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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Inari Kon Kon: Complete Series & OVA Blu-ray Review

inari-kon-kon-bluray-coverU.S. Release

The Series



Based on the manga series Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha, written and illustrated by Yoshida Morohe, Inari Kon Kon is a mahō shōjō (magical girl) comedic romance anime series that revolves around a middle school girl named Fushimi Inari.

When Inari, who has always loved her local Inari shrine, saves a fox spirit on her way home from school, she meets the goddess of the shrine, Uka-sama, who grants her one wish. Inari’s wish happens to be to become the school’s popular girl Sumizome Akemi, because she believes the boy she has a crush on likes Akemi. But later, Inari realizes she has made a mistake with her wish and wants to change back into herself. Uka-sama cannot oblige her, however, because it is against the rules for a god to grant multiple wishes to one human, so instead Uka-sama gives Inari a portion of her own supernatural powers. Now, Inari, using the chant “Inari, Kon Kon” is able to transform into any living being. So she changes back into herself, but she soon realizes this new power brings problems of its own. She is draining the power of Uka-sama who is slowly fading away. It can also cause problems for Inari and the people around her to use her power unwisely. Sometimes her powers go out of control and she uses them without even realizing it, such as when she gets the lead role in the school play alongside Tanbabashi Kōji, the boy she has a crush on. It is her powers that unconsciously pushed aside all the other girls.

This series is relatively brief, but it is pleasant and avoids some of the pitfalls of these types of shows. We aren’t bombarded with overused physical gags or an excess of fan service. Instead, the character of Inari is simply the sweet, driving force in this character-driven story that is basically about finding your inner strength, first love, and also overcoming loneliness – Uka-sama is a lonely goddess who really desires love and companionship, which she seeks amongst the humans. Inari’s circle of friends are all compelling, though not completely fleshed out, given the brevity of the series and its strong focus on its protagonist. We are given the basic archetypes, however, in the “tomboy,” the “otaku,” and the “popular girl.” The animation doesn’t really break any new ground, but it is pleasing enough and does give us distinctive character designs and lovely background artwork for what is an overall satisfying series.

Video Quality



Inari Kon Kon comes to Blu-ray with an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from FUNimation Entertainment. The image has sort of a milky veil over it that seems to be an artistic choice, but apart from that, this is a solid transfer from FUNimation of the digital, hand drawn animation for Inari Kon Kon. This is one of the better looking releases form FUNimation, virtually free from color banding, and showing crisp detail with no aliasing.

Audio Quality



Inari Kon Kon is one of the few FUNimation titles that does not come with an English dub, so we get only the Japanese stereo soundtrack in Dolby TrueHD 2.0. As with almost all FUNimation releases, however, we get a track that is mastered with a ridiculously low volume, causing me to reach for the remote and pump this up about 10db higher than usual. Once there, the sound is fine, with clean dialogue and a decent stereo spread, but dynamic range is still limited. The voice cast, however, is without reproach and they really bring these characters to life.

Supplemental Materials



This set comes with the Inari Kon Kon OVA, plus the Pub Fox Theater episodes, which is 13 minutes of comedic animation with some of Uka-sama’s fox spirits, plus the usual promos and clean animation.

  • 2 DVDs
  • OVA
  • Pub Fox Theater Episode 01-09 (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:13:34)
  • Commercial Collection (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:00:51)
  • Promotional Video (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:41)
  • Textless Opening Song “Kyo ni Koiiro”
  • Textless Closing Song “SAVED.”
  • U.S. Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:35)
  • FUNimation Trailers

The Definitive Word




Inari Kon Kon is a fun little entry in the “magical girl” genre. It offers appealing characters, a strong moral, and good artwork. The video quality is top notch as well. Fans of dubs will be disappointed, but the Japanese voice cast is excellent.

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