Comic Books Magazine

Inari Konkon Review

Posted on the 04 September 2015 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG

thumbnailImage_1259156Title: Inari Konkon
Genre: Slice of Life, Magical Girl, Romance
Publisher: Kodokawa Shoten (JP, US)
Artist/Writer: Morohe Yoshida
Translation: Andrew Gibler & Jenn Forsyth
Serialized in: Young Ace
Review copy provided by the publisher.

I was a big fan of the Inari Kon Kon anime in 2014 and I always hoped that the manga would be licensed as well since I knew the ending was a little different. Well, in a way the series is licensed! Japanese publisher Kadokawa launched an English version of their BookWalker app last year (as well as a separate app, ComicWalker) and this is one of the titles that has since been added. BookWalker even has the entire series already for sale so let’s see if the manga was as charming as the anime!

There are a lot of little plots going on in this story but the gist of it is: Inari is a sweet middle school girl who lives near the Inari shrine in Kyoto with a huge crush on her classmate Koji. She plans to confess to him but messes up. Embarrassed, she runs back to the shrine to hide from everyone. The goddess Inari (Uka) takes some pity on Inari however; not only has she watched Inari grow up, but just that morning Inari helped save one of her foxes — surely a gesture like that deserves a favor. A few more complicated events later and Inari has the magical-girl like ability to change shapes. In a packed first volume, she almost destroys her relationship before its started, discovers that her brother is a huge chyunibyou, makes new friends, and meets some gods.

The pacing is quick but never rushed, and having so many different events running also lets Inari’s budding romance percolate off to the side without stopping the entire forward momentum of the plot in the meantime. Perhaps the reason for this is that this is not actually a shoujo romance/magical girl story; it’s seinen and aimed at an older, male audience instead. It is a bit of a bizarre choice honestly, as the only time I was reminded it wasn’t for pre-teen girls was during one inappropriate boob-grab (and a few comments directed at Uka, never at the underage Inari), but since Legal Drug by Clamp also runs in this magazine, perhaps the editors expect a certain amount of female readership as well. Whatever the case, so far in the manga (and in the anime) this series is cute enough and safe enough that I wouldn’t have any qualms recommending it to the usual, magical girl audience. Honestly I think this series is better than a lot of the traditional stories!

Inari Konkon Review

Romance and shape-shifting are not the only things in Inari’s life. Even in this first volume we see that she has deep relationships with her friends and family, and they already have a surprising amount of characterization for just one volume. Inari’s classmate Akemi, who is pretty, smart, and athletic, all things Inari lacks, is never framed as a “typical shoujo rival” but as an honest, cheerful girl who simply attracts people to her. The story never frames Akemi and Inari against each other either, and there’s no suggestion that Akemi is “better” for her smarts or that Inari is for her happiness despite being only “average” — it’s a surprisingly female positive story! One thing I did like better in the anime was that the characters looked a little more distinct from each other, because then you can see that Inari and her friends all have different body shapes as well (Inari isn’t rail thin like most manga girls!) which again helped the characters feel more real even when they weren’t the main focus.

Inari Konkon Review

I should say that I did like the art in the manga however, and this is early on in the story so perhaps the characters become a little more distinct looking later on. The settings are wonderfully detailed even in the more mundane moments, and it feels like there’s a visual or verbal gag on every page. It’s a charming story in every way and I’m delighted that there’s now an option to watch the adaptation or read the original, at this point I like them both so much I can’t decide which is my favorite!

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