I’ll admit it. I haven’t been this excited for a series in a while. Sure reviewing things like Free! can be a lot of fun, there’s already a massively hyped up fanbase for both so I really became tired of all the fandom circulating the show by the end of the summer season. After seeing the first episode of Tokyo Ravens, I became intrigued by the plot and utterly enamoured by the lovely character designs and kickass animation. It has a little something for everyone – action, magic/supernatural forces and romance – which in my opinion, makes for a really great anime. Well, I hope there’s some romance between Harutora and Natsume, or I’ll just be really sad ;-;
Judging from the Tokyo Ravens promotional poster, we know that Harutora somehow ends up by Natsume’s side. However, from what we see from the first episode, he’s reluctant and sometimes fervently opposed to dipping into the matters of the world of the supernatural since he’s unable to see spirits anyway despite being from a branch from the Tsuchimikado family.
A few things happen. For starters, lots of world building. The Taizan Fukun Ritual was mentioned in the last episode and much of the historical magical past of this world is presented to us as Harutora dips his toes into the waters of the spirit world. A great omnyo exorcist wanted to perform the ritual in order to reincarnate himself… which resulted in disaster. Touji Ato (the SAO Klein look-alike) and one of Harutora’s close friends postulates Suzuka Dairenji, the twelfth general is probably seeking the means to perform the ritual in order to resurrect someone… And that someone turns out to be her older brother, which Harutora discovers after eavesdropping on Suzuka. But on the note of resurrection and reincarnation, there is also a rumour that Yakou, the exorcist who attempted the Taizan Fukun Ritual first has reincarnated himself into one of the descendants of the Tsuchimikado family.
Natsume calls out Harutora to apologize for the entire Suzuka attack and ordeal. Since the altar for the Taizan Fukun Ritual is behind the main Tsuchimikado House, Miyama, Natsume is determined to stay out of town until her safety can be secured, however, when a familiar flies out of Harutora’s mouth, (previously planted in his body with Suzuka’s kiss), robbing her of spiritual powers, she must return to the main house in order to restore them. After getting caught up in an attacks from the battle between Suzuka and the Magical Investigation Bureaucracy, Harutora sends Natsume back to the house by taxi while he stays behind to investigate.
After running into Suzuka and hearing her plans to resurrect her brother, she intends to kill one of the government officials, but Harutora shoves him aside and just as the omnyo attacks him, Hokuto appears and takes the blow for him. As she dies, she returns to the former piece of paper that was summoned to life and it is revealed that she was never a true human, but a familiar. It is this scarring moment and decisive point in the story that Harutora finally decides to take up his duty as Natsume’s familiar in order to protect her. It’s sort of implied that he may want revenge and that perhaps he is living out Hokuto’s last wish for him.
My favourite moment of this episode must be the quiet but intimate ritual where Harutora pledges his loyalty and life to Natsume and becomes her familiar. With a small offering of blood and a simple spell, Natsume grants Harutora the power to see spirits. This entire ordeal teaches Hokuto two things – one, is that being born into a certain position in life means that there are some things you can’t escape, two is that only when you face the hardships of your life can you begin to grow as a person. Truth makes you stronger. I almost see that last beautiful golden scene as a counter-reaction to the destruction and tragedy from earlier that’s suppose to give Harutora some semblance of redemption and reprieve.
Natsume is quickly becoming one of my favourite characters of the season. She has a strong sense of duty and knows that as the head of the Tsuchimikado, there are some burdens that only she can shoulder and certain duties that are expected of her. However, that doesn’t stop her from having simply girly moments, like when she becomes flustered and frustrated at Hokuto for being kissed by Suzuka.
I am immensely pleased that there is one distinct and clear event sparking a new and decisive point in the story where the plot begins to thicken and the real action begins. I’m excited to see what style of battle choreography will be revealed as well as the Harutora’s character development. I’m also glad to find out that Suzuka’s reason for the resurrection isn’t based on a flimsy reason like random world domination or malicious destruction of civilization. I like my villains to have actual explanations behind the deeds they do and it’s really the villains who are both evil but struggle against some vulnerable sense of humanity that become the most impressionable. Complex villains make for a much more thought-provoking story. However, judging from the glimpses of other characters, there is probably more than one villain to the story… let’s just hope they’re all constructed to be well-rounded folk.
Ah and on that note, this review has turned out longer than I expected. Thanks for sticking it out till the end! Thanks for reading and you can look forward to new posts every day when you follow me!
What are you pondering today?
- Tokyo Ravens Impressions Episode 1 (littlecloudcuriosity.com)