361st G-View: Toji no Miko

Funny thing with this show. I was covering it weekly but suddenly stopped. Not because I lost interest but it was during that point in my blogging career where I slowed down due to personal stuff something that made me very angry at the time. Anyway I binged episodes 9-23 in one day and saw the finale on the day this review was written. Let us find out whether this show was, as our good friend Rory initially thought, a decent romp like Battle Girl High School or Schoolgirl Strikers or something more as we take a look at Toji no Miko.

Toji no Miko Cover.jpg

Alternate Title: Katana Maidens ~ Toji no Miko (English)

Genres: Action, Supernatural.

Number of episodes: 24

G-Rating: 8/10 though some may see it as a 7 or 6.

Plot Summary: Since ancient times, shrine maidens who wield swords have been exorcising “aradama,” strange existences that threaten the human world. These young women who wear school uniforms and a sword are called “Toji,” and they serve as an official unit within the police force as a “special religious service police squad.” The government authorizes the Toji to wear swords and serve as government officials, and the government has set up five schools throughout the country for the girls to attend. In the spring, the five schools send their best Toji to compete in a tournament. As the tournament comes closer, all of the representatives rigorously train themselves in order to get stronger and improve their skills.

 

Kanami and Hiyori fighting an aradama

Kanami and Hiyori facing an aradama.

To answer the above question right away Toji no Miko is indeed something more than previous shows about a group of girls fighting against giant monsters and possibly other swordswomen. Besides the cool sword fights of varying length and occasional monster/aradama slaying there is much more to this show than that. See, it is a show in which its world is filled with a rich history while being set in the modern age. Think of it as a merging of old traditions while also embracing the advancements in technology for the greater good. Going back to the history a lot of it has meaning and plays a role in the story and battles such as the okatana (though the ones relevant to the plot belong to our leading ladies) and the battle auras that protect the Toji from lethal blows so long as they can emit it in battle. Should they be exhausted and can no longer emit the aura the next attack from the opponent could be their last.

Ellen and Kaoru

Ellen and Kaoru. the comedic duo of the group.

Watching the show I felt a similar viewing experience as I did with Tales of Zestiria – The X though I will admit the fights in this show were cooler. What I meant by a similar viewing experience is that the first episode, as indicated in the summary, got right into the action being about a fighting tournament. However, that whole summary…it only applies to the first episode. From the second episode onward the story goes in an entirely different direction that will remind some viewers of the first half of Kill La Kill. Some viewers also recognized elements from Bleach, specifically with Kanami. Then suddenly the story changes yet again when major plot twists are sprinkled into the mix. The best part. All these twists and turns happen in the first half of the show. During the second half it takes its time before getting back to the action and while there are still more  bombshells dropped and surprise moments waiting the second half has a more concrete direction, meaning viewers will have an idea what is going on and what our heroines are fighting for. Another reason I brought up Zestiria – The X was that the show takes its time to set things up. It is not all action. This is more evident early on in the second half but the early parts of the first half also take its time to explain things. Expect a lot of in-depth conversations and strategizing alongside the character development and intense action. It all works and no character feels like they were there just because. Almost every character from both the face and heel side get their time in the spotlight.

Kanami and Hiyori vs Ellen and Kaoru

Sword fights start off short and sweet but in time become longer and more intense.

Let us move on to the action. The duels start off short and sweet similar to real life ones which were confirmed as not being anywhere near as long as ones in anime. Of course as the story progresses and our heroines face stronger foes who do not abide by the one strike rule the duels become much longer, faster and more intense, almost shounen like but with swords instead of fists. Think of some of the duels in Samurai Jack and you will get the idea. Some even surpass the intensity in Samurai Jack while still maintaining the emotional weight in some of them. It is like Kanami said, a great warrior can learn a lot about their opponent in a duel.

Best way I can describe the animation, especially in the longer duels, is it being really flashy. Yes the aradama and much of the combat is in CG so it may be an issue for viewers who have problems with Japanese CGI. I am used to it so it did not bother me. Both because the aradama are more like sub-bosses, meaning fights against them do not last long and there are not that many duels involving aradama beasts. Also the regular duels were flashy enough to keep me satisfied though not everyone agrees. The soundtrack is solid. I enjoy the more Japanese sounding tunes. The OPs and EDs for both halves of the show are fun to listen to.

Kanami and Hiyori on the run

Our leading duo Kanami and Hiyori.

Instead of discussing all the characters let us go over the leading duo. Kanami is the cheerful one of the two. Her defining trait is being a katana nerd, meaning she is familiar with many katana based fighting styles. This is very advantageous to her as her vast knowledge, giving her the ability to analyze opponents’ movements, along with her nearly prodigy like combat skills (There is a reason why she is as good as she is) make her a force to be reckoned with. Think of her as a female Goku (Dragon Ball) except she is capable of balancing her feelings for other people and her obsession with combat without coming off like a douche. Hiyori is the more stoic of the two, dedicated to her mission and not as amicable. Basically Kanami’s Vegeta during the Cell Saga, meaning nowhere near as bloodthirsty but sharing his grumpiness and being easily embarrassed. The rest of the cast, both faces and heels, have their own traits and as mentioned get their time in the spotlight to develop their characters during combat and casual time.

Sayaka left alone

Sayaka. My favorite heroine.

This of course leads to the Yuri goodness. There are several pairings on the show ranging from ones who have some cute moments to others who will make people say “get a room you two”. The most obvious one is KanaYori (Or KanaHiyo. Whatever) along with another cute one. The third pairing are less snuggles so not a ship worthy. In the first half there are some Yuri moments but compared to the ocean that is the second half it is like a drop in a bucket. Basically the Yuri goodness becomes much more apparent during the second half.

Overall Toji no Miko started off like another decent romp starring a large group of combat girls but quickly became much more than that. It takes its time explaining things and developing characters during calm scenes and strategy meeting while going balls to the wall in duels as the story progresses. The cast of characters are all fun on both the face and heel side and are worth cheering and booing respectively with the occasional sympathetic characters. Not sure who to recommend the show to…Umm…Okay. People who like seeing badass girls in badass duels…and are patient. Yes. Let us go with that.

 

 

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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38 Responses to 361st G-View: Toji no Miko

  1. It is very rare that we get an action girls anime, let alone a two-cour one. Not to mention that it has its own mobile game. It was a nice anime with lots and lots of beautiful swordswomen but I wish the quality could have been done better. Also, I wish we can have more anime like this where there are a handful of beautiful mature women.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just realized but do not compare Schoolgirl Strikers and Toji no Miko to Battle Girl High School and Uma Musume just because all four have mobile games of their own. The first two never had and/or prioritize Mr. Self-Insert Guy, at least in their anime. Let us stop pretending that Idolmaster and Uma Musume made yuri great again with their self-insert guy concept, shall we? It is pointless to see them as yuri-friendly when that otaku’s favorite concept is around.

      Like

  2. cirno9fan says:

    It was a very mixed reaction for me. I enjoyed the first cour a lot more than the second cour, but the last quarter of the second cour was really amazing. The Finale was great, but I feel sad that Yukari did ALL THAT, and still got the short end of the stick 😦 Even the woman who made it her life’s mission to ruin everyone’s lives got a better deal…

    I’m not sure the fights were that amazing. I mean, a lot of it was CG fighting, and not excellent CG at that. The yuri was nice, but they didn’t do as much with it as they could have. Should have really.

    I liked it, but I have a hard time recommending it to others.

    They also killed the best character off too soon….

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel you. Yume died too soon. She barely got mentioned in the second half. ;_;

      Liked by 2 people

      • cirno9fan says:

        and just when yomi was starting to get neat, she was killed off too –
        All so the person who made it her life’s goal to ruin everyone’s lives could live, and even get herself a possible ship in the future. Meanwhile, the woman who took on fighting Tagitsu for TWENTY YEARS ALL BY HERSELF….gets nothing. Her ship is destroyed. She’s just kinda alive. Really makes me mad that they actualy built up a decent ship for her finally, and then went and got rid of the woman almost as soon as they did it >
        <

        Like

    • OG-Man says:

      Luckily I was not emotionally attached to that character. Her passing was indeed sad but I did not cry to the heavens over it like many in the fanbase.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jack Cactus says:

    Sorry about the rant but usually I don’t do this out of hate but more out of disappointment.

    Now I don’t hate this anime but I’m incredibly disappointed. It could have been much more with its interesting premise but bad storytelling (with some major continuity errors and plot holes) and poor character development (I’m lookin’ at you Kanami) turned it into a let down. The first half of the anime is rather well done I’d give it to them but the second half felt so rushed that it turned to mess.

    Now, to the thing turned me off for the most part of this anime, the characterization. As I said above, Kanami’s development is decent for a generic action protagonist but if dig deeper, she’s basically a Mary Sue (or should I say Kirito 2.0). Her power and skills are MONUMENTALLY higher than all of the other characters in the show and she did not do anything substantial to earn them. Hiyori’s development is probably best one in the lot of protags with her having a reason to fight and her own moral conviction against the aradama. The rest of the cast is rather bland with some better than others like Kaoru and Sayaka (well, at least her character has potential). Yume on the other hand is a very good example of how they should make characters, she’s objectively the best character in the show because her backstory, her motivation, her ideals,… all are established with a total of around 20 minutes (n it’s done well) and this turn Yume from a character I hate to someone I actually like and respect.

    Another big issue is how the fight scenes worked. Most of the time, battles usually boils down to a wide angle shot with 2 or more ppl slashing eachother with some of the most generic moves ever. Rarely (if any at all) did we get to see the duels from the perspective of the ones involved where they have to predict the opponent’s next moves and calculate the risks of theirs. In short, no tension, no intensity, no nothing and this is unacceptable for an anime with sword fighting as its core.

    However, there is one thing this show does well is the yuri between characters as it grew slowly and steadily. The chemistry of KanaYori is actually good with 2 of them opposing at first only to warm up and love eachother as the show progressed. MaiYaka is probably my favorite because of how cute it is, from an emotionless girl to someone with an actual personality once she found the one she loves. KaoEllen is rather mild with some certain boob jokes but still, I enjoyed them (n they already have a doujin). Now to the couple that I rly like and might be on par with MaiYaka is between a cute red-haired tsundere and a cool girl with bandage handwrap. Everytime I see them in the 2 half of the show, I just wanna scream “Get married already you two”.

    Overall, for me who is someone with outlandishly high in demand, TnM is a huge disappointment because it has SO MUCH potential to be something great but they decided to play it safe along with some meh characterization and bad storytelling, I can’t say it’s in my top 10 this year. But for those who just wanted some cute yuri between the girls, I can’t see why to turn away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      I knew I was right in being uncertain of who to recommend this show to.

      At least your rant was about how you personally disliked the show and didn’t devolve into “Let’s insult people who did like it”.
      You didn’t like it. That’s fine.

      Liked by 1 person

    • EvilZoot says:

      Well kanami was training for hours every night with her legendary mother- I assumed that would make a difference in power levels.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Jesse burnett says:

      I just gotta point out mr. Cactus that having a cool backstory, good reason to fight, and your personal respect, is not what makes a character ‘powerful’. I would imagine training would lol. Im sorry lol, your comment was just too long, to be so silly

      Like

      • Jack Cactus says:

        It would NOT make a character “powerful” but a well thought out and established character, I liked Yume as a character because everything I need to know about her is well established in a short time span but not once did I mention that her character building justified her being powerful.

        Like

  4. Mauron says:

    That was quite a fun show. I liked the fact that we got multi on one fights when appropriate.

    I really liked the seriousness of KanaYori in the end. It’s about time to pick out a mint chocolate wedding cake.

    I was hoping Hiyori’s noro detector would become a cute mascot character. Maybe in the game?

    Hopefully the game gets a translation.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Umu, I liked it too. It was certainly better than Schoolgirl Strikers and Battle Girl High School, as well as way gayer, which are always good things.

    I liked almost all the characters, personally. While I didn’t like Yukina basically all the way through the series, she at least realized that she had done wrong at the end, and I generally prefer the “suffer for your mistakes for as long as you live” approach rather than the “die for your sins” approach (except for extreme cases like Garbage Boy, who can just disappear and never be mentioned again for all I care).

    And while some seem to be upset about Yukari’s ships, personally I didn’t feel the same…but that may be because my ship for her might be entirely different, or I didn’t really strongly have one for her at all.

    And while I liked Yume, I personally felt her story had a pretty fine end. Sure, she could’ve survived like Suzuka and Maki, and become a semi-on the good girl’s side – character, I felt like her story ending there had all the more meaning because it did end there…and also her death influenced Maki and Suzuka a lot to change sides, I think.

    Many Gay Sword-wielding girls were around, but Sayaka needs to confess to Mai already, and SuzuMaki and HiyoKana should just get married ASAP.

    Personally I might’ve liked to see more of Takiri-hime heel-turn have bigger effects later on, like her growing understanding of humans influencing Tagitsu-hime to have a moment of crucial doubt or something. So there were a few things they didn’t remember to follow up on, but I think they did decently enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OG-Man says:

    Yes. It was gayer than the aforementioned two.

    Yukina’s a love-to-hate character because she’s a mean, sadistic crazy lesbian. She learned the hard way that helping an otherworldly being try and consume the Earth…twice wasn’t best idea and paid for it by losing everyone she cared about via being abandoned and one losing her life. Don’t know what you have till it’s gone basically. It sucks but some crimes do not go unpunished. Poor Yomi though. I felt worse for her.

    Yukari had ships? Personally I didn’t ship her with anyone. Unless you meant Yukina.

    Yume was the case of a beloved loli people wanted to see more of passing away early and not wanting to accept her being part of SuzuMaki’s character development, which is what she was. Again I too was saddened by her passing and her backstory was equally sad but I didn’t cry to the heavens over it.

    Precisely. Instead of mourn over/rant about the losses I cherished the surviving couples. All three are adorable and I wish them nothing but the best in their futures together.

    I think they did that with the third princess whose name was hard for me to remember. Princess Takiri was a case of “maybe her change of heart helped Kanami sense Princess Tagitsu’s one wish of curing her boredom or something like that.”

    I know you do not follow wrestling but a babyface/face is a good guy and a heel is a bad guy. Princess Takiri turned face before being consumed by Princess Tagitsu.

    Liked by 2 people

    • cirno9fan says:

      I don’t know, there was this character that was Yukari’s entire reason for not losing herself and letting Tagitsu just take over the world. And Yukari was the entire reason for this character deciding that maybe she had a reason to exist. But sure, no ship for Yukari.

      Like

    • Ah, yes, thanks for correcting me. Haven’t used the term in a while, so it was heel-face turn which was the term I was looking for, I guess here (being a heel and turning to a face).

      I suppose that is one way of thinking about Takiri-hime’s contribution.

      And indeed, I didn’t really personally hugely ship Yukari with anyone either…I just saw the ship other people most likely meant, and also saw another potential ship myself, is all.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. EvilZoot says:

    I actually loved this anime. I’m not sure why so many people down voted it 😦 I mean no, it’s not “Erased” but ffs it wasn’t supposed to be! It was a fun romp. I just wish some kanami x hyori doujin would show up!

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Platon says:

    Another show of this season I fully enjoyed, sword battles were decent, characters had a lot of space to evolve, we had the chance to know them better, but that is the bonus of the show being 24 ep., instead normal 12. The yuri was strong and we could se two strong couples in the last episode and also the progress in both of their relationships. This season is strong for yuri nation, very strong.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. B-M says:

    I love that this was 2 cour! It really got a chance to breathe and all the characters were the better for it. The cast was definitely a strong point for me, and the yuri… man, the yuri!

    KanaHiyo and SuzuMaki essentially sailed. I feel like MaiSaya were close to sailing at the start there but their reduced screen time later kinda reduced their chances, but they still had something nice going. Kaoru and Ellen oddly are the first to have a doujin? Not surprised considering even the game ships them super hard IIRC.

    Gay action girls is my jam so I had a lot of fun with this. It’s really sad it’s all over, but I’m really glad I got to stick with it. It’s hit me with one of my biggest post-anime-depressions in a while.

    My main wish is that it looked better. The fight choreography was superb but idk the whole anime was generally amateurish to look at and had some sloppy art. It didn’t affect my enjoyment too much, but it rarely was a looker. It sounded great, so that’s nice.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Yup. the plot, development, combat and Yuri for the ones who made it through okay were wonderful.
      Admittedly the one woman on the show I was wowed by her appearance was Yukari. Ellen has a nice body but is not a superb blonde bombshell.

      MaiSaya could still work. You never know.
      Ellen X Kaoru I’m guessing are the developers’ favorite duo. It’s cool. One more couple to root for.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. It’s strange… When trying to judge Toji no Miko objectively, I don’t think it can be called a “good show”, especially regarding the plot developments in the second cour. Plus cheap CGI fights, characters sometimes behaving in a way that wasn’t too believable, blah, blah. And Yume, well, yeah, just when it started getting real good, she got killed off despite being far more interesting than quite a few of the others.

    Now, the strange part is this: Even though many parts are seemingly quite bad and I really don’t like CGI fighting scenes, this show still somehow entertained me perfectly well, and I never really felt that I wanted to stop watching (in my 2 day binge). Maybe I just like this kind of all-girls fighting show?! Some of them seem to “just work” for me, even if they have bad parts.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. yurimylove says:

    I see Kaoru has paid attention during history class, and learned by heart Teddy Roosevelt’s motto: “speak softly and carry a big stick.”

    Liked by 2 people

  12. K says:

    This show was really good in the character development department.Sure, some got more than others but to me it felt like no one, good and bad, was neglected throughout the series. With that being said, Hiyori’s character arc was the most defined and it wrapped up in a very satisfying way.

    Also, I totally loved…to hate Yukina. She was just so repugnant and while she didn’t die, having to live with what her foolish actions wrought seems like a better end for me.

    Sayaka’s my fave Toji also. Additionally, MaiYaka resonates with me greatly, not that the other ships are slouches either.

    One thing that jarred me concerns Yume’s death. Before she died, I didn’t really get the impression that she was well liked by the other Imperial Guard members. Heck, I didn’t get the sense of unity between them. After she died however, it was as if they were always on good terms. I guess this was the best they could do due to time restraints.

    Overall, a good show. The sword fights could’ve been better but eh.

    PS: The name of the Great Aradama Yukari was protecting was Princess Ichikishima.

    Liked by 1 person

    • K says:

      Some additional thoughts:

      Yukari’s character arc was also well done. It was nice seeing her make that Heel-Face Turn after the first half ended as well as her struggles and motivations in the second half.

      I really liked how they handled Kanami’s despair for being so strong that most can’t match her. Being lonely at the top doesn’t always have to mean that that person doesn’t have others in their life to care for, after all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • OG-Man says:

        True that. Yukari’s journey of atonement was a nice one.

        Yup. That’s why in most shows whenever someone brings up an MC being a “Gary Stu/Mary Sue” as a complaint I brush it off because there’s more to a character than his/her wining/losing streak. It reminded me of people complaining about KAOS’ many failures despite it being part of her character development and the moral behind her character.

        Like

    • OG-Man says:

      Hiyori’s character arc was one of the best for sure.

      Precisely. Yukina did some bad things and she paid for them. Because of her terrible choices she lost the one person who truly loved her. However, she’s so good at being a meanie and a crazy lesbian (Not Liang Qi level of crazy lesbian) that we couldn’t help but enjoy her craziness.

      Plus Sayaka is SOOOOO CUTE! One day she will properly confess to Mai and be rewarded with an island load of cookies baked with love.

      I rolled with it myself. Wasn’t much of a Yume fan despite feeling sad when she passed away.

      Depends how people feel about Japanese CG. I don’t mind it.

      Too hard for me to remember it.

      Like

  13. Pingback: 363rd G-View: Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online | The Yuri Nation

  14. piano_cello_conducting says:

    I just finished. It’s actually better than the ratings would suggest. While entertaining though, the show suffers from some clumsy directing. Also, while this show had many yuri ships, in terms of yuri I find it only slightly better than other vague all-girl franchises like Nanoha or Love Live.

    And so a slight analysis on the yuri ships (with spoilers of course):
    Maki x Suzuka: They start off unmemorably and then suddenly in the second half Suzuka pushes hard for the ship to sail. Maki responds positively and by the end, they are a truly a canon couple and simply adorable.

    Kanami x Hiyori: While they were clearly hyped from the beginning, I could barely care about them in the 1st 20 episodes since Kanami is too much of a katana nerd and Hiyori is always gloomy. It was only in the last few episodes that the ship started to sail but it was not strong enough to satisfy me.

    Ellen x Kaoru: They clearly act like a married old couple . Not enough affection for me but the closest to a canon admission of love.

    Mai x Sayaka: It started off strong and then the producers seemed to have forgotten about this ship. This was rather disappointing as I really wanted more from this ship.

    Kanami x Mai: It is rather obvious that Mai had a thing for Kanami but gave up when she saw Kanami with Hiyori. It is rather disappointing that they didn’t develop the Mai x Sayaka ship further.

    Yukari x Ichikishima: This was a rather sweet ship but this ship sunk before it could sail far.

    Kanami x Ayumu: Ayumu was a fangirl of Kanami but this ship never really got sailing.

    Yukari x Yukina: Yukina was a rabid fangirl of Yukari but suddenly for no reason Yukina changed her focus later on.

    Kagari x Minato: Eh am I the only way that ships them together?

    Yukina x Yomi: Could actually have worked but….

    Ema x Iroha: Actually I saw them as shippable.

    Yukina x Yuzuki: Only workable ship if there is a new season.

    So overall, there is one really good yuri ship and two passable (but not satisfying enough) yuri ships and a lot of poorly-planned yuri ships that went nowhere.

    Like

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