Shoujo fantasy isn’t something we see all that much of in anime these days, so I always have a curiosity factor when a new one crops up. Momochi-san Chi no Ayakashi Ouji is based on a manga by Shouto Aya, who’s been at this for a long time but whose work I’m not personally familiar with. The manga seems to draw pretty good reviews and the staff is decent, so I had reasonable expectations going into this premiere.
On balance I’d say this was pretty good, though it didn’t seem to stray a whole lot from formula. We have a 16 year-old orphan named Momochi Himari who, on her 16th birthday, receives a supposed will from her parents which leaves a rural house in her name. When she arrives to check it out the locals all warn her off, saying it’s inhabited by demons and evil spirits, but Himari is determined to grasp at the only connection she has to her family. In hindsight it seems almost certain that the will was a hoax intended to draw her in, but she has no way to know that at the time.
The house is indeed “haunted”, at least in some sense – the gateway between the human and the spirit world. It’s watched over by a bishounen named Nanamori Aoi, referred to at various times as the Omamori (shrine amulet) and the Nue (a particularly infamous youkai first mentioned in Heike Monogatari). He refers to the two dudes who serve him, Yukari and Ise, as his shikigami – but whatever they are, they clearly don’t want Himari there. Neither does Aoi, though his reasons seem more centered on the danger to her than anything else.
In short, this is a pretty classic shoujo reverse harem by appearances. However I suspect that the only real romantic relationship in store for Himari is with Aoi. Art-wise I’m reminded a lot of Kamisama Hajimemashita, though there’s no reason to suspect Momochi-san Chi is going to be anywhere near as good. I enjoyed the premiere more or less despite its rather by the numbers approach, and I do feel as if there’s a chance of something a little more here than meets the eye. But right now that’s only an inkling and not an expectation.
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