Welcome, one and all, to my continued weekly review series for The Helpful Fox Senko-San, aka Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san. This week, I’m looking at episode 11, which is titled It’s Going To Be A Rough Night.
I quite enjoyed this one. The episode actually had a subtle focus on mental health, which was nice to see. You see, Nakano has been having some issues at work. The project his team was working on was due to be delivered to the client, but they started making new requests that weren’t in the original specs. They even claimed that they should have been obvious. When he tried to talk to his boss about it, he was basically told that the customer is always right and ended up working unpaid overtime. He basically overworked himself and still got in trouble. Sadly, this sort of thing does happen, and the toll it takes on Nakano is very realistic. For him, the day was an unmitigated disaster.
So, Senko sets up an Izakaya – an informal Japanese pub – at home and serves him alcohol and traditional food. Once he’s drunk enough to open up about his issues, Nakano also says something that sums up his thinking well.
“I feel terrible complaining about work so much. Other people have it worse, so really, I should be grateful.”
The thing with statements like this is that, while there is a grain of truth to it, it’s also quite damaging. When you think like this too often, you essentially devalue your own pain, and that simply isn’t healthy. Senko clearly agrees and tells him something that I thought was excellent.
“Just because other people have it worse doesn’t make your own feelings less valid.”
I once had a similar discussion with someone and made the same point. No matter how minor your own problems may be compared to someone else, they are still your own problems, and so will feel that more terrible for you. Sometimes, you simply have to focus on your stuff. As Senko outright states in the episode, self-care is important.
The second half of the episode sees Nakano forced to take time off. He’s accumulated too much paid leave and has to take it now, even though the timing is bad for the office. Again, that’s a real thing. I used to work with a lady who had a similar thing going on. She was so important to the office, but never took any time off because she loved coming in. Eventually, they forced her to take an extended break because she’s built up so much leave. Unfortunately for Nakano and Senko, their plans to go visiting places together fall apart pretty quickly when Nakano gets a call from his Mum saying that this Dad has been hospitalized.
So, Nakano goes to visit home for the first time in years. It was sweet really. He got to reconnect with his Mum and his old cat and found out that his Dad had simply gotten drunk at a school reunion and broken a bone dancing. It’s while visiting his Gran’s grave that Nakano sees a plum blossom and thinks back to when a kitsune guided him out of the forest when he was lost. He placed the plum blossom in front of the kitsune statue back then.
Thinking on it, he realizes that it must have been Senko and that the visions he’s had really are his ancestor. She’s always been there. When he tries to call her though, she doesn’t answer.
The reason for that is that the story arc that was set up when Lady Sora last visited is beginning to play out. For one, Nakano is worried that the injury to his Dad may be tied into where Sora told him that something bad would happen to him if he made Senko sad. There’s also a moment towards the end of the first half of the episode where Shiro is complaining about not getting to taste Senko’s cooking in the kitsune realm for ages. It’s been a year apparently, so we’ve covered quite a large timeframe so far in the episodes. During this exchange, Sora tells Shiro that she believes her wish will be granted sooner than she thinks and that she only needs a little more patience. She ended it with an ominous, “All things must come to an end.”
As if to hammer that home, Senko packs up and leaves before the end of the episode. She doesn’t say where she’s going, leaves the phone behind, and when Koenji spots her, just says that she’ll be gone for a bit. It’s clear that she’ll be visiting Lady Sora. Given their working relationship, I wonder if Sora intends to recall her to the kitsune realm now. We shall see in the final episode, I’m sure.
In all, I thought this one was really well executed. The story progression was great, and the mental health advice was great. The soundtrack continues to shine, ranging from the upbeat travel music when Nakano head home to the shift from mystical to ominous feeling pieces in the kitsune realm scene. We even got to see Senko displaying a strong connection to Nakano, physically showing us that she picks up what sort of mood he’s in and what he’s doing, even from afar. Meanwhile, Super Senko-San Time was replaced by Super Sora Time, which was the cavalcade of cleavage and flirtatious vocal performance that you’d expect given her character type. Overall, this was great fun and it has me excited for the finale.
So, those were my thoughts. But what about yourselves? Did you enjoy these episodes? Do you agree or disagree with any of my observations? Let me know in the comments below.