Anime Review: Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls Episode 1

(Originally published on Livejournal on 11/3/10)

Anime Review in a Minute:
Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls Episode 1

Anime Review in a Minute: What this is all about. — Watching all the anime shows so you don’t HAVE to!

tl;dr review: High school samurai girls battle it out alternate reality Japan; Pure, unadulterated fan-service, that’s all.

The Skinny: Set in another reality where the Japanese shogunate never lost power and the country is a superpower, Muneakira Yagyuu arrives in town to attend a military academy. But while sight-seeing beforehand, he visits the Buou Gakuen Juku where he meets up with the (scantily-clad) Yukimura Sanada and Matabee Gotou. The two of them are members of the Toyotomi Clan, which is in opposition to the powerful Tokugawa Shogunate that rules the school with an iron fist. Suddenly attacked by the vice-principal and her minions, the three of them flee. Without explanation, a strange naked glowing girl descends from the sky into Muneakira’s arms, and she reveals she is Jubei Mitsuyoshi Yagyuu, the reincarnation of a master swordsman. Uhhh…okay.

Assorted video captures from the episode – click on each one for a full-sized view:

My Thoughts: This show was actually embarrassing to watch; I had to force myself to continue through the whole thing. Simply put — it’s awful. Truly, truly awful.

On the positive side, the show does try to employ a unique art style with heavy outlines and flattened perspective against boldly colored backgrounds to evoke a feeling of historic Japanese artwork techniques. However, the attempt somewhat misses the mark, and instead of being intriguing, it ends up as a disjointed fusion of modern anime style characters plastered stiffly atop the backgrounds. Nice try, guys, but there’s something missing.

As for the story, it’s a clunky mess. The setting in an alternate 2010 with heavy shogun overtones is interesting, but it seems the only reason is to provide a vehicle to offer up clothing-optional and/or laughably-costumed samurai girls with specious ties to historical figures battling it out in over-the-top fight scenes. Oh, and let’s not forget the lesbian snatch-munching thrown in to the mix.

Finally, I feel obliged to also mention the distracting black ink splatters that the animators liberally use in a vain attempt to be “stylish”, and doing double-duty as convenient censorship spots. Really, they’re just annoying. But that’s the least of this show’s sins.

While I cannot yet claim this is the worst show of the season (there’s still plenty of more potentially stinky piles of offal left to sample), it certainly is a leading candidate. Avoid avoid avoid, unless you’re the type of person that considers Ikkitousen a masterpiece.

For more info:

Random Curiosity Review: http://randomc.net/2010/09/06/hyakka-ryouran-samurai-girls-01/
My Anime List Entry: http://myanimelist.net/anime/8277/Hyakka_Ryouran:_Samurai_Girls
Bad pop synth opening video sequence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0POQO9o4p_A&feature=related

The Verdict: – Pass me the Excedrin, please.

The tally for Fall 2010 season first episodes so far:
Passing Grade: Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute, The World God Only Knows, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, Psychic Detective Yakumo, Shinryaku! Ika Musume

Failing grade: MM!, Star Driver, Iron Man, Fortune Arterial, Motto To Love-ru, Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, Yumeiro Patissiere Professional, Tamayura, To Aru Majutsu no Index 2

Up Next (not necessarily in this order): Bakuman, Yosuga no Sora, Arakawa Under the Bridge x2, Sora No Otoshimono Forte, Tegami Bachi Reverse, Otome Yokai Zakuro, Kuragehime

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