I imagine Doga Kobo was simply hired to animate The Helpful Fox Senko-san but I can’t help but see the show as the studio’s answer to Kyoto Animation’s Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. Like that show, Senko-san stars a disgruntled office worker whose life gets turned upside down when an otherworldy being appears at his apartment. There’s obvious differences of course. Senko (Azumi Waki/Kristen McGuire) is not a dragon girl but a kitsune and Nakano (Junichi Suwabe/Aaron Campbell) is a woman but is instead a guy (no lesbian shippings in this show, I guess). Still, the basic concept is there and considering what a hit Dragon Maid became, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone in charge thought about chasing that money.
Comparisons aside, I enjoyed Senko-san in its own right. Sure, it’s perhaps a bit too idealistic with its fluff. At least as far as the first episode is concerned, Senko seems a bit too perfect as a caretaker. She cooks for Nakano, helps him get some much needed rest, and just all around provides him some company. It’s implied that Senko has been doing this shtick for many, many years but by default, having a fox spirit who’ll provide you head pats already requires some suspension of disbelief. Her being this good makes everything that happens seem too good to be true.
Truth be told though, this episode still feels incredibly charming and comforting. It’s hard not to relate with Nakano’s stress (which is also represented visually as a dark aura) so to see him finally de-stress thanks to the help of a new friend does feel cathartic. Not to mention, said friend is a fox girl. That character design alone is enough to make people want to like Senko which can, in turn, makes them appreciate her actions. I suppose that’s cheap of the show to do but darn does it still work to decent effect.
Something that caught me off guard was how wholesome this premiere felt. Maybe Uzamaid and Wateten has conditioned me to expect something perverted from Doga Kobo but you see a fox girl with an older looking guy and your mind will inevitably jump to conclusions. But surprisingly, Senko-san prioritizes the wholesome feeling. The most risque this episode really gets is with the cliche that Senko’s tail makes her extremely sensitive and even then, there’s been more erotic executions than what this show offered. I can’t attest to how the rest of the show will fare, however. For all I know, the show has lured me into a false sense of security and will break out the lewd any moment from now. Time will tell on that matter.
And you know what? I think I will give Senko-san some of that time. This show may very well be all fluff but so long as it can be good fluff, I’m content. In that sense, the only way I’d feel inclined is if the show ends up boring me. With such a straightforward premise, the staying power could very well go either way. Still, I enjoyed Episode 1 so I’ll at least give the show a couple more episodes.
English Dub Comments (Added on 5/7/2019)
As far as I can tell, Aaron Campbell is a newcomer in the field of voice acting and Senko-san‘s Nakano is his first major role in an anime dub. A bit tough to follow a performance by Junichi Suwabe but I think Campbell is doing pretty well so far. The voice is gruffer this time around and while that did take some getting used to, it does make the character’s fatigue very convincing. I love Suwabe but let’s face it, him at his most “tired” is still going to sound smooth.
Playing Senko is Kristen McGuire whose work I have seen some of (really liked her as Tama in Magical Girl Raising Project for example). Her approach does make Senko sound a lot more mature which can both work for and against the character. On one hand, it works well with the character’s apparent age. On the other, it doesn’t sell the pampering nearly as well as Azumi Waki’s performance does. Depending on how you imagine Senko should sound like, either the sub or dub will seem more preferable over the other.
OP: “Koyoi mofumofu!” by Senko (CV: Azumi Waki) & Shiro (CV: Maaya Uchida)
ED: “Moffumoffu DE Yoi no Ja yo” by Senko (CV: Azumi Waki)
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