Meiji Tokyo Renka, A Reverse Harem With A Little More To It
Hello everyone and welcome to our shelter!
Meiji Tokyo Renka first impressions is part of my Ultimate Guide for the 2019 Anime Winter Season. A guide with more than 100 pages with a first impressions to every Anime coming out in the Winter Season. You can get your own here (it’s free!).
Title: Meiji Tokyo Renka (MAL Page)
MAL Score: 6.47
Genres: Reverse Harem, Historical, Fantasy
Number of Episodes: 12
Broadcast: Wednesdays (JST)
Studios: TMS Entertainment
Source: Visual Novel
Duration: 23 min. per ep.
Meiji Tokyo Renka features Mei Ayazuki, a high school girl who is able to see spirits since a young age. As a naive child, she decides to comment with her friends the ghosts she can see. However, her friends just find it odd and end up walking away. Because of this, she grows up to a teenager who does not really mingle with others being afraid that she will be hurt again and the story will repeat itself.
One night, she ends up passing by a magician performer. This magician forces her to be part of his stunt which is basically having her to enter inside a closet and make her disappear. However, she does not only disappear, but she is also transported to the past, to the Meiji Era to be exact.
During this era, seeing ghosts is still a thing and it’s somewhat not that huge of a big deal. In fact, people who are able to see ghosts end up being asked to do all certain of ghost hunting jobs. Mei is now in a world where she can be herself, with a lot of handsome guys in the mix.
Now, if you are following Anime Shelter for a time, you know that Karandi and I have a collab which started last season where we basically have a chat and comment what we think about the development of a certain Anime throughout the season. Well, during this season, we are doing Meiji Tokyo Renka on Karandi’s side, so if you want a more in-depth look of the first 4 episodes (and of course the great input from Karandi, you can read it here).
Now that it was said, let’s go look into the story. As you may, or may not, know I’m not a huge fan of harems. Of course, I always try to be logical and unbiased when writing reviews, but even the harems that I think they are somewhat good end up falling apart by the middle of the season. But, not in Meiji Tokyo Renka case.
Meiji Tokyo Renka is a little more than a reverse harem. It’s not only about guys falling for a girl and trying to make a move on her. In fact, besides what seems to be the main guy, Ougai Mori, other guys don’t seem to be THAT interested in Mei. I mean, she is a character who ends up standing out, and there is no doubt that the guys notice her, but I just haven’t seen anyone just right fall for her from nothing… Besides Ougai that means.
Another thing I want to say is that I like how Mei ends up also not being interested in the handsome guys around her. She prefers to eat some nice meat than getting blown away by how cute a guy looks.
But, what I like the most about the story is how it ends up becoming an accepting yourself kind of story.
Although the story is interesting, I just can’t use the same argument when it comes to characters. There was not much to be seen from all the characters, so I’m just going to focus on Mei.
Let me just put this first, I do love Mei. However, I feel her character construction just has some incongruences. Let’s see, Mei is a girl who has put herself out of the world and always stays with herself due to what she has passed when she was a child. Basically, she was betrayed and she doesn’t trust so much in people anymore. Until here, it makes complete sense… Until we actually get to the Meiji Era.
I believe it’s kind of normal that she accepts Ougai help when she sees herself in a completely strange place. I mean, although Ougai can be kind of creepy when he starts saying she is going to be his bride, the truth is, on that moment, he is her best way to go. However, when they arrive at the ball, she just seems way too free-spirited. Sure, it’s all because of the fresh and succulent meat the waiters are giving to guests. Nevertheless, she just seems completely ok to be around people and does not seem shy at all.
My problem with this is, due to what we are made believe at the beginning of the episode, we would think that Mei would need more time until she broke from her shell… Again, this can be explained by how she is just concentrated on eating the most meat she cans…
The animation is pretty good. The character design is well done. If you like Anime guys design from the Meiji Era you are for a treat. As most of the reverse harems, you will have a guy for each taste, long hair, short hair, tall, short, manly, cute… I believe that everything is there. For me, my favourite is Charlie, the magician… Who basically is the strangest of them all when it comes to clothing lolol
But, contrary to many reverse harems, the thing that Meiji Tokyo Renka caught my eye the most is how it’s not only the character design which is well done but the surroundings as well. Here’s an example, when our characters get to the ball, a small scene shows the ballroom from the top with many couples dancing. While most Animes would just go for a static frame here, Meiji Tokyo Renka actually gives them some kind of animation of them dancing.
It may seem not really that deep, but clearly shows they are trying their best to have good animation.
I love the intro music… Although it really doesn’t have anything to do with the show itself lol It has a jazzy vibe that I adore, but, let’s face it, if the Anime happens in Japanese Meiji Era, then it doesn’t really make sense to have jazz playing. Nevertheless, even so, it’s just a good song overall.
The overall audio is ok. The voice acting also feels nice and the voice actors seem to be relaxed while talking, making everything to flow well. But, there is a small problem with the audio mix. When there is no background music, the voices are a little bit too loud when compared to the rest of the audio. When the soundtrack kicks in, then the voice ends up to be a little bit low compared to the music. It doesn’t happen ALL the time, but it’s there.
You can also hear the studio effect on the voices. It’s not that unusual in less “popular” Anime shows, but it seems a little off because it doesn’t feel 100% that who is speaking are the characters inside that world… If that makes any sense.
Taking everything into account Meiji Tokyo Renka is actually a nice Reverse Harem to watch!
If you like reverse harems, then you should definitely check this one out.
If you are not into reverse harems, but you are into Anime shows happening in the past, this is also one for you to check that out. It’s true that it’s not that deep, but it actually represents well the era and tries to somewhat teach how things were done during that time. Last, but not the least, if you are into people seeing ghosts, you can also try this one. It’s not as deep as Natsume or Mushishi, but it does have that factor.
Final Score: Above Average!