This show, “Gurure! Kokkuri-san”, is strange in that it tries to pull in from many genres and almost succeeds, but got too cute for its own good. The term “Gugure” is a corrupted term, meaning ‘go figure it out’ or ‘go Google it’ (depending on who is doing the translating for you).
Kokkuri-san is that fox spirit front and center. But Kokkuri-san is also a game, much like ouija boards, where you can summon spirits. You see that girl atop the noodle cup? That is Kohina Ichimatsu, an almost-expressionless elementary school girl who lives alone, proclaims herself to be a doll, and eats nothing but instant noodles. One day, she plays the game by herself and summons the fox spirit Kokkuri-san who, upon seeing her unhealthy lifestyle, takes it upon himself to become her guardian and raise her properly. Thus starts Kohina’s new life of being haunted by various unique spirits.
You see, he feels that she is not really worthy enough to be haunted by him and wants to bring her up a notch or two to really make it worth his time. Now, as to why she lives along is ever made clear, except for her catch-phrase “I’m only a doll”. And certainly the square eyes add to this (although there are rare circumstances when she becomes a real person). As if Kokkuri didn’t have enough on his plate, along come two moochers.
We see them in their human forms. The first is Shigaraki (second from left). Normally, he is a tanuki, but he is a lay about, preferring to drink sake all day and smoke, smoke, smoke. The second is Inugami (second from the right). Normally a dog, he can also gender shift (you can tell he’s a girl, as he sports purple hair instead of black). He also has a huge amount of unrequited love for Kohina and feels he can make things work better in the ‘she’ form.
The lady at the far end is Tama, who is a cat spirit and operates a failed sweets shop. Her fascination with dolls has her stalking Kohina (and Inugami has to protect Kohina in both gender forms). The other guy at the other end is Tengu. He is a spirit well versed in local history, but will only do things for Kokkuri in exchange for ‘naughty’ pictures. Together, these people work together to help Kohina become a real person and lead a real life. Well, guess what? It don’t work!
Kokkuri worries far, far, far too much about things and is a wreck at the end of the day. Things get so bad, he actually goes to school to find things are at least as strange there as at the house and potentially more off the wall. But where is this all heading? There are some funny episodes and some touching ones, but we don’t seem to be making any real progress. With all of these people trying to help, Kohina is the same person at the end of the show as she was at the beginning, as though she is immune to any and all efforts to help her be more human, and that’s where a frustration lies.
In some instances, this show was like “The Wallflower”, in that the heroine is not going to change who she is, despite the entreaties of the rest. I would just like her to do more than merely go after the latest cup noodles or remain in her doll-like persona. Since nothing has been resolved, expect a second season, but potentially not too much from it. Just a lot of missed opportunities.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (An intriguing approach)
Plot 7 (Good approach, but underworked)
Pacing 7 (Moves along consistently)
Effectiveness 7 (Not certain where it is going)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (Potentially, much ado about nothing)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Cup noodles, please.