Since the ancient times, the Kannagi priestesses have used their swords, or Okatana, to exorcise the creatures known as Aratama that brought chaos upon the world of man. These maidens were known as Tojis. They are a special task force within the police. They are allowed to have their Okatana on their person because they are government officials, but they mostly consist of middle school and high school girls who go to one of five training schools throughout the country. Though they mostly live normal school lives, if they are given a mission, they take their Okatana and unleash their powers, fighting to protect the people. This spring, the top Tojis from five schools across the country have been gathered for a customary tournament where they will use their abilities and fight for the top position. As the many Tojis trained and prepared for the upcoming tournament, there was one girl who was even more determined than the others on improving her swordsmanship. What lies before the end of her Okatana?
The Point of a Sword
The Distance Between Them
The Burden of Resolution
A Night of Mountain Hunting
The Space Between Humans and Disgrace
Day of Disaster
After the Festival
Resolve for Tomorrow
Gleam of Moonlight
A Single Sword
Intro Before I begin this review, you, the reader, need to know upfront that there might be some noticeable bias on my part as it relates to Katana Maidens: Toji no Miko. The reason for that is simply because I have a personal interest and fascination in the construction, usage, art, etc. of both Japanese swords and swordsmanship. Story: 12/30 points When I first noticed this anime and saw its less than stellar rating of barely ⭐⭐⭐ (exactly 3.037 numerically out of 1,342 votes at the time of this published review), I just scoffed at the idea of watching this. However, what changed my mind was the fact that it is a Swordplay anime, so I thought to myself, “What the heck? Why not?” Let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised, although it might not seem like that as you read further down in my review. Our actual story begins with the main characters of Kanami and Mai. They are two (of many) sword priestesses, known as Tojis, who wield specialized katanas made from a mysterious metal. These “Okanatas” have the incredible ability to defeat horribly CGI creatures known as Aradama, who reside in the Netherworld. However, they somehow find a way to make it humankind’s realm of Earth. How exactly? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ These Aradama are unique in many ways besides their horrendous look. They exist because of the metal that exists from the Okatanas’ construction. Yes, the same device that is used to slay them is how and why they exist in this world in the first place. Apparently, they are connected to it on physical, mental, and spiritual level that does not get described enough in the story. Because of that, if this is all confusing while reading this, then that is because I am still confused while writing it. Heading back to Kanami and Mai, they have been selected to participate in an upcoming Toji tournament. These maidens, who are naturally Middle School Students, are the only ones to represent their one school (out of five), Minoseki Academy, in the assumed annual prestigious event. It is here where we are introduced to the other main character, Hiyori. From the unexpected events of the tournament in episode two to the end of the anime, it is a story of saving the world through hard fought battles (sometimes), awful Aradama (typically), swordplay fan service (Woo-hoo!), and an up-and-down roller-coaster across two main story arcs that are incased in 24 episodes of oddly enjoyable anime. While its execution is clearly flawed, when done adequately, the concept can be interesting enough to draw the attention of the viewer. Animation: 5/10 points The Aradama look atrocious most of the time, except for Nene and princesses Ichikishimahime, Tagitsuhime, and Takirihime, which is primarily because they are mostly hand drawn if not completely done by hand. Speaking of hand drawn, the overall art style used is very basic, but cleanly done and consistent. Another positive of the artwork (and actual animation) is the execution from hand drawn to CGI-based action when the Toji find themselves in a fight. Studio Gokumi does surprisingly good job in this, which is vital since there is so much swordplay throughout the entire series. Sound: 7/10 points The clanging of swords, the movements of the Tojis themselves, and most of the other sound effects are right on point. The music is admirable, but certainly nothing epic. The OP and the ED are decent, but forgettable. Characters: 18/30 points The characters are an interesting bunch with some development, but not enough to really make most of them stand out. All four of the main characters are middle school students, which most of the Tojis appear to be. The only Child among them is the Stoic Sayaka, who is excels with using an Okatana, until she faces off against Kanami, who is one of the standout characters. Kanami is the glue that binds their little Toji group together, which includes High School Students Eren and Kaoru. They all have physical characteristics and personalities that are typically found in many anime of similar genres, so I will not go into too much detail there. What is unique about Katana Maidens: Toji no Miko is watching all the different fighting styles used by the various Toji, especially Kanami, Eren, and Yukari Origami. Kanami uses Yagyu Shinkage-Ryu, which utilizes an opponent’s movements and thoughts. Combined with her incredible willpower, intellect, and insight, she proves capable of eventually besting anyone in sword combat. Eren uses Taisha-Ryu, which is a high energy style that includes kenpo techniques and thrusting kicks. It is an unusual and unorthodox style that often confuses her opponents. The Dual Wielder Yukari uses Niten Ichi-Ryu, which utilizes techniques that elevate the usage of two swords. Her shear speed and strength further elevate her sword style to a nearly unbeatable level. There are many more Toji and fighting styles, but these are the ones that stood out the most when watching them in action. Official clip from the Toji tournament Lastly, I want to quickly mention Nene, who is Kaoru’s loyal companion and one heck of an Aradama. Overall: 60/100 points Even with mentioned flaws, I liked this anime more than I probably should have. Aside from the large amounts of swordplay action, there was enough here to make it an interesting watch. Can I completely recommend it? No, but will say that is any of this review piqued your interest, then I would at least give it a chance by watching the first few episodes. That should be all it takes to know if Katana Maidens: Toji no Miko is for you or not. Entertainment Score: 7/10 (2x) Achievement Score: +4 to Overall My expectations were Moderate, and it delivered Above those expectations. Age Rating: TV-10+ (Violence, although not extreme; the scary, ugly Aradama) Additional Information: Video Format: FHD Streaming (1080p) Audio Format: English dubbed Publisher: FUNimation Equipment Used: Acer AN515-53-55G9 Nitro 5 Laptop
Toji no Miko is an anime about girls wielding magical Katana against monsters that are created by making those Katana, dont question it. The story starts out with Kanami and her childhood friend Mai travelling to a tournament. Kanami is a duel freak and really good at fighting with a Katana, her friend, less dominantly placed on the key visual for this series is not as good. The series starts out with it's first episode feeling quite dumb and convenient. While the second episode does something to amend it a little it just feels like an oversight to let your series full dumb so soon. Eitherway, the series mostly focusses on Kanami and her not rival Hiyori who due to an incident at the tournament are forced to work together. Along the way they meet other girls and fight side by side. However regardless of this Kanami is the focus character for most of the series and other characters quickly feel pointless beside her. Despite it's presentation this show is not a show about katana maidens fighting side by side but more so about Kanami growing as the series goes on. Hiyori functions both as a plot device and as something else to this series. The series has 24 episodes of which one half feels like an entirely seperate season from the other. Of the main group of reoccuring characters the main character is an average looking boyish girl of average height, Mai is a more heavy chested feminine black haired girl of equal height, while Hiyori is a classic beauty of average height with no chest at all, Added to that are two token loli characters in the form of Sayaka and Koaru and finally but not last it's our token engrish speaking blonde heavy chested and tall Eren. The antagonist leader is another Japanese beauty top heavy type. We have a very boyish top heavy girl, a long haired ponytail busty girl, a snow-owl like emo-looking girl and a pink haired battle-crazy girl making up as the next most important characters. A large cast which surprisingly has at least some character establishment worth something and there are moments of character growth.The first ''season'' suffers under a poorly establised uninteresting villain. However this is patched with an emotional arc for antagonist Yume to some extent. Regardless the plot movies in a manner that doesn't feel very intellible for this first half but with only a sub-plot to increase your expectations it all comes together in a moderately satisfying albeit very shounen way. Kanami's progress through this arc leaves her a bit distant from the rest in multiple ways. The second season introduces a more interesting villain dynamic which ultimately betrays your expectations by just not going anywhere interesting at all and in the end the series somewhat suffers for it by feeling dumb once the grey morality is dealt with and it's seemingly black and white all over again. Yomi's arc tries to do what Yume's arc did for the first half of this anime but sadly the scenes have too much time tagged on them and scenes are lenghened to the point of killing them. This arc suffers mayor character decline however with a lot of characters starting to feel more pointless than in the first half. Combine with this the strangely inconsistent level of threat that the main villain poses and it just doesn't feel quite right on top of all the other detractors I mentioned before. The voice acting, Action and music all work together well enough even though their not notable and the action scenes are quite regularly short. While there's a large cast ultimately it feels kind of pointless as only the main character really feels important. The growth of characters in power and the balance between them feels lazy. The writing overall feels like it takes lazy directions and some scenes just feel poorly chosen or overextented. Together the second half panning shots and characters stating either the obvious or observations on screen isn't rare. The ending gives closure but again it feels overextended in quite a few places and it just doesn't seem to fully satisfy. Overall, it had a lot of interesting idea's and a lot of subplots that could have potentially been very interesting with a potentially very interesting development in the second half with grey morality and humanity questioning itself and the direction it should take but it all consolidates into a very simple black and white situation that doesn't feel like it's earned. This series biggest problem for me is that nothing feels earned. The power ups don't feel earned, the villains victories don't feel earned and the a lot of characters don't feel like they earned their right to stand beside the main character Kanami as equals. Add to that a plot that just dumbs itself down and we have a could have been. This anime could have been good but it settles for ''okay but quite dumb and flawed''.
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