Wednesday, December 25, 2013

New Anime Review - Gingitsune

Anime Name - Gingitsune
Aired - Oct 7, 2013 to Dec 23, 2013
Episodes - 12

Produced By - Diomedea, Pony Canyon
Staff - Shin Misawa (Director), Sayori Ochiai (Original Creator), Naomi Ide (Character Design), Tatsuya Kato (Music)

This is why I like animes, after getting thoroughly disappointed by watching something with excellent animation and music fall way beyond mediocrity due to lack of originality, unnecessary fan-service and a crappy sense of humor; getting angry at yet another butchering of a video game adaption into a utterly stinking pile misdirection and lack of effort; and laughing at a purely unrealistic and shameless attempt at seinen through yet again short skirt wearing superhuman schoolgirls, I get to experience a show like Gingitsune. This anime is not trying to achieve any new grounds and actually does not attempt at anything other than simplistic beauty, tries to teach us some values with so refined subtlety and courageously realistic presentation of the relationships that we observe and gain just by leading our everyday life.

Among other things Gingitsune is the story of the daughter of a priest, Saeki who lives in a Inari shrine with his father, from early childhood she has the power of the sight as she can see gods' heralds, which in her shrines case is the lazy and obnoxious fox spirit Gintaro. Early on the story mainly focuses on how with the help of somewhat reluctant Gintaro, Saeki helps the people around her. Through her unique relation and ability she gain new friends and even meets other heralds. At a first glance and after the first few episodes it might seem a bit too simplistic slice of life with such a slow pace and an all together happy-feelings kind of a show. But soon it delves into much serious ground with the introduction of the character Satoru who like Saeki has the power of the sight, but very unlike Saeki had a troubled childhood and due to circumstances had to live his shrine forever. He comes to live with the little family in Saeki's shrine and we get a little look at his tragic past with the early lose of both of his parents and how his troubled childhood made him a total introvert and socially awkward individual who's only attempt at happiness is through Kendo and the relatively young fox spirit Haru.
As the story progresses through quite a slow pace we get to learn some nice life lessons as well as get to experience quite a varied array of different emotions sometimes even through the eyes of many of the side characters which was quite unique, these nice change of viewpoints felt very natural. There were even a few of episodes where the focus is completely withdrawn from some of the main characters to let viewers fully appreciate the emotions and turmoils of other characters. The writers viewpoint on romance and modernized relationships along side traditional influences were quite refreshing, as he tries to portray relationships in a more realistic way. The involvement of the characters with each other through their daily life, the slow progression of their attitudes and views on others were really done with vivid imagination. This is how real world works mostly (not like the fast to fall in love and fast to get together world of the animes and mangas). There are all kinds of romances; the subtle yet slow development of feelings, the unrequited emotions of someone falling for a guy/girl with a big age difference; even the amazing feeling of love at first site; everything was done quite naturally and with a lot of skills.
Another important aspect for me was the clear line of demarcation that was put between the world of heralds and humans. Heralds with their long years of life are so much more different in their views of the ways of the worlds, the beautiful imagining of their emergence into the supernatural world through flashbacks were quite nicely done to.
Overall the so simple, minimalistic yet beautifully imagined story, even without no real on going plot-line or even distinct beginning or end was one of the best aspects of the show. It gets 9 out of 10 from me.

As expected characters are the real highlights and driving force of this elegant tale. Saeki is a naive yet energetic girl, who gets into lots of fights with Gintaro yet somehow always makes up with him as he is kind of family member to her; although she tries to use the power of the herald sometimes for her benefit yet at the end of the day learns the real importance of using the power for others. Through her growing up in this beautiful shrine with her loving father and Gintaro she slowly understands varoius aspects of being special. As she gains friendship of other people in her school and her interaction with the people visiting the shrine she tries to always do what is best for the people around her at the end of the day in her own particular way. Ginataro on the other hand may act very arrogant and annoyed at Saeki but deep down really adores the girl. By living for thousands of years he had learned many things about the fragility of human life and the freedom of simple belief. Her lectures to Saeki and others not only gives us funny moments but sometimes even gives quite a few good life lessons.
Satoru is perfect example of someone brought up with the cruelty of this modern world. Through losing his parents in early childhood and then his grandfather after that, he learned the sadness of reality very young. By the neglect and prosecution of his aunt's family he has grown into an introvert, a socially awkward young man who thinks he has to do everything by himself. Through his journey to the new shrine and school we as viewers get to experience the joy of being accepted and even loved, the joy of getting new friends and over all the joy of learning to live for your own-self again. Haru is a real cute character who seems kind of one dimensional at first with her short-temperament, being too proud and obsessive affection for Satoru. But through her beautifully told back-story we get to learn her tragic entry into the world of heralds as well as the special and unique bond that she shares with Satoru. There was some really emotional and memorable scenes in her past indeed.
The other characters were also very deeply detailed in respect to such a short series. Saeki's two friends, the carefree and adventurous Yumi and the gentle and intelligent Funabashi; the other heralds and even some people in the lives of the side characters (like Yumi's boyfriend, Funabashi's fathers assistance/driver, Satoru's kendo team members etc) gets their story told in somewhat short yet delicately careful details.
The characters are quite well imagined and does the show justice, so gets 9 out of 10.

The animation gives us nicely detailed scenery in and around Saeki's small shrine and also other beautiful landscapes are thrown to give the atmosphere that much of a push towards a mixture realism and supernatural. The subtle color and stylistic changes that was introduced when we were getting flashbacks along with the beautiful music was really something that added to the total experience.
The realism even persisted with the character designs as the writer avoided including unnaturally good looking and well endowed designs and used simple yet appropriate imagining. This was a really welcomed change after the plethora of too good looking or too cool looking characters that are now-a-days overflowing the anime scene in general. I, myself really enjoyed the animation although it felt a bit aged to be honest while comparing it with some of the works we are seeing these days. While it does not actually hold anything back from the experience it was indeed something that should have been looked upon. the art/animation gets 8 out of 10.

The soundtrack/music isn't anything special in spite of use of nice in-show music specially in the flashback scenes. The total in-show music as a whole does something in adding to the overall enjoyment as giving new dimensions to the experience but some of the tunes were a bit over used to be honest. On the other hand while being quite appropriate the OP and ED didn't really do anything for me as I mostly skipped them after a few listens.
The real achievement in this regard for Gingitsune is the excellent voice acting. The voice actors really did put in their best efforts and really gave the emotions that much more vigor and realism through their works. Special mention should be given to the voice actors of Gintaro and Satoru as their efforts really caught attention and made it that much more easy for us viewers to relate with them and appreciate their dilemmas. The music/soundtrack gets a score of 8.5 out of 10 from me.

Despite all of its strong point this show is not something for everyone. This is a show for people who enjoys the simplicity of life, the joy of living each day and the greatness of having people around you who care about you. For me the slow pace of the story with its unique blend of realism with supernatural; the portrayal of various aspects of relationships, friendship and love and the overall simplistic nature of the messages given like the life lessons that we get to learn everyday just by being alive was a very enjoyable experience.
I will recommend this to any lovers of slice of life and seinen out there. Believe me, although it may not seem so now, you will really enjoy this if you just give this a try.

Overall Score -
                         8.5 out of 10.

"Believe ~Eien no Link~ (Believe ~永遠のLink~)" by JAM Project
If you want more info and other reviews of this show check out it's MAL page -

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