Weekly Digest 10/17/13 – Tokyo Ravens, NouKome

Tokyo Ravens - 02 -9 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -18 NouKome - 02-2 NouKome - 02-13

Mecha and Onmyouji is a pretty unusual pairing for anime.

Tokyo Ravens – 02

Tokyo Ravens - 02 -1 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -2 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -3
Tokyo Ravens - 02 -4 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -5 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -6
Tokyo Ravens - 02 -7 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -8 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -10
Tokyo Ravens - 02 -11 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -12 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -13
Tokyo Ravens - 02 -14 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -15 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -16
Tokyo Ravens - 02 -17 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -19 Tokyo Ravens - 02 -20

I place this show is the same broad category as Kyoukai no Kanata in terms of overall quality (perhaps a little better), but the two make an interesting contrast in terms of the reasons why.  Whereas KnK is pretty indistinct across the board, with Tokyo Ravens it’s more of a case of highs and lows cancelling each other out.  There are some very good things about this series and some that I find quite tiresome.

In point of fact, it’s almost always more interesting to watch a show do some things really well and others poorly than one that never makes much of an impression positively or negatively, and so it is here – I’m certainly more engaged with Tokyo Ravens at this point.  In many ways this is a very old-school anime plot – the onmyoudo lacking second sight pledging himself to the appointed heir of the family tradition – and it’s followed a classic anime structure in terms of setting up that plot and introducing us to the characters.

There are definitely conflicting elements of the series for me.  I think it’s quite handsome at times in terms of the overall look, but the CGI sequences – while far from the worst this season – are still clunky and are far too numerous.  The plot itself is easy to grasp and inherently interesting, but all three female leads we’ve met so far are pretty much walking 2013 anime tropes, and each has engaged in irritatingly cliched fashion in the first two episodes.  Of course one of those female leads – Hokuto – has turned out not to be a human at all, but apparently a shikigami.  So she has an excuse for acting like a paper cut-out.

I can’s possibly make a call on Tokyo Ravens yet, because this is a two-cour series and the intro episodes have obviously just been the prologue.  We haven’t even gotten to the “Tokyo” part yet, and along with the change of venue we have a dramatic change in circumstance as Harutora (Spring Tiger?) moves into his role as Natsume’s (Beautiful Summer?) familiar.  I find myself hoping the subplot with the tiresome goth-loli Suzuka resurrecting her dead onii-san is indeed just that, a subplot, rather than the spine of the story.  There’s some real potential here, especially as a love a good onmyouji tale, but I think it’ll be best-served if the series moves past this storyline sooner rather than later.

NouKome – 02

NouKome - 02-1 NouKome - 02-3 NouKome - 02-4
NouKome - 02-5 NouKome - 02-6 NouKome - 02-7
NouKome - 02-8 NouKome - 02-9 NouKome - 02-10
NouKome - 02-11 NouKome - 02-12 NouKome - 02-14
NouKome - 02-15 NouKome - 02-16 NouKome - 02-17

I don’t have a whole lot new to offer on NouKome but I did watch the second episode, so I thought I may as well check in.  It was about as amusing as the first, which is to say intermittently with a couple of pretty decent laughs.  I liked the “conversations with God” bit (especially the operator message when Kanade tried to call back) and the weirdness is so total that is has a certain unhinged appeal to it.  There are hints that the series is going to get a little more serious, and it remains to be seen whether it can pull that off.  I’m also probably going to stick around long enough to see who the other two members of the Reject Five are.  I had some small hope that this might be a sort of R-15 – a silly ecchi premise with low-rent animation and a mostly no-name cast that hides hidden depths – but the first two eps aren’t nearly as good and I suspect that’s setting the bar considerably too high.

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8 comments

  1. i

    Hokuto – has turned out not to be a human at all, but apparently a shikigami. So she has an excuse for acting like a paper cut-out – I was having breakfast while reading and as a result of reading that line my screen is covered in milk and Cheerios. You should put out a warning before writing something that funny.

  2. E

    The conversation with God, huh.
    I personally think that after ED song sections are the best.
    They showed what happened if he had chosen the other choices.
    In the first episode, he turned into a boobs themed singer.
    In 2nd episode, a normal high school girl in love.
    LOL.

  3. M

    About Tokyo Ravens – I completely agree,especially in that it's more interesting to watch a show do something good & something bad rather than never taking any risks.The fact that it's trying to be more than average is to be apreciated as far as I'm concerned and there's definitely some potential here.More than the female leads,my bigger concern are CGI sequences that are certainly gonna be around throughout the show's entire run.I guess we'll have to get used to them and although that won't be so easy in my case,I kind of want to like this one more.

    As for NouKoume – It gives me Hentai Ouji(HenNeko) vibes more than anything.Looks like that type of random gag show that doesn't take itself seriously at all which IMO,is the best choice for something like this if you ask me.Seeing that I had below average expectations for this I find it to be surprisingly entertaining.

  4. K

    Not going to spoil anything, but you are correct Enzo with thinking that this arc with the loli girl is only a sub plot and should be over in an episode or 2 max.
    As for me I didn't mind the 3D, though using it on that taxi was a bit excessive though.
    Plus whats the show you consider to have the worst use of 3D this season??

    As for NouCoume it wasn't as funny as the first episode, but it still kept me interested.

  5. Worst CG? Wow, spoiled for choice here. Ars Nova or Unbreakable Machine Doll, probably the latter.

  6. R

    My effort to chop down my watch list continues, and I'm not going to continue with NouKoume. The fact is that I couldn't even finish the second episode. I probably will just forget about this show permanently unless your reviews say it otherwise.

    Tokyo Ravens, on the other hand, interests me, and I very much agree with what you said. I don't like that loli blonde girl — couldn't care less to remember her name — but things are moving fast here with so much more to see. Natsume, like you said, is very much a stock character, but she doesn't annoy me. Harutora isn't great but decent, and I want to see how he grows as a character. The CGI is ugly, to be honest, but if I could take Kingdom season 1, I think I can take Tokyo Ravens as well for as long as the story and characters are good. I will stick around for more.

  7. Z

    Just judge it for yourself. No need to follow a blogger's advice.

  8. t

    well tokyo ravens ep2 still had a surprise in the sleeve with the discovery of Hokuto. but surprises out of the sleeve every episode aren't enough (though intriguing).
    although we did got a bit more details, still, things on the "macro" level seem to be..on slowpoke.

    BTW what's with you and CGI?I guess not best friends 😛 always remember kingdom s1 horrors in terms of CGI, it'll help you sober 😛
    honestly, this show is something weird with animation. there is the "battle mode" with the bizarre robot stuff, and the rest(which is quite good). it's pretty sharp gap between the two, though they try to minimaize it as possible…
    it reminds me the gap in "free" – animation in water's environment was..eyegasm. and the rest like casual day or background..was..simple. but they managed to maintain the difference somehow.
    here it's..a full-time change in scene, not quite sure if I like it or not.

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