Sometimes, you need a little anime to relax in between all the bloody fights, existential introspections, and narrative twists and turns. With its feel-good vibe, delicious food, and a slice of life energy, Kakuriyo is the break you need. Bonus points if you are into Yōkai!
What happened so far in Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits
Aoi Tsubaki has always been able to see the ayakashi (spirits from the Hidden Realm). A trait inherited from her grandfather, Shiro Tsubaki, and why her mother abandoned her when she was still a little girl. Alone and stranded, Aoi is saved by a mysterious ayakashi who gives her food and is later adopted by her grandfather. The latter teaches her how to cook for ayakashi to avoid getting devoured since she can see them. Now a college student, Aoi has to deal with her grandfather’s death and her school life and keeping the ayakashi at bay.
One day, Aoi offers food to a mysterious ayakashi who spirits her away to the Hidden Realm. She learns that her grandfather used her as collateral for his debts and gave her hand to the Oni Oodanna, the Master Innkeeper at Tenjin’ya. Aoi vehemently refuses his offer and decides that she will pay Shiro’s debt off on her own terms: the young woman will open a restaurant in Oodanna’s inn and use her talent in cooking to achieve her goals.
What is going on with Gonzo?
Kakuriyo premiered on April 2, 2018, and ended on September 24, 2018, after 26 episodes. The show is directed by Yoshiko Okuda, written by Tomoko Konparu, and the score is composed by Takurou Iga.
Pick a flavor: isekai, foodie anime, romance, or slice of life? Kakuriyo has a platter special with all of them if that is your cup of tea. The anime is nothing groundbreaking, but it has a lot of qualities that make it an easy and delightful watch.
The story will remind shoujo aficionados of Kamisama Kiss, not without fault, considering the same premises. However, Kakuriyo quickly finds its own footing: here, romance is to take a backseat in favor of food. Food is what sets Aoi’s new life in motion as, through it, she will develop new relationships, prove herself to the more powerful Yōkai, take care of debt and preserve her independence. Imagine Food Wars with a more laid-back atmosphere, surrounded by Yōkai in a supernatural world. Rather than giving orgasms to many people, food is used to reinforce bonds and transcend differences. Do not expect much action here: the format is pretty episodic, with each episode covering one new story. Yet, it is impossible to see them as fillers. The audience does discover something new each time. New Yōkai, new recipe, new background story, more world-building, and more interactions between our characters.
Managing a slice of life is not always easy due to how boring it can turn out to be, but Kakuriyo found its own recipe, and it is working really well. Thankful to the nature of the show, the pace is pretty much the same throughout those 26 episodes. The balance between each element incorporated in the story is always maintained while keeping the show’s core message at the forefront: food is what connects us.
Aoi is your typical shoujo heroine (even if Kakuriyo is a josei light novel/anime): average physical appearance, average intelligence, no powers. And she is not trying to go against her nature. After all, she is just a human thrown into the Hidden Realm full of fabled Yōkai and magic, and all she has going for herself is her cooking and her kindness. Aoi is not just nice, and she is an adult with good sense and an ability to make well-weighed decisions. And as the protagonist, her personality goes perfectly with the story.
Remember that Kakuriyo’s message is to show how food transcends worlds and people, which is not something you can achieve by blasting some magic spells in someone’s face. Aoi really is her own woman, as demonstrated by how she keeps rejecting Oodanna’s attempts to bribe her into marriage (reminding her that he is a Master, rich and powerful with servants). And on the matter of Oodanna, the ogre is actually a breath of fresh air.
Usually, with stories like that, the male counterpart is known to be pushy, trying to force himself on the bride-to-be-who’s-not-supposed-to-be. Here, Oodanna is respectful of Aoi’s private space and wishes. Looking from a distance at the beginning, he will, slowly but surely, become an active part of her life, prompting her in one episode to wonder when this ogre who abducted her became so dependable. Through small activities like taking Aoi to new markets, running errands for her, or writing her letter when away, Oodanna reveals his softer side and the idea that he genuinely cares for Aoi.
The rest of the cast is full of colorful characters. But do not underestimate them: the supporting cast is full of stories and personalities. The viewers will share with Aoi the experience to discover who they are and what they have been through as it is the only way to create a new dish capable of reconciling them with their feelings. The anime’s theme literally makes it impossible for characters to be blank: Kakuriyo is emotional before anything else.
The biggest flaw of the show is its animation. The character design is ok with its classic shoujo vibe, full of ikkemen, big eyes, and cute chibis. Unfortunately, the animation is not constant and tends to stray on the below-average side. The models are out of proportion at times, and the CG elements do not blend well with the 2D. Scenes featuring crowds show stiff models trying to emulate fluid movement but looking more like Playmobils with arthritis. From time to time, the emotion displayed on a character’s face does not align with what should be conveyed, as if made of wood.
Thankfully, Gonzo repaired the damage with the environments and landscapes: vivid colors, detailed backgrounds, and traditional Japanese architecture. In addition, some scenes have been polished by their key animator and are a pleasure to rewind (Oodanna abducting Aoi comes to mind). At the moment, Studio Gonzo is not working on any personal project.
What do we know about Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits Season 2 so far?
The anime has never been renewed. The light novel is doing ok in Japan, but the anime did not change much for it. Kakuriyo is still a pretty unknown title with its little group of fans or casual readers.
What are fans saying about Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits Season 2?
Kakuriyo has a small community of fans, whether in Japan or the West. Said fans resorted to reading the manga and the light novels to follow Aoi’s adventures in the Hidden Realm. Their dedication shines here as the light novel is actually being translated by the fans themselves since the title has never been picked up for licensing in English.
Viz Media licenses the manga in North America. To follow the updates, you can check the subreddit. You might not have as much traffic on Twitter as the anime is barely mentioned over there. The anime has good scores on IMDB, AniList and MAL.
Will there be Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits Season 2?
The light novel written by Midori Yuuma and illustrated by Laruha started in 2015. It now has 11 volumes and is still ongoing. The anime covers volumes 1 to 5. As of October 2017, the light novel has been estimated to have over 340,000 copies in circulation. The manga follows the novel and is illustrated by Wako Ioka. It has 7 volumes and is still ongoing too. Funimation released the complete series on Blu-ray in 2020. In Japan, the Blu-ray sales were low with Kakuriyo not even included in the Top10.
In 2018, the series was also adapted into a stage play. The merchandising around it was pretty decent for such a niche title, but goodies are now rare since they never really turned into a smashing success. You can still find some (haori, fan, keychains, badges, straps, among other things.), but the stocks are low. Surprisingly, the graph on Google Trends shows that during those last 12 months, the title has generated enough search queries to stay above 0 most of the time.
When will Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits Season 2 be released?
No date is available as of yet.
What can we expect in Season 2 of Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits?
Unfortunately, it barely looks like an option. As previously mentioned, Kakuriyo is a small title with a community, but not big enough to justify a second season, which is a mystery in itself because the show garnered decent reviews everywhere. Maybe it is also due to the Blu-ray/DVD sales numbers being too low. The anime is still recent (in anime years) and could still get a chance in the future if the title was more streamed on streaming platforms as they are now a new factor to measure an anime’s success.
Episode 26 brought an end to the current arc, but many questions stay unanswered: are Aoi and Oodanna fated to end together?
Who is that ayakashi who saved her years ago?
What was really her grandfather’s plan?
This includes more adventures that await them as Oodanna is declared missing…