English Dub Review: The Helpful Fox Senko-San “Why must you work on a day off!?”

It turns out that even magic can’t get the sweat stains out of a white t-shirt.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

After another grueling day at the office, Nanako comes home to Senko. Senko is doing her usual pampering routine when she hears that Nanako is going to have to go to work the next day, even though it is Sunday, his day off. She initially does everything she can to keep him from going back into work, but after he declares his resolve to go in and get some work done, she settles for being his alarm clock the next morning instead. The two prepare for bed, and Nanako, once again, grabs Senko’s tail to relax.

When morning arrives, Senko just can’t bring herself to wake her sleeping charge. She tries to do so somewhat reluctantly, but eventually just allows Nanako to wake up naturally. Once the programmer does awaken, he realizes that he is drastically late for work. He’s so late that it looks like he won’t even have enough time to make it into the office before the day would be over. He chides Senko, but all is forgiven before too long. Nanako then spends the rest of the day watching his companion use her magical foxfire. She can use it to heat up anything and can change the size and temperature of the flame at will. Nanako remarks that it’s interesting to watch her use magic, as most humans now use home appliances to take care of their domestic needs.

The next morning, Nanako is awoken for work on time by Senko. He bids her goodbye and goes off to another long day at the office. While he’s gone, Senko decides she’s going to learn all about the human appliances that populate Nanako’s apartment. She begins with the air conditioning unit but doesn’t immediately feel its cooling effects. Next, she tries the washing machine, but she finds herself dissatisfied by the way it cleans clothes. She also tries the stove but is scared by the lack of control she has over the flame. She then starts to get chilly from the AC. She uses a remote to attempt to turn it off, but it turns out to be the television remote. She does all she can to get control of the home’s appliances, but only succeeds in tripping the breaker.

Sometime later, Nanako returns from work to an empty apartment. He finds Senko cowering in the bedroom, worried that she has failed Nanako and earned his wrath. Nanako, though, understands and cares for Senko, letting her know that he’s not bothered by any of her antics. The pair check the fridge and realize they have to cook as much of the perishable food as they can. Meanwhile, back in Senko’s fox dimension, Senko’s superior isn’t happy with the job she’s doing reducing Nanako’s darkness so Senko’s rival from the first episode will be sent to pamper Nanako.

 

Our Take

It’s about time this series found the plot. While the slice of life stuff isn’t totally uninteresting, The Helpful Fox Senko-san introduced quite a bit of worldbuilding in the very first scene of the series. Though we have been able to glean some things about Senko’s life pre-Nanako, it has mostly been limited to her time on Earth and not the fox dimension. These revelations, though, come at the end of an episode that felt for all the world like filler. Four episodes in are far too soon for a series to be spinning its wheels; it doesn’t bode well for the season arc.

I’m almost entirely uninterested in watching Senko in the apartment when Nanako is gone, especially if she is not going to use her magic and only tries to use the appliances the way a human would. Cinema has no shortage of scenes in which an unfamiliar character tries to operate a washing machine, and this isn’t even one of the better ones of those. If the show is determined to run in place, whiling away its minutes on domesticity, I’d at least like to see Nanako at work. We’re never there for more than a few minutes, and we continue to be denied any further look into one of our main two characters. Nanako is defined by his burnout, but we never see what burned him out in the first place.

On the other hand, I am at least grateful that we’re cutting back on the loli. With the exception of more of the Senko-look-alike anime and a line where Nanako tell Senko that she’s like “an old woman and a little kid at the same time”, Senko-san is mostly functioning as a normal piece of television this week. I know it won’t last, though. In one of the only moments we get to see Koenji (a presence sorely missed this time around), we see her perusing maid costumes, for a cosplay no doubt. Looking ahead at the future episode thumbnails confirms that she will be wearing the outfit in only two episodes time.

As to the parts in the fox dimension, it did provide me the single moment of curiosity that I have felt so far when watching this show. I’ll admit that I am vaguely interested in what the different styles of pampering Nanako are going to be. I am still against the entire problematic enterprise and do not like the arrangement these fox spirits have with humans, but I’m curious as to how aggressive Senko’s rival will be allowed to get. Will she call his workplace to get time off? Will she try to get Nanako closer to Koenji? I don’t think I’ll be satisfied with any of the answers, but some credit is due for making me ask the questions.

As we close on the first act of the season, there’s a lot to improve on, but I don’t place it outside of the realm of possibility that this is a show that could pick up when the plot does. As the show minimizes its loli (a trend I am dreaming continues), it leaves more room for character moments, when the show chooses to use them. And, even if I don’t like the plots of episodes, I don’t hate the characters nearly as much as I did after I finished the pilot.

Zach

Cartoon Philosopher

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