OP: 「Antithese Escape」 (アンチテーゼ・エスケイプ) by Uesaka Sumire
Not to be confused with my favourite Bleach character, URAHARA is an anime original production, produced through a partnership between Crunchyroll and Bilibili.
Relatively new to the world of directing, Amika Kubo leads a bizarre lineup of voice actresses: a singer (Luna Haruna), a veteran (Uesaka Sumire), and a newbie (Iwami Manaka). Satoshi Motoyama takes charge of sound direction, the man behind legendary music compositions in Shin Sekai Yori, Haibane Renmei. As well as Symphogear. With the inclusion of Haruna Luna, who has chosen to make a rather bizarre foray into voice acting, two dots can be connected. Why else would she suddenly choose to make her sudden debut as a voice actress? I was pretty convinced we were going to receive a surprise musical, full of fun and singing.
Though the whole premise screams of Trigger on a budget, URAHARA possesses its own eccentric charm. Park Harajuku is a real life store, brought to life through the power of animation. As far as I can tell, the series seeks to celebrate the strange and quirky culture specific to Harajuku. Having visited during summer, I can confirm that everything over there is pretty damn crazy!
Anyhow, onto the story. There are aliens who lack any semblance of imagination or creativity, but still appreciate what they deem to be cultured. As a result, they go around to different planets, trying to steal culture wherever they please. Earth becomes a target for their misdemeanours, as the aliens spirit away famous landmarks like Arc de Triomphe, etc. And then, they set their sights on Japan. Only our girls Rito Sudou, Mari Shirako and Kotoko Watatsumugi won’t go down without a fight, and stand to protect their precious place in Harajuku. Armed to the teeth with Amatsumara, enabling them to offensively manifest their powerful imagination, a battle ensues to defend Planet Earth from the invading aliens!
If not for the musical prospect, why would Haruna Luna be roped into joining this project? The only answer I could think of is that she’s deeply invested with regards to Harajuku fashion, and felt that URAHARA was worth her time as an ode to Harajuku’s culture. However, that alone won’t keep me sticking around, despite some fantastic artwork. To be quite frank, although there was some interesting stuff going on, I found it hard to engage with the content. Unless the second episode really steps up in terms of substance, I’ll have a difficult time justifying why I should personally be keeping up. Perhaps it caters towards a demographic of fashionistas. Unfortunately, I do not fall within that category, though I’ll stay for a bit. It would be a deep shame to see such a unique and refreshing style come to nothing, in an industry where generic norms are only continuing to grow stale.
ED: 「KIRAMEKI☆ Life Line」 (KIRAMEKI☆ライフライン) by Luna Haruna