One of these days, I seriously need to read some actual Shinto texts, as I’ve really just been circling the source with shows like this OTOME YOKAI ZAKURO. I know a bit about the Meiji Restoration, certainly, but that’s exactly only half the puzzle for the context of this show, and I’d like to get the other piece. Though, maybe there’s a question of how strictly this adheres to the classical Shinto mythos, anyway. I was going to question how much creative license was taken by portraying these supernatural spirits as skittish teenage girly girls until I stepped back and noticed that this episode’s titled “Prepare to Bewitched.” If the translators had some freedom over which words they could use, I’m sure they didn’t pick that by coincidence; it’s definitely meant to evoke the classic sitcom about a witch who, wouldn’t you know it, was intentionally unlike how witches are expected to be. Why, she even fell for a regular, mortal man, too.
Pop cultural and actual cultural ruminations aside, I enjoyed this pilot a lot except for the times it sexes things up. And by “sex it up,” I don’t mean T&A (although there is a bit of that, anyway.) I’m talking about the portions where these mousy spirit girls turn into bad ass demon fighters. The whole premise of this show is about the formation of what’s basically a Japanese B.P.R.D., but I think it might've been more interesting if the reason for this organized culture clash was less… bellicose. These military men either scaring or being scared of the cute spirit girls while running into one odd animal spirit after another would be enough to hold my interest.
Appending that, I definitely want to add how freaky Shinto monsters are. There’s something about the way they anthropomorphize animals that’s still so… foreign to a Westerner’s imagination. Officer’s status or no, I know I’d be freaking out by the lil’ man bunny, too.
Watch this episode "Prepare to be Bewitched" here and decide for yourself.