Otaku Digest – Undead Trials For Shrine Maidens
Welcome one and all to the latest instalment of Otaku Digest! The weeks are flying by and the summer season is creeping in quickly. It is hard to believe this spring anime season has gone by so fast and yet there is still a good few new anime series for us to dig our teeth into here on Otaku Digest.
There has been a very wide range of anime this season, making it completely balanced from slice of life (although there were a few too many) to the most surreal of fantasy and it has flown by, making the saying ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ even more relevant.
We may be thinking ahead to the summer but for now let’s kick back to spring with this week’s titles Koutetsujou no Kabaneri and Kuma Miko.
Koutetsujou no Kabaneri
We kick off this week with the drama, action, shounen and fantasy anime Koutetsujou no Kabaneri or Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress which originally aired on April 8. Set in a world in the midst of an industrial revolution, a monster descends upon the world. The only way to destroy it is to pierce it through the heart but it is protected by a layer of iron. This beast can infect humans with its bite and create vicious undead beings that are known as Kabane. The people of the island called Hinomoto have built stations that shelter and protect them from the ferocious creatures. The people have access to the station as well as being transported between them on a steam run locomotive which is called Hayajiro.
A young boy called Ikoma who lives in the Aragane station and who helped to build the Hayajiro decides to build another as a weapon to defeat the vicious creatures called Tsuranukizutsu. Ikoma awaits for the opportunity where he can use his device and one day he meets Mumei, a girl who has been excused from the mandatory Kabane inspection. He soon meets her again as the Hayajiro is going out of control with the staff becoming Kabane. With that, the station is infiltrated and Ikoma has his opportunity to use his weapon.
This is a great example of another anime that really has become a dime a dozen at this stage and I cannot tellif it’s because of the recent popularity of anime like Attack on Titan or Tokyo Ghoul, but the anime have become slightly dull in their execution. Thankfully, just from the opening of the anime it seems it’s going to breathe some life into a tired genre. The Kabane themselves are relatively terrifying with no real explanation behind them, though I feel that will be divulged later in the series and the episode itself was very dark throughout with a hilarious amount of killing.
Something that really intrigued me about this episode was not so much the villians or the dark tone of the episode but the overall design of the characters and anime as a whole. Since it has been set in a past setting of an industrial revolution it takes on the look and feel of such. The main surprise, however, was the character designs; they were very much like a kick back to old school styles of character designs from similarly set but more ninja-based anime. It gave the anime the perfect balance of new age CGI-based animation with a more classic feel to it.
Will I Continue to Watch? Yes, dark and unbelievably intense but worth continuing with!
Next we have Kuma Miko or Kumamiko – Girl Meets Bear, a seinen and comedy anime which began airing on April 3 which was adapted from the manga of the same name. This anime introduces us to middle school student, Mach,i who also serves as a shrine maiden at a Shinto shrine. It enshrines a bear in a mountain in the northern Touhoku region of Japan. Machi also has a guardian which takes the form of a talking bear called Natsu. One day, Machi turns to Natsu and expresses that she would like to attend school in the city. Natsu, being a worrier and knowing that Machi is ignorant to the ways of the outside world, sets out trials for her to pass to see if she will survive the big bad city.
This anime is a nice change of pace, certainly taking a much more lighthearted take on things. I am usually not a fan of these kinds of animal spirit guidance anime as they can border on childish in a cliché way, but I have to say just from the opening the word ‘cute’ hit me like a ton of bricks. I have to say, however, that I was not a fan of the opening theme of the anime; it was not catchy or as cute as the series seemed to be while in reality it was dull.
The episode is exactly what you think it will be; it is a very cute anime about a girl who has a friend who is a bear, to put it very simply. There was not much to it in terms of story, as with other anime like this, but I would presume it will pick up on this later on. There were some nice little moments of genuine comedy in there but for the most part there is far too much talking and explaining of things. Much like the narrative, the animation itself is mostly very simple, but the backgrounds were superbly animated with an old fashioned shrine ease to them.
Will I Continue to Watch? No, just not my cup of tea
What are you watching this week? Let me know in the comments!