Tadahiro ‘Hiro’ Amatsu may look like an average teenager, but there’s one thing about him that’s definitely not normal- his left eye can see into the spirit world! His unique ability is highly coveted by monsters and demons, and without some kind of protection, Hiro is bound to fall prey to them sooner or later.
Enter Yuzu Hieda, Hiro’s cousin and childhood sweetheart, not to mention a priestess in training under her older sister Kurako. From now on, Yuzu and Hiro will be attending school together, and that means that it’s up to her to protect him. With demons popping up around every corner, however, Kurako decides that Yuzu could use some help, and tasks her with recruiting friends and schoolmates into the newly-formed Priestess Club. Can these rookie priestesses provide an adequate defence against a group of demons bent on remaking the world to their own design?
My search for the next Tactics has in general been a fruitless one, but every now and then it does turn up a worthy title. One such case was Shrine of the Morning Mist, a series which takes the standard ‘magical girls’ versus ‘monster-of-the-week’ formula and turns into something far more entertaining than you might expect.
The secret of Shrine of the Morning Mist’s success lies in two factors. Not only is each episode an easily digestible 12-13 minutes in length, but more importantly, the series never takes itself too seriously. Although there are some more serious, character-driven moments, the more clichéd elements are approached with a gentle irony that makes them amusingly entertaining rather than repetitively tiresome.
Similarly, the characters all fall into standard types- there’s the cheerful lead, strong-willed best friend, know-it-all loli, UFO-obsessed meganekko and quietly good-natured rich girl, to name a few- but whilst they could have used a bit more development, none are dislikable. Instead, they simply fit in well with the tone of the show.
Visually, Shrine of the Morning Mist has a simple and clean look; the special attack animations are reused often and the budget clearly isn’t too large, but whilst it is never outstanding, the animation usually maintains a decent standard. Background music is basic but oddly catchy, although the oddly addictive OP is let down by a poor ED.
Shrine of the Morning Mist cannot lay claim to being particularly innovative or original, but when it comes to light entertainment, it is certainly top of the class. If you’re in the mood for a mix of priestesses, demons and regular high school life, there’s nothing to lose by giving this series a go.