Following the release of a certain less than satisfying SOUND HOLIC-produced Touhou anime, my expectations for a great Touhou anime shifted back to Maikaze’s much more promising attempt and I am delighted to say that A Summer’s Day Dream lived up to my wishes. High, professional-like production values abound throughout the twenty minute episode and kicks Touhou Project Side Story while its down. Video links below for convenience followed by my extended impressions.
Ever since the first trailer was released, Maikaze has impressed those wishful for a Touhou anime and A Summer Day’s Dream doesn’t disappoint. Maikaze has come a long way since then but what has remained is the high-quality background images which look like they were taken from a commercial television series. The characters however have gone through a noticeable change in design. I personally like the older designs more but the new chubbier designs have their own charms.
Careful attention was paid to animating the Touhous so that they really come to life. Actually having them use spell cards and call out their names adds a nice touch to the anime. Patchouli’s Royal Flare in particular was very well animated and Reimu’s kick prior to activating her Musou Fuuin evoked images of Immaterial and Missing Power and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody. Such homages to the original source material really make this production feel like an official work so it is somewhat understandable to see why ZUN is concerned about this (I still think he is wrong though).
The superb voice acting adds even more to the illusion of an officially sanctioned anime. As is to be expected from the all-star cast, all the characters more or less sound like I imagined they would although not all the characters are voiced by their idealized fan choices. However it would be hard to find objections to Tanaka Rie’s absolutely perfect performance as Sakuya. Anyone who has watched Hayate no Gotoku and witnessed her previous role as a certain other head maid would agree. Nakahara Mai is another standout and does well expressing Reimu’s concern over her stolen donations box and her adventure to retrieve it.
Speaking of story, A Summer’s Day Dream follows a more conventional plot than Side Story which is by all means the way to go. Watching Reimu and company interacting with each other in a slice-of-life fashion is much more enjoyable than the nonsense that Side Story pulled out of nowhere. Not much else to say other than that I am curious as to who stole Reimu’s empty donations box, Sakuya’s food and tea and Patchy’s books. I want to say it is Yukari doing it just to screw with the other Touhous but any answers will have to wait until whenever the as yet untitled second episode is released which is incidentally humorously called “Yukarin ha Juunanasai yo” (Yukari is 17 years old). Even though it is merely a joke, I can’t help but imagine self-proclaimed perpetually 17 Tamura Yukari playing Gensokyo’s Most Powrful Youkai. As hilarious as that would be Yukari has to be voiced by Itou Miki using her Miyo Takano voice from Higurashi.
I really can’t wait for the next episode and I am pretty much set on acquiring a copy for myself. I feel it is my duty to support the effort that went into making this professional-level work and to show ZUN that he has created something he can no longer control.