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Manga / Urara Meirocho

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Urara Meirocho is a yonkoma manga by Harikamo and published in Manga Time Kirara Miracle! since 2014, moving to Manga Time Kirara as of October 2017. The series concluded in 2019, compiled into seven volumes. It received an animated adaptation by J.C. Staff in the winter 2017 season, which ran for 12 episodes adapting the events of the first 23 chapters. In North America it is distributed by Sentai Filmworks and livestreamed by Anime Network.

The series focuses on the Wild Child Chiya, as she ventures into Meirocho ("Labyrinth Town") to become an Urara (a type of fortune-teller) and search for her Missing Mom.

Urara Meirocho contains examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: Assuming this series is based on Meiji/Taisho era, then Ko'ume's bikini in Episode 8 seems at least several decades too early.
  • Antiquated Linguistics:
    • The kitsune spirit speaks like this, using the feminine, archaic "warawa" to refer to herself.
    • Incantations are recited in archaic language.
  • The Apprentice: The main cast are apprentices in divination.
  • Chromosome Casting: While the fact that the uraras are all women have internal justification, the fact that all the law enforcement in the town are women smacks of this trope.
  • Creepy Doll: Nono's doll, Matsuko, is exactly that. She's a doll with dark, gloomy eyes that speaks in a really deep voice and can spin her head around 360 degrees, as shown in Episode 1. The background also changes to a dark blue pattern when focusing on her. Not quite Nightmare Fuel, but definitively uncanny.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The OP, "Yumeji Labyrinth", is performed by Sayaka Harada (Chiya), Yurika Kubo (Koume Yukimi), Haruka Yoshimura (Nono Natsume), and Kaede Hondo (Kon Tatsumi).
  • Exorcist Head: Matsuko is seen spinning her around on different occasions. In Episode 1 she does a full 360 spin.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: The first half of episode 5 is mainly about this. Meirocho has a yearly festival where uraras are required to wear the Japanese wedding dress shiromuku.
  • Familiar: The main cast all have this in some form:
  • Fortune Teller: The Uraras are this, and they live in Meirocho, a town of diviners.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Originally, the uraras did drink the religious sake during the shiromuku festival. When adopted as the fifth episode of the anime, though, they just smelled it—but enough to give Chiya Intoxication Ensues.
  • Genius Bonus: A few for readers familiar with Japanese folklore and traditions:
    • In chapter 2 (or the second half of episode 1), Kon's Kokkuri sheet is shown; while most readers will note its resemblance to an Ouija Board, sharper-eyed readers will see that the hiragana is arranged in the traditional iroha ordering (suiting the setting) as opposed to the modern gojuon sequencing.
  • Kyu and Dan Ranks: Uraras' levels are organized in this way, although the suffix used is -han, which ordinarily turns a number into ordinals.
  • Just Friends: Lampshaded in episode 3, usually in anime 2 girls have an scene in which they deepen their bonds in what for an outsider looks clearly like a romantic scene, but they also usually tend to shut down that scene saying they're "friends", this didn't work in episode 3 though, when Koume said it to Chiya, the background characters immediately commented on the scene saying they're having a "lover's quarrel", making Koume realize that nobody bought her "friends" speech.
  • The Maze: Team Natsume-ya has to navigate the Belly of the Serpent, a cryptic labyrinth filled with traps, where they are required to retrieve a hidden key arrow to pass the Rank 9 promotion examination.
  • Mickey Mousing: The ED theme, Go to Romance, is an Exaggeration. Not only are the girls' movements and camera cuts perfectly timed with the music, several of the lyrics directly refer to their moods and actions during their respective portions of the sequence.
  • The Narrator: Unusual for this type of work. Performed by Kikuko Inoue.
  • Opening Narration:
    Sometimes, people lose their way to their fate, or the crossroads of life, as they wander through the maze of their everyday lives. In those times, a diviner can present you with an arrow pointing you to the right choice. The magical power that points the way is sometimes panacea, sometimes poison. To possess that power, one must be a girl who has passed her fifteenth birthday. The girls in this fortune-telling town are sometimes goddesses, sometimes witches—
    Cast in unison: Urara!
  • Slice of Life: One which is supernatural-themed.
  • Sneeze Cut: Saku has one at the end of the first episode, probably courtesy of Chiya.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: The kitsune spirit's hosts sport these eyes.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In episode 8, Nina first recalls that the gods of the town often purify themselves in the springs across the town... then added that they are the most definitively not there to cool off because it has been hot lately.
  • Those Two Girls: Oshima and Shiozawa, two patrol officers who work under Saku. They are often seen admiring her.
  • Whatevermancy: Uraras are not limited by one kind of divination. Even in the introduction, we have been shown with a large number of these working in Meirocho.
  • Wutai: Word of God confirms this series is based on Meiji/Taisho era Japan. But this is also a universe where gods definitively exists and speak to humans, and because of this, the uraras can use divination via the gods' powers.
  • Yonkoma: Like other manga series published in Manga Time Kirara Miracle!, Urara Meirocho is illustrated in the four-panel format.

Alternative Title(s): Urara Meirochou