URAHARA is a twelve episode anime series inspired by a webcomic called PARK Harajuku: Crisis Team!, written by Patrick Macias and illustrated by Mugi Tanaka.
The anime itself was produced by EMT Squared, directed by Amika Kubo and produced by VAP. The writer for the series was Natsuko Takahashi, and the music was by Yasunori Iwasaki.
URAHARA aired during the autumn 2017 season of anime, and is available on Crunchyroll.The plot of URAHARA focuses on three girls who end up tasked with protecting Harajuku from culture-stealing aliens known as Scoopers. When not dealing with the Scooper threat, the three girls run a shop in Harajuku called Park.
The three main characters are Rito Sudo, Mari Shirako and Kotoko Watatsumugi.
Rito loves to draw, Mari is into her fashion and Kotoko is a lover of sweets. Those three things happen to blend pretty well together when running Park.
Of course, we learn more about the characters over the course of the show – all three get focused on at different points of the story. To go into too much more detail would be spoiling things, so let’s move on to another couple of key characters.
Shortly after the Scooper threat descends upon Harajuku, the girls from Park end up running into a young girl called Misa Maruno, who happens to be accompanied by a talking fried shrimp who goes by the name of Ebifurya.
Misa and Ebifurya provide Rito and the others with the items they need to battle the Scoopers. They also have their own secrets that are revealed during the plot.
Finally, a key supporting character is Sayumi – who is affectionately referred to as Sayumin. She works at a crêpe shop, and provides support whenever the girls are feeling down.
As far as the cast of characters goes, URAHARA has a pretty good selection. They all have their wants and fears, and part of the fun of watching the show comes from seeing them interact with each other.
Whilst the characters are great, URAHARA‘s beginnings are a bit rough. The show’s first episode is almost entirely exposition as we get to know the girls who work at Park, which may result in some viewers losing interest.
After that exposition-filled episode, the show falls into something of a formula for a few more episodes – it effectively becomes a ‘Scooper invasion of the week’ show for a little while.
However, stick with it and then a plot starts to emerge. It turns out to be a fairly interesting one as well, which delves into the reason that Rito, Mari and Kotoko were chosen to fight the Scoopers.
As evident from the screenshots featured above, URAHARA is a colourful anime. It also has a style that is uniquely its own – for example, there are lots of split-screen shots. The visual style is supposed to bring to mind the style of Harajuku – your mileage may vary on whether it achieves that or not.
It certainly makes it stand out from the typical anime fare, though.
URAHARA may have a rocky start, but stick with it and it turns out be quite a fun ride, with the characters going through all kinds of emotions and maybe a twist or two. Some may be able to figure out the twists before they are revealed, but it still proves to be enjoyable.
A distinctive visual style and a compelling plot (once it actually gets going) make URAHARA an enjoyable experience. Make it through the early rough patches and you are in for a treat.