Zephyr’s Final Impressions:

In looking back to the beginning of last season, Tokyo Ravens was one of a multitude of shows I wanted to cover on a weekly basis. As it turns out, a variety of circumstances kept that from happening, but that didn’t keep me from continuing to follow the series in some shape and form. Two cours later, it’s suddenly the end of Ravens‘ run, and I must say I found this series quite enjoyable to watch.

That’s not to say it was a masterpiece in any sense of the word, but there was a lot here to say the least. Sadly, they seem to have omitted quite a bit from the source material, and the overall development of the story clearly suffered throughout some points as a result. I wouldn’t be surprised if a fair amount of people dropped the series sometime through the first cour because of this, but it’s here where I can gladly say: they sure missed out. Because gosh darn, the second the last half of the series started, it was nothing but spectacular. The action sequences ended up particularly well done (I repeated that Doman vs. Jin fight like thirty times), the “Harutora Trilogy” themes (all three of them) were served as a great support for the former, and the fact they actually killed off a key member of the cast in Natsume just added to the overall enjoyment.

Natsume’s actual dying was development I admittedly didn’t see coming, and despite all the shortcomings of the series’ first half, the whole story that came from this development was superbly executed (for the most part). Needless to say, it easily made up for the series’ roller coaster start—even if some plot lines were somewhat confusing—and there’s something to be said especially about the characters and how they ended up melding together into the factions that they did. When it was all said and done, each side to the conflict had a believable and solid reason for doing what they were doing, and it’s quite the tall task being able to develop this given the obvious constraints the series’ adaptation had to deal with. Ultimately, you could say each side was just doing what they had to do, and when a character’s desires are the same as what the character needs to do, there ain’t anything else better to see. I forgot which series ended up having a quote like this—

When what you want to do is also what you need to do…

—but it’s a quote that fits this series quite well, and it was just great to see things develop along this principle.

And ultimately, what else can I say? I wish they had more episodes to work with so they didn’t have to omit some of the things they did—I don’t know what specifically they did, but it’s obvious some things were omitted—but sometimes, you just can’t have your cake and eat it too. At least though, the flaws in Tokyo Ravens didn’t prevent it from being a good watch in my book, and I sure wish there’d be more of the series sometime down the line. If rumors are true however, the anime sadly hasn’t sold well at all, and this may be the last we see of this series. Of course, if the anime ends up boosting the light novel’s sales, we could see more of the anime regardless, but it seems like there isn’t much material left to adapt at the moment either way. Shucks. Just when we finally got to see the beautiful Hishamaru awaken to her full form too…

Stilts’ Final Impressions:

When I first read about Tokyo Ravens, I thought it might be good, but it wasn’t high on my watch list. I love fantasy, but I’m not particularly interested in Japanese-style magic. I wasn’t even planning to watch it at first! The first episode convinced me to give it a shot though, and I’m glad it did.

It was a slow build. For most of its run Tokyo Ravens was good, but not necessarily great. I was perplexed by some things – why the seemingly random crossdressing from Natsume? – but with likable characters and good action, I kept watching. Touji in particular is one of my favorites, a friend as good as any guy could hope for. Suzuka was also great when she started tormenting and blackmailing the main duo. Harutora and Natsume were no slackers either, nor was Natsume’s cute alter-ego, Hokuto. There was a lot here to enjoy.

And then it got awesome, starting with the battle between Ashiya Douman and Ootomo-sensei. I knew there was something special about Ootomo-sensei, but I never dreamed he would be that powerful. From there it just kept ramping up, the story building to an ever higher pitch until it reached a crescendo in the revelation of who was really the reincarnation of Tsuchimikado Yakou…and held. Even though I suspected this turn long ago – why else was Harutora the main protagonist? – Natsume’s crossdressing suddenly made sense, and the turn of events that led to Harutora’s awakening…wow. What a life Natsume led, and what a death.

Ootomo-sensei attacked the Onmyo Agency with Ashiya Douman’s help, and then he made him his familiar. Tenma turned from a nice guy with little effect on the plot to the linchpin that helped the good guys win, the tiny push at just the right moment that swung the pendulum in their direction. Touji and Suzuka fought throughout, Kyouko gave Harutora (and Ootomo-sensei) the push they needed, Kon kept Harutora from siding with the bad guys before turning back into Hishamaru just as Kakugyouki came back when everything was about to end.

Every single thing that the story did throughout its entire run came back all at once, and wove together into a masterful ending that was good as any I’ve seen. It’s rare to see a story so intricately crafted, and what’s more, one you wouldn’t have expected to be so well planned out – they really buried the lead on this one. Perhaps it made some people drop the show before it got so good. That’s a shame, because what started out as a show I didn’t even plan to watch became one of my favorites of the last half year.

And at the end of it all, a kiss…and a farewell. Sometimes happy endings are too clean, and it’s the bittersweet ones that you remember. Tragedy laced with happiness. Harutora and Natsume will be together, I think, but not yet. Not quite yet.

I wish them luck. As for the rest of us, I wish us more anime like Tokyo Ravens. It was a great story. To a work of fiction, there’s no higher praise than that.


    1. If there is a case for the abolishment of downvotes, this is it.

      To the downvoters downvoting simply because SorteddeVaras and Ginobi47 didn’t mention shows that you liked, you are being totally unfair. It’s not like they’ve disparaged your shows at all, so I don’t see why you guys have to be so upset as to downvote them.

      SorteddeVaras and Ginobi47, I’ve upvoted you to counter their absolutely frivolous and nonsensical behaviour.

      (If you guys downvote me, then it’s simply because I’m telling the truth and you’re retaliating out of butthurt. )

      1. i hit down vote not because i cared, i enjoy this show an other shows very much but don’t like people trying win a argument with

        “(If you guys downvote me, then it’s simply because I’m telling the truth and you’re retaliating out of butthurt. )”

        guess any down vote i get are same thing…..

        freedom of speech, does not mean freedom too insult indiscriminately. let be adults or young adults an focus on what we love which is anime.

  1. Happy to see a Final Review.

    TR was a great ride of Fun and Sorrow. The LN is getting very intense with Yakoutora.

    The ending was nicely animated, and Bittersweet is definitely the word for it.

  2. LN readers say 10 volumes of Tokyo Ravens currently exist, with the 11th releasing this April.
    The first 9 volumes, which the anime covered, constitute Act I of the Ravens saga.
    Act II begins in vol 10, and Natsume will now be the MC.

    A lack of enough source material and somewhat poor BD sales could hamper chances for a Season 2, though.

    1. Kon’s 3rd form look boring though, heck why even change her traditional look to something modern it just doesn’t click. i prefer her first form or her second form which look prettier IMO

  3. I loved watching Tokyo Ravens ever since Kon showed up with her tail. That kiss just gives so much closure to the series, although its sorta disappointing that we won’t get to see more Natsume action in the form of the second season.

  4. Really glad that i didn’t drop this show at around eps 7-8 when the excess of infodump had reached the unbearable point, and somehow i could make it to the latest eps thanks to some peeps on my country who kept telling me that it’d get much better on second half. And it turned out they were correct! Sure, it’s no masterpiece by any means, but it managed to be a fun and interesting ride that i consider it one of better shows from last fall season. Has very diverse, equally developed characters, grand plot, and imaginative fantasy aspects, and at the end of the series, i pretty much care for each characters, understand the world they live in, and, while kinda failed to deliver grand/satisfying ending, at least it managed to get the two central characters, Harutora and Natsume, to reconcile their feelings towards each other (lol, kiss), instead of dragging it to oblivion like countless other LN adaptations out there. The CG looked really terrible at first (especially Kyoko’s armored shikigamis) and it took me more than 7 episodes to get accustomed to it, but thankfully it didn’t hinder my enjoyment too much. The other downside i’ve noticed is the lack of explanations behind several antagonies’ motives for bringing shit to our heroes. We often got an entire episode of side characters basically randomly pop out, blow the shit out of everything, then lecturing the other side with all sorts of confusing stuff (which i ignored most of the time) that always reminds me of how Urobuchi’s script at its worst would look like. And it happened for several eps straight, behind the scene, while our heroes were peacefully eating lunch at canteen. Which, at least for me, cheapen the conflicts and make them look more like random mess than actual plotline. Thankfully enough, when all such random mess finally reached utter insanity, eps 21 rolled in, killed Natsume and forcing Harutora to take several steps ahead, no longer being a bland lead as he’s been like up until now. It’s also the eps that spectacularly turn the entire series upside down by revealing the other side of Tsuchimikado family, their estranged relationship with other Onmyo clans, and finally, the real identity of Yakou’s reincarnation. In short, fantastic episode. It’s at this very point that got me appreciate the series for the first time, to the point that i proceeded to re-watch the series from the start again, looking for every hints and foreshadowing that will eventually build up into eps 21. I rarely rewatch a series in the middle of its airing, and when i do, it’s usually for a very good and exceptional series with complex plot, in which Tokyo Ravens was all about.

    Really hoping for second season.

  5. What a surprise to see a final review for this anime. Tokyo Ravens sure deserves every bit of praise here (and elsewhere). I sure didn’t miss out on this cake of goodness. The battle sequences really got me at the edge of my seat every time there was a rally of spells coming from each sides. The drama was there for you to feel something for each character and each of them are likable. I didn’t have an attachment for one character as they stand stronger for me when they are doing something for each other. Ootomo-sensei was a great teacher to look after his students even as he turned everyone else against him. Nothing brings greater joy for me to see the OTP get the happy ending they had coming after they’ve been through so much to get to a kiss scene. And Natsume was so happy to get her answer from Harutora; it just makes you feel happy for them. Plus, I believe the friends are fated for a reunion with the protagonists so it’s promising for more good times. I like the animation quality and music too. What more to say than it was another compilation of art to enjoy depending on preferences. It moved me at some points, so I like it… thumbs up.

    random viewer
  6. You can’t just give me 1 episode with full grown Hishamaru! Doman becoming Ohtomo’s familiar only to not be used, no Onimusha Touji, Kagami running like a bitch and not properly getting his ass handed to him (why you deny me of this?! I hate that guy), Tenma only being useful towards the end, etc.

    You can’t just leave me Tokyo Ravens without a promise for a second season!

    1. Kagami running like a bitch and not properly getting his ass handed to him (why you deny me of this?! I hate that guy)

      I actually liked that part! Tokyo Ravens didn’t choose to do the usual cliche shounen event of the protag getting a sudden power-up at the right time to defeat a much stronger foe. I expected to see that once I saw Hishamaru but I was happy to see that it still wasn’t enough.

      I also think Kagami really did what his character intended to which is to be that asshole character that we all hate 😀

  7. Tokyo Ravens went from being exceptionally mediocre in its first half to being one of the most thrilling in its second. Once things switched into high gear it just never came back down, it just took quite some time to get there.

    Overall I’m glad I kept with it, though I understand there will now have to be quite some wait before a sequel adaptation for the LN to fatten out a bit. It’s a shame that it ended seemingly just as things were truly beginning, and the lack of proper closure does hurt it a bit, but when the day comes that a sequel is released I will be watching it.

    1. A sequel anime is probably pretty unlikely, but I actually think this was a good stopping point. Sure, the story doesn’t feel over, but it never is in life either. It had a bittersweet TTGL flavor to it that will keep me thinking about this show more often than I probably ought to.

      Oh, and at least it wasn’t an anime original ending. That coulda sucked.

      1. Hmmm,dunno…I liked this ending a lot and considered a great stopping point but I think it simply demand’s a sequel,even if it’s a long shot that it’ll get one. Still,if it doesn’t up getting one I’m probably gonna reduce my overall score for it a bit since I think an anime should be able to stand on it’s own.

        GAH! S2,S2,S2,S2,S2…*not gonna happen is it?* The world is such a cruel place…

  8. Some interesting themes/ideas.
    Tempered by average to mediocre execution.
    But still some pretty epic moments (Doman vs. Jin being the most epic).
    Overall, it was worth watching, and I’d watch an S2 if it comes out.

  9. There comes a time when an anime leaves you with a lasting impression, that makes you remember the good times, the bad times, the funny jokes, and suspenseful action. Ever since I found out about Tokyo Ravens, I was excited to see what it was about, and I am still glad in the decision. I know some people saw the show as generic during the first half of the show, which was understandable since we did not fully know what to expect from Harutora and the gang training in the onmyo arts. But when Doman and the Onmyo Agency started moving, the show took off in exciting proportions and never did I enjoy an anime such as Tokyo Ravens; I’ll truly miss this show and hope to see more in the future.

  10. Tokyo Ravens was hands down the most underrated show of Fall 2013. I’m definitely happy I stuck with it till the end. And holy shit! A character who is both a childhood friend AND voiced by Kana Hanazawa ACTUALLY ended up with her love interest!
    Tokyo Ravens just made history, and we may see it happen yet again with the upcoming ending of Nagi no Asukara, lol. Not the best series out there, but pretty damn good. It’s a shame that it had to end so soon just as the plot was really starting to pick up. At least we have the lite novels to look forward to.

    1. I’m fairly sure the Western licensing situation has little to nothing (note: it’s nothing) to do with whether a series gets a 2nd season. Aside from Space Dandy, it’s all about any pump the publisher sees in the source material and BD/DVD sales. Zephy mentioned that BD/DVD sales weren’t great, so unless there was one hell of a bump in the light novels…

      We’ll see, though. It’ll be a few years before there will even be enough material for more anyway.

  11. I loved Tokyo Ravens. It was a series that I reviewed on my youtube channel. Im so sad to see it go, because it was one of my favorite animes of last year and of course this year. Im glad I picked it up but to me I never wanted to drop it, I always loved it. Touji was definitely my favorite character. I never expected Kon to become so badass at the end and Natsume death, I never saw coming, not once did I ever think she would die but I’m so glad she came back.

    1. I am terrible at typing during a uni lecture. I was hoping this or STB would be covered as they were similar and one did. Either way, great story and characters, that was very engaging, especially in second half.

    2. I hope there’ll be one on Witchcraft Works, too. That show also share the same situation being “not much leftover source to make another cour”. As in really, really little material – not enough for even one episode (figuratively. they can make 1-2 ova eps). ^^

      Now I miss Haganai.

      1. Sorry, that time’s pretty much passed now. I wanted to do it, but I was out of town last week, so that + catching up on my posts + the preview + all the other finales starting today pretty much killed the WCW post from happening. I just hope I can actually watch the last two episodes sometime soon :X

  12. does anybody know where can i read the translation of tokyo ravens LN volume 10? unfortunately baka tsuki haven’t got there yet even though volume 11 set to be released soon

  13. This was a damned great series, vastly underrated by most. I am a bit sad to see it end on such a typical japanese bittersweet note, but then again that was just the break between the first great story-arc and the second one in the LN. Well, while a second season will either not happen or be off a few years, I hope the guys at Baka-Tsuki will get to the new story-arc somewhen soon, so that I’ll know how it continues.

    The shows first OP was, IMO, one of the best OP’s of the last years, btw.

  14. After a couple of episodes I stopped keeping up to date with the show due to several reasons. It wasn’t bad, but it felt interchangeable with say Strike the blood at the time.

    I’m glad Stilts and Zephyr made this post about it, because I was wondering if I missed out. And then BAM! I got spoiled. I should have known I suppose. Perhaps I’ll pick this up in the future when I’ve forgotten the spoiler.

    1. Erh, sorry about that :X I personally went for a “celebration of a good story” vibe rather than a “this is why you should watch it” one. It’s still good even with the spoilers, provided you can evolve to the third level and enjoy it as a cerebral experience. Plus yeah, you’ll forget some of them if you don’t think about them too much.

  15. Really. I totally enjoyed this show. Right from the start, i really hoped RandomC had blogged Ravens but sad to say they didnt. Which i really think is kind of a waste. Been a very good ride. Epic and high-budget animations. Sense not wavering. Very good plots and essential twists. Lovable characters. You name it. I totally love this show ^_^

    Red HeartGold ZX
  16. Grown-up Kon – HAWT. But maybe too “ripe”
    Teenage Kon – Just right. <3
    Loli Kon (no pun intended) – Drool~~~ (Gets arrested by Moral Police)

    Ohtomo is the BADASS, and coupled with Master Douman, they're virtually unstoppable. It's no wonder Kagami constantly picks on Ohtomo's students, as he couldn't stand being pwned comprehensively by Ohtomo all the time.

    Couldn't have asked for a better ending to wrap the current arc up. Though the source material has more or less been caught up, so it's gonna be a very long wait for season 2.

    Finally, Tokyo Ravens's first OP is probably one of the best choreographed OP this year. I hope it gets nominated as such in RC's 2014 Best of Nominations by the end of this year since it didn't get nominated for 2013 due to it spanning two seasons.

  17. Thanks for the finale impressiones.
    I think it was a pitty dat no one in RC were blogging this anime, but you guys are busy i understand it XD .
    I will be following your next blogs Zephyr and Stills, ty for your hard work 😀

  18. If we’re talking about memorable and charismatic villains here, Ashiya Doman was definitely one…I say (was) since he actually seems like a neutral person.

    I do find Dairenji Shido to be more interesting than Kurahashi Genji himself though..

  19. I had a blast with this show, one of the rare series that I’ve watched that could’ve been well-served by having more than a two-cour run. I’m with Zephyr–I’m not sure what they omitted, but it felt like a lot of world-building took a big hit to me. That’s my only real complaint, though–first ending in a while that leaves me actively wanting to see more.

  20. While Strike the Blood is enjoyable for what it is and has been consistent throughout it’s run,I believe Tokyo Ravens tried to do more and succeeded,albeit with a few slip-ups here & there. An interesting story consisting of several twists & turns with a very good cast – if it had more time & polishing it would’ve turned out to be an excellent anime. Regardless,it was one of the better shows of winter.

    Specials mentions to Harutora’s friends(especially Touji). They were the type of friends that didn’t just lecture him on what they thought was right or wrong and just supported him all the way. Whoever has friends like that should consider themselves very lucky because it’s damn hard to find them,even in anime! -you usually see the ones who start preaching.

    1. It’s easy to say that in retrospect. At the time Zephy picked Strike the Blood up instead of this, it was the right choice…and honestly, I’m behind on Strike the Blood, so I can only take you at your word that it was the better.

    2. Honestly I wanted to blog both TR and STB, but as it turned out TR was on Tuesday and STB was on Friday. Time wise it just ended up with STB being much more convenient to blog. Alas. The timing just wasn’t good.

  21. I’m kind of upset at how bad this anime is selling. Selling less than 1,000 copies for a volume is pretty much a complete failure. I really don’t know how this flew under the radar in japan. I personally enjoyed it much more than STB which i feel overall has been extremely forgettable. Maybe if it had more fanservice? But that’s what i liked about Tokyo Ravens. It didn’t have to rely on any of that stuff to hold my attention. I found the characters to be very well developed and the story although confusing at times was always interesting leaving me to wonder what would happen next. I think the ending gave the show a good amount of closure even if it doesn’t continue which it most likely won’t. I can’t wait for funimation to release this one state side so i can get my hands on it.

  22. I’m waiting for any announcement of Season Two for this. between StB and this I choose this because Onmyōdō is something I don’t usually see in anime, ruled by Sci-fi or High Fantasy. That, coupled with a more modern setting and look, gives the show a refreshing feel.

    Too bad, though, that the show isn’t selling well because it’s also generic shounen that has less fanservice than other generic shounen shows and most anime fans right now feed on fanservice rather than good stories.

    And that’s it.

    P.S. Takiko a shit. A murderous shit. I hope Yakotora wrecks her shit and the Omnyou Agency in future volumes.

  23. One thing bothered me during the last episode, what was with the One-Armed Ogre? I get that he was one of Yakou’s followers, but why did he just randomly show up when they were in trouble when before he barely had any role during the story itself? :/ Heck even the loli lolicon Suzu had a bigger role.

  24. Now I am convinced to watch this series. What’s weird is that I haven’t heard anything about it until now. And on a different note, does anyone know how many chapters in a light novel and in a manga get adapted into 1-cour of an anime?

    1. It depends, but the rule of thumb I’ve heard is ~40 pages of light novel (or one ~20 page chapter of manga) per episode. ~4 episodes per light novel is a nice pace, though some shows adapt at a quicker rate than that.


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