Tokyo Ravens | Review: Ep. 1

Touches the skies like a Stupid Bird

Fantasy tales set in modern day Japan are certainly nothing new, we have a good five if not more that befits this genre airing this season and Tokyo Ravens is one of them. Tokyo Ravens‘ first episode introduces us to the magical setting of the Japanese countryside as well as the first few characters of the show.

vlc 2013-10-09 11-21-53-53The main character is a high-school kid called Harutora who has the right to become the next Onmyo Mage of his family. He doesn’t want this however as he find himself both too inexperienced with magic and he finds the idea of not being able to spend time freely with his friends a sad thought.

There’s not much special to Harutora in terms of writing, he’s a very simple and plain insert-character so far, but not to the point where the series is hurt by it in any sense.

We also meet a few of his friends, most importantly the cute girl Hokuto. Hokuto is a energetic girl who obviously have a small crush on Harutora (because Anime) and plays around with him in various different ways throughout the episode. She’s a absolute delight to follow and by far the character that had the most life breathed in to her in this episode.

vlc 2013-10-09 11-21-17-46We also meet the girl Natsume for a brief moment who offers to take Harutora’s place as the Onmyo Mage, she’ll probably hold more importance as the series progresses, but she was barely in this episode. Same goes for Harutora’s friend Touji who was featured a lot this episode, but basically did nothing so I can’t say I have much of a opinion on him at the moment.

The first episode is structured pretty well and the show is funny and charming. It doesn’t really add anything new to the formula, but it’s too early to call it generic. The set-up, while solid, feels a little empty so far, but nothing that future episodes can’t help expand upon. The set-up of at least one villain towards the end was satisfying though, even if it caused the two most cringe-worthy scenes in the episode.

vlc 2013-10-09 11-31-32-46Speaking of cringe-worthy, let’s talk the visuals. Tokyo Ravens is a pretty show for the most part and the character designs are unique and vivid enough to stand out.

But towards the last third of the episode they decide to bring in some CG into the mix and it’s honestly one of the worst mixes of 3D and 2D I’ve seen in recent years when it comes to anime. It’s a whole new level of disjointed looks and I found it very distracting. I’m afraid they might do it more in future episodes too.

Thankfully the soundtrack is pretty darn solid. While there’s not much memorable tunes in the first episode, it all fit the scenes and dialog very well. The opening theme song was pretty darn good as well, feeling very mid-2000’s, in a good way. Looking forward to hearing more of it as the show continues.

vlc 2013-10-09 11-33-41-46First episode had its share of issues and it doesn’t do much to set itself apart from other shows airing at the moment. But what we got was a solid first episode with a lot of potential for great expansion. I enjoy the characters, especially Hokuto, and I think the show has something going for it.

So while I can’t say Tokyo Ravens is all that great so far, it’s absolutely good enough to give a try as it should get better. Let’s hope I’m not wrong and that things will keep on heading up from here on out.

Episode Rating: 3/5 – Baka-Tora!

Series Available on Funimation
Funimation has Licensed the series for US Distribution
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