Yuto Amakawa is a teenage high school boy who lives on his own, since none of his relatives are alive. Since then, his neighbor / childhood friend Rinko has taken care of him and even fed him. He also has an amulet handed down to him by his late grandmother. When he turns 16 he meets Himari - a cat-girl quite handy with a sword (who also managed to transform via one). She is sworn to protect him, as he is one the descendants of 12 Demon Slayer families, and demons want him dead. But he'll also to deal with her cat-ears, since Yuto is extremely allergic to cats.
Ah, the harem genre. It's died down a bit thanks to the rise of dating sim / visual novel anime, but every season seems to still have one or two shows of this genre continue to pop up. And very few of them, sadly, are more interesting than the Megami Magazine spreads that sport these girls in cute clothes or bathing suits, 99% of the time looking better than the actual series itself. And thus we bring our attention to Omamori Himari.
As for the synopsis; yes, you read that right, folks. A sword turns a cat into a human girl. If somehow your eyes didn't roll into the back of your head after reading that, then congratulations! You just might be the audience that Omamori Himari was aiming for! (There's also a busty cafe girl who looks like a blonde Mikuru Asahina but is actually an antique teacup. I swear I'm not making this up.) Well, that and those who like girls' breasts and butt cheeks, since you'll also see plenty of those as well. And with it the usual clichés of this genre:
Next-door neighbor girl with barely a chest and envies those around her much bigger than she is? Check.
Girls having conversations with themselves naked in the shower, wondering if the main guy likes them or not? Check.
Crazy-ass fiancés? Check.
Soft-spoken, emotionless loli? Check.
Main lead with no balls at all? Check.
Main girl who gets jealous at the drop of a hat? Check.
A villain who belittles others in battle to tick off people even more, with long talks of trash talk in-between? Check.
Childhood friend who does all of the cooking for the male lead since he can't do it himself? Check.
These clichés, as overused as they are, could still result in a decent show if done right. But they're not, because the characters drag this series down. Male lead aside, the cast is nearly entirely female, and they're all either flirts, villains, or crazy insane. Also, all but two of them are ridiculously stacked. Meanwhile, the battles are mostly talks, CG effects, and explosions.
Still, I have to give credit to Omamori Himari where credit is due. Himari, our cat-girl heroine, is an okay character when she isn't threatening Yuto or getting angry at the other girls around him. Rinko eventually does mellow out around the other busty girls and even tries (and fails) to seduce him too, but her grade-school figure doesn't do her any favors. Even Shizuku, the deadpan water-dragon deity, has her moments, typically having the only funny dialogue in any episode after her debut.
Let's now talk on the battles, since it's a shonen series and all. And I must say, I don't think I've ever seen such poorly paced, dull fight scenes in a shonen series in quite some time. The ugly CG Zexcs uses in every fight scene don't help. (I don't think I've ever seen such ugly CG ater in an anime.) However, once you see the series' attempts at comedy - Shizuku dry-humping Yuto naked while she revitalizes him with water, Himari spouting cat-ears when angry to purposely annoy Yuto, Rinko walking in on him when someone else is there, or Yuto's crazy fiancé Kuesu mocking Himari ("Come to my hotel any time, Yuto, but keep the cat at home") - you'll be hankering for more battles.
Poorly paced battles and mostly unfunny humor aren't help by Omamori Himari's annoying side characters, throw-away soundtrack, and irritating voice acting. The nadir of the latter has got to be Daisuke Hirakawa as Yuto himself, who sounds like he had a cold when recording all his lines; Yuto sounds less like a teenage boy and more like a cowardly adult with a stuffy nose. It kills what little mood this series has. Iori Nomizu isn't much better on the ears as his childhood friend Rinko, and Kei Shindo isn't given much to work with as Shizuku, who sounds like a watered-down version of Mika Kanai's Vanilla from Galaxy Angel. Only Ami Koshimizu (Himari) and Yuki Matsuoka (Kuesu) sound interested in what they're saying aloud, but this is hardly their finest hour in voice acting.
And my review ends here. I stopped halfway through Omamori Himari, hoping that it would either get better, or so bad that a small part of me would want to see how hard the series would crash and burn. However, neither scenario ever occurred. And since there's no second season, I don't really have an incentive to finish it. If you're new to shonen anime, you'll probably enjoy Omamori Himari more than I do. Veterans of this genre know (and have seen) much better series out there that don't have cat-girls thrown in.
An unremarkable shonen series with weak gimmicks that don't make it any better. Add a star if you like fan service or cat girls. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: As a shonen series, there's quite a bit of blood and violence, especially since Himari fights with a sword and all. But more rampant is the fan service, which goes on so much that one episode on crunchyroll censors one girl's body except for her head for a minute or so! Older teenagers and up only.
Version(s) Viewed: crunchyroll.com stream
Review Status: Partial (6/12)
Omamori Himari © 2010 Milan Matra / Fujimi Shobo / Omamori Himari Production Committee
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