Kitsune udon and kitsune girl star in the latest gorgeous anime video from Nissin.

After passing his college entrance exams, a young man moves from the Japanese countryside to Tokyo. But the most populous city in Japan can be a lonely place, and months after starting university he hasn’t made any close friends or found a girlfriend.

So when vacation comes up, he’s not going to parties or on dates, but instead goes back to his hometown. Even there he’s sort of a loner, spending an afternoon by himself at a forested Shinto shrine…until he has a chance encounter with a mysterious and beautiful stranger that just might change his life forever.

It sounds like the premise of a heartstring-pulling anime romance, and it is. But it’s also the premise for the latest stylishly sentimental ad from instant noodle maker Nissin.

Though they’re best known for their Cup Noodle instant ramen, Nissin also makes a popular line of instant udon and soba noodles called Donbei. One of Donbei’s biggest sellers is kitsune udon, udon with a piece of fried tofu in the broth. By itself, though, kitsune is the Japanese word for “fox,” which is why after the video starts with a scene of the college student eating kitsune udon, he meets a fox girl. She gives her name as Dongitsune, and when the student asks how long she’s been there at the shrine without him noticing, she says, “From a long time ago.”

Though she winces when he takes a bite of his fried tofu, the girl tells him not to worry about it, and we next see them out and about at the local festival. Dongitsune has changed into a yukata, and there’s a sense of romance in the air as they watch fireworks and catch goldfish together.

But eventually the student is going to have to go back to Tokyo, something underscored by the falling of the autumn leaves as the pair once again sits, now side by side, at the shrine.

“Dongitsune, let’s go to the fall festival together again next year,” he starts to say, but when he turns towards her…

…she’s nowhere to be seen.

The ending isn’t entirely bittersweet, though (which makes sense, as kitsune udon is really more of a salty/savory dish). As the video comes to a close, sharp-eyed viewers will notice there’s now one more fox statue in the shrine than there was in the previous scenes, so it seems like Dongitsune isn’t gone for good.

If the visuals seem somehow familiar, there are two possible explanations. First, the character designs are by manga illustrator Eisaku Kubonouchi, who also produced amazing anime ads for Nissin featuring high school-age versions of Kiki (of Kiki’s Delivery Service fame) and the One Piece Straw Hat Pirates. Alternatively, the anime short’s bespectacled young man and fox girl are modeled after actor Gen Hoshino and actress Riho Yoshioka, who have appeared in several live-action ads for Donbei.

Seeing as how Nissin’s previous collaborations with Kubonouchi were multi-video projects, hopefully this isn’t the last we’ll see of this burgeoning romance. Who knows, maybe Dongitsune will pay the student a visit in Tokyo this winter, so that he won’t need to make use of Donbei’s guide for how to spend Christmas Eve alone.

Source: YouTube/日清食品グループ公式チャンネル, Nissin
Top image: YouTube/日清食品グループ公式チャンネル
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