The Taishou era didn't end in 15 years, but went on for another 25. In order to protect her waning family, a girl resolves to marry a man she doesn't even know the name of. However, just before the marriage was to take place, the girl's younger brother mysteriously committed suicide by self-immolation and was found holding an old book in his hands. Appearing before the bewildered young girl was the "Imperial Library Intelligence Asset Management Bureau," more commonly referred to as "Fukurou." According to these men, there exists "Maremono," which are books that greatly affect their readers. On top of that, ever since the incident involving the girl's younger brother, she unwittingly gains the ability to see "Auras" (the sentiments of the Maremono which manifest as bright lights and are usually invisible to humans). It was as though fate were trying to drag the young girl in its flames. And then, even though apprehensive, the girl chooses to venture outside her bird cage. Jealousy, hatred, scorn, compassion, and love. What awaited the girl was the darkness of betrayal that had already begun to bewitchingly inlay the imperial capital. Toyed by and swayed within that darkness, will the young girl finally reach the truth after her struggles, or...?
“It is the 25th year of the Taishou era (in an alternate setting that’s similar to real-life happenings), where a girl, once caged, has decided to fly out of her comfort zone. With all that’s happening, and a slight twist of fate, this is the story of Kuze Tsugumi and her encounter with cursed tomes, a man-made phenomenon that only the handful could see that strikes the Imperial Capital without question and joins an organization to rid of the tomes that held her life hostage.”
At the heart of it all, Nil Admirari no Tenbin: Teito Genwaku Kitan (or The Scales of Nil Admirari ~The Mysterious
Story of Teito~) is a visual novel, otome-game, but don’t let the entire setting fool you that it’s the typical otome style show, because it doesn’t present itself as is, and as a guy, I do appreciate this show becoming something more special at the same time.
If you haven’t known about it yet, Nil Admirari no Tenbin plays a lot of history, replicating the settings of a bygone-era (the Taishou era) where democracy in Japan is just starting to be taken over from old political statuses of power, nobility and the like. And much of it plays out in the characters that are borne out of this situation. Kuze Tsugumi is the equivalent of a family generational noble-class family, that has started to fall from greatness from politics in the country, such as her role to be married that sets off the catalyst for what is about to happen to her own brother, who tried to commit the mysterious suicide that is through cursed tomes, hand-written books that display the affections of the writers it originates from, to suck its victims into the vortex of suicide. And due to such incidents, she is then referred to the Imperial Library Intelligence Asset Management Bureau (or Fukurou for short), an organization that’s dedicated to finding out the true meanings of the cursed books that cause people to wreak havoc, and with her abilities to see the cursed tomes, sets off at the later point, a pivotal and political shift against powers and humanity.
It is there that she faces the team of boys that are responsible and hold much regard to solving the various cases of the cursed tomes:
Hayato Ozaki, presumably the main hero to the heroine, standing up for justice as the leader of Fukurou. He poses a no-nonsense attitude and will go to lengths to help protect anyone that is in the line of danger.
Akira Kougami, who seems like the mysterious person, but still takes his work very seriously, and will try to draw lines between him and his relationship with the rest of the cast.
Hisui Hoshikawa, the boy with the duo-colored eyes, even though his looks may pass off that he is (presumably) the youngest of the crew, his deal-breaker always lies with reprimanding Hayato for his over-the-top, insane actions that cause the group some discomfort. But other than that, he is the well-mannered person that due to his past complications, has a dislike for women, and his powers come into play as the series progresses.
Shougo Akai, the son of the prime minister, the typical shounen who’s necessity was borne out of politics, whom has the same circumstances of external forces assassinating his father, and is forced to stay at Fukurou for safety, and overtime, comes to mingle well with the group, not by much but bit by bit.
Shizuru Migawa, often the titular player of women, he is an accomplished writer, in which one situation foresees that his books are part of a series of murder-serial killing sprees for the tragedies he has laid out in his books (his books are not cursed tomes). And due to certain complications, he resides in Fukurou to help out the main cast from time to time.
Rui Sagisawa, not part of Fukurou, but one who always chances Kuze by coincidence, and that with the over-arching story of the cursed tomes, has become engaged in a heated battle, but subsequently gave in to the cast’s demands.
Unbeknownst to the main group, a secret organization by the name of Karasu, which exists as the indication of black bird feathers, is out there to retrieve the cursed tomes to override the political statuses of the Taishou government, from the failed assassination of the prime minister (Shougo Akai’s father) to the abduction of Kuze Tsugumi for her powers to help the people behind the whole movement be realized of their dreams, mainly Takashi Shiginuma for his active role in pursuing Kuze to conquer the world to Professor Mozuyama, who is the creator of the false, cursed tomes, to capture more victims to his orthodox experiments.
If for the characters alone, you can pass it off as the generic otome-game features, but with the story setting and storytelling, comes a dimension of history so awfully maintained (just as in real-life) that it sets the course of the situations on hand to a more sinister but typical fashion move that is just jarring, but it works tremendously well here.
The art and animation by studio Zero-G, trying to replicate the Taishou era by using closer-to-history art and consistent animation is a definite plus. When this series first started, I can tell that it was going for the more opaque, historical art choices for explanation and further-setup for the story that is about to be realized, and what it does, it does its job to a T. In the history of otome games I have watched, this is as close as it comes to realizing the entire story setting, and everything meshes as well as it should be.
The music…it’s really something else. I’d expected a visual novel adaptation to have decent, if not mediocre music, but this show just made me throw all expectations out of the window, because this is the highlight of the series, so much so that it’s one of my favorite OSTs of this season and is worth listening to on its own. The music of kradness in the OP and one of Hiro Shimono’s debut songs in the ED just strikes and screams quality unimaginable to the naked ear.
In the end, this may be an otome-game adaptation, but honestly, I’d recommend this insanely obscure series that nobody cares for, even if slightly obliged to a niche audience. Yes, you do need to know a bit of the history which the story stems along, but when all is said and done, it’s a good series to watch, and trust me, the experience after just won’t shake it.
I'm an girl who kinda likes gaming and reverse harems, so it's not a big surprise that I've gotten involved in otome-style games in my life. Despite being such a big otaku and otome game fanatic, I have not yet found an anime or manga that really displays the otome aspect in all it's glory-- perhaps I have bad luck, or maybe it's just that it's really difficult to put such a strange game format into a cohesive storyline.
I've seen a lot of the more popular animes of this genre, including Amnesia, Kamagami No Asobi, Diabolik Lovers, and others. As of now,
I can say that this is one of the better anime I've seen of the sort. This is mainly because it focuses a little more on the plot aspect than it does on the romance-- in fact, there's barely any romance at all, if you ask me.
Let's get into it. To begin with, the plot is very simple-- it's about written works that can influence the reader with strong emotions. That's literally the entire basis. I won't go into it too much because it'll ruin a bit of the plot, but all I can say is that I expected a lot more of the plot. At first, I felt as though it was much too tame. There weren't really many stakes, yet the characters acted like there were. Yes, I understand, people can die-- but since such obvious precautions can be taken (issuing all books in print, advising people to buy in print, spreading awareness about the issue, etc.) why wasn't any of that done? It didn't make much sense to me, and the ending of it seemed a little rushed and patchworky, like they were trying to make it darker and add as many twists as possible. Perhaps it just wasn't for me. Either way, I just kinda stuck around for the sake of finishing it; I lost interest in the plot pretty early on.
The art, however, was gorgeous. It has this pastel and blurry-ish quality to it that I really like. It's very fresh and different. I also liked the character designs, which were very distinct and interesting. Usually they only have a few basic character templates in a lot of animes, like the 'skinny short dude', the 'attractive lithe tall dude', the 'flat girl', and the 'busty girl', to say the most part. I was pleased with the fact that while all the guys were attractive, they all had different body types as per their backgrounds and who they were, as well as the few girls too. Nobody was TOO unrealistic (*cough cough* no necks and waists being the same width, thank you *cough*) and the color combinations and backgrounds were also stunning.
As for the sound, I found most of the voice actors to be a little forgettable. There was little expression in a lot of the characters voices, but I think that was also an effect of the way the dialogues were written. Conversely, I found the opening and closing to be very fun. While the animation for the OP had a lot of people confused as to what the show was going to be like, I found it refreshing and cute. As for the closing, I really appreciated some of those sketches of our cute main guys, if you know what I mean. :D
Overall, I can't say I enjoyed this too much. To me, it felt kinda like a draft of a show. There's so much potential here with character development and a deeper plot, but it just wasn't reached. I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt because it was adapted from a game and the otome genre is a hard genre to please with. Besides, it's bounds better than any other otome anime I've seen thus far.
I would recommend this if you: like the otome genre/reverse harems, like books, like angsty backstories, like 'special' heroines, like more plot focus
I would NOT recommend this if you: are here for the romance, like it when all the male characters are constantly trying to win over the heroine, don't like reading/books
This anime had a very interesting premise about magical cursed books as seen in the synopsis.However,this anime fails to make use of its premise and becomes an absolutely dreadful show.The few good points of the show would be its decent music and art,plus the fact that it is so bad that it is comedic.Other than that,if you are here for a deep and intriguing plot,you have come to the wrong place.
As usual from a reverse-harem anime,we have boring one-dimensional male characters.This is especially so in this anime as most of the cast cannot even identify cursed tomes,and they cannot even be security men well,making this
series pretty painful to watch.It really makes one wonder why the government in this fictional world actually thinks its a good idea to waste taxpayers' money on the Fukurrou(Department responsible for dealing with cursed tomes),since the organisation is pretty poor.Pretty much,the whole setting of the story is not executed well due to our male cast and their incompetence.
On top of that,75% of this show is just the heroine clearing some sort of side quest,doing absolutely nothing relevant to the plot.This might work in some shows,but when your plot is your biggest selling point and the "side-quest" are boring as heck,it really makes this series really blant and painful to watch.
This is definitely an anime I would recommend a skip,it is just another one of those anime with an interesting premise but terrible execution.
I'm mostly going to talk about the setting, since that's what made me want to watch this anime in the first place.
In the real world, the Taisho Emperor had poor health from a young age, and died in 1926 after only ruling for 14 years, leaving his son Hirohito (the Showa Emperor) in power. The emperor's illness created a power vacuum that allowed the Diet and the political parties to gain more influence. the Taisho Era is often seen in history as a brief period of more democratic government, between the strict monarchy of the Meiji Era and the dominant militarism of the early Showa
This story is set in an alternate 1936 where the Taisho emperor is still alive, and Japan is under a democratic government. In the 1930s in our world, far-right elements of the Japanese military continuously pressured the civilian government to adopt a more aggressive foreign policy. Several times, groups of officers attempted coups and assassinated high-ranking government officials, and by the late 1930s Japan was essentially fascist state.
A similar conflict plays out in the background of this anime, where mysterious forces are using cursed books to assassinate government officials who are seen as insufficiently patriotic. The main character, Kuze Tsugumi, gets mixed up in all this and joins an agency that tries to track down the cursed books. The main focuses of the show are her quest to unravel the conspiracy, and her relationships with the various men in the agency. It's all rather silly, but the connection to real-world history lends it a bit of depth.
There's also an undercurrent of social tension as traditions come into conflict with the modern world. Kuze is the daughter of an old aristocratic family, and her life undergoes a substantial change when she starts working as an investigator. The two other major female characters, the head of the book police and Kuze's friend the reporter, highlight how more roles are open to women in this new modern era. This is all mostly in the background and doesn't play that big a role in the story, but it does come up a few times.
Ultimately, this is a fun story about a girl trying to unravel a supernatural mystery with political intrigue. The presentation would make you think there'd be a greater romantic focus, but that's really more in the background, so the show isn't about an audience-insert character and her harem of sexy men. The characters have mostly stock personalities, but they have fun group interactions and some of their backstories develop in surprising ways. Kuze herself shows a good deal of courage, initiative, and commitment to protecting her new friends. The setting isn't taken too seriously, but it's not just for show and plays important roles in the main conflict and the themes.
If you like this kind of show, or if you're a sucker for alternate history, then you'll probably find something in this to enjoy.