As always, the influx of new anime ended a little over a week ago but then there’s that one or two anime that arrives late. I almost always forget about these premieres since, well, they’re late that’s why. But anyway, here we have We Rent Tsukumogami.
This anime utilizes an interesting facet of Japanese folklore: the Tsukumogami, objects that have acquire a spirit after exiting in our world for so long. The show’s two main characters, Okou and Seiji, run a rental shop where people can rent out items that they can use for an event. By coincidence, their inventory happens to have a handful of these Tsukumogami and the siblings find themselves involved in a number of Tsukumogami-related happenings. This first episode particularly involves a mystery surrounding the whereabouts of an item a client has misplaced and said items contains a mouse Tsukumogami.
Whether or not this anime is entirely mystery-driven remains to be seen but overall, the whole concept sounds like it could be fun. There’s a particularly peculiar dynamic going where Okou (Mikako Komatsu) and Seiji (Junya Enoki) are aware of their trinket spirit friends and vice versa but for whatever reason, neither side can interact directly with each other. This thus forces the siblings to be a bit creative with how they involve the spirits in the cases they solve, often stating plans and adjusting accordingly to the responses and eavesdropping on whatever information was obtained. It’s something that could get repetitive but on its first outing, it was pretty amusing.
What holds We Rent Tsukumogami back for me is that it has a case of “tell don’t show”. No one really shuts up in this premiere and worldbuilding and characterization is generally just stated in dialogue. At the beginning of the episode, you’re given a pretty awkward segue into an explanation about tsukumogami. Anything you learn about these characters is explained by another person speaking. Even the breakdown of the case is just Seiji telling you how he and his sister solved it. I don’t think you even see evidence backing the deduction. For a premise such as this, you’ll find yourself slogging through it a lot.
It’s unfortunate that the story is held back like this because the visuals presenting it are quite good. There’s not really much action going on; the one exception I can think is a chase scene involving the mouse spirit. But as far as coloring, lighting, and lining goes, We rent Tsukumogami looks quite good. The character designs are even better. I mean, this show has a comb bunny in its cast. A comb bunny!
Tryouts ended a while ago for me but having thinned out the watch list, I’m willing to give Tsukumogami another shot just to be safe. Still, this anime might want to dial back on all the talking. That or at least make the dialogue more engaging.
OP: “Get Into My Heart” by Miyavi and Shishido Kafuka
ED: “Koyoi wa Yume wo Misasete” by Mai Kuraki
Thanks for reading!