It’s back to the Yagyu Dojo and likely more fanservice and cliched comedy with Muneakira Yagyu and his harem of lovely Master Samurai. Expect breasts (covered with steam or other censorship).
What They Say:
Episode 1: “True Shadow, Now Open”
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The overblown narration! Girls in tight outfits! Swords!
Yes, it’s another round of Hyakka Ryouran.
This time, it appears that the girls will be tasked with fighting the resurrected spirits of ancient samurai under the influence of evil, while at the same time having to deal with the normal struggle for financial security, especially after the Lehman…ahem, excuse me, real world cutting in there for a moment…the Leiman Shock, which wiped out Yukimura’s savings, forcing her to turn the dojo into a moe maid cafe. And so it happens that Muneakira comes home from a long trip he took after the climax of the last season in order to improve his abilities as a master of samurai to find his home completely changed, and not for the better in his opinion.
When Kanetsugu is handing out fliers for the cafe, in a cemetery for some reason, she comes across four rather suspicious women who want directions to the Yagyu Dojo. Once there, they are treated to maid service, but only until it’s revealed that they have come to challenge the dojo, especially Jubei. When disappointed in that goal, since, as we know from the last season, Yagyu Jubei has disappeared, they do at least reveal themselves as the Dark Samurai: Musashi Miyamoto, Kojiro Sasaki, Mataemon Araki, and Inshun Houzoin (all recognizable as famous samurai in history and legend). Yukimura and Sen try to put up a fight, but the Dark Samurai are far too much for them. Muneakira’s powers are insufficient to do anything, and Jubei can’t transform anymore. The Dark Samurai defeat the Yagyu group handily, and put a curse on Muneakira to boot, giving him one month to bring back Yagyu Jubei, or else lose his powers as a Master over samurai forever.
Being a sequel, it was not hard to guess what this episode would offer: lots of girls in tight outfits, some nudity (covered up with a black brushstroke of ink, keeping with the “this is all being painted onto a scroll” motif the show has had from its very start), and some lame humor, largely at the expense of the hapless Kanetsugu. It also needed to meet some basic requirements of plot setup and it addressed them with a certain economy and efficiency: a short reintroduction to the main characters, the introduction of the antagonists, and a crisis for our hero and his heroines.
Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Bride (I will refer to it by its short title only in future reviews) is not great art or meant for a more discerning audience. It’s fairly predictable fanservice fare accompanied by some action and somewhat sterile comedy. By saying this, I’m not heaping scorn upon or deriding it: this is simply a straightforward description of what it is. By its own rather modest goals, I would say that this first episode is pretty successful. There’s some comedy, some titillation, and some action. That’s all that people who liked the first series probably expect. All of those elements are back for this new series. Except for its somewhat unique (and occasionally annoying) art style, visually it is not particularly notable. The designs for the girls are attractive, if in many cases a little too top heavy (except for lolita-lovers bait Yukimura, of course), and the new Dark Samurai are pretty much cut from the same mold. The action scenes were done in a rather economical manner, with lots of whirling lines representing mystical forces and such, which have the beneficial effect of not being that expensive to animate compared to detailed sword choreography.
There are no great changes on tap so it appears from this opening episode. It remains to be seen what they have planned for the future.
Samurai Girls is now followed up with Samurai Bride, though the significance of the title change is not apparent yet. The basic story elements of the original show are all here: attractive women, tight outfits which they occasionally lose, and some light action. This show is not going to surprise anyone, but if you liked the first season, then you will likely enjoy this first episode of the new series.
Episode Grade: B
Streamed by: Crunchyroll
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