Image Source: TVアニメ「URAHARA」‏ on Twitter

Is there such a thing as cramming so much “crazy Japanese” stuff into one show that it almost seems like a show from another universe? Because I think that’s what URAHARA is.

I got to see the first episode of URAHARA this week—a week or so before its official premiere—and woo boy, where to begin on explaining this one. It began as a manga collaboration produced by online anime streaming giant Crunchyroll written by Patrick Macias and illustrated by Mugi Tanaka. It’s also a collaboration with PARK, a fashion store in Harajuku—a.k.a. Tokyo’s fashion district for its most fashionable youth.

The story revolves around Rito (voiced by anime song singer and pop fashion icon Luna Haruna), a fairly normal girl with a passion for fashion design, Mari (voiced by voice actress Sumire Uesaka and lolita fashion icon)—a lolita fashionista who aims to become an actress—and Kotoko—a girl who might just love sweets more than life itself. Together, they run the fashion store PARK in Harajuku where they sell their fashion inspired by their imaginations to their patrons. Yes, just like the Babysitter’s Club books, these three high school girls run their own business based on pure girl power and sweets.

However, their peaceful days are shaken up when aliens called “Scoopers” by the press begin “scooping up” famous cultural landmarks around the world. They do this to steal the culture of Earth to bring to their own planet, as it has no culture of its own. Of course, they immediately begin heading to Harajuku, which is filled with all of Japan’s pop culture. A kidnapped human girl named Misa escapes thanks to the help of an alien turncoat/clearly-just-a-piece-of-fried-shrimp-with-a-face Ebifurya. He steals alien artifacts that transform the girls into warriors based on their greatest passions—for example, Rito’s love for fashion design gives her a magic paintbrush. They use the power of their imagination and artistic talent to take down the invaders and protect their neighborhood.

Image Source: TVアニメ「URAHARA」‏ on Twitter

URAHARA feels like a pot of everything the west thinks Harajuku is. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, in URAHARA‘s case, if you like lots of candy and bright colors. Which, admittedly, I do. Also, being able to have superpowers based on anything you imagine is pretty much the most awesome superpower ever. I mean, I think that’s the kind of power I dreamed of having as a kid.

Image Source: TVアニメ「URAHARA」‏ on Twitter

I personally call this anime “Harajuku Babysitters’ Club” because it’s all about a place of self-employment usually not possible for any school kid being the thing that draws a group of girls together to talk about girly things. Throughout a majority of the first episode, the three girls talk about the fashion designs they’ve come up with, their aspirations for fashion, and Rito’s very fashionable parfait that she designed herself. Their entire relationship dynamic relies on their passion for fashion, with each girl having a different fashion they love.

While other characters exist, the main focus seems to rest solely on these three girls, their love of clothing, sweets, and anything else that represents Tokyo’s fashion centre, as well as the aliens that threaten the things they love. With each girl having their own unique power, I look forward to seeing what kinds of crazy magic they’ll be able to whip up.

URAHARA will premiere on October 4, and will simulcast on Crunchyroll.

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