Summary: Have you ever wanted to see a Japanese demon get abused by an elementary schooler? Now you can! Kohina Ichimatsu is an elementary school girl with no friends who thinks of herself as a doll. Despite being told not to play alone, Kohina plays Kokkuri-san, a Japanese game similar to the American Ouija board. In the process, Kohina summons the Japanese ghost, Kokkuri-san, who appears in the form of a young, handsome man with ears and a tail. It is revealed in the episode that Kohina has played for some time at Kokkuri-san’s shrine and from then on he has always stalked- err…watched over her.
First Impressions: Characters First, we have Kokkuri-san. It’s hard to have a good impression of a man who first appears with long nails and is panting while peaking in through a little girl’s windpw. After being locked out, he breaks open her door and unlocks her lock. “He’s such a perv,” I found myself saying multiple times. Kokkuri sees Kohina eating only cup noodles and vows to cook her “three meals a day with 50 different ingredients.” Why is it so important that there be 50 different ingredients? Does anyone use that many ingredients, including spices, in one day? My love of Kokkuri was immediately born when I saw him in an apron, this love was even more solidified by Daisuke Ono’s voice acting and strange purring noises when he was rubbing against Kohina after his bath.
He was promptly arrested after because Kohina called the cops. We soon learn that Kokkuri, like Kohina, has no other friends but this young girl. He is a very lonely individual and this may be one of the reasons he has taken to “haunting” Kohina.
Next we go to Kohina. Kohina is either very brave or very stupid, that’s what I thought when I first saw her playing this game alone. Upon Kokkuri-san’s arrival, she immediately pushes him out and locks the window, refusing to recognize that he is the spirit she was trying to summon. Kohina is nonchalant and uncaring as she demands money for her broken window and tells Kokkuri-san that she never actually intended to summon him. Kohina claims to be be an emotional doll made from biotechnology. Obviously, this is a lie. I, personally, wonder if she believes this or if she just keeps acting like a doll to mess with Kokkuri-san. It is mentioned that Kohina lives alone; it can be assumed that her parents are dead and for whatever reason, she is living alone. She is addicted to cheap noodles and has a huge stock of them in her fridge and closet. “I find the non-nutritious and cheap quality of this udon irresistible,” she says about the Kitsune udon. Kokkuri finally gets a rise out of Kohina by returning all of her ramen to the store. She becomes enraged and sends him away only to become sad later by his absence, having mentioned he was the only person who had spoken to her.
Likes and Dislikes: There are some things I liked and didn’t like about the show so far and other things I found interesting. My first dislike of the show is how we only see non-chibi Kohina once or twice and she spends the rest of the time in chibi. I know this is more of a stylistic choice and helps convey her character for all of the less serious scenes, however, I would have loved to see more regular Kohina as she was super cute and looked closer to ten or twelve rather than a six-year old (though her age was not disclosed).
There was a significant amount of focus placed on Inugami, the dog boy, and I honestly expected to see more from him due to this. The other two characters that they showed, a girl with orange hair and an older man with black and white hair, were shown long enough to let us know they would be in the show but not long enough for me to expect them to be in the first episode. My only other complaint…or rather, question, is Why is Kokkuri-san’s tail a different color from his ears? The first thing I enjoyed was the darkened art style used in the beginning to make the scene look more…scary, I guess? The background music, when noticeable, was quite nice. It gave a spooky effect when needed and other times it was lighthearted and fun. Which leads me to the ending theme. The ending theme was done in that singing-and-speaking style that can be commonly found in visual novels or in comedic shows with larger casts of characters. Getting to hear Daisuke Ono sing is always a pleasure and the animations were fun and refreshing. The ending animation showed the characters in various scenes such as picking up trash in the street and disco dancing in a club. I found myself laughing hard at Kokkuri-san in a suit.
Underlying Concepts: I really liked the underlying concept that because of changing times and technological advancements, Japanese spirits are less worshiped. Kohina says that it is much easier to google her questions than Kokuri, who points out that he always tells the truth. I believe that this show serves as a good way to educate younger audiences about some of the Japanese spirits in lore.
Overall, this show has done exactly what I wanted it to — fill the void in my heart left behind when Barakamon ended. Gugure! Kokkuri-san is lighthearted and random, there’s no solid plot established within the first episode, however, I think this is part of the show’s charm. If you are looking for a cute but hilarious show with a Japan flare, then you will probably enjoy this show. If you are looking for an immediate plot or serious show, then you may not find Kokkuri-san as enjoyable.