Our Home's Fox Deity: Volume 1 Premium Edition is the company's latest release and centers on a guardian deity, Tenko Kugen (Ku-chan for short), and the two brothers it (Ku-chan can be a boy or girl) is charged with protecting from danger.
The story opens when the brothers, Toru and Noboru, are called to visit their sick grandmother. Only, she isn't sick. As it turns out, the story was all a ruse to get the boys to safety. The brothers are members of a family full of powerful priestesses, making them a prime target for Yokai, spirits that believe they'll gain powers by eating the two boys.
Once in hiding, the brothers are put under the protection of Ko, a maiden who has fused with a dragon. However, Ko discovers the Yokai coming for the boys has an affinity to water, which she is weak against. In response, the boy's grandmother releases Ku-chan to defeat the spirit.
Although Ku-chan makes short work of the spirit, the grandmother isn't happy to see the fox deity come back into her life. However, Ku-chan is allowed to remain free as long as it promises to protect the boys. Ku-chan agrees, but only because of a bond it once shared with their mother.
Like most of NIS's sets, the first volume of Our Home's Fox Deity is a slow start. Most of the twelve-episode volume is dedicated to introducing the world and characters. Each episode is more of a stand-alone story arc meant to introduce something, then quickly resolve whatever plotlines lead to that element's introduction. As with past releases, there's some obvious groundwork being laid that will undoubtedly pop up in later releases, but without some greater context of where we're going, it's really hard to get a feel for anything. There's no big baddie that's controlling the Yokai nor is a larger story at play.
The slow start isn't terrible, and I've watched enough NIS-released anime in the last year to realize they usually come around in the end. However, while it did little to dissuade me from giving the second volume a shot, it did even less about making me want to watch the next volume. Compared to series like Persona or Toradora!, I never felt any sort of attachment to any of the characters or what was going on.
Though story is a major issue, I think a larger part of the problem was that I didn't quite get Our Home's Fox Deity's sense of humor. This is a comedy, and I know I'm supposed to laugh at some things, though I'm not as "in tune" with the culture to really get some of the humor. Call it the downside to my professed "Casual Anime Fandom." That said, the series will likely connect with those who actually watch a lot of anime and understand what's funny and why.
As with NIS's other premium sets, Our Home's Fox Deity: Volume 1 comes with a couple of bonuses, including "clean versions" of the openings and endings, as well as four commercials for the series and a few short vignettes covering various aspects of the series. The shorts are little more than clips of the series, but do offer some sort of idea of what you're getting into. Again, like other aspects of the series, without a greater context, they were sort of lost on me.
Our Home's Fox Deity: Volume 1 also ships with a hardcover "Takagami Family Album." Similar to NIS's other hardcover books, the "Album" features full-color artwork introducing the different characters from the series. It's not as packed with information as other books, but is still a great addition to anyone's collection of art books. There's also a short glossary of important terms from the series, which ended up becoming a bit of a lifeline for me.
In terms of anime releases, Our Home's Fox Deity is a good release that keeps in line with the level of quality expected from NIS releases. Although the series didn't exactly connect with me the way other series have, it's still different enough from the other "consumer grade" anime out there, and something anime fans should check out.