OP: 「太陽のかけら」 (Taiyou no Kakera) by 白石涼子 (Shiraishi Ryouko)
There was no OP sequence this episode since they started with the ninja saving Himawari. The ED was a montage of scenes from this first episode with the opening song playing in the background. Not worth uploading, I’ll wait till next week for the real OP and ED. I really wanted to hear eufonius too, but oh well.
When a cargo plane carrying a girl starts going down, a nearby ninja leaps in and saves her. The girl briefly wakes up and sees a marking on the man’s neck before she closes her eyes again. Fast forward several years – a man named Marikouji Hayato gets dumped by his taxi and then spots a girl desperately hanging onto the kite that she’s attempting to fly on. He grabs a nearby bike and follows her all the way to the torii (vermillion gate) that she gets stranded on. While everyone else stares, Hayato climbs up and saves her. She notices that he’s got the same marking on his neck that the man who saved her all those years ago. Hayato learns the next day that he’s been hired at this modern day shinobi school to teach the girls how to lead normal lives. However, he decides that he doesn’t want to do this and starts packing back up. In doing so, he comes across a debt slip, which reminds him of his two million yen debt. That doesn’t deter him from taking his stuff and leaving, but a tranquilizer dart to the neck does.
Two of his would-be students then take his body and tie him up on some train tracks. Himawari, who’s now carrying his luggage that she found in the forest, hears his cries for help. She unties him just as the train comes into view, but while carrying him to safety, she trips on the tracks and falls down. Fortunately, the train makes a turn at a junction right before where she fell. She still feels indebted to him for saving her, but he could care less and just wants to leave. It’s only after he calls her annoying that she stops following him. As he’s walking to town, Hayato is stopped by a woman and shown a vision of Himawari being attacked by Himeji, one of her classmates. He doesn’t care and moves on, but in town, he can’t find a way to leave by train or taxi. After hearing Himawari’s screams, he finally decides to turn around. He bikes back into the forest and stops Himeji with a throwing knife. She blocks it, but his level of accuracy surprises everyone.
Himawari’s other classmates appear; they seem to know about Hayato’s debt. They reveal that they want Himawari to leave since they look down upon her and consider her to be an eyesore. Himawari refuses to leave because she wants to become a ninja. The smallest of her classmates, a girl named Yusura, suggests that they play a shuriken game with Himawari as the target that they have to avoid. Himawari asks Hayato to do it for her sake. She explains that she was saved by a ninja when she was young and that’s why she wants to become one, so that she can protect people. Hayato takes another throwing knife and aims it at the apple above Himawari’s head, but just as he’s about to throw it, Yusura’s pet Momota jumps out at him. The knife goes straight for Himawari’s face, however at the very last moment she disappears and a gets replaced by a tree trunk – the same technique that was on the video she had been watching earlier. In the end, Hayato decides to stay after all, mainly because of the debt. As he and Himawari walk towards the school, he tells her that he doesn’t want to be called master, and she tries to figure out what she should use instead.
Aside from the ninja theme, this show really isn’t anything like Kage Kara Mamoru, so the comparison I made way-back-when wasn’t really valid. This is a lot more serious, and good in its own way. The animation quality is pretty high, but I had some issues with the voice acting. Specifically Himawari’s seiyuu (Matsumoto Kana) was very raw, and reminded me a bit of how Shihono Ryou sounded in Lemon Angel Project. The rest of the cast does a good job though.
From the description I had read before, this series sounded like another romance comedy involving ninjas. The unexpected additional angle of the ninja who saved Himawari and how he relates to Hayato makes it all that much more interesting. Himawari is another show that I think has potential, but I’ll need to see a few more episodes before I decide to keep with it or not.