A modern fantasy based on Japanese Shinto legends. Suzuhara Izumiko is a 15-year-old girl, who has been raised and protected in a shrine deep in the Kumano mountains. She is quite shy and destroys all the electric devices she touches. When she begins to think about going out of the mountains and moving to the city, her guardian Sagara Yukimasa recommends her to enter a high school in Tokyo and forces his son Miyuki to serve Izumiko for life. Miyuki and Izumiko repel each other but their relationship begins to change when a terrifying accident occurs on the school excursion. Izumiko learns her fate as the last representative (yorishiro) of a Himegami goddess and Miyuki learns of his duty as a guardian Yamabushi of Izumiko.
The plot was actually really interesting, if slightly confusing at times. Since it's a PA Works production it goes without saying that the animation is gorgeous ... so lovely at times that I simply had to pause it to admire the beauty. The soundtrack was also wonderful and I didn't have a single complaint in that respect. The characters, on the other hand, were somewhat iffy. It was a struggle for me to like Miyuki and Izumiko in the beginning. Izumiko was just wayyy too meek and just let everyone around her control what she could and couldn't do ... even down to her hair style. She didn't question things when she should have, and she shyed away from people who attempted to pull her out of her shell. Eventually she started to change and she grew on me ... I quite liked her by the end. Miyuki didn't leave a good first impression ... at all. He was this bratty prick that you wanted to smack the crap out of ... but he begins to change the more he hangs around Izumiko. She made him more human, and far more approachable. I actually began to like him around halfway through. The triplets were interesting as well. The puzzle on how their relationship worked was fascinating. I particularly liked Masumi ... he was such a fascinating character and while in the end I wanted Izumiko to end up with Miyuki ... for a while there I almost rooted for Masumi xD However, I did not like Miyuki's father ... at all. The guy was an even bigger prick than Miyuki originally came off as! The way he bullied his own son and talked down to him ... urgh! >.< I also hated how he was always 'Himegami' this and 'Himegami' that and completely pushed aside Izumiko ... it really pissed me off! >.< Anyway ... I disagree with the AP rating for this anime. It's far more entertaining than I was led to believe. I gave it a shot 'cause I'm a big fan of PA Works and I'm really glad I gave it a go! I enjoyed myself!
Secret Santa Review
Before I start, I would like to mention that this review will most likely contain spoilers. If you do not want this show to be spoiled for you, then read no further.
There, now that that's out of the way, let's start the review proper. This supernatural slice of life drama had been on my radar since it aired, but I never got around to watching it until I got it recommended by my Secret Santa.
It starts out quaint enough, introducing us to the female lead, Izumiko, that lives on a very pretty mountan with her odd guardians, what with her parents being else where most of the time. She is immediately set apart from the rest of her peers, not just only by her sheltered upbringing but also the fact that she has odd powers. Shortly after that, we get introduced to a new character: Miyuki, Izumiko's new companion – or manservant, as they say – with severe attitude problems. The show got way less fun to watch when his bratty teenage moping got way more screentime than I felt it warranted. I am glad that phase of his it ended after a few episodes because any more of that and I would have rated this show much lower than I did.
After a few episodes, they transfer to a new school. Of course, there is more going on under the surface than what a momentary glance will reveal, and this school is trapped up in a power struggle between two factions. This is pretty much kept on the backburner for most of the show's run, and there's a lot of other smaller arcs happening as well. Sadly, none is very entertaining to watch, and the mixture of slice of life and small drama arcs makes the show feel like it lacks coherence and a sense of direction, even though the arcs are never outright bad or left without a proper conclusion.
There is never a sense of urgency to the conflict because so little is outright said or explained, nor does the show tell us why we should actually root for the protagonists – simply being protagonists is really not enough – until the very end. The antagonists are also pretty loosely defined, without any clear and defined motivations. Because of that, I found myself lacking interest throughout. It felt like it tried to be suspenseful, but in the end it was just tedious and unengaging.
The characters are thankfully way more consistent than the plot, but they're still very unremarkable – forgettable even – especially the secondary characters. Izumiko and Miyuki are the only ones that I would actually call rounded, developed characters, and even they are nothing to write home about. Miyuki goes from being an annoying, callous and self-centred brat to a more understanding and tolerable person in the first few episodes, but he is otherwise pretty static.
Izumiko is the most human of the bunch, and yet I can't really bring myself to like her as a character because she doesn't really stand out and I really can't emphasize with her struggle to become normal, mainly because the anime treats it in a rather off-hand way most of the time. It's a real shame too, since it's a great concept, but there is little done to actually utilize it in a good way.
The soundtrack is good, which some really nice moody tracks in the OST. The opening and ending songs are above average as well, and more importantly: they are very good at setting the mood. With their mellow and slightly ethereal moods, they're pretty much a perfect fit for this show.
As for what I think of the show as a whole, it left me feeling very ambivalent throughout. Every good thing about it was tempered with parts that were not very entertaining, but most of the time it was as dull as dishwater to me, with a lot of episodes feeling like they were thrice their actual runtime. The plot and setting showed promise but it never delivered, so instead it ended up being just a waste of great production values for the most part. The show really could not decide what to be and did never really play to its strengths, which is a crying shame. I really wanted to like this more than I did, but it just ended up feeling like an average watch. The setting was good, the animation was stellar and the soundtrack was great, but it lacked character and staying power. Furthermore, the ending was rather by-the-numbers and felt really unsatisfying to me.
I loved it. I absolutely loved it. This was such a heart felt anime that spoke to you. This anime was calm but so intreging it left you wanting more. The characters are so lovable, the art is beautiful.
Occasionally a few things that happened felt rushed while other things that weren't as important felt as though it took a lot of time- but it wasn't a big enough deal for me to say it bothered me.
I watched this anime dubbed and I think they picked a wonderful cast for all the characters especially the main character's, I also loved the opening and the closing.
In particular I loved how you saw the main character change slowly and open up throughout the anime and not just in one episode.
I think anyone who likes spirits and beautiful artwork and a bit of a love should give this anime a try.
RDG follows the story of Izumiko who with the protection of Miyuki will attempt to avoid a catastrophe for human kind resulting in their destruction. Although the concept is there, this anime does not really go in depth as far as how to avoid such thing from happening. Perhaps it is the fact that there were only 12 episodes and no second season was released which made this plot very much incomplete.
The topic of the story was very entertaining, I actually found the idea interesting and wanted to continue watching. The problem here is that the story was rushed, and as such, there were several parts that were very confusing to the audience. Likewise, this anime does not have a proper ending, it actually does not even reach a climax which leaves several loose ends that have great potential to add to the story. Despite the idea being there, the plot was developed poorly. I must admit I watched this anime in one setting because I loved each episode, it certainly captured my attention! However, the fact that there are so many questions unanswered and there is no real ending is very disappointing, thus my low scoring. It is my assumption that the manga goes in more depth as far as the story line goes along with much better pacing, but since this review is based solely in the anime, its delivery was not up to standard.
The animation was great in my opinion, the graphics were great as well as the character’s design. I think the landscapes were much prettier than the characters but it all was appealing to the eye. As far as the sound, I loved the opening and ending themes. Likewise, the voices of the characters were good, this is important to me because the main character when being a girl sometimes tends to have annoying voices, but this was not really the case in my opinion.
The characters were okay. Izumiko is somewhat stereotypical. She is shy, bad in sports, lacks confidence, and is easily scared. Her personality is not very original and we do not see much character development probably due to the pacing of the story and the length of the anime. Miyuki was also okay, nothing special. Typical relationship of “I hate you, then I fall in love with you with time”. The triplets’ relationship was interesting but confusing all the same. Other characters are not involved enough to leave a lasting impression.
I just felt that this anime could have been more promising in many aspects but it just failed to deliver. I still enjoyed watching and recommend it to others who like supernatural/mythological type anime.
Story: the story progresses at a really nice pace, although at times the it feels like it's starting to crawl it picks back up again flawlessly. The characters are all very well fleshed out and although some of the romance feels a bit cliché and the dialogue can be a bit to much, for a translation from book to animation it's masterfully written.
Animation: being as this was a book, you would think they could do almost anything, so they decided to go over the top with details in the shading and highlights like many visual novel adaptation do. The animation visibly suffered from this with stiff poses and some frames containing almost not movement. With that being said the artwork was beautiful, and when they really needed to put the extra work in, they did, creating some really amazing work.
Sound: I'm not the best judge of sound but I never felt like any of the sound affects or voice acting distracted me from the story. everything blended really well together. I was especially attached to the outro theme.
Characters: The cast is magnificent, you can identify each character immediately, and each design both portrays and expand upon their personalities. Each individual feels like they have a reason to exist in the story and grow with the main characters arch, never becoming useless.
overall I was very satisfied with the series as a whole although I thought some of the romance was a bit cliché and the dialogue could have been cut down. Even the overly detailed yet often stiff animation wasn't enough to deter me from liking the series.
At the end Suzuhara realizes she's not being possessed but rather is the reincarnation of this strange goddess that is "destined to destroy the human race" her realization comes alongside the hope that their fates are not sealed. A message I feel is saying that although she may have been timid, that those around her told her to fear her ancestry, she came to realize a power inside of her that others wished to suppress, and to accept herself.
This could be alluding to the divine feminine as the story plays a lot on the romantic masculine feminine archetypes while breaking them down in specific cases.