「刻、動き出す」 (Koku, Ugokidasu)
“Carving, Set in Motion”
When the number of lines in hair exceeds the twenty mark without any additional shading and the male characters have narrow faces with pointy chins like they do here, it’s clear indication to me that I’ve bordered into shoujo territory. If that wasn’t quite enough though, there are also the various hints at “boy love”, since main protagonist Sakurai Yuki (Hoshi Souichirou) seems to have had a past life of sorts where he was female (Yukana). Evidently, the girlish-looking, soft-spoken, yet surprisingly strong male lead is meant to appeal to the ladies, and also allow for some seemingly acceptable closeness he shares with the silver-eyed demonic Zess (Sakurai Takahiro). It’s nowhere near yaoi, but makes one think of BL. However, as I mentioned back in the Spring 2010 Preview, the impression that I got from the manga is that the BL idea is present, but is never really pursued, so it’s more or less just female fan-service for the most part. Judging from what I’ve seen here, it’s looking like things will remain that way, in which case I can see myself getting into this one without too much difficulty.
At its fundamental core, we’re still dealing with demons and a certain family lineage’s ongoing battle with them. To that end, the story centers around Yuki and begins with his ability to sense others’ emotions and memories when he comes into contact with them. He’s unaware of demon existences and the strife involving them though, as he was abandoned as a child and grew up in an orphanage. This simple fact makes him start to question why he was born and think that no one needs him, providing an inner angst to his character none too different than Souichirou’s portrayal of one Kira Yamato. While I’m sure some fan girls will just eat this kind of angst up with a silver spoon and ask for more, I actually found it somewhat befitting that Yuki confides in his sempai, Wakamiya Kanata, because he’s voiced by fellow Gundam SEED co-star Ishida Akira (Athrun Zala). That connection doesn’t seem too outlandish either, as there were hints that Kanata may be at odds with Yuki down the stretch. The fact that he possesses a book referred to as the Key of Raziel makes me suspect that as well, seeing as it’s probably a core part of the story.
So while this series shouldn’t be mistaken as BL, it still isn’t something I’d recommend unless you have an interest in shoujo-type stories and the character developments they entail. Personally, I don’t mind one bit as I’m prepared for a male lead who is very emotionally involved in the plot and will even cry on occasions; however, it’s hard to deny that this nuance is probably more for female viewers (its original target audience) and not so much for the “manly men” with insecurities over their masculinity. I should note that there is a good amount of female character in this series though, such as one voiced by Kuwashima Houko (yesss!) and Marasume Tooko (Inoue Marina) who was briefly introduced here alongside her brother Tsukumo (Fukuyama Jun). With names like those, at least it’s comforting to know that J.C. Staff got a good cast to go along with their production.
That said, there’s still no guarantee that this will turn out like Vampire Knight but better in a not-so-dry kind of way, which is what I was hoping to get out of this series. The fact that it features a male lead over a female one voiced by Horie Yui is already a bit of a handicap to begin with, but the addition of Yukana as the female Yuki shows some promise. It may only end up being promising from a BL perspective, but hey, I can still hope.
Note: This is the fourth and seemingly last new simulcast on Crunchyroll this season.