So Tokyo Ravens turns into a generic high school romcom in every sense of the genre. But you know what? I’m perfectly fine with that.
Move over, class A bitch coming through.
Objectively speaking, this episode of Tokyo Ravens used some very standard tropes and developments. Bakatora plays the dumb lead role to a tee, but I can’t really fault him for that. He’s not had training for 16 years and only recently gained the ability to see spiritual energy. So of course the guy is going to fail at onmyoji studies initially. I will admit it’s impressive to get a 0 on what must be a qualitative test. You’d think that since he actually bothered to answer the questions, surely he might get at least some points. But it just goes to show that Bakatora literally knows not one single technical detail on the onmyoji arts. Anyway, what our hero lacks in the knowledge department, he makes up for with heart. And we’re going to find out next episode if he also makes up for it with skill.
What lies behind his smile?
Next we have the homeroom teacher, Jin. This guy is all about contradictions. In spite of his seemingly lazy and uncaring attitude, he is anything but. Jin has some ideologies that clearly go against the school’s philosophy of survival of the fittest. And he doesn’t hesitate to state his mind. He’s also surprisingly quick to take action when he needs to make a point, in contrast with the slow drawl of his speech. So basically he takes the role of that watchful teacher who keeps an eye on and subtly encourages the main character’s growth from a casual distance. Nothing new, but again, I like the way these things are being presented here. We get the feeling that Jin is just a standard good guy, but the mystery surrounding his circumstances (like his leg) keep us on edge.
Got enough Aki Toyosaki to go with your fox girl?
Finally, we get the moeblob character of the show. I don’t know if I should call this generic, as we should pretty much take moeblobs for granted nowadays. But that’s a discussion I don’t intend to delve into at the moment. Yes, said moeblob is indeed that fox spirit we’ve been seeing in the previews all the time. She finally makes her long-anticipated appearance. And I have to say while I was initially skeptical of how big a deal it would be, her introduction was every bit as entertaining as the previews promised. Kon is a furry little ball of fiesty energy. And a fitting familiar for our idiotic protagonist, as she’s a bit scatterbrained herself. I’m sure this won’t be the last time she gets into a compromising position with Bakatora, to the chagrin of Natsume. So here’s to more good ‘ol “it’s not what it looks like” moments in episodes to come.
Forced to take on an identity.
Rumor has it Natsume is Yakou reborn; we’ve already heard this. But while we would have expected everyone to be savvy about it (Yakou is pretty damn famous), we didn’t get a feel for the impact of the speculation until now. Apparently it’s so bad that cults built around a falsely elevated image of the guy are harrassing Natsume. That sort of thing fortunately hasn’t made its way into the classroom, but clearly just bearing the Tsuchimikado name is enough for some students to make a big deal about it. Well, technically it was only one student. And it could be that Kyouko just has an inferiority complex and wants to prove the superiority of her clan over that of the Tsuchimikados. But seeing as her father and grandmother are two very prominent members of the onmyoji association, I would say her displeasure at the Tsuchimikados is misplaced.
I dunno about you, but this guy looks shady as heck.
And speaking of rumors, it seems the other students are under the impression that Natsume is male. Not too surprising, considering she makes a point to conduct herself as such in public. But one has to wonder why that false image hasn’t been exposed already. From what I can tell, students live in the typical dorm setup. Which usually means males and females are separated by floor, if not by building. So shouldn’t it be pretty obvious when Natsume is going in and out of a room on the girls’ side? Also, I doubt the instructors at the school are as ignorant as the students (like Natsume’s supervisor). Maybe it’s only Tenma who remains in the dark then?
At first glance, Tokyo Ravens is devolving into something quite generic. But I think the world building it’s continually doing in the background more than makes up for it. We’ve only experienced “onmyoji” sort of from afar until now. Even during the little altercation with Suzuka, we’ve not gotten a good glimpse of the inner workings and finer details of the onmyoji society. So I’m glad that we do get to dive into Raven School and experience onmyoji training and politics on a personal level. From petty student conflicts to brewing conspiracies, I’m liking the direction the show is taking.