「切っ先の向く先」 (Kissaki no Muku Saki)
“The Point of a Sword”

Toji no Miko is the story of young girls who use special swords to slay aradama, big CGI creatures that have always terrorized the country. Or that’s the world, because after the opening bit—which was actually quite effective as a way to show us how a few things work and introduce both the aradama and the toji—we go off into an episode consisting of stilted sword fights, unexplained character motivations, and the most casual assassination attempt I’ve ever seen.

Yes, really. One of the I-assume-main characters tries to assassinate an important person, and there’s seemingly no uproar from the onlookers. It wasn’t a good moment.

The first half or so of the episode is fine, up until the nationals bouts start. Before that we get the aradama intro, which as I already said was fine; the bout at their school, which was kinda boring but we didn’t need to waste time there; some character building moments and exposition; and a bath scene because why not. The pacing was sluggish in the way that screams “conserving our budget for later” to me—and the animation itself was fine, nothing special, serviceable but certainly in the bottom 50% of anime—but overall it was fine.

Then we got to the nationals matches, and damn those were over with quick, weren’t they? I thought we’d spend some amount of time on these hypothetically cool sword fights, but we both spent zero time and they weren’t cool. A few moves and they were over. Which, let’s face it, is more realistic! But I don’t come to anime for realism. I come for great storytelling, imaginative visuals, and sure, realistic characters, yes. But that means in their motivations, their reactions, their wants/desires, that sort of thing. You can make the characters trisexual alien plasma mecha for all I care, I’m on board, fukkit let’s do it. …what was I talking about?

Right. The boring sword fights. So those happened, they technically introduced characters but not enough to make me give a flip yet, and then we had this very blasé assassination attempt, which main character Etou Kanami (Hondo Kaede) helps save would-be assassin Juujou Hiyori (Oonishi Saori) from a summary execution because . . . reasons. I don’t know why. Kanami is the only character who got any development—she’s a swordfighting otaku—but other than wanting to finish their fight, or maybe a basic desire not to see someone cut down in front of her, she saves a friggin’ assassin and runs off with her for no good reason. I pointed out the main character of Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho as a good kind of idiot character, because she’s thoughtless and easygoing as opposed to unobservant and stupid, and that keeps her from being aggravating. Well, Kanami is trending more the latter at this moment. Her head is filled with nothing but sword fighting, and that’s one dimensional as far as main character motivations go.

I’m ragging on this episode a good bit, but honestly I don’t feel much for it. I went into this with no real expectations, figuring it would be somewhere in the Average excitement level we gave it in the season preview, and it was around there. It’s probably on the south end of average at the moment, but it could recover. I simply wasn’t excited enough about it to get disappointed, so a mediocre first episode is more of a shrugging matter. I’ll probably give it another episode or two though, storytelling is hard y’all, so I want to give it its due. I wouldn’t expect any more blog posts on this unless episode two is much better, though.

Random thoughts:

  • The soundtrack was so sparse at times that even I noticed it. Not a great sign.
  • One thing they did well: they didn’t overdo the eposition. Jin’i is a flashstep. Utsushi makes it so you can take a hit and not die. Cool, got it, well done there.

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OP Sequence

OP: 「Save you Save me」 by Hondo Kaede, Oonishi Saori, Waki Azumi, Kino Hina, Matsuda Risae, Suzuki Eri



  1. I love how the OP basically gives the girls free reign to live their wonderful school girl lives, even though one of them attempted the assassination.

    It’s… almost as if assassination is one way of showing you’ve got guts, and guts is required to be a Toji.

    1. I think that deserves the stock answer, “Yes, but not as we know it.” Which I think sums up the first episode quite well – this is girls with swords, but not as we know it. So I guess this is a 3 episode job.

    2. director: we need more thigh gap in this scene!
      animator: no problem, i’ll just redraw that character.
      director: did you not get the memo about how there is zero budget for this show? just scoot her left leg way the hell over. nobody will notice.

      aie aie aie
  2. As far as magical schoolgirls fighting monsters with swords its… not the worst?

    The “genre” has had some stinkers so maybe that isn’t saying much, but unlike some previous shows they managed to get through the first episode and introduced the basic mechanics of fighting without exposition dumps and introduced a large cast of characters without just tossing two dimensional tropes at us so… maybe they’ll pull this off?

  3. I actually like the fighting choreography.

    This anime did some good research on sword’s style and technique. All of those strange names said in anime actually the real thing. Except the special power of course.

  4. You shouldn’t harp on the short battles. They were very well done and actually respected whatever style they said they used. It’s cool to see realistic swordplay in an anime, for once.

      1. I actually watched this episode because I read this comment.

        My conclusion is that the combat is actually way to fast to be realistic. Too much teleporting. There is also a lack of tension. With no apparent chance of injury, it’s more like seeing kids play video games than watching a kendo match. Bamboo Blade managed to increase the tension in some way or another during the matches. Sometimes even slowing things down.

        The difference is like watching a kendo match compared to passing by a kendo match. With the former, we’d think: “Damn (s)he’s good/bad”, with the latter it’s more like: “Oh, it’s over”.

  5. I also liked the short battles. I was already tired by the prospect of a dragged out tournament but was glad to see it got all resolved within the episode. Not too impressed by the artstyle or animation or depth of the main characters but will keep watching for now. (Also the stoic loli with a genki busty friend is just the cutest couple).

  6. I thought the fighting was good. It was flashy enough to show off the skill of the fighters while taking the rare stance of leaning much closer to how most swordfights actually work: rarely lasting beyond the first couple of strikes. If you have the eye to see it you can note that the girls actually do use a number of distinct fighting styles and techniques: they aren’t just swinging their swords wildly at each other. The choreography there was good.

    As for saving the assassin… Kanami had been extremely curious about and interested in Hiyori ever since their swords resonated with each other when they passed each other the previous day. The fact that Hiyori was clearly the best fighter there only made Kanami all the more excited. She needed to fight her, and then talk to her, to try to get to know her, to understand. When she saw the honor guard about to summarily execute Hiyori, Kanami acted on impulse and saved her. Kanami is an impulsive girl: I doubt there was any thought involved in that action. No analysis, or considering of the consequences. She just saw Hiyori about to be killed and needed to save her, so she did. Things spiraled out from there.

    I’m not trying to say this is a top show of the season or anything, but it feels like you’re being pretty harsh on it, maybe without fully considering some of the things it’s trying to do.

    1. As I said above, I can fully accept that realistic swordfighting (in this situation, Bamboo Blade etc etc) isn’t for me. It’s like me watching futball—I don’t know the strategy or tactics, so it all looks like a bunch of ceaseless motion with a few bursts of contextless energy. But that’s on me not having the context to understand it beyond a basic level (and being the type of person who needs that richer experience to give a shit at all).

      As for the assassination, you’re making the leaps the show wants you to make, and I see them as well. I just think they’re leaps. I was on board with her saving Hiyori from what’s-her-name’s killing slash, that makes sense, but once she was running away with her, she was no longer just saving someone. She’s an accomplice in the attempted assassination of a public figure. She’s an accessory to attempted murder. Which, obviously not the kind of show who’s going to lean into that! That’d be like Nanatsu no Taizai getting overly worried about property damage. Ain’t their jam. But it does put Kanami as the bad kind of baka (as of this episode! This can change), when she could have been asking the guards to stop, or trying to get everyone to calm down, or asking Hiyori to surrender if the guards agree not to execute her. Instead she opted for “accessory to attempted murder”. So I called it out as such.

      Also, protip: “maybe without fully considering some of the things it’s trying to do” smacks of “you’d like it if you just understood!”, which is a bad look for anyone. That’s the reasoning rabid fanboys use to hurl all kinds of invective at “casuals”. Not that you’re doing that, but end yer last sentence at “…but it feels like you’re being pretty harsh on it.”, and you get yer point across. It’s generally rude to opine about someone’s intentions or mental state to their face, though I take no umbrage, ’cause I know you meant no harm. Just a tip so you don’t accidentally insult someone more important than an internet anime nerd, haha

  7. As others have said, the sword battles were actually pretty cool to watch (though it was implied the kuudere girl with the huge sword wasn’t really trying), and Kanami’s actions are more understandable when considering her character type.

    Sadly, based on the OP sequence, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting much, if anymore fighting involving the Aradama (probably at least until halfway through given the pattern of such anime) and will instead focus on the conflict between the main girls and the guards. It’s like if Muvluv Alternative: Total Eclipse started with showing us the BETA and their brutality and such, then showing us Yui and her friends just going through a relatively normal school life and military training, as if the BETA didn’t even exist yet. The switch is just so jarring.

  8. Definitely something off in that challenge or assassination. The let them go mentality indicates an exception to a modern law enforcement system. If the leaders were strictly governmental then they would be obliged to capture.
    I loved the detailed backgrounds and I guess not into the animation enough to notice flaws.

    I am tired of girls who can be killed but cannot have sex but that is an insane taboo standard that is going around the world that has to be lived with. Noticing the lack of violence in primitive tribes that are into lots of sex I am even more of the make love not war idea. But that is not going to change for a few more decades or a cure for AIDS comes along. Although the Japanese going extinct might at some point make them wake up on sexual conservatism is not increasing the birth rate.

  9. There was some sloppy and not very-well-buit-up pacing this episode, which might be most evident in the way they do a bunch of scene cuts between ostensibly main characters, which kind of left us unable to focus on any of them to a useful degree to make some exchanges latter feel like they were significant. Between that and the disconnect of the premise the show opened with in relation to the suggestion that the plot is just going to be humans fighting humans for human reasons, I’m finding myself questioning things a bit.

    There were details I appreciated, like the simple fights that seemed to have strong thoughts of technique and coreography informing them, and the actually rather smooth exposition of stuff the characters do (Jin’i and Utsushi). But overall it was a pretty weak and not very memorable start, if I’m honest.

    The final thing is that the assassination felt a bit too sudden to have the desired gravitas as a consequence of the uncertain focus and pacing, and Kanami’s interjection seemed a bit… I think we haven’t seen enough of the character to be able to engage well with it or get on board with her recklessness.

  10. Have just watched this out of curiosity. The combat with the so-called aradama is supposed to be serious, but what we get is … Symphogear?

    Compared with the first episode Ga-Rei Zero (where a combat with monster also took place on a flyover) and the latest issue of One Punch Man (in which Saitama also fights a mega-sized centipede), the opening scene here feels a bit lacking.

    I do like those sword fights in the tournament scene. They feel realistic. The way a human body was cut into two is also cool (World Trigger did this first, but the animation here is better). However, I wonder if the opening scene is indicative of the overall quality of the series.

    The suffocated
  11. The initial 5 minutes almost made me drop it, but due to a tip from a friend I decided to watch on, and I think it was a good decision. It was telegraphed that Hiyori was focused on the final battle for some reason, but who expected an assassination attempt? I sure didn’t, and when a show manages to surprise me without a complete asspull, I usually reward it with at least the 3-eps rule.

    I also found myself winding back and going nearly frame-by-frame through the various fights, and even though the execution is too fast for the untrained eye (like mine), at the very least the movements make sense. I suspect that this aspect will be handled seriously.

    You know who Kanami and Hiyori strongly reminded me of? Arika and Nina from Mai Otome. A show with great entertainment value – so I’ll be around.

  12. Ep 02:

    The CGI Department need more improvement.. I am not talking about the cars and other “tools”. No i am talking about when they want to animate an human.. When she stand still it looks okay, but it all breaks down when they “try” to animate them with CGI

    Also.. Some borderlines need an reworking.. some are thin, some are fatter.. They really should improve the “checks” for this

    As always. i say my mind, without ill will and no need to hide it behind “roses with thrones”

  13. Yeesh. Pretty harsh there, Stilts. I can understand indifference, but your tone comes off as kinda derisive and condescending.

    Anyways- dead horse- but I actually found the fights pretty interesting. I do hope your theory of saving the budget for later is correct, though. While quick exchanges are indeed realistic, it’ll hurt the entertainment value if they emphasize on that too much; we’ve got cyber gear and a giant lava snake thing in the first scene, after all.

    Anyways, this garnered my interest for the time being. It contains two of my favourite character archtypes anyways: the fun-loving foreign blonde and an Elite Four.

    Off to check episode two. I hope it’s good enough to warrant some coverage on here; RC is my favourite blog site- but very often doesn’t follow any of the shows that I do, like Houseki no Kuni last season.

  14. Ep 03

    The Story got interesting. But in the end of this episode i get an hint, that the Swords are the Key to their mind…

    Aehm, also this time the use of CGI was for the Speed Fights. and that okay. But for normal movements they timing was to far off.. But it can works for this “speed of light” battles

    Lets see, i continue to watch it from the sidelines.. Please go on. But avoid to use normal CGI Humans model like Cars or on Speed. Timing!! timing is the base of all

  15. Ep 04:

    Looks like this Anime made it into an save Harbor. Story are set and background, now we can enjoy the Steps they are taken now.

    Even if the Story destination is simple, i would stay to watch how they walk the way

    Bonding got level up, and that made the “save into the Harbor” moment. The Sword is important, but also the one that guide it and for what reason

  16. ep 05:

    Now i like to watch this Anime.. the surroundings changed a bit or it evolved. there are still some mysteries but it do not hurt me.. some secrets are not bad.. or other way around. what good is that if they tell all secrets right from the start?

    Well, i want to watch more episodes now. More then as from the start

  17. ep 06:

    Seems like the “Design” so far for the Arradama (Monster) are heavy influenced from the Cloths Will of “Kill la Kill”.. We do see some eye. That easy could be from Kill la Kill (the evil one)

    The anime also depend heavy on Woman in “lust for Power” under all means necessary. Oh well, lets see

  18. ep 07:

    I dont know the others, but i like the progress. The CGI is now good at battles sequences with this “speed of light” movements. It’s okay now.

    i like the way it is going and the pacing is keeping up

    Please go on

  19. Ep 08:

    I say it straight forward. This Episode is more “Talk no Jutsu!”. it’s many many lines of talking, explaining the past of this Anime. The Story of their Mothers and so on. In normal terms it is an “calm before the storm” Episode. But lets see. As i said, this is Episode with lots of talking

  20. Ep 10:

    – This Episode is the “calm before the finale” Storm. With Episode 11 the finale starts
    – All was build up for this moment (Story wise) and “gear”. Let’s see how they make it


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