We Rent Tsukumogami – Anime Preview
Synopsis: A pair of adopted siblings run a rental shop in old Edo (Present-day Tokyo) where fire and flooding is prevalent and everyday items are rented out to not impede when they flee. Mixed in the inventory are old objects that have turned into spirits after hundreds of years of existence called, Tsukumogami. These supernatural creatures listen to conversations around town and spread it as gossip. It is up to the good-hearted siblings to react to these quarrels and resolve the situation using the powers of the Tsukumogami. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: We Rent Tsukumogami has aired far later than other seasonal Summer anime. One would hope the delay would be for a title that’s truly stellar, surprising, and stands above most others in quality, the delayed start allowing the title to stand out. Unfortunately We Rent Tsukumogami is painfully boring. The series predicates itself on the idea of anthropomorphized heirlooms, or trinkets that have awakened into sentient spirits. While that idea could amount to something, most of Tsukumogami is talking heads, discussing the situation rather than providing any action as our characters are tasked with finding one such missing Tsukumogami. When the series does actually have our characters take a proactive step to finding answers it’s the only time when the animation kicks up a notch, making for fleeting segments of eye-catching artwork. The rest isn’t impressive in the slightest and often feels like the bare minimum of effort thrown into the production.
Linny: We Rent Tsukumogami starts of with a slow burn. The episode takes its time dishing out its premise, even having our protagonists play dumb to the existence of tsukumogami and most of the episode being nothing more than people having laid back conversations. The same obvious points are ruminated over again and again which could prove to be frustrating for anyone seeking a more fast paced tale. Still, this could prove to be a winner for that subset of anime fans who like slow tales, supernatural themes, and life lessons such as in people learning to be better humans or realizing things about themselves/their lives through whatever catalyst event and interaction they have with our main characters.
Tom: The premise feels thin, and while a simple story can present wondrous avenues for invention, Tsukumogami seems instead content to take a paper thin plot and stretch it out far longer than it can naturally last. This is often done by relying on comedy, but Tsukumogami’s comedy is so lukewarm one might struggle to keep their attention focused. The other way in which Tsukumogami tries to grab the audience is through its wild and ludicrous character designs for the Tsukumogami themselves. The idea is to juxtapose their more grounded personalities with their absurd looks, but the writing is so banal, predictable, and plodding that this effort feels entirely underused. The biggest issue, at the heart of all of this, is that the way Tsukumogami executes its ideas is simply uninteresting.
Linny: Adding to We Rent Tsukumogami’s pedestrian feel is the early revelation of our two main characters being siblings who are not blood related and hinting at the existence of “unsibling-like” affection for each other. It’s one of the most common ‘features’ found in anime/manga and does nothing but strengthen the generic vibe for those struggling to warm up to Tsukumogami. This and everything else we’ve discussed convinces me that We Rent Tsukumogami is best watched by those who have a fondness for slow paced drama and slice of life because even with the supernatural element present, the show is heavily focused on emotional and conversational content. Everyone else can skip this with ease.
Tom: We Rent Tsukumogami is likely for a very specific audience. People looking for something slow, easy-going, lacking in both drama and overt persona. Something so mundane they can put it on in the background and tune out, without ever feeling like they’re missing all that much should their attention slip for five or even ten minutes at a time. As for general audiences, I think We Rent Tsukumogami is an easy pass.
We Rent Tsukumogami is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.