Yuu AsakawaAi NonakaAkiraManami Numakura
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2013
Director: Akiyuki Simbo
Writer: Katsuhiko Takayama
Original creator: Akira
Actor: Ai Nonaka, Chiwa Saito, Erino Hazuki, Houchu Ohtsuka, Kana Asumi, Kana Hanazawa, Manami Numakura, Yuu Asakawa
Keywords: anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=14400
Website category: Anime 2013
Review date: 13 April 2022
About halfway through, I started wondering if this was by Studio Shaft. Yes, it is. This is a mixed blessing. It's got Akiyuki Shinbo's usual experimental visuals, e.g. Sasami's dreamy watercolour home, or her brother Kamiomi whose face is never visible. It looks gorgeous.
However it's also got his lack of interest in traditional storytelling and strong narratives. It's not as bad as the Monogatari series, but it's not dissimilar. The main characters are all deities from Japanese mythology, or related to them in some way. The world turns into chocolate for a while in ep.1 and no one's particularly surprised, because they're too busy having a superpower fight with boob missiles. I stopped believing that anything mattered or had consequences. I was surprised in ep.7 when a fight against three goddesses in ep.6 proved to have really happened and hadn't (yet) been reset-buttoned. I watched the show to the end, but eventually I was drifting through the episodes and not particularly interested.
Theoretically, though, there are some interesting ideas here.
It's taking literally some of the wackier things you find in mythology. There's a girl who sometimes grows a penis, although there's a reason for that. It's possible to shrink a house and put it inside someone's head. Sasami's family has believed in incest for generations. Her insane brother agrees with all his insane heart, while Sasami isn't as opposed as you'd think from her non-stop brutal rejection of him as a pervert. "I haven't shared a bath with Sasami in 127 hours!"
I like some of the characters. Unmotived Sasami is okay and I liked ep.5, in which she tries to befriend a robot girl with some extremely ill-chosen phrasing. (Sasami needs to work on her social skills.) Ouch. That episode ended up being surprisingly strong. Kagami might be the show's most interesting regular, although Tama's the most likeable. I also enjoyed the villain who shows up for the last few episodes and never realises what genre she's in.
On the other hand, the sleazy one of the three goddess sisters ended up showing no other dimensions to her (loud) characterisation at all.
At its best (usually Kagami or Jou Edogawa), the show works. That's not often, though. Its middle ground can be amusing. It's visually spectacular. I wouldn't recommend it, though.