Publisher: Nippon Ichi
Release Date: 11/16/2010
Our Home’s Fox Deity marks the fourth anime series to be released stateside by Nippon Ichi, whose video games we regularly cover here at Diehard GameFAN. Previous releases include Toradora!, Persona: Trinity Soul and Pandora Hearts. Although I thought P:TC and Pandora Hearts were decent but not necessarily my thing (I’m more a Tenchi/Slayers/Golgo 13/Dai-Guard/Tylor kind of guy), Toradora! stole my heart and easily became my favorite North American anime release of 2010. Since Our Home’s Fox Deity was a return to high school comedy (with a fantasy flair), I was really looking forward to this release. Let’s see how the full premium collection fared.
This two disc collection starts off with two brothers, Noboru and Toru Takagami 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 diety. Kugen is actually more of a kitsune than a tenko, but hey, unless you deal with a lot of Japanese folklore and are anal about that sort of thing, you won’t care.
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. The latter is my favorite part of the series as it’s quite funny to see a sex-changing tengo discover television, jobs, and an all you can eat dessert buffet. It’s not a straight up laugh out loud or farcical series. Rather, the three words I’d use to describe Our Home’s Fox Deity are charming, quaint and whimsical. It’s a very family friendly anime, and even the more risqué commentary that some parents might be bothered by like a very subtle and quick reference to an imagined threesome or a character thinking everyone is talking about Kugen’s breasts rather than her ears, is as “adult” as the anime gets. I mean, this isn’t Hamtaro by any means, but it’s a series you can watch as a family if you have any kids in the house (Which I don’t).
All of the characters in the series are well done and extremely fleshed out. Kugen is very flighty and greedy, but also protective and selfless in the face of h/ir two cubs. Noboru is naÃƒÂ¯ve but tries to be a good head of the family (which is odd since their dad is still alive and pretty laid back and nonplussed about everything). Ko, the guardian of the family is powerful but socially inept. Sakura is a crazy stalker of Noboru (but a sweet one) and provides a lot of the running comic relief. I think my favorite character in the first two discs was Ebisu, the local god of commerce and wealth who is greedy but also a schemer who runs a convenience store on the side to make more money. Most people will fall in love with Daigoro, the baby fox that gets introduced on the second disc in episode seven. Overall, it’s a nicely done series although like any Nippon Ichi anime release, I wish there was an English dub, if only to expand the audience that would buy these collections.
As always, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the splendid extras that make up a Nippon Ichi anime release. There’s the standard Nippon Ichi hardcover box that the set comes in. Unlike most anime “boxes,” which are just flimsy paper covering a set of dvds, this box is hard stock and it can really take a pounding. The boxes are oversizes in that they are two DVDs long, which means the packaging will just out of your DVD case unless you stand it vertically, but the width isn’t a problem. It’s about 1.9 standard DVD cases wide. The case is emblazoned with full color art work from the anime series. One side has seven of the main series characters on the cover in a silly pose while the other side is Kugen, Ko and Daigoro. These cases really stand out and if you’re a fan of ancillaries with your anime, you’ll love these.
Finally the set comes with the standard NISA artbook. This hardcover glossy art book spans thirty-two pages, and is full of art, screenshots and character bios. The art book is Our Home’s Fox Deity returns to the Western style of reading (left to right) after Pandora Hearts went Eastern (Right to left). Unlike the previous art books, this one has very little in the way of character info and inside information (Only six pages) and instead really focuses on the art of the anime with reprints from Newtype, images that graced CDs back in Japan and the like. Whether or not you’ll think this art book (called the Takagami Family Album) is a step up or step down from previous Nippon Ichi art books really depends on if you prefer looking at art based on the characters or if you want interviews with the actors and creators.
Overall, Our Fox’s Home Deity is my second favorite release by Nippon Ichi and I’m looking forward to the release of the second volume in a few months. You can pick the series up at websites like rightstuf.com or over at Nippon Ichi’s Online Anime Store. If you’re looking for a family friendly and/or inoffensive anime comedy, and you don’t mind subtitles, then by all means, check out Our Fox’s Home Deity.