The Series (3.5/5)
Tokyo Ravens takes a familiar premise. A young person coming into magical powers, and going to a magical school, and turns it into a wonderfully nonsensical addition to this overstuffed anime-microcosm. Tokyo Ravens certainly uses clichés familiar to those knowledgeable of the genre, but rather than being bogged down by things are the same, it chooses to create something similar, but off the wall, and fun.
The premise is fairly straightforward, we follow a young man Harutora who as the series begin knows he is from a family with a deep magical heritage, but no actually skills for the families magic. He has resigned himself to a normal, non-magical, human existence. This plan changes when Natsume, an old family friend barges into his life, and he gets involved in a serious event. This changes his attitude toward magic, and he along with Natsume enroll in the Onymo Academy which will help refine their magical skills. Of course, things are not straightforward for the pair, as magic doesn't resolve the typical conflicts one goes through during school from bullies, to romance, and issues with friends.
The characters are quite distinctive for the most part, and though some feel a bit one-dimensional, most are fairly memorable and tend to stand out. The animation from 8-Bit is quite fluid, and distinctive. Everything from the setting to the character designs feels quite solid, and helps to give the series a fresh feel to it. The series doesn't exactly have a narrative through line in this first half of season one, and is more about the characters day to day lives, and coping with issues that come up. It does feel like something greater is in store for the series, and I certainly can’t wait to get a look at part 2 to see where it all goes.
Tokyo Ravens comes to Blu from Funimation with a splendid 1:78:1 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer. The transfer looks excellent with fantastic colors, superb fine detail, and solid textures. There were some minor compression issues I noticed during my viewing, but nothing that took away from the overall quality of the show.
The audio is presented in a Japanese TrueHD 2.0 track. The sound here is quite excellent with dialogue and score coming through nicely, and nothing to really complain about.
There are 2 audio commentaries on episodes 5 and 12. A video commentary on episode 7. We also get a short satiric piece called Kon Explains it All, where one of the defense familiars from the show gives background into it's universe. There are also clean opening and closings included, and trailers.
Tokyo Ravens is a fun, briskly paced affair that works well with it's slightly cliched premise. The Blu-ray from Funimation looks and sound fantastic, and comes with a nice extras package sure to please fans. RECOMMENDED.