This is Meirochou (Labyrinth Town), the town of fortune-telling. In town, there is a fortune-telling shop called Urara, where girls aspiring to be fortune-tellers come from all over the country. Chiya, who was raised in the mountains, comes to the town with a purpose, but what is it exactly? There, she meets Kon who is always serious, Koume who loves all things western, and the shy Nono. Their fun days of living together as apprentice fortune-tellers are about to begin.
Why do you watch anime? Think about it for a second. We all have our own reasons to consume media. Different people will have different reasons but at the end of the day each of us has our own reason for watching anime. While entertainment is the main point of media like anime, for me it's more than just that. There are many things that I can do that are entertaining. For example shitposting is entertaining. But is it fulfilling? No, not really. Video games can be entertaining (Although they've fallen out of favor for me.), so if entertainment was the goal why not play
one of those. For me, that would be board games. I love the challenges and strategies that are present in board games, and I personally find them entertaining. So if entertainment is the goal, then why anime specifically?
This is why shows like Konosuba end up getting 7's for me. They are funny and entertaining but the enjoyment ends once the episode does. And while that is worthwhile, I want something more. I feel like the unique experience that animation can bring is the ability to be sucked into a world and learn to love and care for those that inhabit it. There is richness in finding something that is loveable, something that doesn't just live in the experience but something that can be taken away from it. I feel like out of everything fiction is what best does that. And so when I deal with fiction, that is what I look for. Something that I can love completely. Something that makes me want to see every bit and moment of it. Something I can rewatch over and over again. Something where not only do I love the characters but I also have the characters play out in my mind doing random things.
Why do I tell you this? Because that is exactly what Urara was to me. Something that not only made me eagerly wait for each episode so I could watch in and see the characters I loved so much but something that made me want to think about it in my mind. Create works of it with what tools I could, and gush about it whenever and whatever I could. It's exactly what I wanted. But what makes it so good? Everything.
Characters and character interactions I would say are the most important part of CGDCT shows. How is one supposed to enjoy the cute things that the cute girls are doing if the characters aren't likeable? Furthermore character interactions is what helps supply the cuteness that makes these shows work so well. A CGDCT without interesting or likeable characters or with bad character interactions is going to be bad. So it's important that Urara does characters well. And it does!
Our cast has quite a variety to it and while the girls may skate near common tropes they all have their own character traits that keep them away from being another iteration of those tropes. We have Chiya who is one of the funnest characters to get to watch. Despite being a feral child she's surprisingly wise about some things, as well as being a complete and total sweetheart. At heart she is a feral child but she has her own fun quirks to her. The most notable one is that she loves bellies. She loves them a lot and likes to bring them up as much as possible. She also tends to be endlessly positive and sweet. That doesn't stop her from having some insecurities though. Despite all her kind words and her acceptance of others. She has a reluctance to make herself vulnerable which adds another layer of interest to her, giving more depth to her character.
Kon is the character that I would say is the most interesting. At first glance she seems like a character modelled in the line of Mio from K-On! And she is, however she has her own depth and peculiarities to her that make her fun and unique. One interesting point about Kon is that while she certainly tries hard and does her best to study as much as possible she isn't portrayed as much smarter than the rest of the cast. Often times she'll fall into the same pitfalls that the rest of them do. Rather her skill and knowledge is from dedication through and through.
Koume is the fun girl of the cast and overall I have a hard time pinning her down into any bracket. I guess mostly she is a tease and a Frenchaboo taken in via Marie's influence. She's not exactly a genki girl, that's more Chiya, but she does fit more onto the happy side. She's also quite interested in beauty despite being the one of the cast most interesting in eating sweets. Out of the cast she's the one I have the least of a handle on, although that's not due to any fault of her own. She does try hard herself despite trying to have fun when she can
Nono at first glance seems like a typical shy girl. She even spends the first half of the episode hiding behind her big sister. Given how shy characters in media are treated, she could have been yet another one of many shy characters whose main problem is not being social with others. These plots have been done over and over again almost repeated word for word. The shy character wants to have friends or get farther in life but they lack the courage, so the main characters work to give the shy character the push that they needs to be out in front. So of course Urara decides to... not do that at all. In fact, Nono's main development and push comes from the fact that she wants to be self-sufficient. It would be easy to rely on her friends to give her that push to be better. But instead most of her problems have to deal with her removing herself from the shadows of those around her and being truly by herself. It's a noble and interesting path of development for her, and it does also tackle the fact that she is shy. But that shyness is not treated as the only part of her character or even the main hurdle. This sets her character and development apart from others in a similar ilk.
The character interactions are a big highlight of the series. One thing I enjoyed from this show is how much the main cast cares about each other and the things that they're willing to do for each other. Take Chiya and her belly exposing habit. Most people would look down at her for doing that and call her a weird pervert. Judging from my high school experience she would be mocked totally and completely. And as seen in episode 1 they too think this trait is weird, and yet they embrace it. Sometimes they'll make a light little joke about it like Koume does at the beginning of episode 2. Or sometimes they'll reveal their own bellies as if that would be what Chiya does. They embrace the trait even though it's somewhat weird and out there, which shows a lot about their character. While a show could have gone for the route of making that characters trait into a joke for the other characters to laugh at, this show has the characters embrace it and take it into their own. In itself its already heartwarming to see these girls all with different backgrounds accepting each other for who they are and how they act even if they might not be normal. It's one of the great pleasures I got from this show.
Note there is some nice yuri undertones as well, leading to hints towards some powerful relationships, but that all comes later in the series.
As you can see, the characters are great. But characters aren't everything, what about the plot. Now you might be asking yourself, plot? What's a plot? This is is a CGDCT show there isn't supposed to be any plot! But guess what there is a plot, and it's executed wonderfully.
Urara revolves the four girls trying to become top ranking urara or diviners. This is a nice little plot that makes clear the motivations of the characters but yet also doesn't overshadow the tone of the show. Because the show is primarily about the fun things the girls do together it's good to have a plot that while there isn't taking up all the space and time but also provides a template for where the show is going, as well as a goal to strive for.
The way this is executed in my opinion is brilliant. Most of the episodes are those of the variety that would be light and fluffy. They don't have much plot dependence and for the most part they show the good times that the girls all have together. Sometimes a bit of key information will be leaked but the tone of these parts always stays on the fluffy side. These episodes give us the nice pleasant atmosphere that we are used to from CGDCT shows. The characters interact with each other, play off of each other. They learn about themselves and others, as well as study up on how to be better uraras.
But remember how I mentioned the plot? It's not just a book opener and a book ender. It's there for a reason. There are mysteries that lie beneath the show with regards to Chiya. Leaving a vile of intrigue under the wraps the show. There are several episodes where the struggles of the characters and more deeper issues come to the forefront. There are heartwarming moments between the characters due to the things that happen to them. Urara strikes the delicate balance between being lighthearted and having substance in it. For me it hits right into the sweet spot. It has just enough emotional moments and depth to be substance full yet it has enough playful times and fun bonding that makes it lighthearted and comfy. This allows the best of both worlds, both a deeper presence in the show but also the fun happy times that strike joy into one's heart. It's a mix that I find few shows are able to pull off well, and certainly most shows don't pull it off as well as Urara does. The pacing between these elements are also key. The more intense moments don't come out of nowhere. They are there for a reason and when watching it's clear why. Also it has a baseline of the happy moments so that one doesn't need to worry about the mysteries while the girls are having a fun time. Rather they are dealt with when they are needed to, which I feel like is the best wy to do this. It represents life and going through life in a balanced manner. Yes there are problems, and there are going to be bigger things that happen especially when they have such lofty goals. But there are also lots of fun times. And usually if things are good those fun times will be most of the times. And that's how it is here. It's a very nice balance.
I also want to note that the plot itself (being the best Urara), and some of the more god based mysteries seems a bit shounen-esk. Personally, I like this mixture as it makes the show a bit more original and adds a nice flavor. I'm not a fan of shounen in general but I do like bits and pieces of it. So when some bits and pieces of it is added into a nice comfy show well it enhances the show. It's nice to have tropes and stylings taken from multiple genres imo, and I always do enjoy when a show is willing to borrow across like that rather than stick to what is most commonly found in the genre.
I would like to sidestep for a moment and talk about fanservice. Fanservice is not always a liked thing in anime and some people are turned off by it. Because of this I'm sometimes hesitant to talk about the fanservice that is in Urara. But I would like to be complete in this so I will note there is fanservice. And guess what? It's not just that there is fanservice, but it's excellently done fanservice.
What do I mean by that? Well, two things. First off most of the fanservice that is there is the natural kind. What is the natural kind? Take your average show with fanservice. How do they get there? There are common fanservice tropes like the accidental pervert, who'll trip onto some girls boobs, or the type where the camera magically tilts towards the girl's panties. These are what I'd call unnatural fanservice. IT's hard to imagine them happening in real life, and rather they feel forced into the narrative in order to provide something that would give the audience a rise. In Urara that is not the case for the most part. In fact most of the fanservice is caused by the girls themselves, and in most cases Chiya.
Chiya loves bellies. She loves them a lot Sometimes, she tries to do things to expose other's bellies. She also doesn't like clothes and sometimes makes innocent mistakes when she tries to check for tails. It's easy to see where some of these fanservice elements can arise from. And while they might not be what everyone wants to see, they are true to her character. Every one of her fanservice moments I can point out why she did what she did. It may not be what everyone would do. No, it most certainly wouldn't be but Chiya is Chiya, and that's fine. Furthermore, the other girls can help at times too. Whether it be them teasing each other or just having fun in general, the atmosphere that I get from these moments are ones that are fun more than anything. And the funness of those situations make as a viewer happy. It's what they want to do and how they choose to play around at times; I personally find nothing wrong with that. Sure sometimes there are sneaky crabs but for the most part it's the girls being themselves, and I like that.
The second reason I'd say Urara's fanservice is good is because it's original. There's lots of belly fanservice due to Chiya's quirk. But guess how much belly fanservice there usually is? Not much. Urara decides to go for its own unique corner to the fanservice and that I find it something much more respectable. Even if one doesn't like fanservice, I think one could appreciate they're at least doing something unique with it, as well as having it fit in with the characters, rather than it be the endless amounts of accidental perverts.
The sound quality of Urara is also top notch. The OST is solid and it's rare that the music doesn't match the mood. The Voice Actors shine in the show. The VA's of Chiya and Nono did a great job with giving them distinctive voices. It's easy to tell when they're talking since they sound so different. Nono's shy squeaky voice perfectly matches her character while Chiya's soft and soothing voice matches the kind personality that she radiates. The voices match so well and are so unique that it adds an extra layer to it. It's rare that I find voices that match so perfectly but for the case of Chiya and Nono they absolutely nailed it.
The art as well is a delight to see. The animation isn't the most technical or impressive but it fits well with the mood of the show. For example, the little chibi faces that they use may be a way to cut corners but they are cute and get across the feeling from the show. The backgrounds are often nicely done and add to the soft atmosphere that it has. The art is especially notable whenever they go into the mystical events of the show. The color choices during them and the execution of them make them such wonders to watch. The palettes use a mixture of soft but notable colors never stoking too far to go out of the boundaries. They capture that feel of mystery and supernatural in a way I feel like other shows don't.
That was a lot to cover. I usually don't do reviews this way. I tend to focus on everything that seemed notable to me. So then why did I try to write about everything. Well silly, it's because EVERYTHING SEEMED NOTABLE TO ME! That's just how good this show is. Characters, story, pacing, writing, sound, art everything fits together so well creating its own original little show. I never felt like Urara was like anything else, that may be due to my limited experience but it felt fresh and fun.
To be fair I tried to talk about the more objective components of why I liked this show. I also just want to note that this show was very much catered to my taste. I am biased and it's important that you're all aware of that. I still do think this show is masterfully done but it is a show that very much aligns with my interests.
It's been a while since I've been this excited each and every week for the newest episode. The last show I can think of that did that happens to be my favorite show of all time. I love everything about this show. And now that it's over I can make it official. Urara Meirochou is my 2nd favorite anime.
There’s no questioning how popular the cute girls doing cute things genre is and I can see why, for some people (me included) it is a very effective way to relax. Due to this popularity, many series of this genre exist out there, most them having a twist or two to differentiate themselves from each other but still having the same core. However, Urara Meirochou not only adds twists to differentiate itself from others, but it also takes the existing mold and adds a lot more to it.
Urara Meirochou takes place in a traditional Japanese town of fortune tellers (uraras) called Meirochou, where the four
main characters have recently started their studies to become top uraras. During this series we see all the adventures and trials these girls go through as we follow the journey these four girls go through to achieve their goals.
Despite having a plot, this series is still a cute girls doing cute things anime at its core. Through-out the series the girls go on a little adventure and have cute and funny interactions with their surroundings, each other and other characters, things you would typically expect from a work of this genre. To make itself not stale, this series uses its setting as a major part of its events to make them more unique (such as fortune telling and working at a shop of magical items). Another aspect of this series is that it banks on its cuteness, which makes this not so much super funny (although there are still a lot of funny moments) but it allows it to be endearing and fun to watch. While it is fun and endearing to watch, the setting alone isn’t enough to make the events unique enough to separate itself from other shows of this genre, but luckily this isn’t the only angle this anime uses. Despite this not being the most plot tight series in the world, the plot itself is not an afterthought as it plays a major role in why this series is good. Although the plot is simple, what it does is it gives these characters’ goals that they want to achieve. This combined with the characters motivations creates a lot of heartwarming and emotional moments which are probably the best parts of this show and what truly separates it from other shows of this genre.
The characters themselves are perhaps the best aspect of this show. For a series in its genre, the characters of the main cast have a surprising amount of depth. On the surface, the main cast is nothing special, each one has a personality that one could expect from any series of this genre with one or two unique facets. However, it doesn’t just stop there with the characters, instead every member of the main cast is expanded upon. Each one of the four girls have their own motivations and is given a back story which is explored somewhat extensively, which not only explains the girls’ unique facets in their personality (such as Koume’s interest in the European life style) but it also what helps make these heartwarming and emotional moments so impactful. The supporting cast is nothing too special (as they don’t really get a lot of screen time) but they do play their part in making this series as fun as it is, which is honestly all I can ask of a supporting cast of a series of this nature.
Usually, a series in the cute girls doing cute things slice of life genre will have to rely a lot on character interactions as that is what most of this genre is about and this show delivers on that pretty well. Not only do the characters have great chemistry, they play off each other well, and as the series goes on we get to see the bond between these girls only get stronger. However, one weakness this show does have is it over uses Chiya a bit, most of the heartwarming moments that include character interactions include Chiya and it would have been nice to see more of the other characters in these moments to see the strengthening of the bonds between the others of the main cast. There also is a lot of yuri subtext, (which is very common in this genre these days) and this series executes on this aspect well as it does increase chemistry between characters. However, while I do think most fans of this genre enjoy that or are indifferent to it, this could also be a turn-off to some people.
The production values of this show, while it’s nothing spectacular, are better than average. The art style is very simple but it fits the cute style of the show and the color palette while being very light and having a very wide range of colors, is not over-saturated, instead the colors are very easy on the eyes which does enhance the viewing experience. The opening and ending are what one would typically expect with the opening being sung by the main cast and both songs fitting the series well, but not being anything too special. The background music, while not being anything too complex, was more than just the simple music you typically hear, some of the compositions are actually quite lengthy with multiple instruments and they all enhance the mood of each scene. The voice actors were pretty impressive in their roles, not only did their voice fit their characters but they also nailed how the characters would sound like in emotional moments, one example being was when Kon was crying, not only did her voice actor nail how a crying person would sound when they talked, she also nailed how they would sound when they are breathing.
In a sea of cute girls doing cute things anime, Urara Meirochou is definitely one of the better ones. In addition to being cute and endearing, the characters have depth and it is littered with heartwarming moments. While it is nothing ground breaking it executes well on all the main aspects of a series in its genre has and adds more to it.
We have quite a few Slice of life anime aired this season and one of them is Urara Meirochou. A 12 episode series about a girl named Chiya arriving at the Labyrinth City in which her main objective is to find her mom who is living in the city and rising through the ranks of Urara.
The episode started off well with the introduction of the four main characters and their main purpose of why they are in Labyrinth City. With the all the episodes being aired, it’s great that the girls has been adapting to the city quite well and are aiming to get
to the first district through challenges they're facing throughout the series, even passing one of the promotional test. As far as i could see, the series plot line is not too complex to understand as the story would continue where it left from the last episode. Sadly, as most anime has an episode limit cap (usually 12 to 13), the viewers didn’t have the chance to see the girls background though they did talk about it briefly, even finding Chiya’s mom is rather ended as cliffhanging, but at least there is hints given of how Chiya’s mom look like and her name of course. There would always be manga to continue where the episode left off so it’s a plus. The addition of comedy scenes is a plus sign to encourage the viewers to see more.
The studio that handles Urara Meirochou is JC Staff, the studio famous for producing ToraDora and Little Busters series. It's been a while since they produced a series with 4 girls since 2011 which is Joshiraku. Nevertheless, still quite impressed with the animation and character design of Urara Meirochou, very cute indeed. Background designs aren't that too saturated and there aren't any animation loopholes.
P.S Koume kinda look like Nico from Love Live. +1
The OP Song is very catchy and cute at the same time, love to listen it again. The ED song is also good to listen, match with the series genre. The seiyuus that are voice acting the four main characters are decent and has professionalism feel in it though they are not really well known and maybe new to the seiyuu industry, however they still did their job well and could have potential in getting more roles in the future, not much of a horrible or awkward voices heard throughout the series. Kon’s VA is pretty good at changing behaviours from being a playful vampire girl to obedient fox girl. JC Staff is decent in choosing their seiyuus.
The characters in this series are really proactive and very eager to take challenges on what they are facing ahead of them, Chiya is considerably known for her playfulness and cuteness and mysterious (?), she tend to try to cheer up people who are in deepshit or really having a hard time. And is also cute that she tend to show her belly as a way to apologize people. Kon, one of my favorite girl for the series, not only because of how stunning she is when Koume tease fully wear sexy clothes which really match her doe, is due to her maturity and the leadership she had which she is potential for leading the team and getting the first rank urara. I love how shy she is when she being appraised on. Koume, due to the fact she look like Nico, couldn’t think but to call her Nico because of her hair style. She also has the ‘never give up’ motto which motivate the girls to work hard. Nono, well she’s quite cute, I couldn’t resist seeing her cute pity face. Overall, what I like the most about this girls are teamworking and also the ‘no man left behind’ first is what made me like this show, there are characters development in it and the background stories of them but with only brief brief explaination.
I've enjoyed watching this show though not many people are anticipating on it as I've would like to know how the four girls would achieve in getting the first district and of course Chiya's main objective of finding her mom. Even tho, the series ended up short on the current manga, I still enjoy watching Urara Meichorou as in addition with that is the slice of life and comedy genre and how funny and cute the girls are.
It’s sad that the series wouldn’t get a second season however, the staff and the studio of the anime has done well to deliver a decent anime that is focusing more onto the girls everyday lives and challanges they're facing. Hence, I would recommend to viewers who are typically more into SOLs and the less intense type of genre, this would suit you and would fill up your spare time.
Hence to conclude, it’s a pretty decent anime with good deliverance for the viewers to watch, least JC managed to take a rest from doing ecchi intense genre for a while.
So another slice of life comedy anime with cute girls doing cute things done by JC Staff?, LA's in!
So for this kind of anime, the premise is very simple, of Chiya voiced by Sayaka Harada wanting to find her mother in the town of Meirochou, a fortune telling town where girls aspire to the be the best urara, she along with three others meets Chiya to be the best urara and for Chiya to find her mother.
Let's talk about Urara Meirochou's character shall we?. Well let's start with Chiya, the main protagonist, she the wild card of the group, hyper genki
and tons of yuri undertoned moments all due to her experience in the wild, able to talk to animals, she is actually one of LA's favourite characters in the anime, mainly because she for one, gets the group together, her genkiness is NOT annoying for a main protagonist and her central focus of finding her mother comes into play and although some people might think her plotline in finding her mother gets "serious & dark" to say the least bringing in the mood shift at times, but for an anime about fortune telling and "predictability", Chiya's mother plotline is unpredictable to say the least and keeps you on your toes. Kon Tatsumi voiced by Kaede Hondo is the strict yet motherly type and has an affiliation with kitsune (it's in her name!) and she's quite easily the innocent fanservice girl of the group, she more or less keeps everyone else in line (usually Chiya and Koume) thus she's usually the tsukommi in the comedic stance. Next is the aforementioned Koume Yukimi voiced by Yurika Kubo, an outgoing girl affiliated with witchcraft and along with Chiya is the more "rambunctious" of the group and because of that she's usually the boke at times but can occasionally be the tsukommi if only for character jabbing. Finally for our main cast is Nono Natsume voiced by Haruka Yoshimura, the younger sister to Nina voiced by Ai Kayano, the main cast's urara teacher, Nono is the extremely shy one and her wanting to be a urara is so that she can better herself out of her shy persona (typical)...she was LA's least favourite character because of this. The other characters include Nina, Saku Iroi voiced by Ayaka Suwa, the Captain of the patrol unit of Meirochou and is the target of affection of her deputies Ooshima voiced by Yuka Takakura and Shiozawa voiced by Hitomi Sasaki and Saku and Nina have some yuri undertones from time to time just like the main cast's chemistry...as for Saku with Ooshima and Shiozawa it's pretty much blatant.
LA will say this easily but if an anime like this doesn't have good character chemistry it fails, however this anime from the main cast to it's minor cast have VERY much a strong chemistry with one another be it character-wise or in the comedic stance. On speaking of which...
The comedy is very much character jabbing punchlines to some blatant yuri undertoned punchlines for the most part, but the characters themselves really work in the comedic moments quite well, even if some of the comedic moments have the characters go through some fanservice, the fanservice is light but instigates the yuri alarm bells quite a lot for that kind of fanservice either way.
In terms of animation by JC Staff, the animation is expected to be moe as hell, but the animation utilized many other styles such as using pastel or watercolored backgrounding here and there to make the anime vibrant and lively to say the least even making the character designs look polished and expectedly moe. Expected that the comedic moe moments have chibi/chibi face for expressions here and there as well. JC Staff may have done lots of animes for Winter 2017, and LA can easily see where they are dedicating the most in animation in Urara Meirochou. Very well done animation for JC Staff, even for a slice of life 4-koma anime adaptation.
In terms of voice acting, the acting ranges from squeaky as hell to acceptably moe and that range respectively goes...Haruka Yoshimura to Sayaka Harada. LA really had a problem with Haruka Yoshimura as her level of "squeak" is prevalent and permanent to the point LA got struck with diabetes whenever Haruka spoke, but her moeness somehow kept her vocals in check to the point of NOT being annoying. Kaede Hondo and Yurika Kubo did acceptable enough but LA's favourite voice actor goes to Sayaka Harada as Chiya, her moeness and genkiness were balanced enough to never be annoying and LA found her genki cadence smooth yet wild making her rather unpredictable thus expanding her range...especially for a recently rookie seiyuu.
Like the town of Meirochou, like the urara who wants to be the best, Urara Meirochou as a slice of life comedy anime with cute girls wanting to be the best fortune tellers, this slice of life anime may have the trappings of it's genre, but it has an unpredictability factor with it's main protagonist and us wanting to find more about Chiya's mother being the central focus and sure the anime "might" have some filler episodes in the form of one-shot lessons about fortune telling, but this being an anime ABOUT fortune telling, it's not necessarily filler not to mention we get some insight to the main cast and as to why they want to even become urara in the first place!. If you need a slice of life comedy, a breather anime let alone one of the "cutest" animes from Winter 2017, then LA will easily recommend Urara Meirochou. JC Staff is getting a rather massive streak in making decent slice of life comedy animes as LA writes this review and Urara Meirchou is no exception...