There’s a reason why fairy tales take place in places far, far away and a long, long time ago. It puts them in a space-time that isn’t real. In this not-real space, we can be free to enjoy not-real happenings without having to justify anything.
In a place called “Magic Place”, a beautiful place, with a little bit of everything – sea, mountains, plains, this fairy tale about two girls and their involvement with the gods takes place over and over, repated through time – a destiny that can’t be avoided – takes place.
In this particular version of the story, the protagonists are blonde Himeko and the black-haired star of their exclusive school, Chikane. (A pair-type that is quite common in Yuri, as many people have pointed out.)
Chikane is hyper-competent, of course, because she is a brunette. Himeko is sweet and naive and slightly doofus-y, as befits a stereotypical blonde. ^_^
As one expects with a destiny-laden anime tale, the story starts on the day of Himeko’s and Chikane’s shared 16th birthday. The sky is dark, the mountains move, and from out of nowhere, the “Orochi” speaks. Orochi, by the way, is the Japanese version of the Hydra – an eight-headed serpent. In this case, the heads or, necks (kubi) are represented by eight people with darkness in their hearts. Whether they are also dealing with a destiny, or they have chosen their roles, is never made clear.
One of the Orochi’s kubi is the other star of the school – Oogami Souma – whose name speaks of a huge, horrible destiny. So, we’ll call it destiny, then,nature, not nurture makes a kubi. :-) Souma, despite his fate to be one of the bad guys, manages to overwrite his programming and when Himeko is threatened by the Orochi, fights to protect her.
Chikane, who clearly has a thing for Himeko, tries to protect her, but pretty much doesn’t have the stuff. Souma does the fighting, while Chikane is busy getting the girl. She starts right in with kisses and a few well-placed gropes.
Chikane and Himeko learn that they share a fate to be the priestesses of Ame-no-Murakumo, a god of swordsman. (Incidentally, and not at all related to anime, Ame no Murakumo was one of the personal deities of the founder of Aikido.) Together they are supposed to re-seal the Orochi in the prison that t/he/y have escaped.
In the first attack, Himeko’s dorm is trashed, so Chikane takes her home to live with her – something that makes Chikane obviously very, very happy. But not the other kids in the school. Which brings me to a question I keep asking as I watch this volume: the two absolute massive, super-popular stars of the school constantly obsess over Himeko, and are there constantly to protect her. So…how is that no one in the entire school other than her ex-roommate has a clue who Himeko is? Okay, forget it. Fairy tale, right.
Himeko is worried that she is a burden and a trouble to Chikane and Souma – which she is, but you can’t fight fate like this, can you? Souma and Chikane both vow to protect her and at least one of them is successful in this. One at a time, the Orochi’s kubi attack and are defeated by Souma in his spiffy new giant mecha. This causes Chikane to desire more power, because she can’t actually protect Himeko as a miko. (Remember this, because it’s one of the things that sets her off on the wrong thinking path.)
The volume ends on a darkish note: Himeko is troubled that her abilities as a miko are falling short of the mark, she isn’t sure of her feelings for either Souma or Chikane and she has some nasty bad memories to work past. Chikane is fighting off serious jealousy of Himeko’s feelings for Souma, and Souma is torn between his desire to protect Himeko and his destiny as an Orochi. It’s a typical love triangle and, despite Chikane having gotten the kisses, at this point in the anime Souma takes the lead, slightly because of Himeko’s persistent blondeness.
In terms of packaging the DVD offers 4 epsiodes (assumably with three on the following three DVDs); a coupon for $3 off Volume 2 or 3, a mini-poster of art by the manga artist, Kaishaku, and a double sided mini-pencil board. So it’s pretty fair value for the money. No extras to speak of, just the usual clean opening/ending and Geneon credits.
One last thing – lots o’fanservice. I’d forgotten how much. It really makes the Strawberry Panic anime seem very staid in comparison.
Art – 7
Characters – 6
Story – 6
Yuri – 9
Service – 7
Overall – 7
It’s a fairy tale with a *lot* of fanservice, giant robots and a dark undertow. I do wish we’d get to know anything about the kubi – who they are, why they are kubi, etc. It’s a big hand-wave to just accept a little girl who dresses like a nurse and carries a giant hypodermic having enough evil in her to qualify for a god of evil’s hench-neck. ^_^ Or the driven mangaka. The rest of them, I could make up decent enough backstories for. lol But I quite like Miyako, the evil nun. Just because.
I also wish Himeko was less of a non-entity. It would so be like being in love with a person that had had a frontal lobotomy…oh well, not everyone finds intelligence and competence attractive. Obviously, not Souma or Chikane, anyway. ;-)