When you saw the title of this post, your mind did one of two things: shrieked with pure joy and excitement or collapsed in on itself. If you’re the latter and you still ended up here, I thank you for your bravery. Otome-inspired anime isn’t always a well-received topic, and I understand why. Honest, I do. While I’m no expert in the field, it is a bit of a guilty pleasure that I’ve given into now and again. Life gets difficult, and in response, I let my brain turn to mush while I watch a group of smexy anime boys (size of the group may vary) try to win over one absolutely clueless girl. (Unless he is tsundere, in which case, he will scowl his way into her heart.)Yes, somehow she appeals to them all, and there’s no other girl in the entire show that draws the same attention, even though it is sometimes flat-out stated that our heroine is average in looks and has no other outstanding virtues aside from her kind nature and generous heart. These qualities are awesome, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t exactly add a facet of believability to the storyline.
Anyhow, this genre of anime ranges in quality from tragic to decent, and I’m going to go over a few of them. You know, the good, the bad, and the ugly. This isn’t going to be an in-depth review or anything, (Those are already out there. Some are too long and detailed even for this avid reader.) so you may enjoy the ride even if you don’t care for the anime.
Kamigami no Asobi (Mischief of the Gods)
This probably my favorite of the genre, but then, I’m a sucker for mythology. In Kamigami no Asobi, the main character, Yui, finds herself in a school for gods, tasked with teaching her divine co-eds to have a greater appreciation for human beings. The pantheons represented are Greek, Japanese, Norse, and Egyptian. (I totally bought a Loki pin after watching this show.) There is a story. It’s not particularly complex, but it’s there; we also get to see some character development in the boys. Yui has personality, which is often lacking in this genre’s main character. (Which, ugh, does have its purpose as far as the games go, I suppose, but it just doesn’t work for anime. Just no.)
The art is pretty. The characters are fun. It’s only twelve episodes. If you haven’t seen it and like romantic comedy, it might suit you.
This one is really pretty. The music is pretty. And, I liked the ending, even though the story is kind of convoluted and lacks substance, and the main character doesn’t have a name. No, I’m being serious. She doesn’t have a name. Plus, there is some disturbing behavior from a couple of the guys, so be warned if you’re sensitive to this type of thing.
Still, I watched all twelve episodes in one sitting and bought a set of key chains. (The only one I still need is Orion, who is just adorable.) I listen to the music on occasion and would watch again it if anyone I knew was interested. Most likely, not going to happen.
Kiniro no Corda: Blue Sky
I watched this one on a whim over the course of a few days (again, twelve episodes) while I was coping with my depression. It was enough to keep my attention but don’t expect anything amazing. It takes place in a music school that the main character, Kanade, was coerced into attending by a childhood friend. See, she’s a talented violin player and his school is participating in this huge band competition. There is some character development, some story, and music. You can rarely go wrong with music. Check it out if you like the genre and want something fairly peaceful.
Kyun Magic Renaissance
This is the most recent addition to my otome arsenal. Season one has twelve episodes, and since they don’t wrap up certain aspects of the plotline, I assume there will be a second. It was fun. Predictable. Pretty. (Their art fills the air with different kinds of sparkles. I was mesmerised.) There are a few complaints I could make, but that would give too much away. (Again. not a huge deal since it’s easy to figure out, but you know…) Like Kiniro no Corda: Blue Sky, Kyun Magic Renaissance is nice to chill with and easy on the mind. Not an “edge of your seat” kind of show but worth a watch if you enjoy these types of shows.
Okay, this is the one I was waiting for from the start. I considered writing a blog strictly on this anime then opted to throw some others into the mix to soften the blow. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Diabolik Lovers (It has vampires, okay?), but it is awful. Awful. The main character, Yui (again?), is everything that you don’t want to see in a female character. She lacks personality and intelligence and a backbone (but she has lots of blood). That’s not all. The plot doesn’t show up until about halfway through the series, and even then, I’m not entirely sure it fits the definition of a plot. (More like a fragile thread trying desperately to hold the episodes together and failing.) There are some flashbacks that attempt to add depth to the characters… Yeah. Don’t hold your breath.
If you are in any way triggered by abusive behavior, stay away from this anime. I’m appalled to see that at least one site had its genre listed as romance. This is not romantic. And, the drama CDs are worse. They were almost too much for me, and that takes a lot.
Overall, otome-based anime is what it is. You can’t go into it expecting too much. If you relax and don’t think too much, it can be enjoyable. There is a wide gap between the best and the worst, but then everyone has their own tastes. Who am I to judge? Do you have an otome-based anime that you enjoy (or don’t enjoy)? Feel free to leave the titles in the comments, and I’ll check them out.