Since TWWK already did a First Impression post for this show (which you can check out if you want a synopsis), I’ll mainly be angling my impressions as someone who is familiar with the source manga. (Full disclosure: the source manga is not yet licensed in English and I’m reading it via scanlations. Trust me, if the manga ever gets licensed I’d buy them in a heartbeat.)
The original mangaka, Rimukoro, mentioned that he first came up with the manga when he was exhausted and felt like he wanted a “loli nojya kitsune girl” to take care of him (“nojya” is an archaic way of ending Japanese sentences generally associated with older people like grandmothers). As such, he tried to find a manga with that setup, but could not find one, so he wrote one himself. (He even calls it “an obvious fetish manga”, for what that’s worth.) I think this should give an idea for what kind of show this will be; an iyashikei (healing) show that is more concerned about being cute, fluffy, and relaxing than having any sort of serious plot.
That said, there is an underlying theme at work here that is worth noting: the emotional toll of overworking. This is especially relevant in (but by no means limited to) Japanese office work culture where working to exhaustion is expected and encouraged; this story seems to be written to comfort those caught in this culture. Connected to that is the idea of accepting the care of others, something people can have a hard time doing either out of pride or out of feeling like they need to repay the other person. Even the tail-fluffing, for its… sensual portrayal in-show, can be seen as representative of physical intimacy that many people lack in their lives, even in its most innocent forms. (And yes, the tail-fluffing is a big enough part of their relationship going forward that you might as well consider it a PG-rated replacement for marital intimacy… later portrayals in the manga aren’t as sensual, though.) All of this gives this show an extra human element that does give it some more depth to its fluff.
The fact that Senko is a deitical being–a “demigod”, according to the subs–means there may even be some faith elements in this show. In fact, one of my favorite moments in this first episode is when Nakano says he feels bad about not being able to repay Senko for all she did for him, and she replies that no amount of good deeds can be worth a demigod’s care, so he should just accept her care without reservation. That is actually a surprisingly good reflection of God’s grace, and how no amount of good works can pay Him back for what He does for us, so rather than working for His acceptance, we should simply accept His love. Granted, I wouldn’t consider this story to be a treasure trove of hidden Christian meanings by any means; explicitly relevant moments like that are rare. Still, it is an element that is there and may bring just a tiny bit more for those who continue with this show.
As a final note as someone familiar with the manga: the first episode actually contained a number of scenes not in the manga, particularly the flashbacks to Nakano’s past. It’s a nice extra touch and helps with the overall healing tone of the show while adding some extra value for manga readers.
The Helpful Fox Senko-san is streaming on Funimation.