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Manga / Konohana Kitan

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Konohana Kitan is a 2014 manga by Sakuya Amano. Its story revolves around Yuzu, a fox girl who becomes an attendant in a traditional Japanese inn, Konohana-tei. The manga is a Slice of Life story revolving around everyday lives of the attendants and the visitors of the inn, with some surprisingly poignant storytelling concerning the Japanese mythology and traditions atypical to the genre.

The manga was adapted into an anime by Lerche in 2017, and is available for viewing at Crunchyroll. The manga is also currently licensed in English as one of the first titles from the revived Tokyopop.

Konohana Kitan provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In Chapter 4 (adapted as the first part of Episode 4), Sakura claims to have stumbled upon the egg containing Urinosuke, the eater of bad dreams, out in the open before bringing it to Konohanatei. This part of the chapter is left out in the anime, and the reason behind egg's sudden appearance is never given a proper explanation.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: At first the series appears to take place in a version of the Edo period where most people are Little Bit Beastly, but then increasingly modern-looking clothing begin to pop up on ordinary humans. Eventually it's made clear that everything happens in the present day, but not entirely within our world.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Yuzu does this frequently, blaming herself for bad things that happen, even if she wasn't at fault.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Several characters Yuzu interacts with are spirits of humans. Some are malevolent and try to trick her into following them to the after world. But many others move on after resolving an issue that was preventing them from going to Heaven, such as the lady with a daughter who goes through several phases of childhood and finally becomes an adult planning to get married.
  • Asian Fox Spirit: All the attendants at Konohana-tei are fox spirits who take the form of girls with fox ears and tails, though Kiri is the only real trickster of the group.
  • Awesome by Analysis: In Chapter 12, adapted as the first part of Episode 10, Satsuki realizes that Yuzu can pick up on little things to help out their guests, such as offering a foot bath to a guest who arrived at the inn with a walking stick and muddy shoes. Yuzu also takes her to a spot where she can enjoy the scenery, something Satsuki likely would've overlooked.
  • Author Avatar: Bungo-san is this for the author, showing up several times during the series, wearing a fox mask.
    • In episode 6 she can be seen doing work on a panel from episode 9.
    • In episode 12 she's waiting in line for her shrine visit, then is later seen drinking with friends.
  • Berserk Button: A drunk customer grabs Ren's butt. Shit goes DOWN.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Kiri can do this at times. Though she's fairly laid back, if she sees a rude customer she can put her foot down without raising her voice.
    • Yuzu does this at least once, towards the little boy in episode 8 when she scolds him for a naughty trick he played. Though she mostly talks normally, Satsuki mentions that Yuzu's tone seemed a little angry.
  • Bifauxnen: Natsume is very tomboyish, and she gives the impression of being a man at first glance.
  • Bishōnen Line: When Okami applies her makeup, somehow she changes from near-pure fox to become a Little Bit Beastly, like her employees. This baffles all of them except Kiri.
  • Bokukko: Natsume refers to herself as Boku.
  • Burp of Finality: Urinosuke, the eater of bad dreams, tends to burp up darkness to show he just devoured someone's nightmare.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: In Chapter 5 of Konohana-tei Kitan (Adapted as Episode 6), when Satsuki slips to the ghost she's afraid of the dark, the ghost leaves her in darkness with only her eyes visible for a moment.
  • Casting Gag: In the dub, Sarah Wiedenheft plays a possessed doll that gets makeovered as and eventually adopts the role of a maid, similar to her role in another 2017 anime. Bonus points for sharing a running gag with Sakura, who is voiced by Kanna's voice actress
  • The Comically Serious: Sakura always has a stoic expression, even in comical situations.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • Ren towards Natsume, the former often getting flustered by the latter's Oblivious to Love attitude.
    • Interestingly, when Hiiragi was hitting on Ren, telling her how pretty she was and to come to her room later, a cross-popping vein is visible on Natsume.
  • Creepy Doll: When haunted doll Okiku is introduced, she expects to terrify the staff but instead finds herself lovingly accepted by them.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Satsuki was at first cold and even hard on Yuzu, but soon enough she softens her attitude towards her.
  • Does Not Like Men: Ren was mistreated by a boy in a flashback that leads her to meet and fall in love with Natsume. She can handle customers but men still make her nervous.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The ending theme is performed by the voice actresses of the six main characters.
  • Dream Stealer: Urinosuke, the young Baku who eats the nightmares and Anxiety Dreams of the staff, healing their pain. This happens so often that his presence becomes a framing device for the start and end of all dreams in the show.
  • Eldritch Location: Konohana-tei is an unusually benign example; it lies somewhere between the mortal world and the afterlife, and people can stumble there from our world when they are near death or emotionally lost, usually finding some form of guidance to their sorrows. Gods and spirits from the Japanese mythology are frequent visitors, as well.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Satsuki believes her sister Hiiragi became a priestess before her because she can draw people in together, while her own sometimes-cold attitude scares people away. Unbeknownst to her however, Hiiragi feels Satsuki was chosen over her to work at Konohanatei because she quickly learns things and doesn't cause trouble, while she herself struggles with multiplication tables.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Yuzu has honey blonde hair, and is an incredibly nice and cheerful person.
  • Horrifying the Horror: An evil spirit that shows up in episode 6 scares several of the girls once they realize it's around and can take on their forms. However, a hilarious example occurs when there are two Sakura's, one of them holds up a pair of scissors and continues chasing after Okiku. Then it turns out that was the real Sakura, and the fake one was actually scared of her.
  • Iyashikei: What little conflicts the show has are of the small and everyday sort. The audience is expected to focus more on the calm, gentle atmosphere and the amusing antics of the main characters than to feel any kind of tension.
    • As part of Chapter 13 (the first part of Episode 11), a god of battle comes to Konohana-tei just to chill with Sakura.
    • Urinosuke takes a less subtle approach and actually eats the bad dreams that disturb the fox girls, and later, Okiku's bad dreams as well.
  • Idiot Hair: Yuzu has one, as befits her occasionally clueless and klutzy nature.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Typical to its genre, the entire main cast consists of young women and teen-aged girls.
  • Inn Between the Worlds: Konohana-tei appears to be this. See Eldritch Location for more details.
  • Little Bit Beastly: All the attendants of Konohana-tei are either this, or outright Beast Men.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: Yuzu accidentally travels back in time to before Konohana-tei was built. Simultaneously in the Future, Okami and Satsuki are worrying about her and trying to draw her back.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Yuzu is a traditional example of the archetype, well-meaning and earnest, but occasionally klutzy or clueless.
  • Older Than They Look: Kiri looks only a bit more mature than the other girls, but there are hints she's much older.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different:
    • The Vengeful Ghost of episode 6 is befriended by Yuzu and becomes a Cute Ghost Girl. In the next episode, she acts as a Spirit Advisor and helps Yuzu get home.
    • One of the guests stays overlong at the inn and decides that he's dead and this is the afterlife. He's actually in a coma. Another visitor inspires him to live again.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: The priestess accompanying Hiiragi uses one on her after she hits on Ren.
  • Parental Substitute: Bikuni Yao took care of Yuzu ever since she found her alone in the snow as a baby.
  • The Perfectionist: Ren is this, both in her looks and her job performance.
  • The Pollyanna: Yuzu's optimistic viewpoint constantly surprises both staff and customers.
  • Secret Relationship: The volume 1 omake states that Sakura and Kiri are secretly dating.
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: Kiri is constantly seen with her kiseru. Bonus points if you spotted Satsuki putting hers away after a trip to the restroom.
  • Stable Time Loop: Chapter 15 (adapted as Episode 12) reveals that Yuzu unwittingly inspired the founding of Konohanatei when she stumbles (literally) into the past and tells the slacker-goddess about the inn where Yuzu lived and worked. Yuzu then wishes that Tsubaki (known in the present as Okami) gets a warm home of her own, thereby setting up the time loop.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Natsume is the tomboy and Ren is the girly girl.
  • Weirdness Magnet: If there's a hole in the fabric of local space-time, Yuzu will find it.
  • Your Money Is No Good Here: Ren gets mad at a customer who overstayed and refused to leave. When Kiri intervenes, he tells her he's got plenty of money. Kiri immediately tells him his money is no good here.
  • Yuri Genre: The manga began life as Konohana-tei Kitan in the magazine Yuri Hime S, and even when relaunched in a different magazine the romantic attraction between the female characters is still clear, most notably between Satsuki and Yuzu, and Natsume and Ren.