08 May 2007
Otogi Zoshi has now revealed it’s gimmick - initially set in Heian Era Japan, we now find ourselves in modern day Tokyo, with the reincarnated souls of our main characters living together with former-imperial princess Hikaru Minamoto now a landlady for former samurai Tsuna, and her former companions Sadamitsu and Kintaro.
The new setup has Tsuna working as an investigative reporter on cases with a supernatural bent, whilst Hikaru is now in high school. Playing landlady and part-time assistant, she's searching for her brother who went missing a year ago.
Despite the big build up and change of scenery, the series still fails to impress. Short of a few mysterious run-ins with the reincarnated Abe-no-Seimei, there's very little to link the new setting to the old story aside from the characters involved. Now, this would be fine if the characters had ingratiated themselves to the viewer, but Otogi Zoshi's po-faced first arc gave us little to like about our protagonists, and they aren't much more lovable here - Tsuna is a little less dour, Hikaru is still less than engaging, and the supporting (and more interesting) cast haven't been given much screen time yet, so in terms of plot, pacing and story telling, it's an underwhelming achievement so far.
Where it remains strong is with the animation and character/costume design, which is as elegant and diverse as its historical counterpart. I do retain some interest in finding out where the story is going, but it's not engaging enough to be worth more than a rental at this stage, and as we've broken through the halfway barrier here, I wouldn't recommend buying it unless you're a history buff who loves a bit of intrigue.
Includes a group discussion with Mr. Nishikubo, Mr. Kise, Mr. Tajima and Mr. Sakurai, Tokyo University Heian Lecture.