HAKKENDEN: EIGHT DOGS OF THE EAST SEASON 2

PrintE-mail Written by Gareth Evens

In series 1 of Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East, Shino and Sosuke set out on a mission to collect 8 beads which, when revived, would resurrect the spirit of an ancient princess. In season 2 the characters continue on this mission, having learned that more than one of the beads already lie with their friends. 

If any one word could be applied to Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East it would be "wistful". This is especially true of series 2 in which a sense of longing defines many of the characters and stories that the main characters encounter across the thirteen episodes on offer. Usually this manifests in unfinished business that the character of the episode needs to complete, whether it be to hone their craft, gain their freedom or return home.

One of the complaints that can be found in our review of series 1 is that the main plot didn't feel very prevalent, to the extent that it appeared to be an afterthought at times. Series 2 addresses this somewhat. It does this by having more story arcs that unfold across multiple episodes rather than single episode stories. This gives
Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East a greater flow in its second series. There are also more episodes that feel important to the progression of the main plot and the quest to gather the eight beads that will resurrect the princess.

Sadly in series 2 the show seems to have forgotten the cast that it spent the first series carefully building up. To be fair to the creators juggling the cast would be no mean feat considering there are 8 beads and 8 people to hold them. However series 2 feels less like an ensemble piece and more like a show with two main characters and a lot of guests. People who played a big part in series 1 find themselves only making much of an impact in one or two episodes in series 2.
  Thankfully the two characters that the show does remember to focus on are still strong. They have well defined personalities and they have a very believable bond which underpins the show.
Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East is as much a fairy tale as the first series was. The main cast feels neglected in this series but Hakkenden makes up for it with longer story arcs that helps this series feel less fragmented than its predecessor. The main plot does move along but viewers may find themselves disappointed that more hasn't been resolved in terms of story after 26 episodes. Despite that it is still worth checking out for people who enjoyed the first series and want to see where it is going.

HAKKENDEN: EIGHT DOGS OF THE EAST / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: MITSUE YAMAZAKI / SCREENPLAY: OSAMU YAMASAKI / STARRING: GREG AYRES, LERALOD ANZALDUA, EMILY NEVES, ANDREW LOVE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
 


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