As Senko continues living with Nakano, they one day draw the ire of Nakano’s neighbor after being too noisy. Nakano’s neighbor is a young woman named Koenji, who works from home and is also apparently a part-time student. Although Koenji is initially suspicious of Nakano’s relationship with the young-looking Senko, Senko manages to win her over with a good meal. When Koenji later becomes suspicious of Senko’s fox ears and tail, Nakano tries to cover this up by claiming that it’s cosplay–and Koenji surprisingly accepts this as she is an anime otaku.
In the second half of the episode, Nakano accompanies Senko on a grocery shopping trip because he is worried that people may find out that she is a fox spirit.
In contrast to the slow and relaxed pace of the previous two episodes, this episode of Senko-san actually featured some slight drama. We get introduced to a new character in this episode; and Nakano must also figure out how to address the issue of Senko’s appearance in public. While this is a perfectly normal sort of plot progression for this show, I felt that the overall quality of this episode was slightly lower than usual.
Having glanced through the first few chapters of the manga, I knew that Koenji’s introduction would be somewhat “painful”. But the anime really ups the awkwardness of the whole ordeal. First off, Nakano–who has usually shown massive restraint before–suddenly acts like a huge creep towards Senko. Yes, he’s just joking around and is only trying to pet her tail rather than doing anything sleazy; but it didn’t help that the anime decided to fill in the air-time by having Nakano chase Senko around his apartment. Seeing a grown man gleefully chasing what looks like a young girl around the house (especially when said girl looks so uncomfortable) is still very, very disturbing to watch. And although the “character assumes MC is sexually assaulting another character” is my least favorite misunderstanding trope of all time; I think Koenji was certainly justified in nearly calling the cops on Nakano.
Speaking of Koenji, she comes across as way more annoying in the anime than in the manga. Perhaps the manga has the benefit of lacking sound and being much briefer (the manga chapters are fairly short), because in the anime Koenji is loud and really just overstays her welcome. She also seems to be way more idiotic in the anime? I can’t pinpoint why I feel this way, but in the manga she’s portrayed as being more of an oblivious person instead. (This could be due to Crunchyroll’s somewhat wonky translations/subs.) In my last review, I said that I hoped Koenji got a bigger role in the anime. After seeing her official introduction, however; I would prefer that she stay a minor side-character.
There is just something slightly “off” about the pacing of this episode as a whole. There was obvious “filler material” in the previous two episodes, but it felt much more natural then. In this episode, we seriously got 20 seconds of Nakano inner-monologuing about how to deal with Koenji. I mean. This is an anime so things like this aren’t completely unusual. We can’t “read” a character’s thoughts in text so these inner monologues have to be spoken out. But having Nakano glance back and forth between Senko and Koenji during these 20 seconds was extremely awkward. Because yeah, you totally don’t look like a creeper at all by not saying anything for 20 full seconds and looking around whilst someone is expecting a reply from you! I was also sad to see that the animation quality is already dipping at the third episode mark, especially when there isn’t really much to animate in this show in the first place.
Negatives aside, I really did like the second half of the episode, where Nakano and Senko visit a supermarket to buy cooking ingredients. It was cute to see the two enjoying each others’ company. (I just… really hope that the series isn’t trying to push Nakano’s and Senko’s relationship as being romantic.) The “Inari Shoujo Youko-chan” anime within an anime is also getting expanded on, which I found amusing. Ultimately, I have to rate this episode a bit lower than the previous two, because its beginning half was a bit uncomfortable to watch. Knowing what I currently know about the upcoming chapters, I really hope this continues to be a mostly inoffensive anime…
Out of five for this episode, I give: