A cat girl. Fanservice. Swords. What else needs to be said?
What They Say:
“Cat and Girl and Allergy”
Yuto Amakawa is a fairly ordinary young man. On the morning of his birthday seven years after his parents' death, a mysterious girl appears before the orphan, and demons begin attacking Yuto! Yuto is the descendant of the Amakawa family, one of twelve demon slayer clans, and Himari is an Ayakashi with a vow to protect him.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga by Matra Milan, which has been running in Monthly Dragon Age since February of 2007 and has had six volumes released in Japan, Omamori Himari is a planned twelve episode series that seeks to bring what appears to be a fairly pedestrian manga to life. The manga is being released in the US by publisher Yen Press and this series is being animated by the studio Zexcs, which has been involved in a variety of different styles of shows.
The premise of Omamori Himari is rather straightforward. We’re introduced to a modern day setting in which the central focus is on a young man named Yuto Amakawa. Yuto isn’t aware of it but he comes from a very long family line that’s of great importance as one of the name houses of the country that deals in controlling and eliminating the Ayakashi population, or the spirits that inhabit the world. His parents died earlier, on his birthday no less, so now that his birthday has come around again he’s a bit depressed. His best female friend in school and in life is a cute young woman named Rinko who obviously cherishes him a lot as she does all the things you’d expect for a young man living on his own after such tragic experiences.
So what can make this life more difficult? As it turns out, Yuto has been protected by a charm from his grandmother all this time that has kept the Ayakashi away. But that charm is wilting now and the Ayakashi are putting their plans into motion to eliminate him before the protector of the family line, the demon slayer, can arrive. That the demon slayer is actually a young woman named Himari who excels at the sword, looks beautiful and really is “all that” is just the icing on the cake. What can make it even more appealing to viewers? Himari’s a catgirl Ayakashi, though she can make those aspects of her form disappear. This is actually a good thing as it turns out that Yuto is allergic to cats. With Himari now on the scene, explaining things to Yuto and then serving him properly as a protector, the basics are all set up.
And that does include the obvious jealousy factor from Rinko as she sees Himari as a threat, and rightly so when she keeps walking in on Himari undressing him or sleeping half naked with him. There are some fun competition moments here – especially when Rinko challenges her in a kendo match which is really quite the bad idea considering Himari is a demon slayer specializing in swords – but it’s all got the kind of basic light fun attached to it. Omamori Himari plays well to the standards with nothing terribly surprising with the character designs, though again Himari is really nicely designed if somewhat of a basic template, and everyone else has a good look and feel while not standing out. They make a lot of use of panty shots throughout the show, but it’s sort of a trick as at first it was rather light and subtle before it became obvious and essentially in your face.
Omamori Himari manages to bring in just about every basic cliché into its first episode of the series, which is admittedly what you do see in the vast majority of shows and manga that come out. It’s what it does afterward that will really count, but right now we’re seeing everything that’s very familiar, especially to older fans. There’s a good level of execution here, there isn’t a high level of style but one that’s familiar and solid, and all the basics are in place for what would likely be a show that’ll easily get licensed at some point since it has all the hallmarks of what sells. At the same time, it is that kind of average mainstream show that almost feels like a placeholder, a manga series and an anime series that fits into an expected mold for a particular publication or a time slot where something is needed, something almost interchangeable. Hopefully as it gets moving there’ll be some hooks to make it more unique, but right now we’ve got what we’ve seen in dozens of other shows over the years and essentially of the same quality.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.