#1 Genuinely good comedy
Comedy slice-of-life anime, particularly those operating under the label of “cute girls doing cute things”, are a dime in a dozen. While there are certainly stars among them, such as Azumanga Daioh or the legendary Nichijou, many more of them are just mundane and honestly kind of dull. Fortunately, Urara Meirochou is miles better than shows like Pan de Peace!, ranking instead somewhere close to Hidamari Sketch in my book.
What certainly helps is that each episode at least had me entertained. I had a few legit bouts of laughter in a rare few scenes, but every episode reliably had me grinning a few times. The cast of characters has a great chemistry to them and they all feel more interesting than most girls their age in similar shows. Especially Chiya is a source of good comedy, as she grew up in the wilderness and her interactions with civilized people and her generally brazen personality are hilarious to watch.
#2 Haruka Yoshimura as Nono
I haven’t seen too many shows with Yoshimura in it yet, but listening to her version of the shy, soft-spoken Nono Natsume in this series was an absolute delight that makes me want to change that.
Nono is an adorable character and definitely my favorite among the four main girls. Yoshimura’s voice work presents the character so well that I struggle to imagine her with any other actress. She doesn’t so much speak the lines as she squeaks them, like a mouse trying to make herself heard over the cacophony around her. It is super cute and gives the character a unique sound, which really shows during scenes in which Nono sings. I love me some good voice acting and Urara Meirochou had me looking forward to every one of Nono’s lines.
When somebody mentions slice-of-life anime, I feel many of us will automatically conjure up a mental image of young girls going to high school and having fun. Series like that are common and great for when you want to kick back and enjoy something simplistic and upbeat. For a show with more substance, I’d say it’s worth looking towards Urara Meirochou.
Instead of just showing us a compilation of hilarities that befalls the characters during their daily lives, Urara Meirochou zooms in on the beginning of their careers. Each of the four main girls is an apprentice at a fortune telling shop and what sets the show apart is that it’s really focused on the long road ahead of them. All the girls are rank 10 fortune tellers, putting them at the very bottom, but each has the ambition to climb the ranks and achieve various goals. The fact we actually get to learn what each character wants to become, where they came from, and what they are struggling with gives Urara Meirochou more depth than the likes of Yuru Yuri, which just asks you to laugh at some character stereotypes for 12 episodes.
While there are definitely episodes where the girls are just having fun, a good few story arcs have a different kind of experience to offer. A good example is an episode in which one of the girls makes a terrible mistake and loses her powers, possibly ending her career as a fortune teller there and then. There is plenty to laugh at in that episode, yet it also has scenes that are creepy, moments that are sad and make you sympathize with the characters, and a problem to overcome that the characters take seriously.
Urara Meirochou has a magical component that turns it from “just another SOL comedy show” into a truly interesting story where we watch characters grow, overcome problems, and have fun while doing it.