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