The Cambridge Geek

Kakuriyo - Bed & Breakfast for Spirits

Remember the slightly disastrous Japanese Food from Another World? Well it looks like someone's decided to have another go, with something that could best be summed up as Japanese Food in the Spirit World.

Must be a different world. It's got airships.

Aoi-a is recently bereaved, as her grandfather, her only living relative has just died. Unfortunately, it would appear that before he died, her grandfather ran up a massive debt in the spirit (or "hidden") world, with Odanna, an ogre god. Odanna runs an inn for spirits, called Tenjin-ya, and in order to recover his debt, he's placed a claim on Aoi-a to become his fiancee.

Naturally, since Aoi-a is a modern, independent woman, she's got no interest in becoming a trophy wife, and instead arranges to work off her debt by opening a small restaurant in the inn. It would seem that human food (or food from the "apparent" world) is unexpectedly delicious for the ayakashi (spirits), and so she's now basically a crack dealer, if crack were made of omelettes.

Of course, if it were that easy, the series would be wrapped up in about three episodes, and would finish up with her emptying the till into Odanna's grasping hands and running off into the sunset with a massive dessert. Which is why there's more than a few complications.

It's such a nice yukata, I barely notice the terrifying faceless assistants.

For instance, we've got the snow woman, Oryo (not a biscuit), who is in love with Odanna due to his saving her as a child. Obviously, this means Oryo (not a biscuit) is wildly jealous of Aoi-a and so tends to fight with her fairly often. The young master of the inn, Ginji, who is a shapeshifting nine-tailed fox, might have a bit of a crush on Aoi-a, while occasionally turning into a woman or fluffy mascot.

Spirits are frequently cute and cuddly animals.

Plus the spirits tend to not like Aoi-a in the first instance, either due to her grandfather (who may have been a bit of a scoundrel) or just because she's a filthy human. Racism, it's not just for actual people anymore. Her family background does carry some hints of a deeper secret, along with flashbacks to her childhood and encounters with a strange ayakashi. And there's possibly a horrible revelation about her mother coming.

Why won't anyone leaf me alone?

I keep expecting it to turn into food porn, but it never does. The main weapon of Aoi-a is definitely nice food, but it isn't described in the same glowing terms you would expect, with far too much detail.

I listened to the dub (don't judge me) and actually this is a pretty good one. The voices feel like they match the character images correctly, and are generally nicely varied. Aoi-a does a good unexpectedly rational woman in a mad world, and Oryo (not a biscuit) is enjoyably bitchy. The various kids are a bit annoying, but luckily are only around for short periods of time. The animation isn't terribly exciting, keeping to the basics, but the soundtrack is strong, and there're some nice elements in the character design of the different spirits.

There's also an impressive amount of stupidity, such as in the form of tiny giant spiders (it makes sense in context) and a massive fan that gives people wind (it makes sense in context).

The world it's set in is surprisingly well-drawn. There's no small political manoeuvring around arranged marriages, and the relationships that they're all involved in get remarkably tangled. There's a depth you might not initially predict given it feels like a light comedy show for the first couple of episodes. There's a lot going on though, and it's worth sticking around to see it.

Score 4

Tagged: Anime Drama Fantasy Supernatural Slice of life Funimation Dubbed