HYAKKA RYŌRAN: SAMURAI BRIDE

PrintE-mail Written by Dominic Cuthbert

From Arms Corporation, the fanservice specialist studio that brought you Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero and the upcoming echhi-fest Valkyrie Drive, comes the follow-up to the 2010 series Samurai Girls, plumbed from Akira Suzuki’s ongoing series of light novels. Like Aesthetica, Samurai Bride has a pretty interesting set up and no shortage of ideas. In this case, it mixes the cornerstones of contemporary Japanese culture with the Sengoku period, imagining a setting where Tokugawa shogunate never ended and a samurai speckled Great Japan remained right into the modern day. It employs some of the same conventions of steampunk, but forging its own cosy niche well in need of its own term (samurai-punk, maybe?). For this inventive idea alone, it’s worth a watch, but the borderline hentai fanservice is difficult to look past if you’re either put off by or simply unused to it.

Picking up from events in Samurai Girls, General Muneakira Yagyū returns from his training journey to find the scantily clad gals have turned the dojo into maid café to combat the financial crisis and pay off their mounting debt. Meanwhile, the recently resurrected dark samurai are causing mischief, teasing a hidden agenda and setting their swords on the girls’ strongest member, Jūbei Yagyū. In amidst the usual gaggle of gender-swapped samurai figures, comes a few new characters to keep things ticking along.

Hyakka Ryōran: Samurai Bride is a series that puts goofiness and fanservice above everything else, in a flurry of increasingly embarrassing scenarios including a panty stealing monkey and orally invasive tentacles. Its real strength is in the startlingly beautiful animation which draws on the traditional feudal-era art style (and adding stars to our rating). The character models are vividly rendered, with thick black outlines as they flit and fight in the immersive pastel shaded backdrops and settings. The scene transitions are splattered in Okami-esque ink splats for a stylish but trying 12 episodes.

Extras: Samurai Bride Shorts; Preview; Promo; Opening/Closing Animation; Previews of Other Titles.

HYAKKA RYŌRAN: SAMURAI BRIDE / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: KOBUN / SCREENPLAY: SATORU NISHIZONO / STARRING: CHINATSU AKASAKI, SAORI GOTÔ, YÔKO HIKASA / RELEASE DATE: JULY 6TH
 


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