Kakuriyo -Bed and Breakfast for Spirits- (かくりよの宿飯) is a josei, supernatural anime that’s an adaptation of a light novel series. It aired during the Spring 2018 simulcast season and follows a young woman named Aoi who is whisked away to the ayakashi realm to become the bride of an Oni demon as payment for the substantial debt left behind by her late grandfather. Rather than become his bride, she negotiates to work off the debt as a cook in the Demon’s renown ayakashi inn. The anime was produced by Gonzo and directed by Yoshiko Okuda.
I remember this anime with a deep sense of fondness as it always reminds to never truly judge a series by its first couple of episodes. What began as something with mediocre expectations ended up becoming one of my favourite feel-good supernatural serials of the season. While I can openly admit that Kakuriyo isn’t a mind-blowing masterpiece, there are still plenty of traits to the show that provide a comforting yet entertaining and somewhat feel-good watching experience all-around, more so if one is enthusiastic about yummy foods!
So, if you’ve been on uncertain as to whether this anime is worth the effort and energy to check out, maybe these five reasons as to why I adored it so much shall convince you to give it a chance.
05. Traditional, Historical Settings & Scenery
The multi-story buildings in old-style architecture, adorned with lanterns and surrounded by cherry blossom and maple trees is such a lovely aesthetic. When coupled with period era vendors and magic-infused dirigibles, the anime truly encapsulates an ambiance fit for a traditional, supernatural series.
Other aspects of the atmosphere that I thoroughly enjoyed are the outfits, the mannerisms and etiquette, and the formal yet polite (mostly) way that everyone interacts with one another as they meet in the town’s streets. There’s also a distinct difference between the daytime, where everything is far more subdued and quieter (akin to the town being asleep), and the night-time, where things truly come to life with all of the warm, glowing lights and the bustling crowds.
04. The Satisfying Rewards of Hard Work
Aoi is a pretty plain main character, but that is something that I found contributed heavily to series’ charm. She’s just a normal, everyday lady who wants to work hard via diligence to pay off her grandfather’s debts. She also doesn’t half-arse the work that she does. Aoi thinks about the meals she prepares and serves, particularly how special or fitting they would be for each of the patrons. When people return to visit her to offer thanks and gratitude for the services she gives them, it makes me smile and root for Aoi even more.
This is such a natural yet powerful embodiment of what it means to work hard to achieve goals in real life, whether we’re paying off debts, trying to get through school, or focused on improving our professional standing. Hard work can feel exhausting and pointless in the moment, but with some patience, faith, and dedication, it all pays off in the end, even in bitching awesomely unexpected ways. The results of those rewards can feel wondrously validating and satisfying.
03. Endearing Supernatural Side Characters
Most of the time when I watch anime, I know that it’s going to become an all-time cherished gem when it has side characters that I can’t get enough of, or characters that I sometimes wish had their very own shows! Kakuriyo has its fair share of folx that are cute, silly, hilarious, or just a wonderful representation of what it means to live. Here are two examples.
Oryō is a great example of how envy can cloud our kindness and compassion, particularly when we feel the threat of being ignored or abandoned on a long-term basis. Then there’s Umibōzu who is placed on a pedestal so far out of reach that all he feels is this unimaginable loneliness. The only thing that he truly wants in life is friendship and companionship, and the joys that comes with sharing a meal with someone kind.
02. Mouth-watering Japanese Food
Japanese food is one of my favourite cuisines, after Indian and Fijian foods (or course), and anime food always looks so superbly delicious! One of the best parts of Kakuriyo is all of the traditional Japanese foods that Aoi cooks up for her patrons and colleagues alike!
Cooking experiments is basically what life is all about (for me) and witnessing the main character’s creative prowess with finagling together some incredible customary and old-fashioned meals with ingredients she has on hand always makes my tummy growl with anticipation. I especially love the desserts, being the addict of sweet-toothed treats that I am.
01. Food and Nostalgia as Conflict Resolution
I’m not sure about you, but good food is the essence of a good life for me (as mentioned above). Food in my culture is tied to so many amazing cultural and religious traditions, practises, and celebrations. There are even dishes that my mum and nani (grandmother) used to make that have such powerful sentimentality to them. However, the best dinners are the ones where, even in the midst of a family spat or a major sense of discord, we put all of our differences aside and break roti, so to speak.
Kakuriyo uses the psychological power that food has on human emotion and sentimentality to show us that people are naturally flawed and imperfect, but working to overcome those shortcomings and being willing to find common ground—sometimes over a fabulously yummy dish of stew, for example—is what makes life so full of warmth and joy.
In this anime, we watch Aoi help a father and a son resolve their debilitating grief in order to reconnect and build their relationship anew. She helps people recall memories of their home that helps allay a sense of longing. She even helps sick people find their strength again, and with that a source of courage they didn’t think they had.
As you can see, Kakuriyo -Bed and Breakfast for Spirits- has a lot of heart and soul in it that makes it the perfect treat for anyone that is in the market for an anime that can make you smile, impart some life wisdom while also working to inspire and motivate, or merely fill your heart with gooey warmth and fluffiness. It’s also excellent for foodies that want to enjoy shows that give us the a dose of goodwill with their scrumptious and mouth-watering meals!