Tayutama is a cute little action romance that won’t dazzle you with complicated characters and plot but still manages to be an enjoyable watch. I should say first off if you don’t like your anime with a healthy serving of moe and ultra cute artwork, then you can just stop reading now and not even bother with this series. I liken it to eating cotton candy, while it appeared filling when you stuck it in your mouth in the end it’s not very filling. But it tastes good!
The overall plot is the weakest link in Tayutama. The series starts with spirits known as Tayutai, being released accidently into the world along with three very powerful evil spirits and the reborn goddess Kikurami who becomes known to the world as Mashiro. The male lead Yuuri's family runs the shrine dedicated to this goddess and is the descendant of the person who helped seal the three evil spirits with the goddess many centuries before. While I did find the initial premise to be interesting it doesn’t do a very good job in explaining them or any of the other developments that unfold as the series progresses. Way too often things are left unknown or lightly touched on as it moves from episode to episode. You start off expecting this great battle between the three and Mashiro and Yuuri but it never really materializes. It’s not terribly original and it has plot elements that frankly have been done to death in anime. But it doesn’t unfold the way most of those series do in regards to the romantic elements and that alone allowed me to enjoy it quite a lot.
The characters are solid but unspectacular. Mashiro is very cute and moe and is a likeable character. While she does manage to grow some as a character over the course of the series she really doesn’t get a lot of background depth and pretty much manages to stay within the male fantasy of the perfect obedient wife roll. Yuuri is typical of the male lead in anime, not terribly exciting and a bit of a self righteous personality who is a bit to moral in his values to be a real person. Honestly the first guy (of any age really) who would turn down the opportunity to sleep with a girl when she is basically throwing herself at you, is going to be the first. This is one of the strange things about Japan I just don’t get. They have all these bizarre perverse fetishes and echii and yet portray these guys as pillars of morality in an immoral world. It’s pretty tiring. The most interesting character and the one who makes the most growth over the series is Ameri. While her basic archetype has been done many times over as the tsundere best friend who can’t admit her true feelings for the lead, she comes across as sympathetic and a bit tragic. The rest of the supporting characters and the antagonists are pretty uninspired as a whole. We learn very little about them, particularly the pasts and motivations of the villains. What we do find out is very simplistic and disappointing.
The animation was quite well done and the magic combat is very exciting and fun to watch. Character designs are going to be hit or miss with people. I found them to be very cute but others are going to think they are "too cutesy". I can see both points of view. Artistically it reminds me a lot of the art from Shuffle!. The music is definitely the highlight of the program. Both OP/EN songs fit the tone of the series are were very fun to listen to. The cast is made up of largely unknown and relatively new seiyuu. I found this to be very refreshing as it was nice to hear some new voices for a change and their performances were all very good.
In the end, I just don’t understand someone who really hates this series. It was a pleasant little romance adventure story that ended sweetly and kept my attention. Is it an all time classic? Hell no, but it was a fun and entertaining adventure. You could do a lot worse than this.