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Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls – 11

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「仏蘭西から来たサムライ」 (Furansu kara Kita Samurai)
“The Samurai From France”

This sleeper series continues to impress, as the cliffhanger from last episode picks up in many ways that I was expecting, and in many ways that I wasn’t as well. Jubei’s awakening as her master samurai counterpart led to a fair bit of action, whereas Nia’s past with Yoshihiko built up the drama and provided a truly unexpected dimension to the story. While the episode title hinted that this would be about Nia, I was amazed by how well a moving, sorrow-filled love story was woven in. From the flashbacks of Nia’s first meeting with Yoshihiko, I could get a real sense of how her love innocently developed, before feelings of disbelief, fear, and sadness overtook her when he subjected her to master samurai experimentation. The heartless depiction of Yoshihiko playing with her feelings resounded loud and clear, so I couldn’t help but feel sympathetic towards what happened to Nia, especially after learning that she’s a very gentle, soft-spoken girl. As such, hearing Yoshihiko continually bark orders to her and treat her like some disposable tool in the present had me hoping that Jubei would kill him on the spot. The story could have easily calmed my feelings of disdain towards him for being an emotionless scumbag, so it came as a real surprise to see Nia simply endure all the mistreatment and continued to serve him loyally out of love, even after he ordered her to fight to the death for him. Rather than taking the easy way out with Muneakira and the others freeing Nia from a man that clearly didn’t love her in return, the story stuck with the unrequited love and moved towards a much less typical outcome — Nia’s feelings getting through Yoshihiko’s cold-hearted exterior.

Quite frankly, the powerful emotions behind all the scenes were what really caught me by surprise. They were walking a fine line between coming off as overly melodramatic and absolutely cheesy, yet managed to retain a seriousness to it throughout. I attribute that primarily to Sakurai Takahiro‘s portrayal of Yoshihiko and making me really really hate him, combined with Koshimizu Ami‘s one of Nia that made me really want to reach out to her. In fact, I found myself hating Yoshihiko more and more with every additional thing he said, and eagerly anticipating the moment that Jubei would cut him down when Muneakira, Sen, and Yukimura were unwilling to raise a hand against their shogun. The precarious situation that everyone was in added to the ambiance as well, which Yoshihiko himself reiterated by saying that fighting one another is inevitable. All that served as great emotional build-up towards Muneakira’s awakening as a true general to put a stop to the senseless battle, which was something that can only be described as “badass”. To show an even further dimension to the story (and series as a whole), he didn’t simply use his newly awakened status and kick Yoshihiko’s ass, show him his place, and lecture him about righteous ideals either (like I’ve come to expect from main protagonists), and instead got on his hands and knees and tried to put a stop to this peacefully through words. There were no shounen-like developments where the hero simply blows everything up and calls it a day, as Muneakira handled things responsibly with consequences in mind. It was an unbelievably refreshing turn of events, since it not only showed a respectable depth to Muneakira’s character — helping offset how he’s been strung along by the girls all this time — but also paved way for a loathsome character like Yoshihiko to reveal some depth in his too.

At this point, I somehow doubt that Nia’s valiant act of protecting Yoshihiko was intended to be their final moments together, but it could have very well been with the way it played out. The origami hat that she’s been carrying with her all this time brought out the side of him that was locked away by his sense of duty to Great Japan and truly brought them together. A tragic end shortly after would’ve easily left a lasting impression; however, I can’t really see any of the key characters dying when Yoshihiko’s return to command his newly deployed army of master samurai would serve as the perfect climactic conclusion next time, assuming that Muneakira and his ones will be alongside him. For the moment, that’s the type of ending I’m anticipating, except it comes with the added twist that the innocent, carefree Jubei is at risk of being erased if she reforms a pact with Muneakira now that he’s a true general. Even this close to the end, this series manages to keep things interesting and the suspense looming overhead, so you can be sure I’ll be engrossed in the finale when they clash with the revival of Amakusa Shirou. All eyes will be on Jubei and Muneakira.

 

Preview

Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls   11   Preview 01 Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls   11   Preview 02 Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls   11   Preview 03
December 15, 2010 at 2:10 pm
22 comments »
  • December 15, 2010 at 2:11 pmTehJawknee

    Nice freakin cliffhanger. I can’t wait for next week already.

    Marathoned it yesterday and daaaaaamn.

  • December 15, 2010 at 2:17 pm♛Croosboy♛

    i really wanted to punch Yoshihiko if it werent for this scene to happen
    http://randomc.net/image/Hyakka%20Ryouran%20Samurai%20Girls/Hyakka%20Ryouran%20Samurai%20Girls%20-%2011%20-%2029.jpg

    Good thing Yoshihiko changed

    I getting the feeling that Muneakira is the vessel for Shiro Amakusa

  • December 15, 2010 at 2:46 pmkaminakun

    This series is certainly a lot better than what I initially anticipated. Hope there will be a season 2 :)

  • December 15, 2010 at 3:17 pmBossun

    This fight scene’s kind of boring. I know! Let’s expose some nipples; that makes everything more interesting!

    • December 15, 2010 at 4:48 pmrefractionfractionwhatsyotraction

      indeed. it could be said that, as a very straight-laced boy who is 100% agaynst the use of sexism in anime, i oppose the use of nipples in anime.

  • December 15, 2010 at 3:30 pmRei

    Woo you got the screenshots up :D
    I really wish there was a season two, I love all the characters a lot. Going to miss this series so much when it ends.
    Ahhh Jubei ;_; although much prefer the dark Jubei as opposed to the “Onii-chan” spamnation.
    I’m so tied between all the characters who’s my dead favourite. Probably Yukimura though. Nia’s story was very ;A; She’s so pretty, strong and faithful, I will never forgive Yoshihiko D:

  • December 15, 2010 at 3:43 pmbearzerger

    The first episode of this series I didn’t like. They should have just killed Yoshihiko and been done with him. Instead everyone but Juubei was quite pathetic and gutless. Seriously the guy ordered human experiments on hundreds of innocents, he deserves punishment and not this “please let’s work together” nonsense. Sadly this is the norm for this kind of show, they are always forgiving beyond retardation.

    • December 15, 2010 at 3:59 pmDivine

      Coincidentally, that’s exactly what I liked about this episode. Acting all righteous overlooks how Yoshihiko’s means — while excessive — were out of the best interest of Great Japan. He even made mention of how it’s easy to preach about doing what’s right when people aren’t in the position he’s in as the country’s leader with its destruction looming overhead.

      The one thing you can definitely fault him for though is how he didn’t give any consideration to Yukimura and Sen’s suggestion that the lack of a strong relationship between samurai and their generals is what led to the decline in master samurai.

      • December 15, 2010 at 11:51 pmbearzerger

        I didn’t want any preaching, they should have just killed him or at the very least beat him up to the brink of death. The best interest of Great Japan? That’s bullshit. No nation is it worth to sacrifice people like that. The moment it resorts to such measures it loses its reason to exist. And Yoshihiko loses his right to rule.

      • December 16, 2010 at 11:48 amrsquirrel

        just to repeat Divine

        “it’s easy to preach about doing what’s right when people aren’t in the position he’s in as the country’s leader with its destruction looming overhead”

        sometimes you do have to sacrifice something to save something; doing that may make you a bad person, but not necessarily a bad leader

    • December 15, 2010 at 6:34 pmTalbot

      actually i thought it made pretty good sense in this particular series.

      you have to remember Hyakka Ryouran straddles this weird concept of a modern world but feudal Japan sensibilities.

      Jubei serves Muneakira, so her sole purpose is to defend him.
      common misconception of feudal systems, the “king” didn’t technically rule everyone. it was more accurate to say he had the allegiances of various lesser lords, who promised their armies to the king’s service.
      but Lord A’s army is still Lord A’s army. they don’t serve the king. they work for the king because Lord A told them to.
      so once again, Jubei serves Muneakira, not the shogun.

      BUT Muneakira, especially as a Yagyu, serves the shogun, in this case Yoshihiko.
      once again, feudal Japan sensibiities.
      Muneakira may not like Yoshihiko, he may not agree with Yoshihiko; but Yoshihiko is still his shogun. he can’t just off his shogun just because he doesn’t like him. that’s not how the system works.

      so i completely disagree, within the context of this particular world, Muneakira’s actions are pretty fitting.

      • December 15, 2010 at 11:57 pmbearzerger

        The system goes two ways. Both the vassal and the liegelord have responsibilities towards each other.
        The underlying principle of any feudalistic society is servitude in return for protection. The vassal serves his liegelord in return for the protection the liegelord offers him from threats beyond his power. If the liegelord breaks faith and fails to protect his vassal or as in this case intentionally causes him harm then the vassal shouldn’t be bound to serve him anylonger.

  • December 15, 2010 at 4:46 pmponpon22

    too bad the lady with the eyepatch isn’t jubei!

  • December 15, 2010 at 4:48 pmKarmafan

    I’m always amazed by some of the talent in anime series. Who would think the total asshat Yoshihiko also plays Kira from Bleach, Kubinashi from Nurarihyon, and Guiche from Zero No Tsukaima? Same with Koshimizu Ami also the voice of Sasami from Nurarihyon, Nodaka from Saki, Charlotte from Strike Witches, Holo from Spice & Wolf, and Aria Link from Tegami Bachi Letter Bee?

    One of the best things about this series is just how much premiere talent they brought together for this series not to mention my favorite actress that voices Karin and Nemu from Bleach, Louise from Zero No Tsukaima, Shana from Shakugan No Shana, Al from Full Metal Alchemist, Happy from Fairy Tale, Mizore from Rosario & Vampire, and Tiaga from Toradore (just to name a few)…. Kugimiya Rie.

    • December 15, 2010 at 4:55 pmKarmafan

      Forgot to mention… I will be shocked if everything wraps up nicely next week. This series is ripe for a second season and I expect it will end on a cliffhanger of sorts. Perhaps the big bad will finally appear and kick everyone’s ass and move on leaving the general and his harem to regroup for a 2nd season. Perhaps even take Jubei with him and next years storyline will be trying to break Jubei free of the big bad?

      • December 15, 2010 at 8:01 pmbertman4

        Well, I hope there is a second season eventually. The original novels the anime is based upon has, I believe, six volumes out. I personally have not read them but there are new characters (Mataemon Araki and Inshun Houzouin) introduced in volume five and six. You can see the two girls on this page.
        http://hyakka-ryoran.net/news.php
        So yeah, there are plenty more material for another season.

  • December 15, 2010 at 5:39 pmjrj

    I like this episode, especially the awakening scene… :)
    though it is so unexpected that he is on hands and knees after he used his black hole sort of ability…
    can’t wait for a finale, and a second season… though why am I not feeling sorry if the cheerful Jubei is erased from the “complete” pact… lol.

  • December 15, 2010 at 8:06 pmSilivious

    I hope there’s a 2nd season….it’s too good to just end on 1. D:

  • December 15, 2010 at 10:08 pmewok40k

    General needs to wield diplomacy as his weapon and gather allies when needed… Muneakira shows he’s no mere warrior here. The scene with Nia shielding Yoshihiko made me flashback unforgettable Lodoss scene involving Ashram and Pirotess. Overall great episode, imho. I am hoping all the “7 samurai” will fight together against resurrected “eldritch abomination”. But I am really sad if the sweet innocent side of Jubei has to go, as much as I like her badass self.

    • December 16, 2010 at 6:15 pmRampaging crabs

      I think to get into actual combat to be called a warrior not take a knee everytime a fight starts.

  • December 15, 2010 at 10:38 pmEliteF22

    I thought it went into cheesy territory.

  • December 15, 2010 at 11:15 pmdrogon

    Actually, as Talbot pointed out, this serie adds just a bit of modern technology to what is basically feudal Japan and since the Tokugawa shogunate is still in place it is the power that rules all of Japan (unlike during the Sengoku period).
    Therefore, by reading even only the wiki articles about Samurai/Bushido/Tokugawa shogunate, the whome serie gets to another level.
    I also hated Yoshihiko……..but he is still the Shogun.
    So Jubei wanting to kill him, against her lord’s wishes, makes her a “rogue” samurai (not ronin though) although this is to protect her own lord.
    Great serie