Tokyo Ravens: Midseason Review

Tokyo Ravens ep 2 ED title

The first half of Tokyo Ravens is over and it’s time for a midseason review. 12 episodes in, and we have had a pretty good mix of action, comedy, magic, romance and supernatural. While not the star of the season (comparing it to the likes of Kill la Kill and Kuroko), I’d say that Tokyo Ravens is an anime that pretty much anyone would enjoy.

The story revolves around Onmyouji, or ‘spirit seers’. Tsuchimikado Harutora, who was born into the prestigious Onmyouji family, can’t see spirits. However, his normal everyday life changes when his childhood friend, Tsuchimikado Natsume, pays him a visit one day. Stuff happen (throw in a goth-loli trying but failing to resurrect her brother, dead friend-who-turns-out-to-be-a-familiar, enigmatic best friend, magical fighting and a dragon), and Harutora ends up moving to Tokyo to attend Onmyou prep school.

That’s the gist of the story to date. It’s relatively standard, nothing too complex. So far, the pacing has been good – not too quick that it’s difficult to follow; yet not so slow that it’s draggy & boring. Although there are serious moments, at times we are also greeted with playful moments. The playful moments, despite not serving much advancement to the storyline, are rather entertaining. Besides, it’s always good to just sit back, relax and not think too much. And this is what I think Tokyo Ravens provides, particularly with regards to the filler episodes. What this series has done so far, is set the premise for lots of action, while occasionally pulling back to give us viewers a little breather. In this respect, Kon, Harutora’s familiar, definitely steals the limelight with all her adorable antiques. While the character herself is just a joy to watch, I think the seiyuu, Toyosaki Aki, did a wonderful job. Spritely and innocent, I can’t imagine Kon sounding anything other than what she’s sounded like so far. In case you didn’t already know, she just so happens to be Chihaya Megumi in Summer 2013’s Servant x Service, in which she delivered a flawless deadpan performance. Contrasting as these two different characters are, there is one similarity that they share – comedic timing. Toyosaki really brought her A game in this one, and together with her performance in Servant x Service, I am fast becoming a fan.

Onto more voices! Tokyo Ravens stars Hanazawa Kana and Ishikawa Kaito (anyone noticed they’re in Nagi together as well?). Ishikawa, as Harutora (aka bakatora), uses his annoying baka voice in this one. While I am not fond of this particular register, he has shown that he can be pretty versatile. And for that, considering the fact that he’s still one of the newbies, I say bravo to him. The gripe I have, however, is with the series’ female lead. Avid fan of Hanazawa as I am, I have to admit that I am rather disappointed with what she’s done as Natsume. While she usually gives such awe-inspiring performances (Akane in Psycho-Pass, Aika in Zetsuen, to name a couple), I think that her performance this time round fell somewhat flat. As Natsume, a girl pretending to be a boy while trying not to be so obvious that she is keeping up pretenses in front of those who know that she is actually a she and not a he, Hanazawa wasn’t particularly convincing. Since I have always thought that she could do no wrong, I guess maybe I might be judging her on a much higher standard that just doesn’t seem at all fair. But really Hanazawa, I believe that you are capable of so much better.

Of course, the series’ focus for me is hearing the alluring Yusa Kouji. In all his Kyoto-ben glory (words simply cannot express how much I love the Kyoto accent), he once again steals the show (at least, for me he does. I’m biased, so there). Hearing his voice always makes me go :D (yup, that’s my yusa face). However, he is not the only one who makes each episode of Tokyo Ravens worth the weeklong wait. Kimura Ryouhei, as Touji (Harutora’s best friend), is definitely one to listen out for – he uses his Blood Lad voice in his one, deliciously mysterious with a lightly sadistic touch~ and we have the ever amazing Ishida Akira as Hirata. It doesn’t stop there, because we also hear Suwabe Junichi’s sexy voice in a couple of episodes. Yes, it’s lovely voices all around ^^

Honestly, Tokyo Ravens was not originally on my ‘to-watch’ list. It was only on my friends’ suggestions that I started watching this series. Bearing in mind that I was not expecting anything when I got into this, I am actually getting quite a great deal out of it. With the fun storyline, beautiful seiyuu voices, pretty graphics and interesting characters, what’s not to like? And for that, I think this anime should receive the praise that it so clearly deserves.


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