When Tokidoki Rikugou fails his high school history class, he has to make up for it by attending a virtual reality tour of Edo- the last resort for drumming information into young minds. Unfortunately, what started off as a simple make-up class turns into something more sinister when Tokidoki is pulled into what appears to be the real Edo- albeit one where magic and the supernatural are a way of life. Can Tokidoki adjust to this new life- and will he ever find a way home?
You’d think that after Shounen Onmyouji I’d have learned my lesson about the potential mediocrity of feudal era supernatural series, but no sooner had I cleared that hurdle than I was ready to throw myself into the fray once again- this time courtesy of Amatsuki. Drawn purely by the need for a good historical series, I asked myself “how bad could it be”, and sadly the series seemed determined to test just that.
Rather than going the route of having no plot whatsoever, Amatsuki’s problem was that it kept trying to have a plot and then completely forgetting about it in favour of another storyline- perhaps a consequence of trying to make a short series from an ongoing manga. At first, one could be forgiven for thinking that the series would be about Tokidoki’s destined powers and his attempt to go home, but in short order this was put to one side in favour of alternating between a quest to break a curse on another character and another character who had the misfortune to be possessed by a dog demon.
Uninspiring as they are, one might feel inclined to at least give these storylines a chance, but even if you did, you would only be disappointed once again as the series veers off into new territory. Instead of focusing on any of the previously introduced characters, Amatsuki decides to bring us the tale of a vengeful fox demon driven mad when the sacred tree she loved so much is cut down. Not only does this have nothing to do with what has come before, but it is by this point that the series becomes impossible to concentrate on- you know that events are happening onscreen, but the brain refuses to absorb any of it. To be honest, however, this may be for the best as it at least aids with forgetting the series once watched.
As lacklustre as the plot is, it can only be matched by the blandness of the characters in the world of Amatsuki. Apart from the slightly likable dog-demon possessed Kuchiha, everyone from Tokidoki on down is as flat and forgettable as they come. It’s an impressive feat to be able to remember more than two or three character names, and the fact that minor personalities of generic design keep showing up hardly helps matters.
Visually, Amatsuki has a handful of reasonably attractive character designs spread amongst a largely unimpressive selection, with the overall quality of animation being rather poor and low budget. The opening theme is rather pleasant, but other than that, the music is as forgettable as every other aspect of the series.
Even when a series isn’t a masterpiece, it is often possible to recommend it for the purposes of light entertainment, but sadly, Amatsuki doesn’t even reach that modest level. A series so mediocre and lacking in direction that watching it is barely more stimulating than looking at a grey screen, this is one anime that no one should bother wasting their time on.