Sunday, February 22, 2009

Anime — Earl & Fairy

It was the cat what did it -- seeing a promo image with a puss-in-boots with Westminster Palace in the background -- for this one.

It's been a while since I last finished a series, my usual review point -- long enough to concern my fans -- mainly because the latter part of last year was fairly light on series that held my attention. Of 3 series from Q4 which I did take up, the first to get subbed (and after some domestic disruption, watched) is this title, with Nana Mizuki playing another strong willed auburn haired lass -- Lydia, this time, rather than Lillia.

Earl & Fairy is fairly unabashedly shoujo -- manservice ED, bishies on tap -- but once you reset to the genre, it is fun.

The setting is Victorian Britain, in the general high adventure mould, with a dash of Celtic lore made real; the lead character, Miss Lydia Carlton, being a novice in the craft of fairy doctoring -- being an interlocutor between the everyday and the hidden worlds.

Returning to London from her Scottish base, she and her companion cat-fae, Nico, get caught up in the hunt for a desperate wanted man with blonde hair and ash mauve eyes, a murderer, it is claimed -- who turns out to be a claimant to the title of the Blue Knight Earl, whose demesne includes lands in Hy Brasel. Engaged -- with a handsome commission -- as an expert in all matters concerning the Fae, she is caught up in a clandestine struggle between the rakish Edgar, claimant to the title, on the one hand, and the layered entourage of a mysterious figure -- probably a scion of the Jacobite line -- known as the Prince.

As one would expect, the heavily telegraphed relationship between Lydia and Edgar is a stormy one -- he being somewhat caddish and presuming that she would want to be his bride; she having another suitor in the form of a Kelpie -- and a major component of the story. Indeed, when the initial plot line of making good the claim on the title is done, for a while it almost seems like the rest of the story would be plain romance; but then Edgar's past entanglements with the Prince draw everyone into the darkness.

After 12 episodes, we are given a resolution -- but with a very strong undertone of "to be continued". Initial threats have been countered, but the Earl of Hy Brasel has yet to enter upon that part of his demesne, the Prince's lieutenants are still at large -- and, more serious yet, the fated couple have yet even to kiss, let alone walk down the aisle together.

Admittedly fluff, this series did still handle setting and story deftly enough to be enjoyable -- while being girly enough that I'm sure that having this on a list of "what I watched in '08" was what provoked a "Are you a girl?" reaction. If you are secure enough to proudly state, if appropriate, that "Real men watch shoujo!", then it's pleasant viewing.

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