Main character of the series is Ichinomiya Kantarou, an ethnologist/author/excorcist. Kantarou can see and communicate with youkai (spirits) and kami, from since he was a kid. Two youkai mention the Oni-eating Tengu to him, and since then Kantarou has been searching for the Tengu to befriend him. In daily life, Kantarou earns his money as a writer of articles on folkloric subjects (most to do with youkai) -- but he is perpetually lazy and gets scolded a lot by his editor. He and his maid (a fox-spirit named Youko) are always strapped for cash.
The time period is some time before WW2 -- there are streetcars, but people still routinely wear kimono. There is a free flow of information with foreigners (Kantarou's main rival adopts an English girl), but there are no mobile phones or many cars.
During a trip around the countryside, acting on some information on the location of the Tengu, Kantarou saves a family from a vengeful spirit that had encased a servant in ice, and he also gets to unseal the Tengu whom he names Haruka. Thus begin their adventures together.
The cast of characters is pretty big, but most characters don't play a large role in the stories. The series starts off episodic: the 'excorcism of the week', so to speak. Still, the mysteries are quite enjoyable, and there is enough time for some comic relief in between -- I am thinking that this format could work very well as a roleplaying campaign.
Of course, there is some sort of plot, that is only revealed when the characters have established themselves. It turns out that a descendant of a clan that used to kill youkai is after Haruka. His ancestor was unsuccesfull in defeating Haruka, and now he wants his revenge! However, his honor demands that he wants to give Haruka back his memories and powers from before he was sealed, restoring him to his full power. Only then will he be satisfied when defeating Haruka.
Of course, Kantarou does not want this to happen, but he and his gang find themselves in various circumstances that require him to deal with the situation.
Animation is decent -- it's not a high-budget production, and it shows. Still, it does what it needs to do with good quality. The music doesn't stand out either, but the opening and ending themes are quite nice to hear.
- Interesting peek into Japanese folklore with respect to the spirit world;
- Quite funny at times;
- Very clever twist in the last episode which gives a good sense of closure while not cutting off any future developments;
- Opening and ending themes are nice to hear.
- Drags a bit once the big plot hits;
- Episodic by nature (which might not be a bad point depending on your view).
I'll give it a 7.5.