Matoi the Sacred Slayer is a twelve episode magical girl anime television series. It is the first original anime by the White Fox studio, with Masayuki Sakoi responsible for directing the show. It was written by Yōsuke Kuroda.
The show aired as part of the autumn 2016 season, and is available on Viewster.
As a magical girl show, Matoi the Sacred Slayer is a more typical example of the genre. There’s no suffering and despair to be found in this show; instead, we get a show with a relatively light tone.
For those who’re seeking a more traditional magical girl experience, this show has got you covered.
Well, that’s providing you can get past the show’s weak start. The main protagonist, Matoi Sumeragi, is pretty much your standard magical girl; she obtains powers, yet longs to be ordinary. This doesn’t really help to make her stand out amongst the myriad of other magical girls who want the same thing.
Fortunately, we do have a couple of other characters who help to make up for the poor start, even if only a little.
First is Yuma Kusanagi. She is a close friend of Matoi’s, and both girls are shrine maidens at the Tenman Shrine. Yuma is an energetic girl, and has boundless enthusiasm. When she discovers that Matoi has powers, she’s eager to get word out about the ‘exorcist girl’ as well as seek out jobs for her to do.
We also get some self aware humour courtesy of Yuma, involving changing the title of the anime and altering the opening sequence.
Besides Matoi and Yuma, there is also Clarus Tonitrus. She serves the role of veteran magical girl in this series, having gained much experience through being part of the Vatican’s Anti-Creed service.
It would be easy to have Clarus play the rival for Matoi, but the show doesn’t go down that route. Instead, we learn about Clarus’ history and her motivations fairly early on, and she quickly proves to be an invaluable ally.
There’s also the supporting cast, with Matoi’s father, Shingo Sumeragi being the most important of them.
Matoi lives with her dad, but she only calls him by his first name – Matoi moving in with her father was a recent development, with both father and daughter still adjusting to it.
Being a police officer, Shingo gets unknowingly involved in several incidents that Matoi happens to be involved with as well.
The rest of the supporting cast are hit and miss. Cariot and Haruka Luciela are arguably better members of the cast, whereas the comic relief provided by Hideo Tezuka (AKA Pochi) doesn’t really hit the mark.
In Matoi the Sacred Slayer, the girls who gain the ability to transform are called maidens of divine union – however, Yuma dubs them ‘exorcist girls’. We get some powers based around Japanese folklore, which makes for a rather interesting twist on the magical girl formula.
The transformations don’t come without limits, though. When the divine union wears off, the girls are left completely naked. Matoi is the only one we ever really see falling victim to that, but it just seems unnecessary.
Talking of fanservice, there’s some of that here, too. Haruka tends to be the source of it, and there’s also a beach episode.
The enemies that the maidens of divine union fight are demons called Nights. They possess humans, and require the girls to travel to higher dimensions to actually confront them.
There are 24 dimensions, with humans living in the third. As you might guess, dimensions with higher numbers are dangerous places to go. Of course, the Nights also emerge from these dimensions.
Much like your more typical magical girl series, Matoi the Sacred Slayer falls into something of a monster of the week pattern. As such, it has a fairly obvious formula, with the appearance of the Nights being a constant.
Though it has a slow start and falls into a formula, Matoi the Sacred Slayer certainly has some good points as well. The character development proves to be enjoyable, with the show arguably hitting its stride once Matoi accepts her powers.
Particularly noteworthy moments of character development include the father-daughter relationship between Shingo and Matoi, as well as the influence that Matoi and Yuma have on Clarus.
Another high point for the show is the soundtrack, which complements to the exorcist girls’ actions rather nicely. The opening and ending themes are rather nice, too.
Matoi the Sacred Slayer is a more traditional magical girl experience, and proves to be actually somewhat enjoyable after you get through its lacklustre beginning.