The Helpful Fox Senko-San Episode 9June 27, 2019
Welcome, one and all, to my continued weekly review series for The Helpful Fox Senko-San, aka Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san. The series is set to run for twelve episodes, so I’m going to jump to one episode a week now. I know that it technically ends next week, but I’ve been quite enjoying the dub and this allows time for Funimation Now to catch up with that. So, episode nine is titled Is This Less Embarrassing For You? Let’s get into it.
First things first, the soundtrack was really good this week, especially in the opening scene. The music reminded me a little of fantasy games; it was essentially a relaxing root town piece. The tone of it fit really well with the general feel of the show and made it feel a little bit more complete. For the most part, the background music has been decent so far. This was the first time that it leaped out at me like this though. More of that would be great!
The episode was, on the whole, about Senko trying something new. In the first half, she saw Nakano drooling over cheese gratin on TV. Senko is an expert in Japanese cuisine but isn’t familiar with Western style food, so she asked Koenji if she could help. And so began the fun of Koenji teaching both Senko and Shiro to cook the meal.
There were a lot of really fun moments here, and I loved the chemistry between the characters. Shiro and Koenji (or Jasuko as Shiro is still calling her) have a lovely dynamic. Like, when Koenji explains to Shiro that she hasn’t cooked her anything because she finds it to be a pain and so avoids it. Shiro tells her that she’s lazy, and Koenji responds that the kettle doesn’t get to call the pot black. The exchange felt very natural.
The cooking itself was well done too. Gratin can be a fairly simple dish to make, and the portrayal of that was spot-on here. Rather than just show cooking though, it was all interspersed with some good-natured humour. Koenji still thinks that Shiro and Senko are cosplayers. So, when Shiro says she will control the fire to boil the water, Koenji interprets her fox fire as an act. She even states that she used to play like that as a kid too, throwing invisible fire off all over the place. I got a real kick out of Senko responding to Shiro’s offer to help by tearing up and saying, “I wonder how many hundreds of years it has been since Shiro offered to help me with anything.”
Long story short, the meal came out well. Senko thanked Koenji by doing the dishes and cleaning the hob. There’s a funny moment where Shiro piped up that Senko couldn’t have done it without her help either, and Senko said, “Yes, you’re a very good special helper, Shiro.” I love moments like that because Shiro’s playful nature and the way she responds to things all come across as very childlike. Scenes like this help build that family dynamic between the kitsune, with Senko assuming a motherly role for the younger fox.
In the end, Nakano got to have some gratin too, but Senko had adapted it. On top of the general ingredients, she’d also included her signature items: fried tofu, miso, and ginger. Nakano liked this as it meant the food was Western but still felt like her cooking. Obviously inspired, Shiro also cooked dinner for Koenji. It was just instant ramen, but it counts. Unfortunately, she also used her favourite ingredient: sugar. That didn’t go down so well.
The second half of the episode saw us jump in another day, and Nakano was overheating a little. The weather was stuff and his work uniform includes a heavy jacket. Senko also noted that his hair was growing and that a haircut may help. Senko declared herself an excellent hairdresser, and after a gag about samurai hairstyles, said she can cut modern hair just fine. Nakano put his trust in her.
After a brief moment where Senko seemed shocked after making the first cut, we dropped into a little run of gags. Basically, she styled his hair into three different – and unsuitable – styles, then revealed she was just teasing. Once she started taking it seriously, Nakano drifted off to sleep and dreamt about when he was a kid and his Mum used to cut his hair. The cut finished, he woke up, and the hair looked better and felt lighter. Senko then decided to give him the full barber treatment and wash the hair for him. He protested, but Senko flopped her tail on his face and relaxed him.
Once it was all done, the pair sat down and talked about the evening. Senko lets slip that she was only copying what she saw others do, and when pressed, said it may have been her first time cutting a modern style. She also said that she was able to reattach the bit she messed up when she made the first cut. She used magic to reattach it, and after some teasing about not knowing what will happen to that chunk, Nakano relaxed again. He said that it would have grown out again anyway, so it’s not a big deal, but he’ll use a real barber next time. Senko was dejected until he revealed that he was just teasing now too. The episode ended with a sweet moment where Senko tells Nakano that she should thank him. In the short time that she’s known him, she’s tried a lot of new and different things, and had a lot of fun.
Super Senko-San Time saw her welcome us home and ask if we’ve had time to eat. We shook our head and she got worried that we want to go straight to bed as we may wake up hungry in the middle of the night. She offered to make a snack and provided ramen.
This was a suitable follow-up to the last two episodes. As mentioned, the music was great. The show did a good job visually too though, with lots of the cute tail swishes and perked up ears that you’d expect. Meanwhile, most of the humour was great, and the character dynamics were excellent. The episode also made good use of foreshadowing, with both Shiro trying to add sugar to the gratin and Senko’s shock at the first cut leading to things later on in the episode. Overall, this was simple, light-hearted fun.
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.
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