voice actors (Nakamura Yuichi for the male, and Nogami Yukana for the female), is something unusual, and can be amusing at certain points, especially when the gender switches mid scene.
The sound effects are used to good effect throughout the show, and are fairly understated during the action sequences (moreso than I would have expected). The thematic music is generally atmospheric, however there are some tracks that don't seem to fit with the on-screen action.
On the whole, the characters are decent enough, if a little on the bland side. Although there is development for both Noboru, Toru, Kuugen and Kou, the amount was definitely mismatched given the prominence of the characters. It would have been nice to se more depth to Kou's character, and to know more about her as well. Toru, on the other hand, ends the series pretty much the same way as he began it - naive, helpless, and far too trusting. Given that he's one of the main characters, and protecting him is one of the main plot points, it's odd that he shows very little in the way of growth.
This disjointed development is symptomatic of the episodic style of the show. In some respects the series has let itself down by having no real plot other than the basic premise, something which is reinforced by the format of the show. However, given that this is very much a slice of life tale (a little more unusual than most, but that's actually a plus point), I found myself enjoying the series far more than I thought I would. When viewed in the same light as shows like Aria, To Heart, Binchou-tan, Mokke, etc, the numerous "filler" episodes turn out to be rather enjoyable romps in the realms of absurdity. The basic premise after all, is nothing more than an excuse. The main concept behind the show was simply to put Kuugen, and Kou to a lesser degree, into the modern world, let them explore, and watch as they try out new things.
One of the biggest plus points for this series is that it is enjoyable because of it's flaws. The generic character designs and artwork hark to typical school comedy-dramas, something which actually works in favour of the show as it's not really meant to be taken seriously. Unfortunately some of the flaws can't be hidden by the charming nature of the series, or the appeal of certain characters - the biggest one of these being the fact that the show really doesn't go anywhere. It would have been nice if the loose ends had been tied up and, whilst the ending is enjoyable in it's own right, it just doens't feel complete.
This isn't a show that will appeal to everyone. Fans of Rental Magica, Aria, Mokke, etc, may enjoy the series, however it probably won't appeal to hardcore action junkies.
Wagaya no Oinari-sama is a decent series, and is very enjoyable if watched in the right frame of mind. A second series would be nice to see though, or at least an OVA that explains a few more things about the characters.
Wagaya no Oinari-sama is a show I was very excited about seeing this year. And for the most part it didn’t let me down. It follows the fox spirit theme that seems to be so popular lately but has a number of interesting new ideas that make it fresh and interesting.
The premise of the story is that two brothers who are the children of the former water priestess whom their family has been involved with for many years are being targeted by other evil spirits and specters. In order to prevent anything from happening, a fox spirit named Kuugen takes on
the task of protecting the boys along with the family’s sentinel Kou. The action starts off fast and the story starts moving along pretty fast and most early episodes revolve around various specters targeting the boys, mostly Tooru the youngest who seems to be especially delicious to these evil spirits. It’s an interesting premise and I found myself drawn into the story immediately.
However in the end I did find myself disappointed. Mainly because while the overall theme was laid down pretty well there was not a very detailed overall story line or goal. Basically it was just this week fight this monster, rinse and repeat. There was also quite a few what you could call "filler" stories that really had nothing to do with anything that the rest of the show was about. Oinari-sama diets, goes to work, goes to the hot spring, etc. While I didn’t dislike these stories the fact that there wasn’t any real story depth in any of the other episodes was a letdown.
The main characters do get fleshed out pretty well. Noboru, Tooru, Kuu, and Kou all have plenty of screen time to get you to know them well and they are all enjoyable characters. Kuu and Noboru get the most story time. To not give away any spoilers though they left quit a few loose ends with pretty much all of the main characters but especially and probably most confusing of all is Kou- the sentinel. They give her some mysterious powers and an important artifact early on but fail to give any follow up or explanation later. The most glaring omission being her special ability. She also has almost no back story to explain why she is a sentinel or why she is so clueless on everything or any of her history prior to the start of the show. This is probably especially disappointing for me because she was my favorite character from the show.
The supporting characters are given pretty fair treatment as well, though a number were kind of left hanging with no real resolution to their story arcs. Sakura is the one with the most screen time and maybe she could be considered a main. She is the comic relief and her constant angst about confessing her love to Noboru and what the relationship is between him and the various girls around him are is pretty funny. But none of this is resolved in the show nor is her rivalry with any of the other "love" interests.
The music was really great I thought. The ED themes were especially good. The voice acting is also top notch. The performance from Kuu and Kou were very good and I thought they nailed the personalities down well. The animation is also very exceptional, with a few exceptions. While the two main female leads looked very good, Noboru and Sakura were plain looking most of the time.
Overall though I come away from this show with a very positive reaction. I really enjoyed it despite the things I mentioned above and I think anyone who watches it will like it as well. Hopefully a second season will come and that will allow the things that were left open to be resolved.
Wagaya no Oinari-sama is a Supernatural, Action, Comedy with a really typical set-up where some kind of spirit/supernatural being is forced to protect someone due to various circumstances. It’s a shame that the story is rather dull and full of lifeless misadventures.
It’s about two brothers who have just learnt about the Mizuchi Family, a lineage of Water ki users that they both are a part of and become aware that youkai (spirits/demons) are after one of them. So they have to awaken a fox deity in order to protect themselves. After the first episode the series goes for the very predictable option by having the
fox deity (Kuugan) live with them along with another girl (Kou) to protect the Takagami brothers. From then the series is mostly episodic where they always indiscriminately get themselves involved in random problems, which usually ends rather anti-climatically but at least there’s a sense of progression. However even with adequate original source material, the series is littered with some lacklustre fillers that degrade the quality of the show. On the other hand the series really did a good job in mixing the ordinary day-to-day antics, with the supernatural aspect and the supernatural aspect itself is what made the show interesting in the first place, because it implemented Japanese tradition and Chinese philosophy well.
Just like how the ordinary aspect of the story has a tendency to get boring and repetitive, so do the dull ordinary characters. You have your Takagami brothers: Noboru the older brother who can be a bit of an annoying tightwad and the little brother Touru who can be far too carefree for his own good. There’s also some other girl who’s infatuated with the older brother but she is so pointless that I can’t even remember her name. On the other hand there are the supernatural characters who are really the only ones worth mentioning, because they add a lot to what would have been a dull series. Like Kuugan Tenko (Kuu) the fox deity with a whimsical personality and has 2 voice actors for an interesting reason, not to forget Kou a powerful sentinel with a great sense of duty. Sadly a lot of these important characters aren’t fleshed out as well as they should be.
With such mixed feelings about the characters, the only aspect I can feel strongly about is the great animation, which gives it a very vibrant look. Action scenes are fairly fluidly and the character designs follow the anime standard but still look great. The music though can be rather unnoticeable during the normal day-to-day antics although during all other situations it switches to a more traditional theme, which goes well with it. It’s a shame that the rubbish OP and ED themes don’t reflect this.
Overall Wagaya no Oinari-sama was for me an anime series with a lot of potential but it ended up using the typical episodic formula that made me lose interest. Important characters like Kuugan weren’t developed well enough, unimportant characters like Noboru were given far too much screen time and characters that became intriguing were instantly forgotten once their respective arc was finished. In the end the series does a poor job providing closure and even though a second season would help with just that, I personally wouldn’t waste my time watching any more of it.
Wagaya no Oinari-sama was an anime that I was highly anticipating from reading the plot summary provided here at MAL and the small details I could learn elsewhere. I love an anime that involves the Japanese supernatural elements like youkai and people trying to protect each other (i.e. Noburu with Tohru in this case). The character designs looked pleasing as well. After watching, I have to report that Wagaya has failed in meeting my expectations. When it comes to plot and story, this anime just doesn't meet its hype. And while there are some redeeming features in terms of musical score and comedic elements, I
will probably not be re-watching this anime any time soon.
STORY - 5
Like I mentioned above, this anime fails miserably for most of the anime in storyline. The first episode leads the viewer to believe that something special is in the offering as we get pushed immediately into the need to protect Tohru from the hungry youkai. The family Sentinel and a powerful youkai are enlisted to help in this task and the episode climaxes with a BANG as a fight for survival is acted out. HOWEVER, for about the next eleven episodes, what do we have? FILLERS!! Gak!! That's pretty much it, folks. We are introduced to new characters, but this stretch is very episodic. Now while fillers are to be expected from time to time, an anime that exists solely on them for eleven episodes straight is failing in the story department. I'm sorry. As we hit episode 12 and 13, we do get into episode arcs where a story does develop from arc to arc. Things start to get interesting and I actually enjoyed this last half of the story. Again though!! The last two episodes..... FILLERS!!!! So this anime went from good first episode..... to fillers..... to good and interesting arcs...... back to fillers and ends there! Massively bad story telling. And in those arcs where the story does get interesting, we're still left with plot holes that I could drive my friend's truck through. So at the end of it all, is there really a story here? I'd say there's episodes and then "mega" episodes, but no story throughout the entire series to tie everything together.
ART - 8
The art here is pretty good with defining character designs and very pretty graphics. Backgrounds are lushly defined and fights are beautifully animated. I loved to watch the magical elements when the fighting scenes played; the way they flowed so wonderfully into the physical movements of the characters made for very nice fighting scenes. The colors are vibrant and rich, both in the characters and backgrounds. I don't remember that much reused footage either; but then, I didn't exactly look that hard for it. There was one area where the artwork made me cringe. The second ending animation made Kou, Kuu, and Tama look sick to me, like they hadn't eaten in ages and were pale.... Maybe it's just me, but they just looked weird to me. So all together, the artwork was nicely done and rendered except for that one ending.
SOUND - 9
In my humble opinion, the musical score was the best part of the series. It was beautifully haunting and melodic when the story called for it, yet fighting music was heavy and had a great beat. It was the haunting bits that actually got my attention first in this anime. I remember I first started paying attention hard to the background music in episode 4. During the last half of the episode, this beautiful Japanese-style poignant melody plays and just accents the sweet emotional aspects of that episode perfectly. This evocative music continues throughout the anime and sort-of saves it for me from dropping it which I thought of doing a few times. I actually enjoyed the opening song, KI-ZU-NA ~Haruka Naru Mono e by Hitomi Sora. It was very catchy and upbeat; I found myself not minding having to listen to it again and again as I watched this anime streaming. The two ending songs I could have done without, but I didn't hate them. They didn't register that hard with me.
CHARACTERS - 4/5
I can't be exactly sure which one of those above scores really belongs here. I don't think characterization was a really big priority here. There isn't really any back story given for the characters except for one. However, that one is dead so do they count? There are hints and ideas splashed throughout that, if fleshed out, could have made these characters stand out so much more! But sadly, they weren't, and most of the characters are forgettable at best. There were even a few times I was wondering who this person was because I'd forgotten when they'd been introduced. Even though they weren't fleshed out enough to make them stand, the one aspect of these characters that saved me from dropping the anime completely was the comedic aspects of them. Some of these guys are just so WACKY that I couldn't help but laugh hysterically at their antics! Whether the fact that the redeeming factors of most of these characters is because they're just really funny is a good thing or bad, I don't know. But they made me want to continue watching until the end.
ENJOYMENT - 6
All together, I kept watching this anime because it made me laugh, hysterically even at times. I just loved to watch as Misaki angst-ed over whether Noburu was two-timing or what kind of sexual escapades where happening in the Takagami household. Her insecurity was pretty darn funny. One aspect of this anime that kept me from enjoying it to its fullest (besides the lack of a good plot) was the EXCESSIVE use of boob and panty shots. It seemed every time I turned around, I was looking at a girl's behind or taking a massive head dive into her cleavage. This aspect of the comedy was extremely heavy-handed and almost seemed to be bashed over our heads with a two by four. It got to the point where I'd fast forward past these parts and get to more funny things. And what about the guys, huh? Any butt shots there? Nope.
OVERALL - 6
Overall, this anime provided some comedic relief and nice music and art. I wouldn't recommend this piece to anybody looking for anything serious or deep. This anime was the exact opposite of those two qualities. But if you're looking for something to kill time and want to laugh and look/listen to pretty visuals and music, you might want to take a gander in Wagaya no Oinari-sama's direction.