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Tales of Wedding Rings is an interesting show that has a lot of potential despite its rather simple and mundane premise. It is an isekai story about a high school boy who gets transported to another world. Years ago when the protagonist Satou was a young boy, he ended up coming across a mysterious light that summoned an old man and a young girl named Hime. For whatever reason, Satou would treat them as trusted neighbors for the next ten years of his life. He even develops feelings for Hime as she has grown up into a young woman. He’s also ready to confess his feelings to her. Unlike a lot of other shows, it makes it obvious that the two protagonists have a clear affection and history with each other.
When Hime is forced to go back to her world to fulfill some ritual that would save her people, you’d believe why Satou follows her for her sake. It’s a lot of emotional real estate for the first episode. It feels meaningless that the show, after establishing that the protagonists love each other, had to dance around using specific wording that could be interpreted as trying to make the mutual feelings platonic. It might be an attempt to add drama but I’m curious how this relationship dynamic will play out in later episodes.
And simply put, the relationship dynamic between the two leads is much more interesting than the world-building. It is unfortunate because the world is beautifully animated. The animation looks incredible with a very soft art style that is emphasized by the direct use of lighting. Everything looks like it’s glowing or baked in sunlight and that helps emphasize the “warrior of light” theme the show was going for. While Tales of Wedding Rings doesn’t have my 100, 80 is still a good score. I’m curious to see how these elements will be expanded when the series airs in January.
The Demon Prince of Momochi House has fewer interesting things to say compared to Tales of Wedding Rings which offered occasional new things to a typical setup. In a lot of ways, it feels like a discount Fruits Basket. An orphaned teenage girl with an incredibly naïve disposition is drawn to a traditional-looking Japanese house in the mountains that just happens to be run by three gorgeous-looking anime men who are connected to supernatural backgrounds. Maybe that’s not fair because Fruits Basket ended up becoming one of my favorite anime of all time but even without that comparison, there’s still a lot about this first episode that feels like a clunky setup.
The main protagonist Himari seems likable enough but I think this episode establishes that she is just setting herself up for failure. I don’t know much about Japanese customs but I’ve never heard of an orphan inheriting an entire house from her parents at the age of sixteen all by themselves. The show even establishes that the will might be fake and that she has no reason to be emotionally attached to this house as she does. However, she’s so desperate to have any connection to her parents that she is willing to stay in a haunted house filled with spirits that could potentially kill her. There is not a hint of an end goal established. She just feels entitled to the house while also admitting that the whole situation feels sketchy.
The three men who were already occupying the house each check a box in the typical reverse harem series. We have the soft-spoken one, the dry sarcastic one, and the hotheaded one. There were a lot of terms used to describe spirits and different classes of them that weren’t explained in this episode which I found strange. Perhaps there will be an important plot point regarding that aspect. There were moments when the characters were describing the different classes of creatures inhabiting the house that confused the audience. The episode left me dumbfounded but the style was inviting and the episode’s comedy was surprisingly strong. I will keep an eye on this to see if it gets better in the future!