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Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls – 10

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「魔眼の牢獄」 (Magan no Rougoku)
“The Evil Eye’s Prison”

Who would’ve thought that this would turn out to be one of the sleepers of the season? Ever since the second episode, this series has far exceeded my expectations for a high school comedy set in a fictional alternate universe where the Tokugawa shogunate won the Boshin War (unlike in Hakuouki), and now it goes a step above that by mixing in a fair degree of interesting plot to go with all the laughs thus far. Bringing all that together are Hobby Japan’s very attractive character designs, and ARMS studio’s production work that never ceases to amaze me with the amount of detail that goes into the distant shots. Normally, that’s when studios have an opportunity to skimp, but ARMS somehow keeps all the character faces looking proper regardless. It’s something that actually goes a long way when picking out interesting screen captures to take. As for the plot itself, it was pretty much expected that Yukimura, Sen, and the others would try to save Jubei and Muneakira from becoming guinea pigs for Yoshihiko’s master samurai experiments. Things progressed steadily towards that with an added obstacle from the effects of Gisen’s evil eye that had seized Muneakira’s will, for which Yukimura and Sen pulled a spirit resonance type of technique to protect their general. It was actually kind of cool to see them fighting in that empty white vacuum, especially when Yukimura burst onto the scene to put a stop to Gisen’s mind games. However, the real surprise came from Nia, who was sympathetic towards the unwavering loyalty that Yukimura showed towards Muneakira and her unilateral concern for his well-being. As a true samurai with her honor to uphold, she did something that I wasn’t expecting at all — disobey Yoshihiko’s orders to kill Yukimura and Sen.

For now, what will come from her betrayal remains to be seen in the grand scheme of things, albeit she did leave a lasting positive impression of her character right away. It may not have been much, but I felt it added quite a bit of depth to her as well, after seeing her resist Yoshihiko’s control over her with tears in her eyes. Despite being fairly brief, that development sure wasn’t a dimension to this series that I was expecting given the lighthearted nature of it up until now. It was a very welcomed one though, as it coincided with Yukimura and Sen’s confession to Muneakira to get him to wake up from his mental prison. The confessions themselves were brought about in an interesting way as well, in that they didn’t seem out of place given how the girls were uneasy about admitting their feelings, and didn’t sound so forced or unnatural to the point that the seriousness of them were put to waste. While they still weren’t anything overly profound compared to other series, they did tie in well with the overarching plot about the lack of natural master samurai as of late. Namely, the girls surmised that it’s due the lack of befitting generals who form genuine loving bonds with their samurai to awaken their abilities, rather than using them as some disposable shield that’s easily replaced. It’s undoubtedly an overused theme — love conquers all — except it’s actually refreshing to have it in a samurai context. In fact, I’m curious to know if there will be any further development in that regard in these late stages of the series.

With only two episodes left and the preview suggesting that Muneakira’s kiss to Jubei will unleash her master samurai self to wreck havoc on Yoshihiko’s inhumane experiments, it doesn’t leave a lot of room to pursue the shadow over Japan, Amakusa Shirou. In addition, the next episode title suggests that we’ll be delving more into Nia’s side of things, which is a welcomed development in my books after her honorable betrayal here. The only problem is that it doesn’t leave any time for anything else, and reiterates to me that a second season is in order to depict the rest of the story. Hopefully we’ll see one, sooner rather than later.

 

Preview

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December 8, 2010 at 2:18 am
27 comments »
  • December 8, 2010 at 2:51 amRei

    Subs need to be faster; I see my awesome Ami Koshimizu musketeer. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH looks so sexy in actoin!

    • December 8, 2010 at 6:18 amBossun

      I don’t know what site you watch, but subs were out before your comment was posted

      • December 8, 2010 at 2:42 pmRei

        I wait for specific subs :(

  • December 8, 2010 at 3:51 amjrj

    Nia owns all… that is the fact of the episode…
    though the actions were good this episode :)
    Muneakira, so you have evolved from passive to active kissing machine?! :D
    Please green-light a second season!

  • December 8, 2010 at 3:55 amKandur

    Uncensored BD rips to the people!

  • December 8, 2010 at 4:12 amewok40k

    Uncensored BD rips to the people!
    QFT!

    other than that, Nia ends as ally of the Muneakira’s posse of samurai girls
    making 7 of them in total…
    BTW, made myself lol at the idea that occured to me
    Snow White… erm, Muneakira and the 7 samurai!

  • December 8, 2010 at 4:30 amEliteF22

    The next episode preview at the end was hilarious!

    • December 8, 2010 at 5:13 amkn09

      Agree! now just how far was she poking Yoshihiko with her swords? looking at the size, well, that’s gotta hurt >_>
      it reminds me of previous reviews I like too : Hanzo’s plan for indirect kiss with Sen through Muneakira (and killing him to negate it), and the fact that Sen was abusing Muneakira in their childhood XD

  • December 8, 2010 at 5:19 amkn09

    well,, if there’s only 12 eps this season, I really (REALLY) hope they’re also doing the 2nd season. SOON.
    It’s only lately that I got back to following ongoing animes weekly (as opposed to watching complete ones in one go), and this is the first title that makes me begging for another season to be made really quick :D :D

    • December 8, 2010 at 5:14 pmMC

      That’s the best way to do it…all in one go.

  • December 8, 2010 at 5:21 am♛Croosboy♛

    yeah more plot development

  • December 8, 2010 at 6:05 amTrystinia

    This episode did not disappoint at all! When I started watching this show I didn’t expect myself to be craving next weeks episode every week. I’m looking forward to how the ending plays out.
    At least this week is going by fast with my Finals and studying.. Is it Sunday yet?

    • December 8, 2010 at 5:09 pmMC

      Yay finals…I still got another week XP

      • December 8, 2010 at 7:35 pmTrystinia

        Can’t wait till i’m done. Lazy days ahead!

  • December 8, 2010 at 6:19 amBossun

    Everyone needs to go buy five copies of the BD/DVD so we can guarantee a second season

  • December 8, 2010 at 6:24 amKarmafan

    Truer words were never spoken by Divine… This WAS the sleeper of the season. I almost didn’t bother watching it but decided to watch at least the 1st epsiode and this turned out to be one of the BEST animes of this fall season (along with Zakuro, Bakuman, Ika Musume, Soredomo and Star Driver for NEW animes).

    How are its ratings? I would love to see more then 1 season. Im sure these last 2 episodes will be about the girls defeating the evil brother (or knocking some sense into him and getting him to support the REAL general… Muneakira). The great evil shadow over Japan might become known to them as a season ending cliffhanger but won’t be resolved or addressed in the last 2 episodes.

  • December 8, 2010 at 7:20 amZangkin

    This episode really did up being really boring. Also it may just be me but i think the fight scenes are getting really boring. When an opponent is being attack they always say something like “Wow pretty good” and they just take the hit until it ends. I don’t know, i just feel that the scenes are getting more borish. Anyways Kanetsugu, she’s still funny as always and i love that.

  • December 8, 2010 at 7:48 amZnail

    Seems to me that Muneakira will get to try a frensh kiss next ;)

    • December 8, 2010 at 8:11 amGP

      Sounds good to me, he should try way more IMO.

  • December 8, 2010 at 8:17 amSilentcid

    I bet Muneakira when he was in that white void was thinking this was one crazy wet dream.

  • December 8, 2010 at 9:27 amFlamingYu

    Will they show a banana in uncensored version?

  • December 8, 2010 at 2:07 pmLaN

    Still sort of hoping the general gets his opportunity to do something bad-ass! It’s also looking like the ending of this series will be set up for a sequel.

  • December 8, 2010 at 7:46 pmIrational Promise

    One thing I noticed this episode was that Matabei treated Kangetsugu pretty nicely after Sen automatically jumped to the conclusion that she was just being useless again. Matabei doesn’t /just/ treat her like she’s a pain. Though I’m glad that she finally did something noteworthy and helpful =w= And yay for plot~ <3

  • December 9, 2010 at 1:42 amewok40k

    yep, the dumb-yet-rational way to go to the basement was hilarious, and Kanetsugu being finally useful was very good counterbalance to her usual antics

  • December 9, 2010 at 4:15 pmdkama

    This has been better than expected, and really at 12 eps, is too short. It feels a bit rushed the last couple of eps. Maybe there will be a season 2 to explore the shadow over Japan theme. Anyone know how it’s doing in the ratings?

  • December 9, 2010 at 10:29 pmMomohime

    This anime artworks remind me so much of the Wii game: Muramasa: The Demon Blade.

    It would be awesome if Vanillaware turn this into a game. All of the samurai already got cool transformations and special moves :)