Ayane SakuraRie KugimiyaJunichi SuwabeShigeru Chiba
The Helpful Fox Senko-san
Also known as: Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2019
Director: Tomoaki Koshida
Writer: Yoshiko Nakamura
Original creator: Rimukoro
Actor: Atsuko Tanaka, Ayane Sakura, Azumi Waki, Eri Kitamura, Jun Fukushima, Junichi Suwabe, Maaya Uchida, Reiko Katsura, Rie Kugimiya, Rikako Aikawa, Sara Matsumoto, Shigeru Chiba
Keywords: anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=21908
Website category: Anime 2019
Review date: 14 October 2020
Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko san
It's a gentle, mildly pointless show about an 800-year-old fox demigod. She moves in with an overstressed wage slave, Nakano, and installs herself as his wife substitute. (He gets no choice in the matter.) She cooks, cleans and devotes herself to him unconditionally. What follows is twelve episodes of content-light fluff, which can be anything from "a bit dull" to "soothing and not without charm".
On the surface, this is harmless and innocent. Nakano appears to be asexual. He likes fluffy fox tails. When Sora and her mega-cleavage come to visit in ep.10, openly offering sex, he's only interested in her tails.
The subtext, though, is extremely questionable. Senko looks about ten and the show's very aware of the fetish of a grown man getting cuddly with an underage girl. (Technically, Senko's 800 years old, but that's just the sticking plaster of ostensible acceptability.) Furthermore, Nakano has a massive fetish for Senko and the two of them are extremely physical together, but with the focus always on tails. He'll cuddle, stroke and bury his face in Senko's. Furthermore, her reaction suggests that it's an erogenous zone of hers and that excessive fondling can bring her to orgasm.
Senko probably wouldn't have minded if Nakano had asked for sex, but the show never makes the subtext that explicit. Furthermore, every episode has a post-credits sequence that has Senko talking directly to a first-person camera, i.e. the viewer. You're being invited to share the, um, fantasy.
Nakano's neighbour, Yasuko, is even more open about her desires. "It's like Lolita, but legal! I'm so jealous!" "If she wasn't your wife, I would have been all over her. I'm impressed I was able to control myself. Well done, Yasuko!"
In fairness, though, that's an awesomely fluffy tail.
All that aside, though, is it a good show? Sort of. I quite like the cast. Nakano's horrible workplace situation and his daily self-immolation make him relatable and he's more mature than most Magical Girlfriend anime protagonists. Senko's nice. Everyone's likeable. Furthermore, Nakano and Senko are sweet together and it's relaxing to spend time with them.
That said, though, the weird fetish overlaps mean that it's super-targeted at a specific, creepy audience... and a slight miss for everyone else. Do you want a combination of a girlfriend, wife, mother, daughter, goddess, illegal jailbait and pet? When Senko calls herself Nakano's "wife and mother", normal people will just blink and shrug. You'll like Senko, but the show won't make you want a fox demigod. Even something like Hand Maid May works better as otaku fantasy, I think, even though May's a hand-sized robot.
I also didn't understand why Nakano didn't tell Yasuno that Senko was a supernatural entity, instead telling implausible lies. Just look at her. Ears and tail. Can hover and fly through walls. You wouldn't get much argument.
I don't dislike this show. I watched it. It's pleasant. However, the show's mostly conflict-free and it's capable of being a bit bleah. Nothing about it matters. It's so far away from drama that the show's token efforts for the finale are predictable and lack tension. It's obvious how it'll end, so who cares? It's the kind of thing you watch as a change from other things, rather than as something that's worth watching in itself.