Meiji Tokyo Renka Episode 1 [First Impression]

Meiji Tokyo Renka is an adaption of an otome game I have read reviews about so LONGGGGGGGGGGGGG ago, I pretty much forgotten all the details. There was a time when I had desperately tried to find the movie, but unfortunately it has not been translated and only the RAW version is available. For some whatever reason, I made the decision at the time not to watch it, and now I don’t even remember where I found it, whelp. (That’s what happens when you forget to bookmark pages.) So while I am excited to finally get a taste of this series, I know better to keep my expectations in check, and go into this with an open mind.

And with the way the premiere played out, it doesn’t surprise me how it turned out to be a mixed bag. It was quite chaotic, and then spent the entire episode introducing the majority of the castIn a way, one could say they did a good job of delivering the ‘whirlwind’ Mei is experiencing after having been transported by a mysterious magician back into the past of the Meiji Era. We can see how she is still struggling to grasp with her reality, how everything is so surreal that she doesn’t really know how to react unless her favourite food (roast beef) or the sight of the Magician responsible for this incident catches her attention. But that isn’t to say I’m fine with how she’s just letting the others pull her around. I do hope she does develop a bit of backbone to put her foot down on things she doesn’t want to do, or something she is uncertain about. But passive heroines are nothing new in these games, and I would certainly like to be proven wrong about Mei. I guess we’ll see how she is next week once her new reality finally sinks in. There is certainly hope for her as we have seen glimpses of her speaking freely, such as confronting the magician, or comfortably bringing up the bunny perched on Kyouka’s shoulder, not realizing nobody else can see it.

As for the plot, well we really didn’t get much details about that this week, and I wished we had. The only clue we have at the moment is Mei’s role as a Tamayori, and how her ability to see spirits will be used. At the moment, it seems besides Mei, only Kyouka and Gorou are able to see the spirits, and probably the magician considering he had the power to send her back into time in the first place. There is also the mysterious voice who calls her name. She heard it in the present day, and she heard it again when she traveled to the past. In fact, it was thanks to that very voice she even remember her name, due to her memories being all messed up as a side effect of the time travel.

Oh look I found a new bias

As for the guys, it is a shame they weren’t really able to show off their charms today.  All what really happened was Mei being mesmerized by how handsome they all were, and much of the focus was simply identifying which historical figures they were representing, and so on and so forth. Among them, the most memorable ones were Kyouka, a germaphobe who seems to have a spirit bunny of a sort perched to his shoulder, and it’s no surprise he already has my complete attention because I find him interesting and adorable. Koizumi Yakumo (Lafcadio Hearn), a famous author of ghost-stories had a memorable introduction with his eager interest in Mei’s ability to see spirits somehow managed to amuse greatly, and that was pretty much it. Although there was some humour in the scene where Mei first meets Ougai and Syunso, they really didn’t grab my attention. In fact, I’m not really sure how I feel about Ougai in yet, because the overly flowery speech and such is a bit much for my taste. I’m curious to see if he will grow on me though!

Overall I found the premiere to be pretty weak, so it’s clear I will need at least three episodes to get a gist of the direction of the series. Hopefully next week’s episode will be more interesting and dive a bit more into the details of the plot. Otome Games adaptions are always a hit and miss. It always depends on how they choose to present it. The recent ones I have enjoyed all focused on the story, and were not afraid to reveal the characters’s backstories, so it would be great to see that trend continue. And if the beginning of the episode gave us an hint of how this adaption may unfold, it looks like the romance (if any) may be either with Ougai or Syunso.

Possibility of Blogging: Moderate – Giving it three episodes to see which direction it will go.
Possibility of Watching: High – Because good or bad, I’m sucker for Otome Games Adaptions.

Eva

Blogging Anime since Summer 2009, & Founder of AngryAnimeBitches Anime Blog

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6 Responses

  1. zztop says:

    Considering that Tokyo Renka started as a 2011 mobile game, the franchise has done quite well to survive for this long with the Japanese fanbase. Not only is there a PSP version (2013) and expanded PS Vita one (2016) but there’s a new free-to-play version with 3 more historical bachelors.
    https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2018-01-21/meiji-tokyo-renka-historical-visual-novels-get-live-action-show-film-new-app/.126727

    If you choose to blog Renka weekly, I’d be happy to give fun facts about any historical stuff mentioned, especially since cetain Meiji landmarks no longer exist (due to the 1920s earthquake, WW2, or redevelopments).
    I’ll start with the Rokumeikan as mentioned this episode.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rokumeikan

    The Rokumeikan was an actual guesthouse used to accomodate foreign VIPs and heads of state visiting Tokyo, but was also used as a multi-purpose function hall hosting events for the wealthy Japanese elite (and Westerners), like dance balls, concerts and VIP meetings.
    https://c8.alamy.com/comp/G3D5MF/rokumeikan-or-deer-cry-hall-foreign-guesthouse-tokyo-japan-circa-1880s-G3D5MF.jpg
    http://japanpropertycentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Hibiya-Rokumeikan-Imperial-Hotel-1930.jpg

    High society guests could expect to enjoy Western food, music and dancing while dressed in the latest European fashions (manners were a must too). It was also a place for high society men and women to mingle together per Western convention(previous Edo-period noble events were more gender-segregated).
    http://www.meijishowa.com/images/3446.jpg
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/17/Chikamatsu_Kiken_buto_no_ryakuke.jpg

    There were political motivations behind its construction – the Meiji Foreign Minister heavily backed the Rokumeikan to show that Japan could just be as civilized and cultured as the West, so they’d look upon the Japanese more favourably as equals and revise unequal diplomatic treaties imposed upon the nation. (It didn’t quite work – some foreigners thought the Rokumeikan was a cheap attempt at aping Western culture, while local conservatives feared the Rokumeikan as a den of vice due to men-women mingling.)

    As better events places (like the Imperial Hotel) were built, the Rokumeikan declined in popularity and was turned into a private clubhouse, before being demolished in the 1940s. The site is occupied today by office highrises. (Rokumeikan site located towards far right, where the office buildings are.)
    https://media.timeout.com/images/102561900/630/472/image.jpg

    • Eva says:

      ^ v ^ / Your fun facts are very much welcomed! I am always interested in learning more about the history! As always, thanks for sharing!

  2. Detetiv says:

    There is actually a raw out for the 1st movie?! Danggggg
    I’m really really hoping they go the secret/true route cause if I remember it solves a few holes that psp storyline had

    • Eva says:

      O v O Oooh I’d love it if they follow the secret/true route, I mean, that’d be exciting!!! I really prefer it when they do follow a specific route, so hopefully that’s the direction it will go!

      • Detetiv says:

        I don’t have much hope for that especially since it’s a reverse harem. Code: Realize, brother’s conflict are 2 ones that fall under the genre and are otome games. Most of these ones that are game based don’t pick someone but do most of the main story/events. And are sadly only like 12 episodes long….

        • Eva says:

          Hahaha otome games adaptions are really a hit or miss, so it’s always better to go into these type of adaptions with low expectations.😅

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