Kuroto Nakano is just your average Japanese office worker—stuck in an exploitative company that puts far more work on him than is reasonable, safe, or even sane, putting in such long hours he has no time for relaxation or socialization with friends, and finally going home alone to his apartment at the dead of night.
His situation has gotten so bad that a dark, ominous miasma has begun to leak out from him, so large his suffering and stress spreads to other people and makes them miserable just by being near him. Such a life is unsustainable, the key to an early grave if he doesn't change things soon, but what can one man at the end of his rope do...?
Accept the pampering and care of a compassionate kitsune demi-goddess, that's what!
The Helpful Fox Senko-san (Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san) is a slice-of-life manga by Rimukoro, featuring the daily life of Nakano and Senko doing most everything she can to make it easier, providing help in the form of doing his chores for him, keeping him company, or (once per day) letting him touch her fluffy tail. While everything starts off simply enough, matters get more complicated as more individuals both mortal and semi-divine barge into their lives...
Debuting in October 2017, the manga is currently ongoing, published in Comic Newtype. In November 2022, the manga changed to being updated irregularly following the conclusion of the story arc involving Nakano's curse. A 12-episode anime adaptation by Dogakobo aired for the Spring 2019 season and was dubbed by FUNimation.
This work provides examples of:
- An Aesop: The message of the series is "don't prioritize your work over your health".
- Antiquated Linguistics: Befitting her true age, Senko uses long-disused and ancient Japanese words in her speech, though this doesn't come through as easily in English translations. Instead, they tend to pepper her words with "Dear" and very formal speech mannerisms.
- Anything but That!: A lot of the fox demigods seem to treat getting their tails fluffed as this. The funny part is this happened both times the when the fox girls were trying to get him to admit he wants to have sex with them.
- Asian Fox Spirit: Senko and her fellow colleagues/sisters are all divine fox spirits. Unlike more malicious kitsune that play pranks or worse on humans, as an inari Senko is instead a rather kinder and more helpful fox spirit. The manga later introduces Fukuda, a tanuki spirit as well.
- Author Appeal: The entire reason the series was created was because the author could not find any works featuring ragged, stressed-out salarymen being cared for by cute, fluffy fox-goddesses. There is also a massive focus on just how fluffy and soft Senko's tail is, with Nakano constantly being distracted by it and relishing the times he is allowed to touch it.
- Author Avatar: The author made a cute fox spirit avatar for the author's notes of the manga. She gets a cameo in the anime on episode 3, as one of the fighters in a video game.
- Beach Episode: Episode 8. Nakano has a one-day summer break, and Shiro takes this opportunity to rope him, Senko, and Kouenji into a beach vacation.
- The Cameo:
- Suzu makes an appearance during the credits of the last episode with Sora.
- The crowd on the festival in chapter 41 has the main characters of the author's other series, The Terrifying Hitman and the Little Girl.
- Charm Person: Shiro can read mortal's minds and discover their deepest desires, and even control and influence their actions using that information.
- Chastity Couple: Nakano and Senko engage in many activities a married couple would: sharing meals, lap pillows, ear cleaning, bathing, and curling up in bed together. They don't share (human) physical affection though. Justified as Senko has the body of a child, and Nakano isn't into that sort of thing. Tail fluffing and grooming are their version of intimacy, and Nakano doesn't seem to be complaining.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Sora was punishing Shiro for using her beach without permission, Shiro seems to think it was because she took some seaweed from the beach.
- *Crack!* "Oh, My Back!": During the Beach Episode's beach volleyball segment, Senko attempts to one-up the competition (Shiro's team) by powering-up her strike, Super Saiyan-like aura and all. But before she can strike the ball, her back gives in to cracking.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The anime's opening song is sung by Senko (Azumi Waki) and Shiro (Maaya Uchida), while the ending is only by Senko.
- Drama Bomb Finale:
- The anime does get dramatic in the last two episodes. Heeding Sora's words, Senko leaves Nakano's apartment for the spirit world, apparently to never return — all without Nakano's knowledge. Once Nakano comes back from his short vacation, Senko is missing from his apartment unit. Meanwhile, in the spirit world, Sora lectures Senko on why the latter has to continuously pamper Nakano despite his recurring negative black aura, even showing her a flashback where Nakano's ancestor died in Senko's arms. Senko never lets up, knowing that Nakano would die someday, but she's still pressing on her mission to keep on pampering him, believing in the power of Reincarnation Romance. Senko and Nakano eventually reunite to view the cherry blossoms at night, with Shiro and Kouenji later joining in. Considering the overall tone of the series, the finale's still cheerfully positive.
- The manga has quite the drama in the chapters leading up to its change to an irregular update schedule. Having decided the curse is growing too strong, the group work to perform a ritual that will purify it from Nakano completely. However, it's revealed that doing this will require Nakano to marry one of the other girls while Senko must leave him for potentially decades while the nine-tails' hatred is bound to her. At the wedding between Nakano and Fukuda, she calls it off at the last second knowing that Nakano's heart isn't in it. Nakano and Senko end up declaring that they don't want to leave each other, which ends up unleashing the nine-tail's curse, manifesting into a toddler kitsune. Rather than destroying it, the gang decide to raise and pamper it so it may hopefully let go of its desire for negative emotions. Like the anime, the manga's unofficial finale remains upbeat and happy.
- Ear Cleaning:
- Senko does this to Nakano in the fifth chapter. Apparently, she is very famous for her ear cleaning skills.
- The second episode's "Super Senko-san Time" has her doing this to the audience.
- Fake Interactivity: The anime features Once per Episode segments called "Super Senko-san Time", where Senko pampers the audience.
- Fantastic Arousal: Senko getting her tail fluffed elicits very suggestive reactions from her. Shiro running away in terror and Sora expressing amusement when they learn his deep desires to fluff theirs too implies that the tails of kitsunes are inherently sensitive in a... "pleasant" way.
- Fish out of Temporal Water: As a being who's several hundred years old, Senko has to adapt to modern-day amenities. One scene, in particular, shows her struggling with machinery and electronics while Nakano's away for work.
- Food as Bribe: Nakano's neighbor Kouenji walks in on him looking like he's about to assault Senko, assumes the worst, and calls the police. Senko bribes her to keep her mouth shut with delicious food.
- Forgotten First Meeting: Senko and Suzu most likely met before, as Senko had visited O-Gin, Suzu's master, (relatively) recently. However, neither remember, as it was before Suzu had assumed a human form.
- Going Commando: In her introductory chapter, Shiro is proudly advertised as not wearing any panties, and the author and the animators make sure you have plenty of evidence of that fact.
- Has a Type: Senko. She herself states that the reason she chose to care for Nakano is because he's just the type of young man she prefers.
- Hot Springs Episode: The gang end up visiting an onsen in the spirit realm on two separate occasions. The first time to help heal Nakano's broken arm, and the second as part of their plan to purify his curse.
- Impossibly-Low Neckline: Sora's outfit leaves the upper half of her chest completely visible. It is also very loose-fitting, which makes you wonder how it even stays on her.
- Lap Pillow: Senko frequently lets Nakano rest on her lap.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The anime turns Nakano's video game collection into a fluffy tail-themed clone of the Nintendo Switch and some appropriately fluffied-up games. This also shows up to a degree in the manga, with games like Super Smash Fox and a Splatoon clone with (fluffy-tailed) Tanuki instead of Inklings. The system itself and the controllers for it more closely resemble the Playstation 4, though.
- Living Legend: Senko turns out to be this amongst Inari, with Suzu, a young kitsune who is just starting her training as an inari, telling Senko that she admires her and has heard many tales about her (though she doesn't realise the person she's talking to is Senko herself until later).
- Mayfly–December Romance: Nakano and Senko. The issue of her being effectively immortal while Nakano is most definitely not has been brought up, and the reason Senko isn't so bothered by it is alluded to in Reincarnation Romance.
- Mistaken for Pedophile: Twice.
- First, Nakano comes to the logical conclusion that if someone sees a young child without her parents in his apartment in the dead of night (and wearing what appears to be an ancient kimono, and fox ears plus tail, no less), he would be arrested for suspicion of kidnapping and child molestation, and hoo boy would the news have a field day with that. He kicks her out, until Senko phases through his door and proves she's not exactly a young child nor human.
- Second, his neighbor Kouenji walks in on him trying to get to touch Senko's ears as promised earlier, and almost calls the police on him before Senko manages to buy her silence with food.
- Musicalis Interruptus: In the anime, Shiro uses her supernatural powers to read Nakano's mind, foxfire lighting up behind her as the room darkens, ominous music playing as she floats into the air. Said music promptly screeches to a halt as she discovers his desire: fluff her tail.
- Nature Spirit: Senko is a harvest deity, rice especially. It's particularly obvious whenever she serves up rice that she piles it on several times higher than the bowl can normally take.
- Nice Girl: Senko, who's always caring and helpful.
- Overly Preprepared Gag: When Nakano decides to move, Yasuko tells him farewell and that she had fun with them. After Nakano moves and meets the neighbors, Yasuko reveals she also moved and is his new neighbor. She is quite annoyed when he isn't more shocked as she explains that she went through a lot to move their first without him noticing.
- Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Despite being demigods, we never see the fox girls do anything that would be considered godly.
- Really 700 Years Old: 800, actually. Senko looks like a little girl, but acts like someone's great, great, great grandmother.
- Reincarnation Romance:
- Senko states that the reason she chose Nakano to pamper and care for above the hordes of other stressed-out and overworked office workers is because he's the type of young man she prefers. Flashbacks show that he looks almost exactly like a man she used to love, back in pre-industrial Japan...
- Early on, Senko mentions to Nakano that she's "indebted to your house", implying that it may also be a case of Identical Grandson. Several of them also show that his relationship with Senko is the inverse of Nakano's, with him pampering her.
- Space Whale Aesop: Don't let a stressful job get to you. Or else an evil nine-tailed fox will destroy the world.
- Tanuki/Kitsune Contrast: Fukuda the tanuki and Senko the kitsune are shown off to be opposites of each other in several ways. While Senko is a refined and well-trained divine messenger, Fukuda is an excitable country-bumpkin who is not the most competent at household tasks. Senko is visibly wary of Fukuda when she is introduced, though the two remain cordial and respectful towards each other.
- Title Drop: The title for each episode of the anime is a line spoken by Senko in the same episode.
- Wham Episode: While things had been leading up to it for a while, chapter 53 brings about some massive changes to the status quo, by way of Senko coming completely clean to Nakano about the main reason why she came to him (his bloodline contains a curse that will grow bad enough to threaten the world if the current possessor gets too stressed) and Nakano deciding to quit his stressful job.
- Your Costume Needs Work: Kouenji mistakes Senko's getup for a Little Yoko, Inari Girl cosplay because of her ears and tail.
- Thanks for all your hard work today. Sleep well.