Enmusubi no Youko-chan Anime (Fox Spirit Matchmaker)

Enmusubi no Youko-chan

This time, I'll introduce an anime released in mid-2017 riding the wave of Chinese anime—Fox Spirit Matchmaker, also known as Enmusubi no Youko-chan in its Japanese edition. The original story finds its roots in the Chinese web novel crafted by Xiao Xin, and its animated adaptation was overseen by the production house HAOLINERS Emon, gaining increasing momentum. Wang Xin, the director also known for Hitori no Shita: The Outcast, led the project.

The narrative is a blend of various elements; while romance and comedy play roles, drama is an integral aspect that demands attention. However, its primary allure undeniably lies in the realm of fantasy. Despite being a Chinese anime, I'll consistently refer to the Japanese reissue, encompassing a substantial 24 episodes that conclude with the fourth season of the Chinese version. Considering they are currently in the eighth season, my hopes persist for a future continuation of the Japanese rendition.


What is Enmusubi no Youko-chan about?

In a world where the most sincere love can transcend the barriers of time, the love between a human and a youkai can only endure a premature end. The extended lifespan of a youkai becomes a curse to their love in the face of the fleeting human life. Reflecting on this, a group of youkais discovered a solution: through a vow, the human can reincarnate to commence their love story anew with the youkai. The only drawback is that the reincarnation won't retain memories of their past life. This is where the Fox Spirit Matchmakers come in; they are entrusted with restoring the memories of their past lives, allowing their love to bloom once again.

The anime's narrative follows the young Susu Tosan, aspiring to be a great youkai like her sisters. To pursue this dream, she opposes the arranged marriage imposed on her. She secures her first mission as a Fox Spirit Matchmaker to prove that she can be a formidable youkai. However, things don't go as planned, and her clumsy nature soon lands her in trouble. This is when she encounters Haku Gessho, a doushi consistently harassed by the Ikki alliance. Both form an alliance, compensated with candies, for Haku Gessho to assist Susu in her matchmaking tasks.

With this duo established and consistently faced with interference in their missions, what future awaits them from here on?

Enmusubi no Youko-chan Trailer

The Positives

Enmusubi no Youko-chan offers a fantasy-laden experience, and if I were to highlight its most captivating aspect, it undeniably lies in the prospect of encountering one's past love—only true love can endure the test of time. Admittedly, the theme of love between humans and youkais is not the most groundbreaking; there are numerous series with similar premises. However, what sets this series apart is the freedom within this love. Here, no barriers impede their love, and they even have the opportunity to find each other in different lifetimes.

Another commendable aspect of the series is its portrayal of couples; each love story unfolds uniquely, devoid of the typical sentimental reunions. The lack of memories from past lives adds delightful, small misunderstandings. Each couple is given adequate screen time, allowing for a satisfactory development of their relationships. However, it's the enduring nature of their love over the years that adds a poignant touch, and this is the sentiment the series endeavors to convey.

Lastly, I must highlight the evolving chemistry between Haku Gessho and Susu as a compelling reason to watch the anime. Both characters, in their own ways, exude childlike qualities that harmonize seamlessly. Susu's innocence, paired with Haku Gessho's cunning, creates an irresistible duo. By the end, discovering their shared history makes you eagerly anticipate their future together.

The Downsides

Just like everything in life, nothing is perfect. Despite having its noteworthy elements, it's crucial to recognize that the story also carries numerous clichés, overshadowing its uniqueness and rendering it just another series in the cycle of seasons. As disheartening as it may sound, this anime possesses incredible potential that struggles to fully unfold. If this isn't the kind of narrative you enjoy, you might perceive it as slow and tiresome. In the beginning, the series took its time, devoting several episodes to a problem that didn't warrant such prolonged attention.

The subsequent challenge it encountered was acceleration. Following a slow start, we were suddenly inundated with new information and the introduction of fresh characters. While this, on its own, isn't a flaw, the issue arises from the abrupt change of pace. Consequently, it felt like not all characters received the necessary background. Although the stories of the presented couples were undoubtedly touching, it seems they could have been granted more development. It's important to note that this doesn't suggest the stories are incomplete, as they aren't; it's simply my perspective that they could have been further expanded.

Final Comment

It's clear that this anime may not appeal to everyone, not because of its complex and intricate story, but rather due to the novelty of its concept. Chinese series are just beginning to gain traction, and some deficiencies are still noticeable as they strive for originality while not completely breaking away from the tradition of Japanese animation. Despite these nuances, it's a good series to enjoy during leisurely afternoons, offering a simple yet enjoyable story.

Certainly, it is a recommendation for those who appreciate romance stories that transcend time. From the small collection of romances that unfold throughout the series, I assure you that you'll find yourself falling in love with at least one. Comedy is also present, so it's not a solemn anime filled with romantic melodrama. However, be prepared, as some episodes may evoke sentimental feelings. Personally, I would give this anime a score of 88/100; the portrayed romance is touching, although the narrative doesn't always do it justice.

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