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REVIEW: Meiji Tokyo Renka—Episodes 1-12 streaming




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Cardcaptor Takato



Joined: 27 Jan 2018
Posts: 1190
PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 1:05 pm Reply with quote
I tried watching this when it first aired but I dropped it because it seemed a little cliched at first and I didn't care for the way they were portraying the bishounen boys as being overly quircky. I might give it another shot since I've heard good things about it from friends as well.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 5:55 pm Reply with quote
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While Ougai is a perfectly good romantic interest himself, and one who seems to know that he may not have Mei for very long, he's also much more aggressive with her (within the very tame boundaries of the show) and treats her a bit like a child, which can be offputting.

Well, she is still a child. Smile And he should be pushing 30, assuming this takes place around 1890-ish, though they've obviously taken a lot of liberties with the timeline here (Saito would've been closing in on 50, and Syunso didn't paint Kuroki Neko until 1910, so...).

I enjoyed the series a lot, in part due to the nostalgia pangs for Kamisama Kiss it kept evoking, though I wasn't entirely pleased by the ending. I'd still recommend watching it to anyone the genre appeals to.
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Aquasakura



Joined: 01 Jan 2014
Posts: 619
Location: Chesterfield, Virginia, U.S.A
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:31 am Reply with quote
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What she doesn't expect is that she'll suddenly find herself in Meiji-era Tokyo, being helped into a carriage by author Ougai Mori and painter Syunso Hishida, then whisked off to a ball at the Rokumeikan where she meets a variety of other Meiji-era greats, such as folklorist Lafcadio Hearne, policeman Fujita Goro (AKA Hajime Saito), and other authors, actors, and statesmen. Eventually Charlie finds her and lets her know that she has a month here before he can send her back to her time, and Mei decides to just go with it.


Reading this reminds me of one of the stories I have experience in the past. Perhaps Disney's telling of Cinderella? May not. I can't put my finger on it.

I have not seen any adaptations of a otome game, and I am trying out just about every new show of this season so I'll give this one a try.
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:04 am Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:

Well, she is still a child. Smile


Fair point! Though in the 1890s sixteen was somewhat less of a child than we know it to be today. Still, that's late enough that marriage at that age would still have been considered early. Didn't stop Ougai, though...

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though I wasn't entirely pleased by the ending.


Me either. I've also been debating Ougai's line to Syunso about spoiler[how he was sure they'd see Mei again, trying to decide whether that meant that he was sure she'd find a way back (since he's in the dark about Charlie) or if that indicated that he and the rest of the guys were the ghosts talking to her in her childhood.]

Aquasakura wrote:
Reading this reminds me of one of the stories I have experience in the past. Perhaps Disney's telling of Cinderella? May not. I can't put my finger on it.

I have not seen any adaptations of a otome game, and I am trying out just about every new show of this season so I'll give this one a try.


Maybe it was something I mentioned in my weekly reviews of Iroduku? I know I kept going on about time travel stories. Wink Anyway, this is a good otome game adaptation for trying out the genre; it's got a low bar to entry. Some of the others rely too much on the blank-slate heroine (especially the UtaPri series; at least Amnesia has a moderate leg to stand on for why she's so dull) or knowledge of the game.
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zztop



Joined: 28 Aug 2014
Posts: 403
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 1:41 am Reply with quote
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For history buffs there's a lot of fun to be had here, even without the other charms of the show.

Fun fact - the real Kawakami Otojirou was married to geisha-turned-actress Sadayakko, who worked together with her husband in her many productions.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sada_Yacco

Anime Kawakami's geisha persona, Otoyakko, is a play on that relationship.

In-game, it leads to a funny moment spoiler[in Kawakami's route where Mei (who's lodging with Otoyakko) wakes up to find a drunken Kawakami, who's forgotten to remove his Otoyakko dress; wig askew and manly chest on display. Mei immediatey thinks Otoyakko's somehow turned into a man...]

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the plot basically follows the route of only one character from the game: Ougai Mori.


Yes and no.

spoiler[The anime's main story blends part of Ougai's and Charlie's routes together.

In the source game, at the end of each character route you are given the choice of staying behind in Meiji Japan with your lover, or taking him to the future with you. (If you don't have high enough points, then you return to the future alone - that's the closest to a bad ending.)
This differs on Charlie's path, which is the story's true route. Choosing to return answers the mystery of why he took Mei to the past and completes Mei's self-discovery arc; staying behind does not!

Note in Charlie's route you end up staying with Ougai and Shunsou early on - I think the anime decided to use Ougai's story since for the anime since Mei's already staying with them, plus Charlie only makes intermittent appearances to tease Mei/reaffirm her resolve on where to stay.]


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and a few plot threads remaining undeveloped,


For that you need to play the game, especially in regards to the other bachelors.

spoiler[Depending on early choices you may end up staying with the other interests (ex. Joining with Lafcadio Hearn means you stay at his hotel suite, which gives you access to the Fujita Gorou route.)

The blue-haired tycoon, Iwasaki Tousuke, was an addition to the PSVita port of the game. His story was first covered, however, in the 2 Meiji Tokyo Renka movies; a noveau-riche businessman of peasant origins. His obsession with bringing electricity to Japan stemmed from a childhood incident where his mother was (seemingly) spirited way by a spirit, and he seeks artificial light to banish the spirits he holds a grudge against.]
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Aquasakura



Joined: 01 Jan 2014
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:48 pm Reply with quote
Princess_Irene wrote:

Maybe it was something I mentioned in my weekly reviews of Iroduku? I know I kept going on about time travel stories. Wink Anyway, this is a good otome game adaptation for trying out the genre; it's got a low bar to entry. Some of the others rely too much on the blank-slate heroine (especially the UtaPri series; at least Amnesia has a moderate leg to stand on for why she's so dull) or knowledge of the game.


No I feel this goes way~ back before Iroduku. Like the days when I was a child. It was more concerning the idea of wish fulfillment. Being transported from a low point in one's life and into something better whether it be for escapism or wish fulfillment.

As for the adaptation it's good to know this would be an easy point for me to get into. Smile I never liked the idea of stories having protagonist as blank slates in anime as I think it does not work out as well. Blank slate protagonists seem to work better in the video game medium since it's set up in a way players can eject whatever personality they imagine them to have.
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:04 am Reply with quote
Aquasakura wrote:

No I feel this goes way~ back before Iroduku. Like the days when I was a child. It was more concerning the idea of wish fulfillment. Being transported from a low point in one's life and into something better whether it be for escapism or wish fulfillment.


Ah, yes, then Disney's Cinderella would make sense - "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and all. That's what reading was for me for most of my childhood. (And, okay, still is sometimes.)
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WashuTakahashi



Joined: 18 Mar 2015
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Location: Chicago, IL
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:08 am Reply with quote
I'm the type that watches all otome anime, and can safely safe this falls into the bin of "still enjoyable even if you're not into otome". It's clear each potential suitor has an interest in Mei, but progressing each of the characters doesn't subtract from the overall plot since it mostly follows Ougai/Charlie. This could have easily been just another generic entry if they tried to give every guy his 2 episodes worth to shove in as many CGs as possible. I really enjoyed watching Mei come out of her shell over the course of the show.

[quote="zztop"]
Quote:
Fun fact - the real Kawakami Otojirou was married to geisha-turned-actress Sadayakko, who worked together with her husband in her many productions.


Thanks for all of these tidbits! I wish they'd localize the game Anime cry
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Aquasakura



Joined: 01 Jan 2014
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Location: Chesterfield, Virginia, U.S.A
PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:41 am Reply with quote
Princess_Irene wrote:

Ah, yes, then Disney's Cinderella would make sense - "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and all. That's what reading was for me for most of my childhood. (And, okay, still is sometimes.)


Very Happy

It's a similar case with my I have come to realize in recent times. Also, I tend to day dream of being taken to a faraway place where I can be around people I can connect with and/or go on adventures when I feel low.

WashuTakahashi wrote:
I'm the type that watches all otome anime, and can safely safe this falls into the bin of "still enjoyable even if you're not into otome".


Good! Smile This seems like this is the better adaptation of tome games to have come out. Similarly to how Tezuka Productions' of Negi Haruba The Quintessential Quintuplets is the better harem anime to have come out this season.
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phia_one



Joined: 15 Jan 2012
Posts: 1382
Location: Pennsylvania
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:59 pm Reply with quote
This show really grew on me to the point where it's my Runner Up for the 2019 winter anime season. It's rare to find a likable otome lead and Mei can be pretty adorable at points. The guys are all likable in some way as well.

This is definitely one of my favorite otome shows now.
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poltroon



Joined: 26 Sep 2018
Posts: 12
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2019 12:01 pm Reply with quote
I was a little skeptical after the first episode but I really came to enjoy it, with that wonderful feeling of being drawn into each next episode. Mei's overall growth from the beginning to the end is clear and compelling.

I'm still wondering about threads left dangling from the second to last episode spoiler[what is the deal with Syunso's vision and why do they all seem to forget about that bit of drama?] and the ending left me with some questions as well but I really enjoyed the journey and a bit of exposure to each of these historical figures.

I managed to find this preview online which happens to include the text of Ougai's short story The Dancing Girl, for anyone like me who was now interested in reading it. Ogai: Youth and Other Stories

The foreword has a lot of interesting tidbits about the context of his role in Japanese literature and how that interacted with his life story as well. For example, it talks about the difficulty of writing a romantic novel that detailed feelings and mood in the written Japanese of the time, and his role in expanding the available language.

But the story itself is impressive. I'm disappointed that all of my various education never introduced me to it.
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