Anime of Tomorrow
Hyakka Ryouran – Samurai Girls (last thoughts)
Final impression – refreshing, but could’ve been better 8/10
Fall 2010 – (title literal translation – Blooming Flowers – Samurai Girls)
The young samurai Muneakira returns from his travels around Japan to find the wanted criminal Yukimura being hunted by his childhood friend, Princess Sen Tokugawa. Yukimura is a diviner and has come to the capital to warn the country’s leaders that a calamity is on the horizon. However, Sen’s brother, the de facto leader of Japan, has written off the prediction as heresy and has ordered her capture. However, things get messy when Muneakira’s chivalrous nature leads him to take Yukimura’s side. When the battle is looking bleak, a mysterious samurai girl named Jyuubei descends from the heavens to defend Muneakira with her otherworldly strength. Who is this monstrously powerful young woman and what is her relationship to Muneakira?
Samurai Girls is set in a fantasy-style modern Japan, in a world that experienced a very different end to World War II. As I often do when a specific plot element excites me, I’m going to mention that I have a soft spot for alternate history stories, so this anime may rank higher on my scale than others might rate it. Given the excessive ecchi, even I would have expected my own rank for Samurai Girls to be a much lower score. But there’s a lot of innovation throughout the anime that is very fresh; resulting in the ecchi being more icing on the cake than excessive sugar. Using inkblots to censor the anime’s TV version was a stylistic stroke of genius. Unnatural rays of light that censor other, similar anime like Koihime Musou are getting cliché and tacky. But enough about the ecchi. Samurai Girls as a concept isn’t anything new. Attractive women with superhuman abilities is common enough, but it gets executed very well in Samurai Girls. There is a great balance of story and action, with pretty much every character having likable, relatable traits. The art style is also refreshing, with very sharp shading and thick lines that makes the entire anime look like it was painted with a wide brush. Excellent opening and ending theme music round out a surprisingly awesome anime.