a.k.a. Asagiri no Miko
Hieda Yuzu and her sisters, Kurako and Tama, are the miko, or shrine maidens, of a shrine near Hiroshima. Just as Yuzu’s childhood companion, Amatsu Tadahiro, arrives to live with the family while he attends high school, demon attacks led by a mysterious figure begin in the area. Yuzu and her sister Kurako form the Shrine Maiden Committee at school to find other girls to join in their fight and protect the town. Will the Shrine Maiden Committee triumph over evil… and can Yuzu confess her love for Tadahiro?
summary by Madoka
Highs: Focus on Japanese culture
Lows: Important character mostly ignored
With episodes only fifteen minutes in length, the short time period might be a detriment to some series, but Shrine of the Morning Mist makes perfect use of its time. Even though one important character doesn’t receive the attention he deserves, the brief episodes keep the series moving, and the Japanese-themed story makes this a unique, interesting anime.
Shrine of the Morning Mist combines the traditions of Japanese Shintoism with a healthy dose of humor. Each shrine maiden has a distinct attack that parodies the magical girl genre while featuring the authentic Shinto artifact they each wield as weapons (the Sailor Moon reference had me rolling on the floor). Also, giving customs such as the tea ceremony, ikebana and festivals time in the spotlight, this series offers Western viewers an accurate glimpse at cultural practices they might not get a chance to see otherwise.
Although each girl is the focus of at least one episode each, one character that plays an important role in the plot is ignored for most of the series. Amatsu Tadahiro is little more than a spectator along with the audience for the majority of the story; for someone who is integral to the plot, he stays in the background far too often. Devoting more time to him in the story by giving more of a history would add needed development to his character and more completeness to the series as a whole.
Even with some missing character development and short episode length, Shrine of the Morning Mist succeeds as a series. If Japanese religion and customs pique your interest at all or you’re in the mood for some laughs, this is a good place to begin.
Shrine of the Morning Mist can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.