Because every magical girl anime needs a happy-go-lucky protagonist.

Summary:

Akari is a girl who works part-time as a tarot card reader, continuing on the tradition that her deceased mother left behind.  She currently lives with her aunt and uncle, along with her cousin named Fuyuna.  It appears that Akari has her mother’s skill at tarot card reading, as her readings tend to be rather accurate.  Akari’s popularity because of this causes Fuyuna to grow jealous.

VAGUE CRYPTIC BULLSHIT! How mysterious!

She’s probably a really minor character but I quite like the look of the sleepy-eyed fortune teller.

One night, after paying a visit to her mother’s grave on the second anniversary of her death, Akari finds herself faced with a giant plant monster.  After nearly being strangled to death by vines, her tarot deck glows and she finds herself holding a flaming sword.  After the monster is defeated, she finds to her horror… Fuyuma, lying on the floor dead and covered in blood.

The anime tried so hard to make Fuyuma “evil” that it just felt kind of over-the-top to me.

The day seems to reset, with Fuyuma completely erased from the timeline.  Akari again visits her mother’s grave, though Fuyuma is nowhere to be found…  After the visit, Akari discovers that the mansion where she works has been set on fire by a deranged man.  The man then turns into a flaming tiger, and Akari once again transforms using her tarot deck.  Unfortunately, she can’t control her powers yet and is nearly killed.  Thankfully, three other girls appear in the nick of time to save her.  The monster is defeated, and Akari is carried away by a mysterious young woman.

My Opinion:

I’m not too sure how to feel about this series yet, but I can’t help feeling kind of “ehhhhhh” so far.  The series has a decent premise, but it just seems like it’s trying too hard to be all, “oh hey, look at these cute characters—OH MY GOD, TENTACLE RAPE!  BLOOD EVERYWHERE!  ANGST!  DESPAIR!  DEATH!!!”  It just seems like the series is trying way too hard to be dark and edgy.

It seems a lot of people are comparing this to PMMM and I can kind of see the similarities.  But the only things the series’ really share in common is cutesy styled characters, a dark plotline, and magical girls.  And, this is just my opinion, but Gen’ei o Kakeru Taiyou seems to be weaker than PMMM at this point.  Maybe I’ve just had my fill of “dark” magical girl series, but I can’t help feeling that Gen’ei is somewhat “been there, done that.”

The animation for this series is very clean and smooth.  The art style is heavily stylized.  It looks nice and cute at first, but when you actually see the characters move it all starts looking a little uncanny-valley-ish.  The girls are way too lanky, and all the characters look way too young.  Hell, even the adults look like little kids!  Also the character designs… while their normal forms look alright; I think their tarot forms look a bit too over-designed.  Akari’s and ice-girl’s tarot forms are nice looking, but then there’s also a girl with fox (cat?) ears and a girl with TWO COLORED WINGS!!!  It’s just… too much.  Now, I like magical girl outfits as much as the next person, but Gen’ei’s outfits are kinda ridiculous looking, not to mention a tad generic.

The biggest problem I had with this first episode was the characters.  The only characters that were really fleshed out were Akari and Fuyuna, and Fuyuna ended up getting killed off right away.  Unfortunately, I can’t really maintain interest in Akari because she feels so plain.  Other than her interest in tarot cards (and gardening it seems), she’s basically following the “genki” magical girl lead formula.  And, this is more a criticism of her VA than Akari herself, but; there’s just something I find very odd about her voice.  I think they were going for a “soft-spoken” girl but I can’t help but feel that she sounds very unenthusiastic about everything? (Or maybe that’s just me…)

That’s not to say this was an entirely bad first episode, though.  I do like the fact that killing monsters, who are people engulfed by negative emotions, kills the person in REAL LIFE and seems to erase them from reality too.  It’s dark and scary, but it’s also somewhat refreshing.  Even though these girls are saving lives, they’re still taking them too.  It’s really unique compared to other magical girl anime where the girls are able to simply purify their victims.

Overall, the premise of this series seems interesting, but I’m not so sure about the execution of it.  I personally don’t think the series should have pulled out all the stops on the gore and despair so early on.  I find that subtlety tends to make a more powerful impact. But, if you want more dark magical girl shows in the vein of Madoka, then by all means check this one out.  Personally, this episode failed to interest me much so I’m just going to pass on this series.

Out of five:

precure heart2precure heart2 and 1/2

At least her tarot form looks cool…

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