Ooh, mysterious… kinda.
All right, so here we are. The show has returned for the Spring Anime Season with its second cour. And, honestly, this is a much better start than the first go around. Granted, they have a little more to do. The series did leave a lot of loose ends in need of tying. But the overall narrative flow of everything is also just stronger. Even though the show has definitely slowed down again, it feels more like it’s intentionally taking its time, rather than just plodding along.
The first episode back is basically a catch-up with not a terrible lot to say. We do learn that Kanami and her friends have gone on to become sort of famous, due to their involvement in the events of the last cour’s conclusion. They’ve apparently had their names cleared and they’re back to working on missions as Toji. Also, something just occurred to me. We never see any actual adult Toji aside from Origami, last cour. And maybe the Elite Four, but they struck me as late-high-school to college age. Yet adult Toji are clearly a thing. So why are adults never sent on these extremely dangerous missions? It’s a point that only becomes relevant later, but it’s a hole I’m not sure they really thought too much about.
In the course of the episode, we also discover that someone in a cloak is going around and stealing Noro. What for? No real ideas, as of yet. But it obviously can’t be for anything good. They eventually settle on the idea of having Kanami try to identify this person based on their sword style. Otherwise, the episode doesn’t do much but establish where the girls are. Also, seeing as they’re kind of a big deal, they seem to have picked up a fan. And considering that she appears in the OP, it’s likely she’ll have some significance. Though I don’t quite see why the title refers to her as “the next generation” (unless it’s still referring to the main cast, which you be weird), seeing as they’re all a part of the same generation. But whatever.
Episode 14 gave us a lot more to work with by putting the spotlight on a character I was previously disappointed with – Mai. And it did this by showing us a little more of her life, while also introducing a little drama to it. Furthermore, we have another example of good anime parents, which is always a delight. It’s not perfect parenting, mind you, but parents are human too. What matters is the effort.
Mai and her father have… a disagreement. About her being a Toji. But what I liked was that the episode didn’t paint him as some kind of villain. It shows you his point of view so you understand his stance comes from a place of parental concern. And Mai doesn’t exactly have a stellar initial response, herself. So it’s a learning experience for them both. The way it’s handled is actually doubly well handled because it was done through Ellen – AKA Best Girl. Ellen wasn’t the most complex character. So getting more of a peek into her world with this episode was appreciated. It also helped to inform the character of Mai’s father and show Mai a new perspective.
Really, my one gripe with the entire thing is how quickly and easily the situation resolved itself. I get it. You have twelve more episodes to get to the point. Spending an exorbitant amount of time on an arc surrounding Mai’s father (unless he becomes a major plot point, which I doubt will be the case) would be a bit odd. But I’m not sure they’d reach a total resolution that quickly.
Aside from that, the plot moved a little too. We got a bit of exposition regarding the Noro and the potential relevance of it, moving forward. It was basically a lot of “Noro has feelings too!” chatter. But it was nice to see Mai’s perspective being challenged on more than one front in this episode, and watching her actually consider and think about it, rather than deny and condemn it outright, as some other anime characters might.
More interesting, though, would be the cloaked characters. This episode confirms not just one, but two. One of them singlehandedly brings down an Aradama, early in the episode. And I should point out that, unfortunately, they don’t seem that interested in making all the Aradama different and unique. So far, we’ve seen demon centipede thrice. And only two or three other designs. Regardless, the first figure brings this thing down in one move, saving a couple of younger Toji.
All sarcasm aside, the second of these cloaked women isn’t as transparent. But one thing is fairly clear. She ain’t normal. She breaks into the facility where Mai, Ellen, and their parents are, stealing the Noro from the experiment. What follows is a pretty cool, if one-sided fight sequence that’s fairly brief. But I think what worked best for it was the 2D animation. The series has slowly shifted away from that reliance on CG, over the course of several episodes. It’s still used for the Aradama, but throughout this entire episode, I think the only time a CG effect was used on a girl was for Ellen’s armor skin thing. There was also a little of it in the last episode. But aside from that, nothin’. And it already looks so much sharper. So that’s a plus.
Come the end, Kanami confirms what we already figured out about the first cloaked woman. It’s that member of the Elite Four, Shidou. The serious one. Go figure. As to what she’s up to, we don’t really know. She didn’t appear to take any Noro, so it’d seem like she’s just being mistaken for the other one. And speaking of the other one, keep watching past the credits.
Overall, these episodes weren’t half bad. Nothing amazing, but a nice little breather before the season really takes off, and a few good character moments. Some overall nice aesthetic changes also came through. And while the problem in episode 14 resolved itself a bit too tidily, for my tastes, I certainly can’t call it bad. So each episode qualifies as Harmless, for the most part. It’s just fluff, but it’s decent fluff, and that’s all it had to be. If you want something even fluffier, check out our reviews of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card.
Don’t forget to check out the series, for yourself. Toji no Miko is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Fridays at 10:00am EST. That’s all for me, here, folks. As always, thanks for reading. Keep up the awesome.