Simple, sweet, and straight to the heart, Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha was a delightful addition to my winter season. I visited Japan shortly after watching this show and actually walked up the shrine on which the setting is based. There was certainly plenty of advertisement connecting the show to the site: several of the confectionery shops leading up to the grounds were packaged with the anime’s logo, and at the main entrance stood a cardboard cutout of the goddess for posing. I of course obliged and snapped a shot with her.
The tunnel of red gates just past the main gate and shrine creates a feeling of otherworldly-ness, like you’re being beckoned up a path to a different dimension. You don’t know if popping out on the other side whether or not you’ll be the same as when you entered at the start. Since I had already seen the anime before visiting the shrine, I half expected my ascent to result in a woosh of blue foxfire and an audience with Uka-sama herself. I imagined while at Fushimi Inari Taisha that my awe and excitement were delightfully watched by the unseen goddess and her familiars.
When Inari displays her kindness to a young fox on the shrine grounds, she is later led by two ethereal spirits up the red-golden steps. She somehow comes upon a holy place inhabited by Uka-no-Mitami-no-Sama, the resident goddess who harbors a passion for gaming, particularly otome games. Through a strange turn of events, Uka-sama imparts a portion of her godliness upon Inari. The initial thought is that Inari will use it to grant an innocent wish and earn the affections of the boy she loves. Instead, it gives her the ability to transform her appearance at will into any human she imagines.
Transformation seems like a fantastic ability. The possibilities are endless; all doors look open. But Inari quickly figures out in her numerous encounters that it takes more than a face change to capture another’s essence–magic also isn’t the always best way to solve a seeming insurmountable problem. More often than not, all the situation calls for is a face-to-face, honest discussion. I don’t know if I would have had the willpower that Inari had to make the decision she did at the end.