What’s it about ?
Remember Chihayafuru last year, about that card game based on 100 classic Japanese poems ? This is a (very liberal) adaptation of those poems. At least, the ones about love stories. Which is about half of them, so that’s plenty enough material.
(Adapted from a very popular josei manga.)
Characters & Plot
Fujiwara no Teika, the dude who’s supposed to have compiled the 100 poems, serves as our host for what is basically an anthology series. I like his sense of humour, for what little we see of it. (And it’s nice to have Yuki Kaji in snarky mode for a change.)
There are two tales here. The first one involves the lower-class Ariwara no Narihira seducing Fujiwara no Takaiko, who’s set to marry to Emperor soon, and thus doesn’t have time for such dalliance. You’ve seen this story thousands of times before, but this one works thanks to Narihira’s incredible charm and impeccably smooth technique, and Takaiko’s very genuine reactions.
The second tale is about his brother Ariwara no Yukihira’s happy marriage, and it doesn’t really go anywhere. It seems to be mostly an excuse to flesh Narihira’s backstory out a bit.
I have no clue whether we’re going to see any of those characters (besides our host) again later. I kinda doubt it, as I seem to recall the 100 poems having been written over a span of several centuries.
This is a very good-looking series, with thick outlines and several other design choices contributing to make it look a bit like ancient Japanese paintings.
The ED features rapping. Of course it does.
There is a lot to like here : it’s gorgeous, the dialogue is very well-written indeed, and the characters have a lot of life in them.
But… It’s an anthology of archetypal love stories. There’s a big risk of them quickly starting to repeat themselves. One of them this episode is already lackluster, and I really doubt this is going to keep my interest for long.
Still, I’ll at least try to stick with it for one more episode. Maybe they’ll find a way for it sustain itself for the long run ?