TacticsKantarou Ichinomiya is a young Japanese folklorist living in Feudal Japan. Gifted with the ability to see and befriend youkai (demons/ogres) and other mythical beasts, the forever broke and scheming Kantarou tries to make a living as a folklore writer as well as a part time exorcist. Unfortunately his innate laziness doesn’t work so well with his writing ideal, though his curiosity over all things mythical does mean that he gets more than his fair share of close encounters with the demon kind.

As an exorcist, Kantarou is not alone in his quest and is aided by Haruka, a partially sealed Ogre-eating Youkai, said to be the strongest of them all. Haruka’s memories are sealed and his powers are diminished, but nevertheless, the two of them combined is more than enough to solve all the ghostly mysteries plaguing Japan!

And who knows, Kantarou may just make a little money off it too!

Tactics is a 25 episode anime series directed by Hiroshi Watanabe and based on the manga of Sakura Kinoshita and Kazuko Higashiyama. The series is produced by Studio DEEN.

Over the years there have literally been hundreds of anime shows that have based themselves entirely off Japan’s rich heritage of horror myths, legends and folktales. Tactics is one of these shows that once again showcases all stuff icky that derives from Japan’s folklore, but unfortunately takes the rather unenjoyable monster mystery of the day route. As always, this new adventure each week format means that there is almost little if none story or character development and in fact, if it wasn’t for the last couple of episodes that lays out some sort of structured story, the series as a whole could probably be safely ignored and forgotten. As it is, even these last episodes aren’t quite enough to save this rather dismal anime.

The story tries to blend horror, mystery and comedy into one enjoyable show, but unfortunately this formula fails and leaves Tactics wallowing about in ignominy. The show comes across as corny, silly and irrelevant and pretty much fails to strike any cord whatsoever with the viewer. Even the …action’ sequences fall a bit flat and Watanabe seems to be unable to build any kind of tension or emotion despite the subject matter he has to work with. At least on the comedic side of things Tactics does have a couple of good points, though it has to rely pretty heavily on the childishness of Kantarou to work.

The characters are interesting enough, but lack of any development means you don’t really learn much about them, nor do you care about them and in fact, more than a couple become quite annoying as you drag yourself through this series. Stereotype rich little girls shouldn’t be allowed in anime anyway!

As if we weren’t being tortured enough, there is also a lot of romance squeezed in, though most of it is squarely aimed at the …handsome’ Haruka and all the girls’ infatuation with him. Again, nothing to concrete for us to enjoy, except perhaps for the last couple of episodes where a more deeper relationship is briefly entertained.

On the animation side, Studio DEEN does a great job in providing a nice colourful world with solid (if lacking detail) characters that work well for the more light hearted scenes of Tactics. However, when we get to the serious, horror stuff, the same style doesn’t work quite as well and in the end we are left with something that can only be described as tame – and silly.

Kei Haneoka at least does a fine job with the music for the show, though his cheesy …boogiepop’ track straight out of the eighties for whenever Kantarou attempts an exorcism is best left forgotten. Miki Akiyama sings both the opening and closing tracks for the anime, both of which are not bad at all. …Secret World’, the opening song is nice and catchy, even though it doesn’t quite seem to fit with Tactic’s theme.

In a nutshell, Tactics can only be described as silly. It has some great concepts and folklore to play around with, but completely fails at presenting anything remotely sinister to us while at the same time failing as an out and out comedy or romance show. It doesn’t know where it stands and the monster-a-day routine doesn’t help it one bit. There really is nothing of any value to an anime fan I’m afraid, unless you are really young girl and happen to think Haruka is the most handsome man to walk the face of the planet. Of course, thanks to its slight yaoi tendencies, yaoi fanatics may also be enticed to give it a glance, but I’m afraid even they are going to be disappointed.

A huge disappointment, a very silly show and a complete waste of time – There is a reason you can buy Tactics at a bargain bin, discount anime shop you know.

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Related Link: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=4100