Sousei no Onmyouji Ep. 1: I feel too old for this

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I didn’t really hate it. But although I gave the anime its own post, I won’t keep blogging it. I’ll tell you why. To be fair, however, I really feel the first episode actually avoids being overburdened with one too many character introductions, excessive jargon, or unnecessary world-building. But more specifically, it avoided the sort of banality that tends to plague the start of many series. Take Endride, for instance. We all know a grand, epic adventure awaits the MC in that series. And yet, we see him in class, we see him studying at a library, we see him playing basketball with his friends. It’s character development, I guess. Look at this schmuck! He’s got a normal life! Aren’t you glad you know this banal detail about him? I mean, yeah, this sort of thing isn’t the worst narrative crime for a storyteller to commit, but it nevertheless irks me. Here, we avoid that for the most part. I know Rokuro’s a student. After all, he’s 14, so I don’t need to see a montage of him going through his daily school life. Will we see these dull moments in the future? Possibly, but for now, I can appreciate that we get plenty of action to keep me semi-interested. There’s enough action that I probably would’ve enjoyed this ten years ago.

But nowadays, I can’t help but take notice of the hero’s age. Fourteen. Jesus. In fact, he used to be one of the strongest exorcist two years ago. Yeah, when he was twelve. One-two. This sort of thing is expected in anime, a medium that really embraces child heroes and heroines. It’s not that I’m surprised or shocked. But still, anime can overdo it a bit. See, I looked up this kid’s history, so here comes spoilers if you want to avoid that sort of thing… From the episode, we all know he went through some terrible tragedy that involved a lot of flames and dead classmates. This sort of tragedy always seem to befall main characters in anime. So yes, at just the ripe age of twelve, Rokuro had to suffer the pain of losing his friends, feel the crushing guilt of being the sole survivor, be forever haunted by memories of the utter destruction he witnessed that day, so on and so forth. At twelve! Like couldn’t you have bumped up the ages a bit? If the story had added ten years to the premise, I’d be like, “Oh alright, I can buy that.” But 12 and 14? Naw, it’s just stretching it too much for me. I know, I know. Shows like Sousei no Onmyouji are really more for a younger audience, and they wanna read about some kickass teenager. And with that comes a lot of other aspects that I just feel too old for.

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Take, for instance, how desperate Rokuro is to have a girlfriend, because apparently, “love changes your whole life.” Or so he’s read in a book. Hey, he’s going through that phase in life where you don’t really understand what love or attraction is, but you want to feel grown up so you try to do grown up things. I know that feeling. Anyway, Rokuro soon runs into Benio, and you just know that she is the destined girl for our hero. Their first meeting couldn’t be more fateful. She literally falls out of the sky like some sort of angel from the heavens. Not only that, Benio’s your prototypical main love interest: the hime cut, the jet black “look, I’m a pure Japanese maiden” hair color, the thigh-highs, the quiet, shy personality that only comes alive if you — and only you — do certain things, etc. Naturally, she and Rokuro will fall in love, be each other’s firsts, then live happily ever after or something. It’s an ideal that is super attractive when you’re young. After all, who really thinks to themselves, “Yeah, I’ll fall in love with a lot of people, but also go through painful breakups until I finally find someone that I’m most compatible with…” No, most of us weren’t like that at 14.

Sousei no Onmyouji speaks to that sort of romantic innocence… that youthful idealism that undercuts all that painful tragedy that the hero had to go through two years ago. It’s almost saying, “Hey, it’s okay to suffer a tragedy where your classmates literally die, but on the other hand, you should never have to lose your first love.” But for me, I find it too difficult to reconcile such an idea. Call it cynicism, I guess. Nevertheless, it’s one of the many things about the anime that makes me think, “Gee, I’m too old for this.” Again, ten years ago, I might have related to how Rokuro feels. Hell, ten years ago, I was still in love with my first love. You even got that silly thing where Benio is super strong, but she still needs saving, so the hero proves to be even stronger. I remember daydreaming about something similar when I was in high school. “Oh yeah, I really want my girlfriend to be super smart, but I’m still gonna be smarter than her. After all, I still need to impress her!” The story doesn’t mean any harm by it, I’m sure, but again, it’s the sort of youthful escapism that I can’t really relate to anymore…

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Anyway, I really wanted to write about Bungou Stray Dogs, and this really started out as a post for both shows. The problem is that I started off writing a longer post for Sousei no Onmyouji that I ended up scrapping. Now that it’s getting late along with the fact that I still haven’t eaten dinner, the Bones anime will have to wait till tomorrow.

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7 thoughts on “Sousei no Onmyouji Ep. 1: I feel too old for this”

  1. “You even got that silly thing where Benio is super strong, but she still needs saving, so the hero proves to be even stronger”

    That ruined the episode for me. Maybe I’m too old for this too.

  2. Hideki Anno’s spiel about how “The industry is full of otakus” runs through my head every time I read a review on this site. Anime seems to have become an ouroboros of cliches, stock characters, and fanservice rearranged in slightly different patterns each year, stagnating and looking inward as if it’s reached the pinnacle of development and the world has nothing left to offer. There is no art, no originality, no one gives a shit. Every once in a while there are exceptions, like Jojo’s, and glimpses of potential snuffed out, like Knights of Sidonia. What happened to the industry?

    And now I have to consider what you posted. Has the industry changed or have we? Are we all wearing rose tinted glasses when we look back? Have we simply aged out of the target demographic and continued to judge things like they should have aged with us rather than moving on? Are we metaphorically acting like food critics in a high school cafeteria, demanding things the industry is not equipped or meant to provide?

    Then I remember SAO is getting a 3rd Season and realize that no, it’s the children who are wrong.

    1. Or maybe it’s just your rose tinted glasses. I have watched anime since I was 5. My first anime was Sailor Moon. Now I’m going to back to see if old anime hold up. And you know what? The majority of them didn’t.

      Quality of anime has not changed as much as you believed. You think Naruto filler is bad? See Dragon Ball Z’s horrible pacing. Think Fate/SN has stupid philosophy? Gundam Wing is just as bad. Annoyed by the huge number of LN adaptations? In the 80s, there were a massive number of trashy OVA…And CG definitely has improved.

      There are some great old anime that have been forgotten. However, for every Magic Knight Rayearth, there was a Brain Powered. There was Read or Die, and there was Sister Princess. Or remember the awful video game adaptation of old?

      Now, there is SAO 3, but also Shouwa Rakugo 2. Everything is just fine.

  3. I tried reading the first chapter of the manga a few months back and instantly dropped it for the same reason. This show just feels likes the epitome of shonenness and without any kind of subtlety to try and look like anything different/new.

    Tbh, I feel like a younger version of me might’ve given this a chance or actually enjoy it but I cant look at it now without recalling how similar the tropes/cliches that were used in the hundreds of shows before it.

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