Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi Review: Saving the spirit world with food

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Aoi is taken as a bride

In general, I’m naturally fascinated by show that explore folklore, because I tend to see it as a gateway into the thoughts of older generations. Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi is kind of an odd case, though. I never felt particularly impressed by the series while I was watching it (until the very end). If you look at the posts I wrote while the show was airing, there was a common theme that I didn’t think the show was “right” for me, and I stick with that evaluation. I think I was always going to compare this show to Konohana Kitan, a similar show that I greatly enjoyed.

Aoi is shown the contract

The main character, Aoi Tsubaki, is a student with the ability to see ayakashi. After her grandfather dies, an oni appears before her and tells her that she is to be his wife in compensation for a debt incurred by her late grandfather. Aoi naturally refuses, stating instead that she will create a restaurant to pay off the debt. Right off the bat, I think that this is a bit of a strange premise, and it ultimately serves as a bad running joke to justify the plot in my eyes.

Aoi is not amused

Part of what I think the series does well is treating the various ayakashi as “effectively human”, each having their own set of concerns and goals. It’s as if the series is approaching it with the idea that “we’re all the same”, which isn’t necessarily a bad approach. It makes the heartwarming moments work well, and I think the show feels a bit more grounded as a result.

Aoi isn't sure where to go

The reason I say that this doesn’t appeal specifically for me is that I typically enjoy seeing how shows “interpret” older folk tales. This puts the focus on the stories themselves, and I think it explores what the people who created the stories might have been thinking at the time. Instead, Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi is almost more like a show about a typical “human” setting, and the characters just happen to be ayakashi.

A mysterious mask from Aoi's past

This series also has a weird problem at the halfway point. In the main story of the series, Aoi’s husband-to-be runs a spirit world inn, and Aoi typically befriends the various characters with her cooking ability. However, there’s a point in the story where it almost resets itself, putting Aoi in a new inn with a completely different set of characters to befriend in practically the same way. It’s a jarring shift that I still think is awkwardly placed. As a result, I think the series ends up with more characters than it can reasonably keep track of, as well.

Aoi probes for answers

Along with that, there’s always this weird sense that Aoi’s only special because she can reasonably make human food. In a world where everyone can use magic, it seems like being somewhat ordinary gives her a suitable power of her own. That being said, I thought that the series was generally pretty solid. As I mentioned before, it has strong character focus that is handled well. It also happens to have some of my favorite music in its airing seasons, which was surprising for me.

Overall Score: 7/10

Mahoutsukai no Yome and Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou First Impressions: Strong contenders in the season

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I’m not planning on covering either of these shows further than the first episode because they’re both technically slice of life, so I’m going to bundle the first episodes together. I doubt I’ll have much more to say.

Mahoutsukai no Yome

I was really looking forward to this adaptation and this first episode didn’t disappoint. With both the way it looked and the way it presented what was in the manga, I felt like this episode did its job. The simple story follows Chise as she tries to find a home for herself after facing only rejection in her life. But the world she enters when she meets Elias leads to some truly charming tales.

I really liked the sense of wonder and mystery I got from the soundtrack in the first episode. It really seemed to fit. The opening song was also pretty nice. I still think that the description of a Sleigh Beggy is a bit strange, but it’s not super important. It’s also a pretty ridiculous name.

I’m curious how this episode felt for people who didn’t read the manga, but watched the OVAs. The OVAs gave a sense of the suffering that Chise experienced before she met Elias (specifically the scenes depicting her home life), so I wonder if the scene with the aerials makes more sense with that context. Given how tragic her life has been, she’s willing to accept Elias just because he welcomed her into his family.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou

In sharp contrast to the first show, I knew practically nothing about this series. However, I similarly enjoyed this first episode. Overall, the scenery in this episode was really nice and I liked how much of the story was told without exposition or even dialogue. The interactions between Chito and Yuri were also really charming.

The basic setup for this series seems to be two main characters travelling together through the ruins of a war-torn world. While Chito and Yuri do talk about war in the episode, it’s about the concept rather than a specific event. The background is basically shown in a flashback without any words to elaborate. Normally, I’d be bothered by something like this, but I felt like the scene said a lot.

If I were to lodge a complaint at this series, it would be that I couldn’t quite behind the scene with the final ration. I understand the link to the earlier conversation about why people go to war, but it almost seemed a bit too…overt? But that was pretty minor overall. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of this.