OP: 「METAMORISER」by Band Ja Naimon!
「桜の香り」 (Sakura no Kaori)
“The Scent of Cherry Blossoms”
To give you an idea of what to expect from the show, I will give a brief but comprehensive breakdown of my experiences thus far with the manga. Tsugumomo is certainly an entertaining read – packed with comedy, action, borderline hentai, and exquisite art.
Having said that, does it translate well into an animated format?
Seems like someone was having an extremely bad hair day – that amasogi is one of the most evil looking wigs I’ve ever seen. When the amasogi tried to show our protagonist Kazuya a Hairway to Heaven, the obi he always carried transforms into a beautiful young girl named Kiriha, who wields magical powers in order to protect him. The action was decent but nothing particularly special, as it should definitely be remembered that this episode’s amasogi was the equivalent of a startup slime that you get in an RPG. Powers won’t be exhibited to a greater extent until more challenging enemies appear, so this isn’t exactly all to expect for action.
In the latter parts of the first episode, seeing Kasumi rush up the staircase with a frying pan in hand after she heard suspicious shuffling was both hilarious and frightening. Other highlights included the comedy of the master/servant dynamic between Kazuya and Kiriha, which mostly involved poor Kazuya getting beaten up by Kiriha for displeasing her.
My relief must have been audible, when Zero-G increased Kiriha’s physical attributes without going too heavy on the censorship. She looked a lot more like an underage girl in the manga which could have led to problematic questions as far as legality is concerned. As for the censorship of nudity, it’s the usual hidden nipples but I’m not complaining considering the hilarious jokes at Kazuya’s expense were left intact, even if his dignity was not.
Unfortunately, a scene did get removed from this episode that originally featured in the manga. The scene where Kiriha got wounded protecting Kazuya from the amasogi’s needle like projectiles is removed. Zero-G altered this sequence of events, into her stomping the amasogi in a one-sided fight. Though I’m all for progressing towards the later parts of Tsugumomo faster, seeing Kiriha get badly hurt was actually supposed to serve as a catalyst for inspiring Kazuya to become stronger later on in the series.
Censorship asides, it is entirely possible that Zero-G were having some difficulties fitting the entirety of two chapters into the first episode and therefore made the logistical decision of cutting out content. Rushing the series could do even more damage than delaying the penny drop, and it is important that Zero-G find an adequate replacement Kazuya’s motivation, as it was essential to his development as a character from my perspective.
Kiriha – Goddess, Object, or both?
Conditioning my brain to unhear Satania in Kiriha is proving quite the task, and it looks like she finally got the servant she wanted after all this time. There is no denying that Kiriha carries the show from the outset and not just because of her amazing snaggletooth. Only she stands between Tsugumomo’s first episode being utterly generic and the series having an inkling differentiating it from the norm that makes it a worthwhile endeavour. So I thought it would be interesting to examine her character a bit.
Is Kiriha’s behaviour a result of her quasi-divine nature, or as a refined piece of clothing? Even if it’s both, one characteristic would invariably be more influential than the other in the creation of this outcome:
Goddess – Conversely, it can be interpreted as divine rage to ill treatment, and divine sexual apathy to a mere human being.
Object – Kiriha was angry at getting tossed around in an uncouth manner unbefitting of a refined obi such as herself, but extremely composed when Kazuya saw her naked figure in its entirety.
Without giving too much away, maybe I’m overanalysing it. It’s entirely possible that the original creator just wanted an excuse to exercise creative freedom in his ecchi ways. However, there is merit in the school of thought that a reader’s unique interpretation is valid, provided it forms a part of their personal experience in engaging with the medium.
Does the anime live up to my anticipation from reading the series? In my opinion, though the art gives flashes of potential from time to time, the anime falls short of the original manga. It could be that the budget is being saved up for improving later content, which I would not complain about. So I’m not too worried or pessimistic that the first episode has yet to attain my expectations as one familiar with the source material.
Unfortunately for some, Tsugumomo will mainly be a generic action harem, in the sense that a boy trains to become stronger in order to match up against the latest and greatest adversary for the sake of the people that he cares for. Not to mention the ensuing of misunderstandings and shenanigans with the ladies. Who could forget that.
If these are flaws that would be difficult for you to overlook, I would suggest turning away right now. However, if you’re willing to give Tsugumomo a chance, you may very well find that the series has very many pleasant surprises that will allow it to ultimately exceed your expectations.
ED: 「I4U」by MICHI