Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi Overall Review [Spoiler Free Edition]
Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi | かくりよの宿飯
Animation Company: GONZO
Airing Date: April 2, 2018 – Sep 24, 2018 (Spring – Summer 2018)
Synopsis: After losing her grandfather, Aoi—a girl who can see spirits known as ayakashi—is suddenly approached by an ogre. Demanding she pay her grandfather’s debt, he makes a huge request: her hand in marriage! Refusing this absurd offer, Aoi decides to work at the Tenjin-ya bed and breakfast for the ayakashi to pay back what her family owes.
Trailer: PV 1 | PV 2
Simulcast: Crunchyroll, FUNimation
Licensed by: FUNimation Entertainment
When the Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi first aired, a lot of people were quick to disregarded it under the assumptions it was a ‘reverse-harem’, another cliche shoujo romance in the spirit world, and boy, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This show is full of compelling characters and stories that you will quickly grow to love!
Let’s start off with giving you a quick background on the series so you know what you’re getting into. Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi is based off a novel, and the anime covered up to Volume 5 out of 8 (Volume 9 only comes out October 15th 2018). This means there are understandably going to be unfinished business, or characters won’t experience certain developments until a certain period of time. However they did not make their own ending, and instead left things open for viewers to either pick up the books to continue where it has left of, and hopefully will continue into a second season in the future. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it! Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi is still an amazing and very special show that I strongly recommend everyone to watch. It is just important to go in knowing because it’s an on-going series, and it only covered up to volume five, there is only so much that will be resolved.
Story and Development: 8/10
The stories are undoubtedly one of Kakuriyo’s driving force that makes this show so addicting to watch. I can’t tell you how many times I have rewatched this over, and over and over again on a weekly basis. Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi brings us stories of not just the heroine, but all the characters that makes it a memorable journey.
First thing to note, Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi has a very slow start. It’s not that it’s sluggish, it just takes its time introducing you to the world, its characters and their stories. For some viewers, this may bore you, but I assure you things will start to pick up as it gradually begins to shift to the main plot revolving around the Kind Ayakashi (or as I like to referred as: The Mystery Ayakashi) who saved Aoi when she was a child. But I would definitely say the second half of the series is its strongest since it is undoubtedly the most exciting part of the series. The first arc revolves around Moonflower is nice and easygoing, but the one the follows is going to take you on an emotional rollercoaster. It has some of my favourite episodes of the entire series for a reason! So with that in mind, I strongly recommend you give this series at least at least four to six episodes, to properly get a better feel of what to expect from it.
However one of the main reasons why I didn’t give it a perfect score was because of two reasons: The main plot was only partially resolved (which is why this series desperately needs a second season!), while some other resolutions were neglected time to properly explain themselves. The conflicts that were neglected time didn’t spoil the series, but it is something I wished they didn’t rush through. And then we have the problem we see in a lot of adaptions, where they watered down the romance despite it being one of the series’ main theme!
Now don’t freak out, there are romantic developments, all I am saying is that it could have been even more amazing had they actually included all of the goodies that were featured in the novel. In fact, it is one of the many main reasons why I fell head over heels in love with this series in the first place. I just couldn’t get enough of it!
What makes Kakuriyo’s romance so freaking good in the first place is the fact it’s a SLOW BURN ROMANCE. That itself it a plus for me, but there’s more! This romance is like a breath of fresh air. There are no love triangles, the leads develop a mutual respect for one another, no stupid/petty misunderstandings, mature and sensible characters who aren’t in high school for an exchange, the two can communicate and have great conversations, a heroine who has a spine and most importantly, and just great guys in general. I am so done with with the male leads who act like a dick to the girl they like, or lash out or be stupid because of failed communications and jealousies.
But really sets this romance apart from the mainstream, is how the main love interest isn’t always in the limelight. Rather, it is the opposite, simply because it’s just not his time to shine yet. Instead he plays the more supportive role. It’s a very different approach, where it’s the simple or little things that count the most. It made me appreciate and develop even more patience for their slow but beautiful love story. Also they are so freaking adorable, my heart can’t take it!
Characters and Development: 8/10
As I mentioned earlier, it is the characters that makes Kakuriyo such an amazing series, because it’s their stories, their personalities is what keeps me coming back for more. I love how the characters all had their flaws, had depth and we actually had the chance to see many of them grow (except for that one guy who is a scum through and through). Better yet, we it was so nice to see even with plenty of male characters form actual friendships with Aoi without them developing any romantic interest in her! I also love how the characters all have to come together in order to overcome the difficult challenges they must face. It’s not something anyone can do on their own, not even the heroine herself.
One of my favourite things about Aoi’s character is how she is an independent, smart and kind girl, who isn’t a doormat. She has a spine and mark my words, she will use it. This is what makes her a badass, but because she’s like that, she can also be rather reckless and to some extent naive nature. She is nosy, but not in an obnoxious way. Better yet, one of the things I appreciate the most about her, is how she is able to recognize her own flaws, and makes the effort to take measures to prevent herself from letting her greed get the better of her.
Oodanna is hands down my favourite character of the entire series. He is full of mysteries, and his character has a lot more depth than meets the eye. Unfortunately, since the series only covers up to Volume 5 of the novels which focuses more on Aoi’s and Ginji’s backstories, so we don’t actually get the chance to really dig to deep into his story. It is said that Oodanna’s arc (so to speak) only kicks off starting from Volume 6 and onwards. So unless you can read the books, or until they have a second season, we aren’t going to learn a whole lot about Oodanna’s character, so just be prepared for that.
The only reason this isn’t getting a perfect score is because of one major factor: According to the novel readers, the anime watered down several important developments, or elected to leave out important scenes altogether. Much like the story, this also affects some of characters because at times, because it is important to see (especially when romantic development is involved) of how much their feelings have grown or changed over the course of the series. Unfortunately it was Aoi’s character who suffered the most from it because they didn’t do her justice in properly conveying how significantly her feelings had grown. They absolutely had the content to dig deeper, so it’s a shame they didn’t.
This is precisely why many fans strongly recommend to read the books. It’s the books really dig into the depths of the characters, where the anime didn’t exactly do them all justice, or worse, left out important details. The only reason I understand what they mean is only because I have been fortunate enough to get a glimpse of just how rich the novel’s contents are through Fan Translations that have recently picked up the series (*only up to Chapter 3 so far). So if you can’t read Japanese, unfortunately you will have to be patient, and hope it will be localized in the West some day.
Animation Quality: 8/10
It is an understatement to say, the fandom as whole would probably agree this show probably would be a lot more popular if they had the budget to maintain a consistent animation quality and style. By no means did it suck, but Kakuriyo’s animation had a lot of ups and downs, mainly with its questionable timing in change of art-styles. What’s more is that there were certainly scenes I have wished had a better overall presentations, which is a shame considering they have shown some great potential and quality in some of the more epic scenes, leaving more to be desired. On the plus side, at least the food and the backgrounds were always mesmerizing to look at!
Original Soundtrack: 10/10
There is really no debate here, the soundtrack is definitely one of the most defining features of Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi. We were spoiled with some lovely Characters Songs that would be featured in the Ending Themes. I for one bought both CDs because they are so damn good, I almost burst into tears for some of them. Both the first and second Opening and main Ending Songs were extremely catching and fun to listen to, so the sound quality was definitely there. I also really enjoyed the soundtrack as whole, and if it were to be released in the future, I definitely see myself picking that up too.
Final Score: 8/10
I have always considered Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi to be one of the hidden gems of the Spring 2018 Season. For a long time, it was overlooked by many. It is a show with delicious food, emotional and heartwarming stories, and endearing characters. It takes you both on a journey of laughter and tears, and is one to be remembered. Don’t sleep on this series and give it a chance! It is the type that has a lot more to it than meets the eye. Hopefully there will be a second season in the future to pick up where it left off, because this story has only just begun.
Recommendation: HIGH – Don’t sleep on this series!