Somewhat Derivative Anime

I really quite liked Urusei Yatsura, which is fortunate because anime studios seem to keep remaking it in one form or another.  Tenchi Muyo was probably the best remake, swapping out the generally unlikable Ataru for a main character who was an all-around nice guy but keeping the space aliens.

Yesterday and today, though, I watched Omamori Himari, a twelve episode series that plays on the basic idea of “another hapless guy winds up surrounded by cute girls who are either trying to kill him or seduce him, probably both”, which keeps the nice guy main character angle and swaps the space aliens out for anthropomorphized creatures from Japanese mythology.

OK, so you say, it’s another harem anime, but what’s it about?

OK, that was a cheap shot.

It’s not, and I want to make this perfectly clear, entirely about improbably-busted girls, who in this case just happen to be demons.  It’s a touching story about a young lad who – since his entire family is dead – grew up completely unaware that he was the last heir of one of the twelve ancient families in Japan that are destined, or cursed depending on your viewpoint, to fight demons and he has to embrace his destiny but he’s kind of reluctant to and uh and uh…

Did I mention that he has amnesia? And a plucky but perhaps just a little tomboyish childhood friend?

Really, it’s the “let’s toss some plot elements into a blender” approach to anime storytelling at its most exploitative.  That’s not saying I didn’t enjoy it once I got done rolling my eyes at the never-ending stream of fan service; it was funny with a sprinkling of drama, but never enough angst to distract you from the flounce & giggle.  The last quarter of the show, where they finally get around to the Big Bad, is particularly entertaining.

It also had a demonically possessed teacup named Lizlet.

Liz is mostly the comic-relief character, but she’s been presenting me with a problem writing this post; I keep wanting to make a joke based on “tempest in a teapot” and the closest I’ve come is “temptress in a teacup” and that really doesn’t work with the character.  I was also convinced that “tempest in a teapot” was a line cribbed from Shakespeare, which would have made me feel all literary and stuff, but it turns out that it’s actually of much more recent vintage and I’ve had it wrong all these years; it has nothing whatsoever to do with “The Tempest” other than that a surprising number of critics over the years have used the phrase for the title of their reviews of productions of “The Tempest”.

Google teaches us so much.

This IS language practice, darn it, and I’m sticking with that excuse.  It’s an excuse that’s served me well for some years, and it’s getting closer to being the truth the more I actually learn in school.

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