Series Review – Kiitaro’s Yokai Picture Diary

The title of this series of anime shorts (4 minute episodes) speaks for itself – it’s a show about a boy named Kiitaro, and the memories that he makes meeting lots of different youkai. The first episode of the show has a slightly different feel, but the other episodes all involve Kiitaro meeting some youkai and having interactions with them which reveal something about their nature.

The show is light-hearted and comic in tone, with Kiitaro ending up in some silly situations either from misunderstanding the youkai, from the actions of the youkai themselves, or his main companion the Zashiki Warashi Suzu.
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I will say that there’s a surprising amount of somewhat sexual humour in the series, with repeated upskirt jokes and things of a similar nature. Is making your protagonist out to be a pervert sort of the Japanese equivalent of toilet humour? To me it didn’t feel like it added anything to the story or my understanding of the youkai. It felt rather out of place in what was otherwise a very light and cute series.

The episodes have a short section at the end actually talking about the youkai and what they’re like in folklore. This was interesting to me as a short primer, as while I’m aware of youkai as a general concept, I’m not familiar with many specific kinds of youkai, so finding out a little about them was interesting! Obviously a 10-15 second segment can’t give you a lot of information, but it does give me enough so that I can find out a bit more elsewhere.
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The visuals are of a high quality for a short series (it’s certainly not a show which looks like it was animated in Flash), with detailed backgrounds and colourful character designs.  There’s no dynamic action sequences and the characters movements are kept pretty simple, but I was surprised with how good it looked in comparison to other shorts, even if it would be pretty standard for a full-length series. The ED is animated in a style which is reminiscent of traditional Japanese painting, which seemed apposite for a show about what could be called traditional Japanese spirits.
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There’s numerous different ending themes played throughout the series (as it’s a short show, there’s no OP, which is pretty common, it’s usually one or the other). None of them really stood out to me strongly enough to form an attachment to them, but it was interesting hearing different tunes to the same visuals each episode.

Overall, I found this series to be charming and generally funny. I’m definitely glad I checked it out! I loved learning about the youkai and it was around 40 minutes of light-hearted fun. While it’s not an outstanding show, you may like watching it if you’re interested in knowing a little about youkai and aren’t bothered by the tone of some of the humour.

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5 thoughts on “Series Review – Kiitaro’s Yokai Picture Diary

  1. I’ve found myself growing more interested in youkai and the supernatural over the years, so I’m curious about this show. Too bad about the perverted behavior, though.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this series!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It wasn’t over the top, but it wasn’t the sort of running gag I would have expected in a show like this either. It’s moments like this when I realise that Japan has very different cultural sensibilities to most English-speaking countries. The show’s definitely a cute intro to youkai if you’re interested in knowing a little more.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Fall 2016 Reflections | Plain Pasta and Plain Rice

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