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Hiiro no Kakera~The Tamayori Princess Saga Complete Series Blu-ray Anime Review

5 min read

Hiiro no Kakera Complete Series CoverWhat They Say:
Tamaki Kasuga is asked to come live in the country with her grandmother. Things start to get weird when mysterious dark forces and a gang of misfits called the Logos come after her. Luckily for Tamaki, she is suddenly surrounded by five handsome young men that come to her rescue and now act as her guardians! Because being a princess isn’t easy, and she’ll need all the help she can get in Hiiro no Kakera ~ The Princess Saga: Complete Collection!

The Review:
Audio:
I watched in English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, and the audio for me was on par with other anime releases. All the characters were clear, the songs weren’t randomly louder than the other audio as was the problem I had with the menu for Diabolic Lovers.

Video: 
The video is 1080p HD/16×9, and I think the video on this Blu Ray is quite nice. Because the animation for this series was pretty consistent and pretty, the video quality on this collection highlights that well.

Packaging:
The packaging is your average clam shell with four discs inside, and the cover features Tamaki and Takuma smiling and embracing amidst pretty red leaved trees.

Menu:
Nothing fancy here, the menu is left-margin oriented.

Extras:
The extras are clean opening and ending animation, art gallery, and Sentai trailers for other shows.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Tamaki Kasuga has gone to live with her grandmother after her parents are transferred overseas, but the real reason for her arrival is that she must continue the role, handed down from her ancestor Princess Tamayori, to seal the sword Onikirimaru. Five young men serve as her guardians against the mysterious Logos, which led by a young girl named Aria who believes it is her divine purpose to oppose Tamaki.

As Tamaki adjusts to her role as Tamayori princess, to seal the sword they need to collect special artifacts, and Logos is at every turn ready to stop them. Over the course of the series, Tamaki develops friendships with her guardians, but also meets other mysterious players like Ryo, who seems on neither side of the struggle, gains a best friend in cheerful Kiyono (who isn’t what she seems) and learns more about what her role in all this is.

Just when it looks like at the end of season 1 that Takuma, who is really the reincarnation of the underworld god, is able to take control over the sword and Tamaki awakens her powers to save the day, season 2 shows they haven’t exactly won yet. Logos is still there, and two of Tamaki’s guardians commit betrayals. There is also the matter of the sealing ceremony, and Tamaki’s grandmother is not being entirely honest about what that means for Tamaki or Takuma.

Aria herself finds herself also betrayed by supposed allies, and soon the real battle begins to seal the Onikimaru and stop hell on earth.

In Summary:
You know when you see a piece of cheesecake and it looks like it’ll be good because you love cheesecake, but then you bite into it and oh dear god, it tastes like imitation crap? That’s how I felt watching this series. If I wasn’t reviewing it, I honestly would have stopped watching mid-season 1. The best way to sum up why anyone does anything on this is Because Reasons. We need to seal the sword, because reasons! Aria and Logos are in opposition because its her divine purpose because reasons! Mitsuru and Shinji, who at first seem to have a sweet sorta dancing around crushes on each other thing, turn out to be long-lost twins because reasons! Tamaki and Takuma fall in love because reasons!

On paper, this show sounded like it would be some interesting cross between Fushigi Yuugi and Inu Yasha, but it completely lacks a lot of what made those series watchable (well, okay, Inu Yasha was only watchable for the first like 20 episodes).  For being two seasons at 26 episodes total, a remarkable amount of nothing happens and there’s a lot of exposition that somehow also feel likes nothing, so it was hard getting engaged into the series or really feeling for what was at stake.

And being 26 episodes long, it was missing a whole lot character development for pretty much any of its characters. Tamaki is very paper doll out cut out Chosen Girl, and her guardians equally paper-doll cut outs. Aria’s minions look like they lost auditions as Hellsing villains, down to one in particular who reminded me a lot of Walter.

The story moves at something of a glacial pace, and there was no real standout anything, and nothing really major happens until the last three episodes, and even then, I couldn’t feel excited about any of it. This was a story that really should have been told in 13 episodes, not 26. Even the love story between Takuma and Tamaki, who are reincarnations of a god and princess who became allies and had feelings for each other, is flat and didn’t feel like it had any real tangible basis other than needing a romantic angle. It could have been a much better developed romance, and yet…sigh. A shame too, their first kiss scene is actually very prettily framed amidst beautiful red-leaved trees and a gentle pop ballad accompanying it. Sadly, I really didn’t care about their romance because the show didn’t care to even develop it well in the first place.

I think part of the problem is that this series is based on a visual novel where all the Guardians are potential love interests. I’m finding that with anime based on these, there seems to be a lot of underdevelopment in the character department.  One of the few interesting characters on the show, Ryo/Inouki, is barely in it at all and yet is a sixth Guardian. Where was more of he, show?? I would take fifteen minutes of him being snarky and skulking behind trees than most of what I did watch!

This is a series I wanted to like, magical girl/Chosen shows like this are usual plot catnip for me, but here it didn’t work for me at all and I am left disappointed and thinking I was better off just watching Fushigi Yuugi again.

Features:
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing

Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B-
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: Dec 9, 2014
MSRP: $74.99
Running Time: 650 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 16×9

Review Equipment: Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p

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