Urara Meirochou. Alright, you’re a moe blob anime, what’s your gimmick this time? Let’s see here… Set in a town of 10 districts… Divination… Gods and spirits…? And…lots of yuri baiting. Alright well this is going to be a ‘fun’ venture, now isn’t it?
Labyrinth Town is a town of fortune tellers where girls with spiritual powers starting at the age of fifteen come to the city with the prospect of becoming rank one urara, the highest rank of fortune teller that one can receive. It’s here where we meet Chiya, a girl raised in the woods who comes to Labyrinth town to meet friends with the goal of becoming a rank one Urara in hopes of finding her mother.
Urara Meirochou is what one would expect coming into a moe show filled with cute girls. The show has an all female cast, cute character antics between the four main characters (cause 4 is apparently the magic number for this), some fanservice for those who’re fans of seeing animated underage girls with less than a full set of clothes on, and a large majority of pointless dialogue talking about how they’re all friends and how happy they all are being with one another. Standard fare, nothing special, so what does the show’s gimmick, the divination and setting of Labyrinth town, add to the overall story?
As far as impact goes, the added story elements help to spice up the story just a little bit to make it a bit more than the basic moe blob formula. The majority of the episodes feature the girls learning various forms of divination while providing both the audience and each other with backstories and slight development with their ultimate goal being “we’re going to be #1.” In addition, the story manages to sprinkle in moments of unease (contrary to what a happy go lucky show like this may have normally) and show how the gods and spirits of the town interact with the Urara to an extent that I honestly wasn’t expecting at all from this series. The contribution of these elements actually do help keep parts of the story to feel interesting, but what makes it disappointing is how uncommonly these elements, particularly revolving around the lore of Labyrinth Town, is used.
As far as endings go, the show has what is known as a ‘throwaway episode’, where the story of what the cour wants to achieve has been told in full before the entire 12-13 episodes is completed, causing the creators to use the remaining time for a fluff episode that the story could just as easily go without, and it wouldn’t make a difference. I’m not a fan of throwaway episode, and it felt like I was just wasting my time to finish up all 12 episodes of this show.
Ultimately, Urara Meirochou is what one would come to expect from a cute girl moe show with unrealized potential. Largely focusing on moe antics, the rest of the series involving the lore of Labyrinth town and the secrets of the gods and spirits that reside over Labyrinth town go largely unnoticed, thus creating only specific moments of the series which I would say is even worth watching. The divination aspect stays with the series throughout its runtime, and it’s an ever-looming concept that’s thankfully fully a part of the whole series, but at the same time, just like the show’s other parts, doesn’t get fully realized, thus relegating all of the show’s unique elements to feel more like gimmicks than absolute necessary components of the main story.
+ Manages to integrate unique elements well
+/- Largely still moe-blob based
+/- Unique elements however don’t feel fully realized
– Throwaway episode at the end
The girls in these types of shows are usually only ankle deep in character. And to be honest, Meirochou doesn’t do anything that different.
Chiya, as the main character/girl of the series, can be summed up in just three words. A feral child. Raised in the woods, Chiya adopts the cheerful genki persona while adding a twist of woodland qualities by consistently showing off animal-like behavior whenever she interacts with the other characters in the series. Her goal in the series is to find her mother, and, as expected of a short adaptation of an on-going series, does not happen. (Gotta keep the readers reading.) Beyond wanting to make friends with everything and trying to find her mom, there’s really not much to say about Chiya. Admittedly the fact that she has a motivation is commendable enough for a character in a moe show, but again, this is a case of “They could’ve done more.”
The other three girls, Kon, Koume, and Nono, can also be summed up in just a few words. The hardworking fox, the witch, and the shy one respectively. All three of these girls bear similar character depth as Chiya, and as far as characterization goes, only goes as far as a backstory to give the audience a little bit of a better understand for as to what is motivating these girls to move forward on their journey to become first rank Uraras. Again, there’s really not much to say here. They’re all cheerful friends with one another as expected, and the show’s lack of conflict or its use of laughably easily resolved conflict in such a bright and cheery show make the viewing experience of these girls surprisingly dull.
The rest of the cast is relegated to the side and feature other girls/women who act mostly as comic relief or unreliable mentor-types to add a little more variety to the character types that we’re given in this show. You have the one who stands up for the law, the yuri fangirls, the one mom who’s a sadist cause why not, and a troublesome teacher. Again, nothing too special and since there’s nothing else worth mentioning for this tiny, tiny paragraph, so we’re going to move onto art.
+/- Typical moe cast
Produced by J.C. Staff, Urara Meirochou has some pretty standard art for the company’s track record. Characters are drawn in your typical cutesy art style, the color palette is bright and shiny to give off that colorful and cheerful feel, and characters are given exaggerated faces complimented with background changes to signify comedy and other moments like those. They also put the characters’ faces dangerously close together so often to the point that I swear they were going to kiss at least once or twice.
While the show’s normal art has nothing too terribly special to mention, Urara has another style situated in the show’s more unsettling moments when they feature the show’s more mysterious component of gods, spirits, and divination. The art for these scenes are done with mesmerizing patterns and unsettling shapes and colors combined with a much darker color palette when compared to the rest of the art that I can’t help but feel like wanting more. It’s not fantastic by art or animation standards, but these scenes really had me intrigued by what this series could’ve done with these concepts. They don’t use this style very often, and I really would’ve loved to see more of this contrast just so the story could’ve had a bit more oomph to its established lore.
+ Contrasted artstyle from its normal art
+/- Rest of the artwork/animation is standard fare
Urara Meirochou was a moe blob that I thought would have potential and was something I saw as something that could be potentially interesting. I was wrong. While there are parts of it that I liked, the show largely didn’t have much of itself to be interesting, and I got bored of it pretty fast. Regardless of how often they weaved the divination concept into the main story, very few things about it stood out to me.
Did I like this series?
I feel neither joy nor sorrow about this series. Meh is about all I can say to explain it broadly. In terms of specifics however, I like Kon as a character. I don’t know why; she was just that one character that I liked. Maybe it’s because I’m a fan of foxes and her entire character is wrapped around that concept (quite literally because her name is the sound that they believe foxes make) and her ribbon is in the shape of fox ears.
What didn’t I like about this series?
In terms of specifics, the two yuri guards that pop in as comic relief. Characters whose entire character revolve around fawning over one character and how great they are shouldn’t even be called people. I hate them and the series would be much better off without them.
Would I recommend this series?
Eh…watch if you want is all I can say. Honestly, the time spent watching this series could be better used on watching something else. Meirochou doesn’t really fulfill any kind of niche that other shows can fill, and you could find most if not all of its elements in other better shows. Is Meirochou a bad show? No. Is it a good show? No. Is it ultimately worth your time? Well, if you ask me, no.