First Look: Meiji Tokyo Renka

Game Adaptation by TMS Entertainment
Streaming on Crunchyroll


To all appearances, Mei Ayazuki is a completely ordinary high school girl. However, when she became aware of her ability to see ghosts at a young age, she isolated herself from her peers and now wears headphones to block out the voices of her ‘friends’ who she can still hear to this day. One night, a self-proclaimed magician transports her back in time to an alternative Meiji Period Tokyo, where she meets a number of real-life historical figures in bishounen form.

Artemis’ verdict: Inoffensively Bland

It’s difficult to imagine a more run-of-the-mill reverse-harem isekai title than Meiji Tokyo Renka. From the generic heroine and cliché ‘historical’ outfits of the bishounen-filled cast to the slightly below average production values and completely forgettable music, everything about it all but screams mediocre. In other words, it’s exactly the type of show anyone would probably expect based on the premise and source material.

On the plus side, that means there’s nothing offensive or creepy here. The boys tend to be pretty touchy-feely, sure, but it’s all seemingly innocent enough and clearly not intended to be read as predatory. Some of the material is even vaguely entertaining – while the first couple of minutes almost fool the viewer into thinking this is going to be a relatively serious and overly angsty kind of show, most of the rest of the episode is actually much more light-hearted and/or comedy-driven. Heck, MC-chan (whose name I’ve already forgotten) might even turn out to have a personality that goes deeper than her ability to see ghosts and her extreme fondness of roast beef. Now wouldn’t that be something? On the other hand, I very much doubt there will be any surprises here. Anyone who doesn’t care for sparkly-sparkly reverse-harems will likely spend this episode in a state of acute boredom, and anyone who does will probably find Meiji Tokyo Renka perfectly serviceable, albeit unoriginal. As is no doubt obvious from that description, it’s not my cup of tea. But hey, there’s nothing objectively terrible about it either – Diabolik Lovers this certainly isn’t – so if it sounds like it’s more up your alley then by all means, go for it.

Jel’s verdict: I am still waiting for a successor to Dance with Devils

Is the Meiji period alone really an exciting enough concept to base a dating game on? I feel like we’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel here. I do appreciate that this one seems to have a lighter, more comedic tone and the art direction is bright and colorful enough that it makes the potentially dry inspiration more palatable. But unless they start breaking out into song at some point a la Dance with Devils, I don’t think there’s much else to get excited about. It’s another harmless, boring adaptation that at best may appeal to fans.​

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