Jan 2, 2022
Although it is rife with cliches and cheesy dialogue, P-hyoro Ikka is fun to watch, and reminds me of Ghost Hunt and Ronin Warriors, with a bit of Bubblegum Crisis mixed in.
This 3-episode OVA is about the four Shinohara siblings, who are actually the "P-hyoro" family, monk-like guardian deities with supernatural powers. They receive requests from clients to perform exorcisms and the like. There is an overarching plot developing with a man and a woman who are in another realm and have connections to the siblings, but these connections remain unexplained. (The woman, Yogi, looks a lot like a grown-up Youko from Genmu Senki Leda,
by the way.)
The show has a mix of supernatural, mystery, horror and comedy elements. At times, the cheesy dialogue coupled with the Rose of Versailles-esque character designs (same character designer) makes some scenes particularly ridiculous. The plot progression can be a bit jumbled and deus ex machinas abound, but the episodes are enjoyable enough if you don't think too hard about it. But unfortunately, just when the overarching plot is starting to come into play, the series abruptly ends.
Music- and sound-wise, the opening is an upbeat tune, but isn't all that memorable. The visuals mainly show the 4 siblings posing and turning towards the camera, and it's kind of silly. The ending is a rather generic instrumental electro-synthpop number with images of Yogi posing in various positions for whatever reason. As for the voice acting, the main character, Kyota, is voiced by Kazuki Yao, who is ever-present in these '80s OVAs, and a lot of other popular '80s voice actors are in this one as well, such as Keiko Toda, Miina Tominaga and Kaneto Shiozawa. The voice acting is decent, but rather uninspired and not easily distinguishable from other works these actors are in. Also, in the first episode, one of the side characters has an absolutely hilarious voice that just doesn't fit the character and made me burst out laughing when I first heard it.
As for animation, the characters look like they come straight out of Rose of Versailles, but it works somehow. So the art is good. The animation is mostly fluid, but there are a few instances in which characters speak but their mouths don't move, and there are a few recycled scenes (like when the siblings show up to exorcise a demon). A warning to the photosensitive out there -- there are some flashing lights, but the scenes they get used in are predictable, so it's not too much of an issue.
Overall, I found myself enjoying this short series more than I thought I would. I liked the character designs, and thought the siblings' interactions with one another were heartwarming. Even though the series was only 3 episodes, I was able to sympathize with the characters, and I was left wanting to know more about the siblings' pasts and who the pink-haired woman and blue-haired guy are to them. As of this writing, the manga in its entirety (including the two sequel series) is available for free, legally, online (in Japanese), so I guess that's where I'm heading to find out what happens next in the story.
Worth a watch!
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