I don’t know much of anything about the Japanese Shinto religion or its history. That’s mainly due to the fact that all of my experience with the Shinto faith comes from anime and manga. Here is what I do know about Shinto:
- It’s a religion that has many different gods. Out of all of which, Amaterasu is the absolute best.
- It’s a faith that encourages the youth to respect their elders and revere their ancestors.
- There are hundreds of Shinto shrines around Japan where people go to offer prayers for good luck and prosperity.
- Sailor Mars was my second favorite sailor scout after Sailor Jupiter.
Hopefully, I can learn a bit more by watching Gingitsune, a show about a young shrine maiden and her best friend, a grumpy fox spirit.
Analysis: Makoto Saeki is a young girl who lives in and maintains a Shinto shrine dedicated to the harvest go Uka-no-Mitama, with her father. Her mother died when she was four years old and ever since then, she’s been able to see, touch and, communicate with a large anthropomorphic fox spirit named Gintarou. Makoto discovers that now that her mother is dead, she’s inherited the ability to see Gintarou, something that only a handful of people are capable of. Now, Makoto is a high school girl who also helps her father manage the shrine under the watchful and sardonic eye of Gintarou. Occasionally, people around town will come to the shrine with their troubles and it’ll be up to Makoto and Gintarou to save the day.
Now, I love my crazy, over the top, ridiculous shows like Kill la Kill and Valvrave, which I have had a decent amount of this past 6 months. However, sometimes I like to sit back and enjoy a more mild mannered show with a nice, relaxing tone. Gingitsune is that kind of show. I mean, come on, the show opens up with a song about being friends for eternity, how sweet is that!? There’s no deeper plot in Gingitsune to mention. Nothing about some conspiracy involving Shinto gods and the people who communicate with them. No corrupt demons that Makoto needs to exercise. None of that supernatural stuff that seems so commonplace in anime nowadays. Just a simple story of a young girl and her invisible companion. The problems that the pair face aren’t even that out there, ranging from helping find a lost cat, helping a lonely girl make friends and, helping a mystical turtle find a new home. The stories are so calm and sweet that I was surprised to learn that the manga this was based on runs in Ultra Jump, a manga serialization that also published My Two Wings, a manga about a hermaphrodite space alien.
Verdict: Gingitsune is a show that is just so sweet, so dear and, so warm it’s impossible to find any fault with it. It’s a great show to cool down with after a stressful day. A show with so much heart that I can’t help but watch it whenever I can.