(Note: This review is only based on the first three episodes of the Senko-san anime. There are no major spoilers, mostly because there is nothing to spoil.)
Story: 4/10 Poor
Demigod fox Senko leaves the divine realm to pamper the hell out of a complete nobody on earth named Kuroto Nakano. And why should she pamper a human? Well, to alleviate the dark energy around him, which is what causes trouble and evil in the world when it accumulates. A god stoops to pamper and help just one human to get rid of the darkness around him? Doesn’t sound believable. And is one salaryman’s darkness enough to be a danger to humankind? Also a poor premise.
Most of that can be explained away, though. Senko owes the Nakano family for something in the distant past, so she chose to serve the modern Nakano-san. And, since there might be 8 million gods in Japan, maybe it makes sense to have each god pamper 10-20 humans and thus keep all of Japan at peace? But that’s not what the story is really about. It’s just about Senko doing everything she can to please Nakano, aside from straight-up sex. A weird relationship develops between the human and the fox god, which is supposed to be funny and heartwarming, but which I just find really creepy.
A story like this is boring and average from from my perspective as a hobbyist anime critic. There’s no sense of structure and no real plot. Normally, I’d give it a 5/10. However, it also happens that I don’t like the pandering in this series. To people with cleaner minds than mine, I’m sure it’s an innocent anime. But me… all I see is fuel for the fantasies of furries and lolicons. A live-in legal loli who acts like a Japanese housewife? A fox girl who is sexually stimulated by having her ears and tail petted? She sleeps in your bed with you and lets you rest between her teeny loli chest and wondrously big and fluffy tail?
Ok… so if shows like Free! Iwatobi Swim Club are “Fujoshi Bait” that fans watch so they can fantasize about the characters having gay sex, lol, then a show like Senko-san is “Lolicon Bait” and “Furry Bait” that fans watch to fantasize about the fox girl “doing it” with the man. I mean, just go watch hentai if that’s you want. Sorry, but that’s all I could think of while I watched these episodes. This isn’t me going on some moralistic rampage. It’s just that, for any show, if the audience feels like the story is pushing something too far just to get a reaction, they won’t like it. That’s why fanservice shows are enjoyable but rarely good from a critic’s standpoint. Senko-san catered too strongly to a certain set of viewers, so I could no longer enjoy the story. That’s why I gave it a 4/10.
Visuals: 5/10 Average
I try to be a good critic, but everybody is inconsistent sometimes, and quality of art is largely subjective. There are shows like Eccentric Family where a lot of people frowned on the simple and weirdly stylized art, but I liked it. Senko-san also has simple and very stylized art, but for whatever reason, I don’t like it. The lines are painful to look at. Why is everything so pointy it looks sharp? (Nakano’s chin, nose, cheeks, and hair, and even the lines for Senko’s hair and fur.) Backgrounds are elementary. Movement looks jerky. I got through all the bubbles and sparkles in My Roommate is a Cat with some effort, but now I’m sick of them. I’m not even sure what emotions they’re supposed to express or evoke.
I wanted to put the art at 4/10 or worse, but that’s just too extreme; besides, some people might love the stylization and forgive the poor quality because the budget was probably pretty low for this show. So it’s just 5/10 average.
Audio: 8/10 Excellent?!
The sound is great, which is a waste considering how mediocre the show is overall. Even if you don’t know his name, you probably know Junichi Suwabe’s sexy voice from somewhere. He was Viktor in Yuri on Ice, Eraserhead from HeroAca, Karasuma in Assassination Classroom, Justine Freed of Fairy Tail, and Archer in Fate/Stay Night, to name a few. He plays Nakano in this anime. Main female lead, Senko, is voiced by Azumi Waki, who you might have heard as Maika in Blend S, Elly in Ms. Vampire, and this season, Ao in Ao-chan Can’t Study. She’s got a very cute voice and usually puts a lot of attitude into it.
Opening song “Koyoi Mofumofu!” (Fluffy Tonight!) is almost too sweet and cute. It won’t be for everyone, but I like it, especially since it’s sung by Azumi Waki (Senko) and Maaya Uchida (Shiro). Miss Uchida is known for being Hiyori in Noragami, Rea from Sankarea, and Rikka from Chuunibyou and Other Delusions. She sounds great singing with Azumi Waki. The ending is alright too: “It’s Good to be Fluffy,” again by Miss Waki. The instrumental music is noticeable in a good way right from episode one. It can be cute, touching, funny, or relaxing. I can’t tell you about the style or instruments since I’m clueless about that.
Characters: 5/10 Average
The characters are the definition of dull, in both presentation and personality. So far, there’s been no signs of interesting character development or growth. Granted, the only characters I’ve seen so far Nakano, and Senko, and the neighbor, so I don’t know about any other fox girls or gods who might show up after episode 3. Nakano is a hard-working and generally sweet-natured full-time office worker. Senko’s job is to be helpful, and gods must conduct themselves perfectly, so she is fully dedicated to serving Nakano. The woman who lives next door is eccentric, but I’ve seen so many anime characters with similar weirdness that I can’t see her as funny or original at all.
As for the personal enjoyment factor, I didn’t like it, in case you couldn’t tell. The art-style bugged me. The story was ruined by my own dirty mind, lol. I’ve seen more interesting characters than this in a library puppet show. The fact that the sound was so great only made me sad. The fun music and seiyuu talent are wasted on such a dumb show. And yes, honestly, I was weirded out by the scenes of Nakano sexually stimulating his loli-fox-girl-wife by petting her tail and ears. In addition, I didn’t personally appreciate the jokes about a child (or someone who looks like one) living with a single, grown man in the role of wife. There were jokes about her being assaulted or being kidnapped. Ha. ha.
So to remind myself that there is nothing to be apalled about, I’ll write out my values when it comes to controlling my disgust for certain anime jokes. 1) It’s Just Anime. We all know it’s fiction, and what people like/ are ok with in anime doesn’t necessarily reflect what they like/ are ok with in reality. 2) You are NOT what you watch, and just because people watch trashy shows does not mean they are trashy people. 3) Live and Let Live, Watch and Let Watch. No matter how sick an anime makes me feel, it might be a delight to someone else. People are going to love what I hate. I must accept that. There, I’m calm.
Overall Score: 5.2/10 Mediocre
Yes it’s “only” average, but Helpful Fox Senko-san still isn’t a bad anime. Really bad anime is in the 4s category. Anyway, this series is not for me, but it may be one you really enjoy, so I do recommend watching it if you are perhaps a bit of a lolicon. Little Senko might just be the perfect waifu for some of you. 😉