Anime with kimono eye-candy, take 2

It’s been quite a long time since I did a post featuring anime with kimono front and centre. Since then, a bunch of new series have come out. I thought I’d share some of the ones I’ve particularly enjoyed with you all. If you have any suggestions I haven’t mentioned, I’d love to hear them!


Kakuriyo no yadomeshi (Bed and Breakfast for Spirits)

Sadly, this adorable romantic slice-of-life anime seems to have flown under the radar. It’s the story of Aoi, a young woman who ends up running a small restaurant in the Hidden Realm of spirits. She wears kimono nearly all the time, as do the bulk of the spirits she interacts with. Of course there’s a romance with master of the inn, the ogre king. It turns out her grandfather used to visit regularly and incurred significant gambling debts, and promised Aoi in marriage. The series features a wonderful combination of charming characters, a growing romance, and plenty of delicious food.

Unfortunately, only one season aired back in 2018 and so far there’s no hint of a second series at the moment. However, you can still catch that one season on Funimation right here.

Kakuriyo no yadomeshi on Wikipedia
Kakuriyo no yadomeshi on IMDB


Maiko-san chi no makanai san (Kiyo in Kyoto: from the Maiko House)

From the spirit world to the modern world, we now go to Maiko-san chi no makanai san. This is the story of Kiyo and her best friend Sumire. They move from Aomori to Kyoto to become maiko (apprentice geisha). While Sumire seems made for the job, Kiyo doesn’t have what it takes. Rather than leave embittered or jealous, Kiyo becomes the cook for the maiko house as well as essentially their head cheerleader. She’s supportive and encouraging and loves seeing Sumire and all the other girls in the house succeed.

This is a very slow, calm little series. Each episode is split into three chapters, interspersed with “Dish of the Day” featurettes. They get a little repetitive, but give recipes and trivia as well as giving us glimpses of the other girls in the house, so in the end I don’t mind them. If you’re looking for something lovely, soothing, and heartwarming to watch, you can check out Maiko-san chi no makanai san on NHK’s official website.

Maiko-san chi no makanai san on Wikipedia
Maiko-san chi no makanai san on IMDB


Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

I feel like including this one is a no-brainer. Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is an incredibly popular franchise now, spanning from a manga to anime to movies to a stage show. It’s even on Netflix in English now, that’s how widespread its popularity is. It’s the story of Tanjiro and his sister Nezuko, who lose their family after a vicious demon attack. Tanjiro becomes part of the Demon Slayer corps, determined to avenge his family.

Taking place in an alternate-reality Taisho-era Japan, this series has plenty of action, drama, and heart. There are many traditional kimono and kimono-inspired outfits on almost all the main characters, making this a great watch for anyone interested in that. You can find Demon Slayer currently on Netflix!

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba on Wikipedia
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba on IMDB


Intrigue in the Bakumatsu: Irohanihoheto

The next alternate history/fantasy series takes place at the very end of the Tokugawa Shogunate. We follow the story of supernatural-hunting mercenary Yojiro, who joins up with a theatre troupe bent on revenge. The premise sounds quite silly when written out like that, but I’m four episodes in and totally hooked.

The kimono factor in this one is way up there, due to the troupe’s costumes and the historical placement of the entire series. Unfortunately, this series is aired on a Japanese streaming platform 2007 and isn’t currently licensed anywhere so it might be hard to find. Typically I don’t condone piracy, but it seems to be the only way to watch this currently.

Intrigue in the Bakumatsu: Irohanihoheto on Wikipedia
Intrigue in the Bakumatsu: Irohanihoheto on IMDB


Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood

Another new, unfinished series, Joran takes place in an alternate history where the Tokugawa Shogunate never lost power. They’ve also found a way to extract a form of electricity from people with a mysterious power, so the aesthetic is a fascinating combination of turn-of-the-century Japan and a modern, almost cyberpunk style.

The story follows Sawa, a Changeling woman who can take the form of a white crow. Her entire clan was slaughtered by Janome, a man determined to create artificial changelings. Sawa is a member of the Nue, a government-sanctioned execution squad.

I can’t elaborate much more than this, because this series is still currently ongoing and I don’t want to spoil anything! But so far this show has a lot of promise, and I’m eagerly anticipating the rest of the episodes. You can follow Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood now on Crunchyroll. This series has some quite graphic violence, as well as explicit nudity and sex so definitely adults only!

Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood on Wikipedia
Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood on IMDB


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Review – Watashitachi wa Douka Shiteiru (Cursed in Love)

I’ve got something a little more fun and laid-back for you today. Over the past few weeks I’ve been dragged into an addictive j-drama called Watashitachi wa Douka Shiteiru, the story of Nao, a young wagashi artisan. As is typical with j-drama, especially ones based off manga, the story is quite convoluted,

Fifteen years ago, Hanaoka Nao and her mother lived in the staff quarters of Kogetsu-An, the famous wagashi shop. Young Nao grew close with Tsubaki, the heir to the shop. Everything seemed perfect until Nao’s mother was framed for the murder of Tsubaki’s father.

Nao currently has the chance to solve the mystery that threw her life into shambles by concealing her identity, rejoining Kogetsu-An and marrying Tsubaki. But can she keep her secret and guard her heart?

The manga and live-action adaptation both go by the full title of 私たちはどうかしている or Watashitachi wa Douka Shiteiru. It’s often shortened to Watadou, due to the title being a bit of a mouthful. Things get complicated when it comes to English translations; the most common translation is We Are Not Ourselves and most fansites will refer to it as such, but the official title on the English NTV page lists it as Cursed in Love, and the English manga is published under the name Something’s Wrong With Us. So if you see any of these titles and get confused, don’t worry, it’s all the same thing! This show has too many names, I swear.

I was initially drawn to this series because so many of the characters are always (or nearly always) in kimono. But once I started watching, I was hooked. Do you enjoy any of the following?

  • Delicious wagashi.
  • A dying patriarch.
  • A scheming oujo-sama matron.
  • Beautiful kimono.
  • Unhealthy but passionate romance.
  • Murder.
  • An enigmatic and fashionable gentleman.
  • Angry ikebana.
  • Hilarious secondary characters.

If so, you’ll find something to love about Watadou. This show really does have it all!

It’s definitely on the more camp/soap-opera side of j-drama, with plenty of intrigue and overblown drama (the aforementioned scheming oujo-sama matron literally throws a flower vase at Nao, fans herself with money while bribing someone, and even does the ~ohohoho laugh at one point). You can tell it was adapted from a manga, due to the level of theatrics and even the way many of the scenes are framed. Does that mean it’s bad? Absolutely not. For some reason I was expecting a more “serious” drama at first so it took me a few minutes to get into the swing of it all, but once I did I was hooked.

Of course, my fascination with it is helped by the fact that the show is steeped in traditional Japanese elements. Not just the wagashi, although that is the most prominent, but also tea ceremony, and most important to me – all the gorgeous kimono. Nao’s wardrobe is split between her Kogetsu-An uniform, western-style clothes, and kimono, and the Kogetsu-An kitchen staff are shown almost exclusively in their uniforms, but nearly everyone else is always in kimono. Whether it be Tsubaki and his family, or the traditional clients who patronise Kogetsu-An for their delicious sweets, the show never lets you forget that this is a world slightly removed from modern, bustling, urban Japan. The show is massive eye candy for anyone into kimono.

The show’s official page on the NTV site is all in Japanese, but it is a treasure trove of imagery worth exploring. There are separate pages for all the beautiful wagashi, as well as individual kimono fashion pages for Nao (the protagonist), Tsubaki (the love interest), Kyoko (the matron), Grand Master (the patriarch), Shiori (the jilted fiancée), Takigawa (the enigmatic gentleman), and even Yuko (the restaurant owner). You can use your browser’s translation features to read information and stylist thoughts for each outfit.

I also tried to grab a selection of screenshots that showed off the lovely aesthetic of the show without spoiling anything! There’s one feature wagashi from each episode, and a ton of kimono. You can really see how gorgeous the wardrobe is.

Typically, I don’t like to suggest piracy but currently this show has no official English subtitling or distribution, so the only way to watch it is through fan-subs. I’m following the ones over at Blitz Fansub and so far they’ve been quite fast and reliable (if you don’t mind the occasional typo). However, if the show ever does receive an official translation I do urge you to check it out. I just hope they don’t try to adapt and re-localise it, because it’s so dependent on the magic of traditional Japanese industries. I feel like it would lose too much if they changed the setting.