First Look: The Helpful Fox Senko-san

Alternative title(s): Sewayaki Kitsune no Senko-san
Manga Adaptation by Doga Kobo
Streaming on Funimation

Premise

A child* shows up to help a patient overworked man live a better life, and they engage in something that definitely isn’t framed as sex.

colons’ verdict: Harmful to everyone!

Given their recent work, I should not have been fooled by Doga Kobo’s pre-credits criticism of Japanese work culture. I mean, shit, even fantasising about leaving work on time remains an actual fantasy, so there definitely could be a world in which the opening minute of this show leads into critique of toxic work conditions rather than a fantasy about how a sexual relationship with a child can serve as a balm for the stresses of that environment.

There’s nothing I can really talk about here that hasn’t already been talked about in Glorio’s previous coverage of other recent Doga Kobo shows, save for the acknowledgement that they’ve now abandoned all pretense about who they’re hoping their prepubescent girls will attract, by centering an iteration of Shit Protag. This is disappointing, but not surprising. There’s another layer to this, though; while yes, obviously, this show contains clear allusions to sex with children and how it is good, it also does direct harm to its target audience. This child is here not only as a sex object, but as a life-saving literal deus ex machina. Even without the extremely problematic character designs, this show is addressing a real social problem with the suggestion that an exploitative employer can and will be countered by the passage of time. You can completely ignore the tacit endorsement of child abuse and this show is still endorsing a fundamentally harmful message; that all you need to do to get out of hell is to wait.

'And you're 800 years old? But you look just like a kid…'

Shit Protag demonstrates an astonishing lack of genre savviness.

Jel’s verdict: I’m Calling the Cops

I’ve heard some people try to say this show is wholesome and innocent, but the fact that this episode makes a joke where the protagonist imagines the cops arresting him for keeping a child in his house shows they know exactly what they are doing. The implications are bad enough that you don’t have to show anything explicitly for this to be harmful, and even that goes out the window when you factor in the “tail petting” scene. I will say I laughed extremely hard at the post credits scene that goes full first person audience view a la previous anime classics like Sleeping with Hanako, but of course that was laughing for all the wrong reasons.

Euri’s verdict: Doga Kobo more like Doga OhNo

Doga Kobo are back once again with another thrilling showcase of how to creep me the fuck out in 20 minutes or less. There’s no need for the fox girl to be a kid if they just wanted to tell a ‘wholesome’ story, and they tip their hand to their true intentions pretty early on. But hey, if you watched last season’s My Roommate is a Cat and came away thinking that it’d be better if Haru was an 800 year old catgirl, here you go I guess.

This being framed as post-coitus is, I promise, reinforced by the context in which it is presented.

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