Fuzuchi Kuraki is a quiet young high school student blessed with immense psychic powers and an ancient sword. He is searching for other magical artifacts with the help of Nanachi Takeo, a college student with latent powers of his own. They delve deep into the dark magic of Izumo, only to discover the secrets buried within the birthplace of all Japanese mythology.
No review at all for this? That seems slightly undeserved - it is not that bad after all.
Eight Clouds Rising or Yakumo Tatsu is a short 2 episode OVA which is based on a manga of Natsumi Itsuki (some might be familiar with her as the creator of the rather popular Hanasakeru Seishounen which was written before Yakumo Tatsu). The manga was serialized from 1992 to 2002 by Hakusensha in the shoujo magazine LaLa. Additionally it was published in 19 single volumes in Japan. The OVA covers only the storyline up to chapter 3 of volume 2 of the manga.
This explains why the OVA will
leave you with the feeling that you just watched the introduction to an epic story - the prologue to something bigger and more complex. No use in trying to find the continuation though, nothing more got animated. Who knows, maybe a follow-up project was planned but never saw the light of day?
Story (might contain minor spoilers):
The story revolves around two young men: 20 year old college student Takeo Nanachi living a perfectly normal life in Tokyo and Kuraki Fuzuchi, who is the 16 year old son of the head priest (or rather shaman) who oversees the shrine of a Sword God somewhere (presumably) in the Shimane prefecture.
Nanachi's family is in possession of an old ceremonial sword left by his dead grandfather, who was a renowned swordsmith. For some reason or other his dad has asked him to get the sword purified. So Nanachi grabs the sword and takes it along while going on a trip with the college theater group to a village in the mountains. Obviously he was told that purifying the sword was possible by visiting a shrine in the vicinity. His arrival at the shrine coincides with the first day of a festival which is held there every 49 years. Upon reaching the festival grounds he gets to see a dance of purification performed by a priestess of the shrine.
When Nanachi and a friend make their way back to the house of the Fuzuchis, where the group is supposed to stay over night as guests, they meet Yasuko, the daughter of the house. Yasuko looks like the priestess they just watched but after inquiring they get the surprising answer that the "priestess" is actually Yasuko's brother Kuraki. Kuraki is supposed to follow in his father's footsteps as shaman as well as becoming the 15th master of a special sword technique practiced by the Fuzuchi.
In the course of the story Nanachi becomes involved in Kuraki's family business and is suddenly confronted with supernatural powers, evil spirits, tragic clan feuds, shamanism and mysterious memory flashes from the past.
I have some complaints here. The character design is quite pleasing to the eye in a generic pretty-boy way - expect lots of sparkly eyes. The backgrounds look detailed and colorful, the animation is fluid, though it is nothing to write home about. The creators make heavy use of panels with only the camera panning or zooming in, which results in lifeless action scenes that fail to wow the viewer.
The (not bad at all) score by musician/composer Hajime Mizoguchi consists of unobtrusive classical tunes performed by the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra. The ED is an instantly forgettable and unsuitable J-Pop song.
Daisuke Namikawa (Nanachi) and Tomokazu Seki (Kuraki) portray the two main characters convincingly. I did not listen to the English dub, so I cannot comment on it. The background and environmental noises are clear and distinct.
In a nutshell:
The OVA offers a glimpse of plot that has the potential to become something interesting but then ends abruptly with only an unsatisfying closure. The watcher is left with the sensation that the really enthralling parts would have started right after the end of the second episode. Although the story feels too rushed, the anime manages to give a good outline to the main characters who, alas, have the tendency to throw angsty fits at the worst possible moment. The anime succeeds in establishing a moody and mysteriously supernatural atmosphere. There is no clear evidence in the OVA whatsoever, but the way the characters interact leaves a vague shounen-ai feel.
If you have an hour of free time with nothing else to do, why not grab some peanuts, your favorite beverage and watch this?
Might appeal to someone who enjoyed X, Mirage of Blaze or Amatsuki