Hein (fub) wrote,

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Finished series: Otogizoushi

We've finished watching Otogizoushi. My first episode review is here.

In the Heian period, the capital is in ruins. The citizens are plagued by famine and disease, and they look towards the imperial court for salvation. The emperor himself has fallen ill, though, and the ministers of the left and right are plotting their own schemes... A wise man/seer, Seimei, instructs the ministers to gather the five mystical jewels that will restore the flow of Yin and Yang in the capital, thereby repairing all ills.
This important task is given to the Miyamoto clan, and it is expected that Raiko, the eldest son, will lead an expedition into enemy territory to retrieve the jewels. However, Raiko has fallen ill as well, and his sister Hikaru disguises herself as Raiko to take his place.

Thus begins a medieval quest, set to the backdrop of the scheming nobles in the imperial court, the lawless lands beyond the capital and the mystic powers of the seers. Hikaru amasses a small band of followers and gradually uncovers the truth behind her mission...

Only the first season of this series is set in the Heian period. Hikaru uncovers the conspiracy of the two ministers who wish to usurp the power of the dying emperor. Meanwhile, it seems like someone scattered the jewels all throughout the land with a special purpose, and when the gang discovers the plot to destroy the capital with the very jewels that were supposed to protect the capital, it is almost too late.

The second season is set in modern-day Tokyo. Through the vaguaries of incarnation and karma, the gang has met up once again, though unaware of their previous lives. This time, Raiko doesn't die but is taken away through some sort of 'rift' in reality. Tsuna and Hikaru work as reporters, investigating various occult events in Tokyo.
Of course, there is a parallel with the Heian chapter: various strange occurrences can be linked to the five elements, and Maisairaku is on the prowl again -- but this time he helps Hikaru, to pay off his karmic debt from the Heian period. Not all of the episodes in the Tokyo chapter deal with the various elements becoming active: some episodes deal with generic occult/supernatural stuff, somehow tied in to the lives of the gang.

The visual style does take some getting used to (especially the eyes!), but the animation is reasonably fluid and designs are nicely detailed. The music is pretty good (lots of flute in the Heian chapter), but it is pretty weird to have a historical story being flanked by incredibly poppy tunes that have little relation to the series itself.
The first season is very good: a unified story, lots of action and adventure. However, the second season is more of a hodge-podge, which means that the series loses some of its narrative thrust there.

Good points:
- Interesting story;
- Designs and animation are good;
- Decent music.
Bad points:
- Starts to drag during the second season;
- Heian!Hikaru is a kick-ass girl who's taking names, while Tokyo!Hikaru is a whiny wench.

I'll give it a 7.5.
Tags: anime, full review

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