Meiji Tokyo Renka – Anime Preview
Synopsis: On the night of a crimson full moon, high school girl Ayazuki Mei enters into a box. When she awakens, she’s in Tokyo during the Meiji Period! The lost and confused Mei is taken to the Rokumeikan, a lavish ballroom full of powerful high officials. In this world, during the “Misty Hour” between sundown and sunup, “mononoke” appear. Those who can see them are called “Tamayori,” and Mei herself possesses this power. As she navigates an unfamiliar life, romance begins to bloom between Mei and these men — and the power of the tamayori will only strengthen their bonds. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Right from the get go, Meiji Tokyo Renka screams typical, bland reverse harem as we meet Ayazuki Mei, a standard female protagonist, who’s alone and isolated because of ‘tragic’ events from her past. The opening credits exploded with shot after shot of bishonen men who will no doubt be wooing her very soon. The show is so full of potential romantic suitors that the first episode itself is eventually turned into a parade of the male characters introducing themselves to our heroine back to back. Everything in this episode, from its heroine to the male suitors feels so painfully generic and unimpressive especially through the eyes of someone who has never cared for these kinds of wish-fulfillment stories.
Tom: Meiji Tokyo Renka is based off a visual novel and boy does it show. Not only are we provided with an overabundance of characters for viewers to ogle at and swoon over, but everything is further dragged down by an absolutely plodding pace. It takes a long time for anything interesting to happen, and even when it does the episode is just about over. This might be forgiven if all the characters Mei meets as soon as she’s transported into the past felt interesting. Unfortunately every character, including Mei, feels thin, either stacked with the typical harem personas one expects from wish-fulfillment characters, or totally bland and lacking of personality like Mei herself. (Oh did I mention she likes meat? She likes it a lot. It’s her only defining trait.) Overall Meiji Tokyo Renka is far too dull, and I think it’s a title hard-pressed to impress even the most die-hard of reverse-harem aficionados.
Linny: What little ‘original’ elements Meiji Tokyo Renka has feel so bizarrely try hard and random. We have terms like ‘strawberry moon’ bandied about and the next episode preview titles episode 2 as ‘Sukiyaki is Romance Veiled in Steam’. It’s bound to make audiences (barring diehard fans of this sub-genre) burst out laughing or rolling their eyes in total disconnect.Also, even though our heroine has the ability to see supernatural spirits, all it’s been used for so far is the reason she gets to play tragic heroine or damsel in distress. Whatever Meiji Tokyo Renka has shown off in its first episode, it’s all been exceedingly bland and predictable ensuring that only the most starved and diehard fans of reverse harem fantasies will find anything to enjoy.
Meiji Tokyo Renka is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.