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Rokka – Braves of the Six Flowers UK Blu-ray Anime Review

11 min read

Think the old reality series ‘The Mole’ but with much more serious consequences and we have Rokka…

What They Say:
Legend says when the Demon God awakens from the deepest of darkness, the Goddess of Fate will summon Six Braves and grand them with the power to save the world. Adlet, who claims to be the strongest man in the world, is chosen as one of the “Braves of the Six Flowers” and sets out on a battle to prevent the resurrection of the Demon God. However, it turns out that there are Seven Braves who gathered at the promised land…

The Seven Braves realize there must be one enemy among themselves, and feelings of suspicion spread through the group – with Adlet being suspected first and foremost.The Review:

Audio:
The audio has a 2.0 release in English, Japanese and in French – I watched the first disc in English and the second disc in Japanese, there were no issues regarding sound quality, echoing, synching with subtitles, etc – the quality is high overall, but you always wish for the 5.1 especially in a thriller type series which combines fantasy as well and atmosphere from bright to dark in a flash….

Video:
Similar with the audio, the animation has excellent clarity considering the switches of style from the fog in the temple, to battles in the wood, it comes out very bright and in your face with the animation with no real problems with the subtitles, the sound synching in any of the languages and no pause lag or in general, it is a quality release, albeit at times it feels a bit too familiar and not as eye catching as other more recent releases, though definitely still pleasing to the eye.

Packaging:
There was no packing for this test release; however the collectors Blu-Ray edition will have col-lectors packaging.

Menu:
The menu is very standard – we get clips from the show through which eventually loop with the choices below of Play, Episodes, Set Up, Extras and Credits. They are all easy to select and have a pop-up menu from the show (bar extras and credits) which is pretty standard for Blu-Ray but always appreciated.

Extras:
The only extras there are trailers in English and Japanese, and the clean openings and endings, but in the special edition, there is collectors packaging and a 48 page art booklet.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
My friend and fellow Fandom Post collaborator Fudce/Jun Kaga first pointed this series out to me when it aired on Cruncyroll a couple of years ago, as he knows my taste in anime probably the best out of all my friends, he immediately recommended this to me as something I’d probably like. And if you’ve been following my reviews, then a mystery action series definitely is something up my boat, especially when you add fantasy with it. I like realism, but anime always can make things even more intense when you throw in the unthinkable in it.

Rokka is a light novel series started in 2011 (currently a major hiatus since around 2015 sadly) with the anime series airing between July and September 2015. The series definitely ends with a huge cliff-hanger which does get expanded in the light novels, but it definitely feels like you need more because it is huge. I won’t spoil the first secret but hoo boy…

We start with a man named Adlet visiting a city where a major tournament is happening to decide a potential new Brave – a Brave is a member of the 6 Flowers chosen by the Goddess of Fate to defeat the Demon God. Adlet just decides to interrupt a match, saying that he is ‘the strongest man in the world’ (take a drink every time he says that in the series, get ready for your liver to implode) – he definitely is a capable fighter, but seems to use a lot of unusual traps, tricks and weaponry to add to some agility and strength, but nothing superhuman. His interruption leads him to being arrested, and there he chats to a girl who is there about his wanting to be a brave fighting alongside the beautiful Princess Nachetanya, already chosen a Brave. After months in prison, he decides now to escape, but then he notices a Brave sign on him…when the girl he spoke with comes to his cell to reveal herself as Nachetanya, with the two leaving to find the other Braves.

Nachetanya is clearly both a bit sheltered and a tad nutty as we see her abilities to form blades, and learn about the Brave-Killer, which as it sounds like, is a killer of Braves. And of course Adlet, in the midst of trying to save some people from friends, finds her, a beautiful and mysterious woman named Flamie. She is definitely the most mysterious of the cast, but along with Adlet and another character later is one of my favourites and gets the most development of the crew we meet – known as the Saint of Gunpowder as Nachetanya is known as the Saint of Blades, she can create bullets and explosives and initially doesn’t want to work with Adlet but Adlet is nothing but charming and persistent and eventually she joins up, though Nachetanya and her bodyguard Goldov (who is also a Brave who found her whilst the two were travelling) are less approving because of her Brave-Killer status…

It is clear something is with Flamie and wants to kill the Demon God (and we do later learn why) and episode 4 is where things start to get interesting. As I said, this is a mystery as well as action and the mystery part hits here. You see, there are only 6 Braves allowed at any time so when the group head to the barrier temple, they get through some fiends but find that the barrier has already activated which in effect, traps them. Here, three other braves appear, a young girl named Chamot who is apparently the true strongest in the world (even Flamie lost to her in a fight), her mother like figure Maura, and a cat like smirking assassin Hans (my other favourite character). Now if you’ve read this right, you may realise the problem….

…yep, there are 7 Braves, yet can only be 6. So one is clearly an imposter.

The rest of the series to both its ups and downs is now a whodunit story, albeit in figuring out who is the imposter. The initial suspect is Flamie, who as the Brave-Killer, may have tried to trap everyone to kill them. However, after each of the group discusses themselves, Flamie is revealed as a half-human and half-fiend, which meant that as a fiend energy shouldn’t be able to touch the barrier without assistance, she is innocent thanks to Adlet’s mind. However, he unknowingly implicates himself as he was the first one to enter the temple and therefore could have activated the barrier, and now he’s the prime suspect. With him struggling to convince them, he actually knocks out Flamie and kidnaps her, but not before Hans gets a wound in as he escapes…

He passes out whilst carrying Flamie but surprisingly, Flamie actually patches him up. We learn of Adlet’s past and training, and why we wants to kill the Demon Lord (due to the death of his mother and sister) – the two kind of bond here as we learn of Flamie’s half-breed past and how her mother tried to kill her, making her despise the fiend kind so they suspect if Adlet nor Flamie are the traitor, to set this up, there may be even an 8th Brave out there. Flamie is ‘released’ but the other Braves are ready to kill Adlet, even though Nachetanya doesn’t believe it much to Goldov’s displeasure (clearly having a crush on her)….however it is Hans who makes the first move to strike Adlet…

Hans and Adlet have a battle of both blades and wits, as Adlet tries to convince to Hans he isn’t the 7th – the two are fairly even matched but it leads to Adlet taking a risk, deliberating missing a chance to kill Hans whilst leaving himself wide open – a risk because if Hans reveals himself as the 7th, he’s as good as dead. Sure enough, Hans is the 7th and slices his throat open…

…or at least that’s what it looks like. Turns out was an illusion and Hans actually said that to see Adlet’s reaction, because if Adlet was the 7th, he would be confused by the lie. Instead, he was terrified and that was proof to Hans that Adlet isn’t the 7th. Ironic as Nachetanya suspects Hans….so the two return to the temple but Chamot is there to add both of them (in one of the most disgusting ways, her power as Saint of Swamps is to force herself to throw up, unleashing monsters that she has defeated and EATEN as her minions). Despite this though, Hans and Adlet work together and manage to stop Chamot, who like Hans, didn’t know anything of the barrier beforehand yet everyone else did so with Chamot and Hans unlikely to be the 7th, and Adlet writing off Flamie, who is it?

It is clear that Maura doesn’t believe Adlet, and Flamie is having problems trusting him even though she wants to (it is clear Adlet is in love with Flamie and she is having problems adjusting to this affection), and Nachetanya seems to go insane and figures out it must be Adlet after Maura lies and says Hans was killed by Adlet, as Maura is convinced it is him…or is it a faux pas?

Flamie seems to betray Adlet and lures the others to him but instead of explaining, he instead makes sure Flamie is innocent…which leads to Flamie protecting him from Maura. Unfortunately Nachetanya and Goldov also appear which Nachetanya manages to nearly kill him, but when he feels the cold around him, he suddenly begins to realise what could have happened…and when Hans is revealed to be alive along with Chamot and then Adlet brings a rather impressive theory involving another Saint…and then Adlet then figures out who the 7th is…

I won’t spoil it because it is a rather ingenious explanation how it happens, but will say that by the end of the series there is a potential 8th Brave that enters the equation which means there is ANOTHER traitor out there, which is why this screams out sequel and unsure if it will happen…

The traitor mechanic is this series both greatest strength and biggest weakness. The strength is of course, trying to figure out who the fake Brave is. It seems that Adlet is probably the most likely as he doesn’t have any Saint powers or connections with anyone else – granted others also do (Hans and Goldov) but because they arrived later and in Hans case no clue about the barrier activation, it seems like he is the prime target. Yet obviously he knows he isn’t and because the self proclaimed strongest man in the world, you can see that he doesn’t believe it deep inside (he compares the fight between himself and Hans as a normal man vs. a genius) but because of his teaching to always fight despair with a smile on his face, he uses the line as a way to keep his mentality stable. It is actually his best feature as despite pretty much all of the Braves outperforming him, he manages to keep with them (even beating Chamot the true strongest) because of his smarts, tricks and skills. This is what allows him to convince the group (eventually) that he is innocent and despite some of them really not believing him, it does lead to the very interesting ending…

Flamie’s character is the other one that gets really good development, especially as it is a bait and switch, as it initially seems that Nachetanya would be the main female and love interest, but that changes very quickly and Flamie is the far more interesting character and her past as a half-breed and her vengeance on the Demon King combined with her lack of love with the affection Adlet gives her makes her suffer several conflictions, combined with her beautiful looks and mysterious aura, she is easily the other major character (even the end there’s a bit of comic jealousy when the new ‘Brave’ enters) and the two’s trials are the most interesting part of the anime along with the mystery. It’s also why I like Hans a lot too, because whilst he doesn’t get much development, he is snarky, funny, yet deadly and skilled, but also incredibly intelligent and the fact he figured out Adlet both wrongly and rightly makes the duo an excellent duo – plus the cat afflictions helps.

The problem though is that after episode 4, the show is focused purely on the figuring out the traitor is. Granted as mentioned, this does help with the fight scenes as well as the development of Adlet, Flamie and to a lesser extent Hans…but the rest…not so much. Nachetanya seems like she is the ditzy princess, but she’s also quite psychotic in a weird way because of her sheltered nature, you are not sure where she is at – which really doesn’t help when compared to Flamie. Goldov is literally just there as a bodyguard with little character besides being in love with the princess, Chamot is hyped up as incredibly strong yet Hans and Adlet beat her just from out-smarting her and her childish nature makes her more annoying than endearing, and Maura, de-spite by the end nearly saving her ways, is way too headstrong in her beliefs which due to her lying and causing the others to nearly kill Adlet, doesn’t save herself in time for being mostly unlikeable. Granted, if a sequel happens this can definitely change, but for the moment it is quite a negative impression.

Because the anime, despite only 12 episodes long, feels like between episodes 4 and 12 it drags a bit. There is actually nothing dreadfully wrong with the show – indeed because of my style of shows I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the cliff-hanger, the reveal of the real fake and their reason for doing so, it screams out to have been shortened with this arc and into a new arc to see if there is a 2nd traitor. It is definitely worth a watch and glad I saw it, but I need more…and you get the feeling there won’t be…

In Summary:
Rokka is a wasted opportunity, as a 2 cour series or just focusing on the mystery without the first episodes may actually have helped as whilst we do get some development with Flamie and Adlet in particular, it just goes a bit short with what you wanted. That said, the mystery part and the solution is actually very well worked out and clues are there throughout when you rewatch so the thing is there is nothing wrong with this series, it’s very clever but it could have been better written. Some characters are also far weaker in terms of development and just in general but the Flamie/Adlet and Hans/Adlet moments at least make this worth it just a tad more…

Features:
Credits

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C-

Released By: Anime Ltd
Release Date: June 25th, 2018
MSRP: £44.99
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Playstation 4, Sony Bravia 32 Inc EX4 Television, Aiwa 2 Way Twin Duct Bass Reflex Speaker System.

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