“Tokyo Ravens” is an entertaining anime series that kicks off with a lot of fun and humor in the series’ first half, but becomes a bit more darker, magic heavy and action-driven by the second half. I found the series to be entertaining, a bit banal but it’s a series I enjoyed watching.
Image courtesy of © 2017 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Tokyo Ravens: The Complete Series
DURATION: Episodes 1-24 (600 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 4×3 Native Aspect Ratio for OVA’s and 16×9 for movies, English and Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Subtitles: English
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Originally Created by Sumihei
Director: Takaomi Kanasaki
Series Composition: Hideyuki Kurata
Music by Maiko luchi
Character Design: Atsuko Watanabe
Art Director: Takashi Ichikura
Art Design: Kazushi Fujii
Anime Production: 8 bit
Featuring the following voice talent:
Kaito Ishikawa/Clifford Chapin as Harutora Tsuchimikado
Kana Hanazawa/Caitlin Glass as Natsume Tsuchimikado
Aki Toyosaki/Monica Rial as Kon
Ayane Sakura/Jad Saxton as Suzuka Dairenji
Eri Kitamura/Leah Clark as Kyoko Kurahashi
Fumi Hirano/Wendy Powell as Miyo Kurahashi
Hiro Shimono/Josh Grelle as Tenma Momoe
Hiroyuki Yoshino/Jarrod Greene as Reiji Kagami
Hisako Kanemoto/Felecia Angelle as Hokuto/Takiko Sōma
Koji Yusa/J. Michael Tatum as Jin Ōtomo
Ryohei Kimura/Ian Sinclair as Tōji Ato
Shinya Takahashi as Senjirō Kogure
Harutora may seem like an ordinary guy, but he’s actually a descendant of an ancient and powerful clan of onmyouji. Born without the family talent for magic, he’d always believed he was destined for a normal, boring existence. All that changed the day Natsume, a beautiful face from Harutora’s past, barged back into his life and forever altered the course of his future.
Quite often, there are anime adaptations that are derived from Japanese light novels. And in 2010, Kohei Azano and illustrator Sumihei created the light novel series “Tokyo Ravens”.
An anime series was released in 2013 and ended in 2014 and in August 2017, “Tokyo Ravens” was released in North America on Blu-ray/DVD courtesy of Funimation.
The series sets up the storyline of how onmyodou magic was a powerful technique used by the Japanese during World War II. Unfortunately, when onmyoji Yakou Tsuchimikado performed a ritual to bring out Japan as a major force goes wrong and it led to the “Great Spiritual Disaster” which has affected Japan since then.
An Onmyo Agency was developed to monitor supernatural activity and take on spirits or demons that make their way into the world.
Fastforward to this present time in the story where many students learn onmydou magic to utilize their skills in medicine and technology. Unfortunately for Harutora, a member of the Tsuchimikado branch family, he was born with no spiritual power at all.
But despite coming from a well-known, powerful family, without no spiritual power, he sees his life as meaningless.
He remembers a childhood promise made and one day, he and his friend Touji Ato encounter Hokuto, a girl that Harutora likes and she encourages him to become an onmyo mage. Meanwhile, he meets his childhood friend Natsume but he accidentally offends her.
As Harutora goes to a festival, Hokuto promises him a kiss if he wins at the festival but out of nowhere, Suzuka Dairenji arrives at the festival and she learns of his true identity, she goes to kiss him and when Hokuto arrives, she is upset to see him receiving a kiss before she can give him one and leaves crying because of it.
One day, while walking home with Natsume, Harutora once again comes across Suzuka and while the Magical Investigation Bureau agents try to stop her and she unleashes her juggernaut. Harutora tries to save one of the agents but as the juggernaut is about to kill Harutora, Hokuto gets in the way and saves Harutora but is impaled by the mecha juggernaut.
Feeling upset and despondent, Harutora decides to follow the path of becoming an onmyo mage, going to school but also becoming a familiar for Natsume.
How will life go for Harutora now that he plans to focus on school (despite not being that smart) and working together with Natsume to take on various spirits?
“Tokyo Ravens: The Complete Series” is presented in 1080p High Definition. 8 bit has done a wonderful job with the animation and for the most part, the series looks very good on Blu-ray but like most anime television series, the series does exhibit some softness. But backgrounds are well-painted, characters are well-shaded and the animation is well done!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
The lossless soundtrack for “Tokyo Ravens: The Complete Series” is presented in lossless stereo and both soundtracks are well-done. Dialogue and music are crystal clear and voice acting is well-done for the most part. As for the English dub, for the most part, voice acting is well-done and I have to give major props to voice acting newcomer, Clifford Chapin on doing a magnificent job as the voice of main protagonist, Harutora.
“Tokyo Ravens: The Complete Series” comes with no special features.
- Audio Commentary for Episode 5 by Clifford Chapin, Monica Rial and Ian Sinclair.
- Video Commentary for Episode 7 by director Colleen Clinkenbeard, Monica Rial, Ian Sinclair and Clifford Chapin discussing the duties of a voice actor.
- Audio commentary for Episode 12 – Featuring audio commentary by Caitlin Glass, Leah Clark and Jad Saxton.
- Audio commentary for Episode 14 – Featuring audio commentary by Clifford Chapin, J. Michael Tatum and Michael Johnson.
- Video Commentary for Episode 18 by ADR director Zach Bolton, Jad Saxton, Caitlin Glass, Leah Clark.
- Audio commentary for Episode 23 – Featuring audio commentary by Austin Tindle, Josh Grelle and Jarrod Greene.
- Kon Explains it All #1-3 – Featuring five minute featurettes (in Japanese with English subtitles) with Kon discussing various characters in the series.
- Textless Opening and Ending Songs
- U.S. Trailer
“Tokyo Ravens” is an interesting anime that revolves around magic, friendships and love but as Japan has created a plethora of anime series that deal with magic, someone not good at it and eventually becoming stronger to defeat the main antagonist, was this going to be another case of anime banality?
Fortunately, “Tokyo Ravens” is a series that has more going for it thanks to its plot of magical hijinks, crazy characters but also young love which leads to many hilarious situations throughout the series.
The series follows Harutora Tsuchimikado, a son of a major branch family in Japan, the Tsuchimikado Clan but despite being born from a distinguished family known for their onmyouji skills, Harutora has no such skill or magical powers. He is not smart, many wonder why he’s attending an onmyouji school with no such skills. But he wants to go back to school to find out who was the master of his deceased familiar, Hokuto but also enjoying the friendships he makes along the way. He has a shikigami silver-fox spirit named Kon who helps him.
He becomes the familiar for Natsume Tsuchimikado, a childhood friend of Harutora and also from the main family of the Tsuchimikado Clan and is a prodigal onmyouji. She has come to Harutora’s town in order to make sure he holds up to his childhood promise of becoming her familiar. Interesting enough, Natsume is assumed to be a reincarnation of Yakou Tsuchimikado, the infamous onmyouji who performed a ritual known as “Taizan Fukun Ritual” which was to bring out Japan as a major force but instead, the ritual went wrong and brought the “Great Spiritual Disaster” which has affected Japan ever since.
Because of this, as a family tradition, she must present herself as a male in front of other onmyouji families and that includes attending school as a boy. And family tradition means everything to her, while not so much for Harutora.
Harutora’s best friend is a former delinquent named Touji Ato, who knows a lot about onmyodo and often helps Harutora at Onmyo Academy. He was a victim of the Spiritual Disaster and was possessed by an oni which caused the Spiritual Disaster and Harutora’s father helped treat him, despite Touji having the power to become half-Oni.
Meanwhile, causing problems for Harutora and Natsume throughout their time at the Academy is Suzuka Dairenji, the youngest of the 12 Divine Generals and wants to revive her brother with the Taizan Fukun Ritual. She and her brother were experimented on by her father before and after their birth in order to create an excellent onmyouji.
The first half of the series is humorous and lighthearted and the series does a wonderful job of focusing on character development but also featuring many character interactions and developing relationships. It’s what makes the series captivating and not being just a banal magical/action-driven anime series.
While the second half becomes more serious and darker, as it involves the Twin Horn Syndicate, A spirit disaster taking place at the Onmyo Agency branch office and a major death!
What will happen to Harutora and friends during the time of a new spirit disaster but also an ominous threat looming?
I have to say that the first half of the series kept me captivated but by the second half, the mood’s all changed (which is common in anime series) but I felt the second half became a bit more convoluted. I like the fact that the series focused so much on character development but by the time you start caring for these characters, you are thrust into a different type of storyline for the second half, especially towards the end of the series that grows darker, becomes a bit more complex and for the most part, it went from something that had great potential to an average anime series at the end.
But I did like numerous audio and video commentaries included on this Blu-ray/DVD set of “Tokyo Ravens” and while it is a bit banal, fortunately there is a lot of character development in this series that made watching the series worthwhile.
Overall, “Tokyo Ravens” is an entertaining anime series that kicks off with a lot of fun and humor in the series’ first half, but becomes a bit more darker, magic heavy and action-driven by the second half. I found the series to be entertaining, a bit banal but it’s a series I enjoyed watching.