Tokyo Ravens (東京レイヴンズ )
Tokyo Ravens was an anime that I had high hopes for, but I ended up with dissatisfaction and disappointment. The anime had its moments but it wasn’t enough to keep me engaged.
During WWII, onmyodou magic was used to defeat Japan’s enemies. One of the most famous onmyodou magic users was a man named Yakou Tsuchimikado. Yakou performed the “Taizan Fukuan Ritual” which led to the “Great Spiritual Disaster.” The Onmyo Agency was created to prevent disasters like the “Great Spiritual Disaster” and to fight overpowering spirits and demons that enter the human world.
Harutora was born under one of the Tsuchimikado clan’s branch families. He has no spiritual powers in comparison to his childhood friend, Natsume, who is said to be the reincarnation of Yakou Tsuchimikado. Harutora desires to live a normal life but that changes when he sees his friend Hakuto get killed. Harutora decides to become Natsume’s shikigami and devotes his life in protecting her.
This series had so much potential but the anime was created too soon before any real foundation of the main storyline was settled in the light novels. So instead we got an anime series that has multiple story arcs and introduces several characters in each episode but doesn’t give its viewers a concrete understanding of what the main conflict is. The anime left us with questions at the end as opposed to any conclusions. Part of the reason why is that this anime was created while the light novel was still being written and so, they could only cover what was already been published. In the end, though, we aren’t sure whether Natsume will come back to life? Who is the main antagonist, the Onmyo Agency or the Twin Horn Syndicate? What will happen to Jin Ohtomo? Will Harutora reunite with his friends? And where is Harutora going now as we see him walk off with his familiars? These are some of the difficult questions that couldn’t be answered in just 24 episodes. So we are left with an open-ended conclusion and this series isn’t going to have a second season any time soon.
One issue I had with this series is the number of unnecessary filler episodes. I get it that they use those episodes to build up the romance between Harutora and Natsume as well as to strengthen the friendship bonds amongst the Onmyo students but those episodes could have been used to develop the main storyline as opposed to being wasted away with filler details.
However, the one thing that this series got right is that it had interesting characters. The main male protagonist, Harutora, is the typical shounen character that is stubborn and yells constantly but he wasn’t annoying like Naruto. In fact, I found it humorous that he was too dense to see that Natsume was Hakuto and I enjoyed the bromance between him and his best friend, Touji Ato. I also like the fact that the teacher, Jin Ohtomo is pretty much like Kakashi-sensei from Naruto—wise and does everything he can to protect his students.
Even though I felt like I wasted my time with this anime and it’s pointless “narrative,” I did think the alternate universe that this anime was set in is pretty cool—modern-day Japan and magic is seen as a science.
Tokyo Ravens is an anime that you would watch on your downtime. There are some episodes that you can skip since it isn’t important to the overall story, but even so, each story arc is entertaining as the series tries to cover several genres such as action/adventure, romance, and a slice of life.
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