“In this town lives diviners, called Urara, who possess a strange magical power. A place where the lost and worried come to seek guidance. Girls who have passed their fifteenth birthday come to this town with dreams of becoming an Urara.”
I have been a fan of the moe sub-genre of anime for as long as I can remember. Many of my favorite anime, such as Love Live and K-On!, make this statement blatantly obvious. As such, I’m always happy to watch anything involving cute girls doing cute things. So, when a few of my friends from Discord pointed me towards a quaint little show called Urara Meirochou, my curiosity was quickly piqued. The newest release from a personal favorite studio of mine, J.C. Staff, follows a group of girls in a quaint eclectic village looking to become mystical diviners called “Urara”. While it may now promise deep storytelling and complex characters, it’s a quirky, fun experience that definitely serves to give the Winter season’s weekly dose of cuteness.
Story & Characters
Nestled within mountains and forests is the sprawling city of Meirochou, an eclectic mountain paradise with a large population. The city is seperated into several different districts by ranks of the diviners within, for Meirochou is a widely-known city of diviners named “Urara”. These Urara act to give guidance to those who would seek it through various different methods of fortune-telling. On her fifteenth birthday, a young girl named Chiya ventures from her forest home to Urara with the dream of becoming an Urara. However, young Chiya’s goal lies much deeper. By becoming an Urara, Chiya hopes to find and re-unite with her mother.
Of course, given the style of show, Urara’s focus rest in the characters and their interactions with one another. Right from the get-go, Chiya establishes herself as seemingly being the typical happy-go-lucky, bright-eyed protagonist, but there’s something about her. I don’t know if I can quite put my finger on it, but she has this innate charm that some protagonists of her style lack. Her character is immediately endearing and has an innocence that shapes the story and characters around her. Surrounding her are a supporting main cast of fellow girls striving to become Urara, Koume, Kon, and Nono. While each has a role to play, such as Kon with her upright dignified personality and Nono with her shy character, each character manages to make themselves charming enough to not meld into their stereotype.
J.C. Staff brings their usual quality of animation to Urara. The characters are all cute and vibrant in their design, thanks in part to the work of Character Design Mai Otsuka of Non Non Biyori and Shakugan no Shana fame. The animation, while not being anything too flashy, is appealing to the eye. Sound direction is headed up by Satoshi Motoyama, whose previous work on several shows comes to play within Urara, as the music has just the right note to give the show its relaxing, fun feel while also dipping into the more emotional when it needs to.
The voice cast for Urara is stacked with a mix of well-known voice actors as well as newcomers to the scene. Sayaka Harada features as Chiya in her first main role and brings a cute adorableness to Chiya that meshes well with her appearance. Meanwhile, Urara shows a bit of connection with popular idol franchises as twintailed Koume Yukimi is voiced by Yurika Kubo, of Love Live and Haifuri fame, and Nono is voiced by Haruka Yoshimura, of Cinderella Girls and Shirobako fame. When talking about the audio end of the show, I have to pay particular mention to the show’s OP, Yumeji Labyrinth. The song’s bouncy, cheery feel perfectly fits the show it accompanies and it is an earworm of a song I’ve had stuck in my head for several days now.
Should You Watch It?
Much like BanG Dream!, my last First Reaction which you can find here, Urara makes its target audience apparent from the get-go. If you’re a fan of moe, if you appreciate watching cute girls do cute things, this show is the perfect thing to get your weekly fix of adorable diabetes. The show backs its moe with an interesting setting, with things like mysticism, fortune-telling, and divinations as a primary theme of the show. While something like Urara may not be for everyone, I’d personally recommend giving it a chance for at least an episode or two, even if it’s just to see the adorable bundle of fun that is Chiya.
Urara Meirochou is available for streaming through The Anime Network, though Episodes 2 and 3 are only available through their premium subscription.