OP: 「Stella-rium」 by 鹿乃 (Kano)
「流星予報:雨時々流れ星」 (Ryuusei Yohou: Ame Tokidoki Nagareboshi)
“Meteor Shower Forecast: Rain with Occasional Shooting Stars”
For those of you that have been following RC for a while now (or just long-time viewers of anime in general), you’ll remember an ONA that aired years ago by the same name. This remake of Houkago no Pleiades is exactly that, except extended and rather than being a short ONA, it’s a one-cour anime series. For those of you that haven’t seen the original or just want to understand the basic premise – it’s essentially a magical girl series. This seems to be my forte on RC – the magical girl genre. The story starts with Subaru (Takamori Natsumi), a student who unlocks the door to what she thinks will lead to the school’s roof, but instead leads her into a strange greenhouse room with a boy named Minato (Kuwashima Houko). They converse a bit before Subaru is sent back to her school and from there she encounters four other girls – whom all look surprised that she can see them. Amongst these girls is Aoi (Ohashi Ayuru), one of Subaru’s friends, and she explains that the four of them are out to collect pieces of their President’s engine fragments. Their President being the one that granted them powers and looks like an alien green blob; also known as a Pleiadian (Fujita Saki). Pleiadian grants Subaru powers to transform herself into a magical girl and a wand to fly on… and soon enough, they encounter their first fragment together in the form of a giant shining star above the clouds.
The story itself doesn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary within the first episode. I’ll admit that I was hoping for something more, but it probably performed better than the ONA just strictly by having more time to explain circumstances. Houkago no Pleiades seems to be a magical girl anime through and through and it doesn’t deviate from the norm of its genre. I’m not saying that’s bad because predictability and uniformity might be what people like. After all, we don’t always have to recreate the formula to success if someone has already paved the way – but personally, I’m always hoping to find that one gem that defies the typical norm. So far, Houkago no Pleiades has not wow-ed me, but it hasn’t been boring or a disappointment either. There’s definitely more here than what I anticipate the ONA had. Plus, all the seiyuus for original cast of girls are back to reprise their roles. I also found the ending a surprise since I wasn’t expecting romance to be a prominent genre? That would totally change my impression of the show if there was a hint of romance and potential shipping. Who doesn’t love a good ship right?
For a GAINAX x Subaru production, this pretty much looks like your standard magical girl anime. Other than the use of the name Subaru, there’s no correlation between the car manufacturer and the actual show. Like Divine and many others have pointed out already, I’m not sure what Subaru gets out of this collaboration since it’s not the most direct way of advertising or marketing. The show is filled with the typical colorful rainbows and sunshine and personally I am a fan of the pastel colors and palettes. It makes the atmosphere very lighthearted when there’s no immediate danger or real “enemy” ahead yet. I wouldn’t say that this is a must-watch on my list this season just because this spring seems to be filled with more comedy/light anime in general. However, if you liked the ONA and wanted to understand it a little bit more, this is definitely a good chance to do so. If you haven’t seen the ONA but are a fan of the genre, this one shows good potential. I’ll hang on to see if there’s something more to it other than cute girls chasing engine parts… but if there’s no other developments, I may just watch the ONA myself for a skinny version of the story.
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: Magical girl anime. That’s apparently my thing. But #HoukagonoPleiades was honestly not bad at all =) Sometimes you need a little more sparkle and sunshine in your life. #HoukagonoPleiades is perfect for that. And it’s cute! =3