It’s time for some Winter 2018 First Impressions! Well, it’s better late than never, right? This time, I’m kicking things off with Toji no Miko – an action fantasy show that is a Studio Gokumi (Tsurezure Children, Kiniro Mosaic) original.
An evil creature named Aratama is attacking people and a group of Miko (shrine maidens) have been exorcising this creature using the power of swords since ancient times. Those who wear uniforms and wield swords are called Toji, officially called Tokubetsu Saishi Kitoutai (Special Ritual Maneuver Team) within the police and are officially approved to wield swords by the government. The government has established five training schools for female students to attend where they spend their student life normally, but use their special skills and swords to help protect people. During the spring, these schools are all invited to take part in a competition. Toji no Miko follows the story of Etou Kanami and her passion for sword-fighting.
The synopsis definitely doesn’t exactly cover any sort of refreshing ground. We have a show where girls fight apparently random things for random reasons most seasons. And yes, like every other show of this type, they do in their school uniforms. Of course. What other outfits would they wear for battling, hm? So Toji no Miko hasn’t exactly done anything out of the ordinary just yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bad show.
The first episode sees the military absolutely struggling to either detain or kill what I presume to be Aratama, relying on school girls (who I presume to be the Toji) to delay the Aratama in attacking and killing any more people than I assume it already has. Admittedly, it’s not the best of openings considering the amount of specialist vocabulary it throws in straight away and it’s all quite confusing, but I liked it. I was keen on knowing how the Toji were going to handle Aratama, watching them using their swords and I was hoping that these first few minutes would give me insight into this show. I was to be disappointed. Sure, it gave you a battle scene straight away, but I wanted context. Lots of context. Why? Because the first episode gets more and more confusing as time goes on.
We then meet the protagonist – Kanami – and her classmate Mai, who spend an awful lot of time together as they make their way into the national tournament of this sword-fighting malarkey. I’m assuming this is the tournament mentioned in the synopsis, but it’s not really explained in the episode what the tournament is actually for. Honour? Money? Who knows? All I know is that the competition isn’t exactly great for Kanami and there’s a rather ominous figure overlooking it all.
Toji no Miko doesn’t just stick to one style of sword-fighting. Oh no. Be prepared to learn all you need to know about Japanese sword-fighting styles and the jargon surrounding it. There aren’t many explanations regarding these, however (at least in the first episode), so I definitely recommend perhaps looking things up if you’re as interested as I am. I’ve always been interested in sword-fighting in entertainment since I was younger watching fantasy shows on the BBC and since then, I’ve been a sucker for a sword fight scene. Hopefully with Toji no Miko, I’ll be able to fill the sword-fighting void that I’ve had for a while now. There’s one thing for sure, if the show continues and explains what the ending to Episode 1 is all about and has a reasonable explanation, then maybe this show won’t be as bad as people currently think…