Mouse-over Cover Art for Details –
This is all 26-episodes encompassing two seasons of the anime series based on the Japanese visual novel created by Idea Factory. In the anime series of the same name, Hiiro no Kakera (緋色の欠片), the protagonist, high school girl Kasuga Tamaki arrives from Tokyo in the country to live with her grandmother, supposedly because her parents have moved overseas for work. The truth soon becomes clear when Tamaki realises she is to become the next Tamayori Princess, a magical role handed down from her ancestor. She must protect the area from demons and gods of the underworld by sealing the powerful, mystical sword Onikirimaru, using the power of five ancient artifacts scattered around the border of the town. Assigned to protect her are five “guardians” who are from ancient families sworn to protect the Tamayori Princess through generations, but it is Onizaki Takuma, with whom Tamaki will eventually become closest to and, without even realizing it, fall in love with.
Just like the game/visual novel, this series is obviously aimed squarely at the female market, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Each episode ends with one of the male characters declaring their love and devotion for what we are to presume is either the viewer or for Tamaki herself. Outside of that, Hiiro no Kakera generally plays by the standard rules of anime, falling squarely into several genres and sub-genres, of which they are fantasy, romance, magical girl and harem, although the series stays away from any overt ecchi or fan service, perhaps feeling the female market may not be as welcoming to the hentai tendencies.
The animation is gorgeous, especially the backgrounds, and most especially when they are allowed to show some brighter colors, rather than the more reserved midtones, earth tones and cooler highlights that the series favors. Overall, there is strong arc that carries through from season one to two, and bundling the two seasons together actually strengthens this series and improves the viewers connection to the characters.
Hiiro no Kakera is an anime series with some gorgeous backgrounds and pretty strong character designs. The color palette can tend to look a little dull at times given that it is prone to darker colors and earth tones, so it doesn’t always pop. That said, this AVC 1080p encodement from Sentai is good, but it suffers from color banding throughout and occasionally crispness in the darker areas is lost, but otherwise it’s satisfactory, bit certainly not flawless.
Hiiro no Kakera comes with both the Japanese-language soundtrack and an English dub in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/24-bit). Both mixes sound nearly identical and the choice will come down to your preference of sub versus dub, personally I prefer the Japanese voice cast to the English one. Sound is fine for either one, with good stereo separation and just enough punch during the action sequences.
There isn’t much here besides the usual clean animations, but an art gallery is provided as well.
- Clean Opening Animations
- Clean Closing Animations
- Art Gallery
- Sentai Filmworks Trailers
The Definitive Word
A fairly straightforward but no less enjoyable romantic fantasy with eye-catching animation and good character development, Hiiro no Kakera will appeal to female audiences and to those males willing to put aside any preconceived notions.
Additional Screen Captures