The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Omamori Himari

Title: Omamori Himari aka Charm Himari
Genre: Action/Comedy
Company: ZEXCS
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 6 Jan 2010 – 24 Mar 2010

Synopsis: Unbeknownst to himself, Amakawa Yuuto is the heir to a family of demon slayers. For years he has been under the protection of a special trinket that has allowed him to live a normal life thus far. However, such power is running dry, leaving the peaceful Yuuto vulnerable to vicious Ayakashi, who seek vengeance following centuries of genocide. His only protection now lies in the hands of the cat demon Himari, who has vowed her life to the protection of the Amakawa family. In her loyalty, she seeks to turn her master into a venerable demon slayer; however, Yuuto has something more benevolent in mind.

The Highlights
Story elements: Use contrived situation X to insert plot device Y into character Z.
Character designs: Simultaneously overblown and bland.
Humor: It’s not clever, it’s not poignant, it’s not even funny.
Fanservice: Does anyone really care about fanservice anymore?
Direction: Entirely devoid of subtlety, pacing, charm, and sophistication.

At times, I begin to grow weary of reviewing anime. It is entirely possible that I am far from qualified to dispense an honest critique, and there’s the issue of whether I even have any right to do so. In the presence of something bad, it’s at times hard to not feel guilty when curb stomping someone’s hard work to the ground, especially since I doubt I could produce something even half as good. But then, there exists anime where there is just no excuse… and Omamori Himari is one such pitiful example.

Not much needs to be said other than every element of Omamori Himari is simply bad. There are no rare jumps in quality and there are no cringe worthy moments. It is just so consistently bad in a way that outdoes what one would expect for something that seems to have come out of an indifferent committee rather than the pen of an even mildly interested writer. The character designs, for instance, amount to nothing other than an assortment of superficial moé personifications with oddly proportioned breasts (loli characters notwithstanding). Between the intro/outro and the eyecatch, it’s not hard to realize that this is a fanservice anime, and as such a series, it should be fine for this show to only get by on its fanservice… Right? No! After a decade of anime falling back on semi-erotic incidents, no longer should panty shots and exposed breasts be all a show offers.

Come to think of it, “bad” might not be the right word to describe Omamori Himari; “insipid” better sums it up. The plot pretends to paint a serious setup surrounding the adversity between humans and demons. But that is quickly betrayed by the show’s compulsive need to show off Himari’s assets. When the series is not pretending, it sources a plethora of jokes, all of which are tired and stale. Arbitrary shifts in character alignment is treated as genuine character development. And where this could have mixed up the dynamic, all it does is degrade the girls into objects racing to get into the pants of Yuuto, a character so zero-dimensional that even the show is aware of his utter lack of personality. As if to add insult to injury, even the fanservice itself is insipid; the visuals are so devoid of effort that one might as well find enjoyment in a CG doujin instead.

By the time I finished the series, I couldn’t help but to feel used. Even merchandising extravaganzas like the children’s shows Tensou Sentai Goseiger and Kamen Rider Double/W come off as more satisfying and less exploitative. The creators of Omamori Himari must be a cynical bunch. This anime seems to be produced under the assumption that anime fans are slaves to “the IKEA nesting instinct,” where we will succumb to whatever has the most abundant assortment of tropes, rather than how such elements come together. It’s the lowest form in consumerist exploitation and it is, in every sense of the word, “safe”. It’s too harmless to be offensive and yet so harmless that that in of itself turns out to be offensive.

The Rating: 2

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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