Between a tag-team assault on PSP screens lead by Cladun: This is an RPG and Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman, as well as a trio of exquisitely packaged anime, the second half of 2010 has been a triumphant term for NIS America. Yet based on several early synopses for Our Home’s Fox Deity, it looked like the publisher’s streak was about to conclude alongside the departing year. Predictably, some critics were indifferent about a series involving a gender-bending fox god which relied on restrained charm rather than overt slapstick humor.
Shrewdly, Fox Deity‘s recurrent ‘fish out of water’ theme aims higher than simple guffaws. As the series opens, brothers Tōru and Noburo Takagami are summoned to the countryside to see their ailing mother. Upon arrival the youngsters discover the visit is a ruse, designed to shield them from harm. Much to the bewilderment of the suburbanized siblings, they duo learns the Takagami hail from a potent of powerful priestesses, with Tōru being a target, due to his yin-rich blood. Reluctantly, the family thaws Kūgen Tenko, a mischievous kitsune, with the intent of making the fox their guardian. For Western viewers with a limited knowledge of Japanese mythology, the initial disorientation mirrors the brothers’ own puzzlement of their newfound predicament, alleviating the archetypal lethargy of opening episodes.
Soon the tide turns, as Kūgen returns home with the Tōru and Noburo, discovering the amenities of urban living. Here, amusement comes from the transgendered fox god balancing his/her animalistic instincts while trying to ‘fit in’ along the city’s denizens. As Kūgen discovers life’s ubiquities, from television to all-you-can-eat buffets, the series’ charms are as unmistakable as the kitsune’s own ears which habitually and involuntarily perk up. Gradually, the boys once-familiar landscape reveals a steady stream of secrets, as the city reacts to their vulpine visitor.
Despite a potential for adult-minded gender play, Fox Deity is consistently genial. Beyond the uncommon double-entendre, the series is suitable for all age groups. If fact, the only group who are likely to find serious fault with the series may be action aficionados. The first thirteen episode’s inclusion of compulsory conflict sequences often feel disjointed and generally lack impact. Yet beyond that blemish, Our Home’s Fox Deity will win over most viewers with its amiable characters and whimsical tone; it’s rare when an episode doesn’t concluding on a smile-inducing moment.
Conversely, NIS America’s now-requisite packaging and supplemental material is certain to leave a virtuous impression. Combining succinct character biographies, a assistive terminology list , as well as a robust collection of illustrations, the hardcover Takagami Family Album is a welcome complement to the series. Sticking with formula, both the setcase and two DVD Slimpacks are adorned with vibrant and strikingly-drawn artwork, demanding a location to be showcased. Likewise, the series DVD transfer is spotless, with both a visual sharpness and color palette that should please the most discerning viewer.
Although the concept of a fox god coming to live with a suburban family may sound woefully trite, Our Home’s Fox Deity subdued execution elevates the material into must-watch status. Quite frankly, I approached the series with apprehension, but was immediately hooked by the anime’s muted blending of the supernatural with the familiar. Hopefully, NIS America’s winning run won’t come to a halt anytime soon.