Anime Review: Our Home’s Fox Deity – Volume 2

Our Home’s Fox Diety Volume 2
Studio: Zexcs
Publisher: Nippon Ichi
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: 2/22/2011

Roughly three months ago, I reviewed the first volume of Our Home’s Fox Diety and not only found it to be a lot of fun, but also the second best out of the four anime series Nippon Ichi has brought to North America. Now the second volume of the anime has been released with a MSRP of $59.99, although you can purchase it directly from Nippon Ichi for $47.99. As I really enjoyed the first twelve episodes in Volume One it should come as no surprise that I adored the second set as well. The series is a nice mix of romantic comedy with Japanese folklore and mysticism and a good dose of action thrown in. it’s one of those series that has something for everyone.

To recap the earlier twelve issues, two brothers, Noboru and Toru Takagami, are visiting their ancestral home after their mother dies. Here they learn that their family are the descendents of the Water Priestesses, guardians of one of the five phases of reality. The phases are the equivalent of the Western four elements, but with metal added in. The youngest brother Toru, has an especially strong mystical aura so Yoma (the Japanese generic collective for monsters) want to eat him. Because of this, Grandmother Takagami reveals to Noboru, who is forced into the head of the Mizuchi family, a sealed off cave that contains Tenko Kugen, an ancient and mystically power fox that the Mizuchi family worshipped as their personal home deity. The anime then spends the rest of the series introducing characters and having the Mizuchi family deal with Yoma, wacky relationship drama and of course, adjusting a powerful spirit like Kugen (or Ku-chan as it is sometimes called) to modern day life.

Unlike a lot of anime series that build a slow story arc towards a thirteenth episode, Our Home’s Fox Deity is more like a sitcom, where many episodes can be watched on their own. Indeed episodes like #19, which is about Halloween or #23 which is about the female cast members going on a diet are all perfectly stand alone and a lot of fun. That isn’t to say there aren’t story arcs. The first disc is what I call the “Shiro” story arc while the second disc has a small story arc going over a few episodes which I would call the “Werewolf” arc. The “Shiro” arc is all about a strange woman wrapped head to toe in white bandages that is mailed to Toru for some unknown (at least at first reason). This causes Ku, Ko, Noboru and Toru to have to deal with a clan of Oni and a shadowy group known as the Overseers that all seem to want this girl, which the Takagami fans christens “Shiro” (white). This story arc is easily the most serious and dramatic in the series, but it still manages to have moments that make you laugh out loud. The “Werewolf” arc isn’t as good, but it’s still fun and it has an unexpected but enjoyable ending. This arc also officially adds a character to Noboru’s growing list of women who Misaki (a girl who is in love with Noburu but who Noburu just thinks of as a close friend) considers competition. Of course in this case, she really is.

The stand alone episodes are a lot of fun, but I have to admit that the final episode in the series just kind of…ends. There’s no real resolution or even a climax for the series. It feels like there were some episodes left unaired or that like School Rumble: Second Semester, another season was scheduled to be animated but it never happened. We’re left with plot pieces hanging up in the air ranging from a character making a pretty aggressive move on Noburu relationship-wise and the attempt to add Gyokuyo (Kugen’s sibling) to the Takgami family. Overall, the twelve episodes were a lot of fun, but I can’t help feeling like something was missing or that I was left hanging when all was said and done.

From there we have the bonus features. On the second disc, we get four commercials that aired on Japanese television along with a clean ending for the “Spirits of Happiness” song that plays at the end of each episode from #18 onwards. I really liked this new ending better than the original, both in terms of the music itself and the adorable ending animation that accompanied it. It was a lot of fun to watch, where I would usually just skip through “The Winds Are Talking.” On the unexpected and appreciated third disc in the collections, we have nothing but bonus material. This disc contains twelve live action bits around the marketing and press events for the series in Japan. For example. The first one involves Yukana (the voice actress for Kugen) at a screen of the first episode in Asobitcity in Akihabara. Each of the twelve segments are over ten minutes, so you’re getting two hours in live footage bonus features. It’s a nice touch for those that still want more once all 24 episodes are done.

Of course, like any Nippon Ichi anime release, you’re also getting the hardcover artbook and collector case when you buy the set. The artbook contains a little bit of information about the twelve episodes in this volume (along with spoilers, so wait to read it!) . The rest of the artbook is divided into full page illustrations from publications back in Japan and snapshot images from the anime itself. I’d have preferred to see more of the gallery type illustrations that scenes from the anime since I can always watch that, but the artbook is still very well done and makes a wonderful companion piece to the anime series itself.

The hardcover collector’s case is as well made as all the other versions Nippon Ichi has released. Since it’s the same height but double the length of a normal DVD case (and twice as wide), it’s a bit awkward to find a spot for it on your shelf, but it’s so well made and aesthetically pleasing, you could easily use the whole set as a placeholder on your coffee table and it wouldn’t look out of place. Between the artbook and the cover for the set, Nippon ichi has definitely made another package that is sure to entice collectors of animes as well as those that are just looking for a fun series to watch.

Overall, I’m very happy with the second volume of Our Home’s Fox Deity. I realize that the price might seem a little costly to people who prefer to buy anime on the cheap or in those slimpak budget collections, but the cost does net you some of the best extras I’ve seen a series come with. The only real downside to the series is that is it totally subtitled. Those of you who prefer your anime dubbed with no doubt be disappointed with this, but the Japanese voice cast does an excellent job so give it a try even if you frown upon “reading” your television. Remember you can purchase the series from places like Rightstuf.com, Amazon.com or Nippon Ichi’s online store and if you’ve been hesitating on purchasing any of Nippon Ichi’s anime series, Our Home’s Fox Diety and/or Toradora! are definitely the series to try.

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