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Hiiro no Kakera PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 08 August 2012 13:54
While visual novel conversions are as commmon in muck in anime, it's usually the bishoujo games that get the attention. Hiiro no Kakera, on the other hand, is based on an otome game - one for the girls, with a harem of dashing guys instead of a bevvy of beautiful girls. Shame that our lead girl Tamaki's harem is essentially useless, then...

Tamaki Kasuga has been summoned to the family's country home by her elderly grandmother - and the reason for that summons turns out to be a surprise for Tamaki. She's informed that she's the "Tamayori Princess", entrusted with mystical powers to protect a number of powerful artefacts - artefacts that are currently under seal, but that - if the seal is broken - could be used to bring about the end of the world itself. And there are no surprises for guessing that someone's trying to do just that - a group called Logos, under their diminutive leader Aria. Fortunately, Tamaki will have help in her task, in the form of her five Guardians, each possessed of abilities to help them in their fight. But between Tamaki having trouble learning how to call on the powers of the Tamayori Princess to start with, and her Guardians proving to be hopeless in a fight, Aria and her followers quickly gain the upper hand...

The threat that could destroy the world is the Onikirimaru, a mystical beast that the seal is containing. Steal the artefacts that the seal is formed from, and you can unleash the beast - and Aria and her minions are remarkably good at doing that. Every time Tamaki and her Guardians meet Aria and Logos, they end up retreating with their tails between their legs - and we get a good half-episode of teenage angst as follow-up. To some of the Guardians, they're losing at Tamaki is a useless Tamayori Princess. The Guardians are no great shakes themselves, with personal differences getting in the way of them ever being a team - and some of them seeming to know things that they should be sharing but aren't. And all the while, Tamaki's grandmother, who presumably knows exactly what's going on, sits back, watches sagely, and says nothing other than the occasional piece of veiled criticism.

It makes you want to root for the bad guys, to be honest. Aria is our token loli, but she's calm, confident, and knows what she's doing. Some of her followers may have difficulty following orders, but they have flair and personality - two things that are noticeably missing from Tamaki's entourage. And at least one of the Logos warriors has unexpectedly close ties to Tamaki that stir things up when they're revealed. Given that we're never really told anything about why Logos want the Onikirimaru released, and it's quite easy to slip into the "Logos GOOD, Guardians BAD" mindset - which it turn makes the show more enjoyable to watch.

This is just the first half of a split-season show - the second half will air in the autumn, and presumably will start explaining more about what Aria's up to. Perhaps then the good / bad dividing line will settle back to where the show clearly thinks it should be. After watching this season, though, I can't say I have any burning need to watch any more - there's just not enough here to hold the interest enough to make another 13 episodes seem like a worthwhile use of time. The idea here is nothing special - the sort of territory that anime's been over a hundred times or more - so to catch the attention, Hiiro no Kakera needed to do something special with its execution. It looks good (and the OP song is beautiful), but apart from that it's by-the-numbers and nothing remarkable. A shame, really.

Rating - **