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Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls – 12 (END)

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「さよならの忠」 (Sayonara no Chuu)
“Goodbye Kiss”

It was a little cliché, a tad too overdramatic, and had black and white battle scenes that dragged out for a bit too long, but this climactic finale still left a very good impression on the series as a whole. Surprisingly, the loss of Jubei’s innocent personality wasn’t emphasized in a remorseful way, and instead became the high point of her final battle with a Amakusa Shirou empowered Gisen. The entire time, I was bouncing back and forth between the idea the Shirou would actually be revived from Gisen’s “ritual” and the much more likely possibility that she would serve as a “final boss” proxy for him. The latter of course was preferred, as I would like to see a continuation of this series some time down the road. So while it came as no shocker that Gisen was the ultimate antagonist in this adaptation, it did come as a surprise for blue-eyed Jubei to reawaken to help defeat her. To drive that point home, it was nice to see that Jubei’s voice come out in the very last moments of the climactic battle, just before she valiantly sacrificed herself to defeat Gisen. The “deaths” of both Jubei and Gisen was something that I really wasn’t expecting, considering that this had been a fairly lighthearted high school comedy up until now. It does however make me appreciate it more, even though it was hinted that Jubei would make a return one day.

Admittedly, the whole “love conquers all” bit with everyone conveying their feelings to Jubei came off a little cheesy, but overall I’m quite happy with a finale that delivered non-stop fast-paced action to bring the story to a close. On the romance side, it’s probably safe to say that we got a harem ending too, which may not sit well with everyone but is conclusive nonetheless. There always tends to be some dissatisfaction over taking the easy way out with the girls continuing to fight over the male protagonist’s affection, so having some sort of closure is definitely better than none at all. Like I suspected last time, Yoshihiko and Nia make their return to show that the former had turned a new leaf as well. It may not have mattered to a lot of people whether Yoshihiko lived or died at this point, but as someone who wanted to see a happy ending for Nia, it did come as a very welcomed development. Despite having relatively minor roles in this finale, Hanzou, Matabee, and Kanetsugu’s inclusion in some semi-meaningful way was a nice touch, as it gave off a sense that this was the final battle in case we never do see a sequel. Hopefully we do though, since I loved the slapstick laughs in this series just as much as the samurai action that mixed well with them.

 

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Final Impression:

Back when everyone was quick to label this as another Queen’s Blade, I was also expecting something along those lines, except I wanted to cover it to show that there’s some substance to Hobby Japan‘s light novel series. As someone who watched both seasons of Queen’s Blade, I found it wasn’t nearly as bad as people who only fixated on the nudity made it out to be. Yes they do play up that side of the fan-service a fair bit, but it did have an ongoing plot that kept things moving forward in addition to character deaths along the way. Drawing from that understanding, I came into this series expecting the something similar and was happy to see the use of stylistic ink blotches to censor everything on the television broadcast so that more people may give the series a fair chance. As someone who covers anime, one of the more irksome things to hear is that someone was quick to rule out a series before even checking out if it’s something they’d enjoy, even when you’ve made it fairly easy for them with weekly posts. That feeling is compounded when a series turns out to be nothing like people were expecting like this one, yet is still perceived by an initial, shallow view that has spread across the Internet. Misconceptions are like a blogger’s nightmare.

Does that mean that this series is a masterpiece? No, of course not. Not many anime produced these days can even be considered that. It does mean that this series is much better than it’s been given credit for. The main beef I have is with people who continue to pass on unfounded impressions of a series, because they couldn’t be bothered to find out themselves what it actually entails. In this particular case, what really took me by surprise about Hyakka Ryouran was how quickly it became the “high school samurai comedy” that it was promised to be. Even I was a bit skeptical about that description when I came across it while writing the Fall 2010 Preview, so I was even more inclined to find out. After all, the early broadcast premiere of the first episode hardly made it seem like such. The second episode onwards on the other hand was a completely different story, and quickly made it one of my favorite romantic comedies of the season. The drastic setting change with a fictional Tokugawa shogunate future provided a uniqueness to the series as well, and I’m all for anime about samurai over the typical high school ones. Combining the two in a modern time period wasn’t something that had ever crossed my mind, but the results speak for themselves.

With great character designs, interesting personalities, lots of hilarious moments, occasional samurai action, and stylistic animation by Arms studio, the fan-service was just that — fan-service. It wasn’t the focus of the show and served no different purpose than it does in any other, making it a terribly reason for someone not to considering watching this series. Ultimately, for those who do enjoy romantic comedies but avoided checking this one out, it’s their loss as this was undoubtedly one of the biggest sleepers of the season. Those who have seen it will know exactly what I mean with the line, “My cottage!” Those in the know, will know.

December 22, 2010 at 9:10 pm
47 comments »
  • December 22, 2010 at 9:15 pmCommiE

    jubei boob grabbing scene reminded me of evangelions boob grabbing scene

  • December 22, 2010 at 9:22 pmZangkin

    Well the ending was surprising enough. I also thought the ending when they showed everyone was a little cheesy too. It reminded me of the first episode of The Aegis of Uruk, not as funny but still. I do hope they make a second season because the ending where Jubei died did not satisfy me at all. What happened to happy endings?

    • December 23, 2010 at 7:17 amSuppa Tenko

      Lolz, the first episode was the best parody I have ever seen of anything.

  • December 22, 2010 at 9:28 pmKarmafan

    I loved this series overall but have to admit I really disliked the finale. They killed off Jubei, used the black spot censor stuff way too much to the point it was annoying, and used a cheezy black and white effect for way too long to the point it was annoying. It almost seems like the pacing was off and they tried to cram too much stuff into episode 12 and made a mess. Most episodes of this series I would rate as an A+, A or A- with the occasional B+. But the final episode was a C+ or at best a B-.

    I still want to see a second season but hopefully they tone down the black ink spot effect some.

    • December 22, 2010 at 9:34 pmKarmafan

      One more thing… If you are going to kill off a beloved main character like that then the rest of the episode has to make up for it. I don’t think that was the case here.

      At least in Kanatagari’s case they Show Spoiler ▼

  • December 22, 2010 at 9:28 pmShimapan

    Jubei :(

  • December 22, 2010 at 9:31 pmjrj

    awww… it is over now… can’t have my weekly dose of samurai show now :(
    I love this series so much! thanks for the coverages.
    this last episode is full of action win… though I didn’t find black-white action sequence that appealing…
    and interestingly enough, I noticed that each master samurai has a different seal with meanings to it… like Dark for Nia and Wisdom for Yukimura… maybe people already knew it…
    hope for a second season! MY COTTAGE!!!

  • December 22, 2010 at 9:36 pmcshin9

    When’s the winter season starting?

    • December 23, 2010 at 7:31 amBossun

      Most new shows are starting in early January

  • December 22, 2010 at 9:36 pmKei

    Meh. I’ve watched every episode, and I think the people who dismiss it as flawed by design are entirely justified. This show has some of the worst writing and storytelling I’ve seen in years. In fact, if you take away the censoring blots, you wind up with nothing more than a mediocre hentai, only without any actual sex.

    • December 22, 2010 at 10:08 pmBROOKLYN otaku

      word up yo!!! you speak da truth man! i was totally hyped from the first..hmmmmm, i’d say 8min of the 1st preview ep, but then this turned to Shiat on me. such CRAP animation, such non existent story, AND for gods sake enough with the splatter effects…”is this show made for 3D TV’S or something” because that would explain a lot..you know? 3d splatters and all.
      FAIL

  • December 22, 2010 at 10:15 pmNhelraios

    A bit mediocre ending, though I personally liked the comedy the series delivered. Jubei is adorable and Kanetsugu made the hilarious moments in this sleeper anime. I wouldn’t mind watching the second season of this if there will be any.

  • December 22, 2010 at 10:28 pmEliteF22

    As the episode went on, it lost me more and more. Part that really irked me was that kisses can resurrect people now!!

  • December 22, 2010 at 11:17 pmClick

    I can’t believe that some people dodged this series for fan-service, then went on and praised a show like MM!. Good animation was prevalent throughout the anime, while there were many hilarious moments all throughout and a great setting to accompany it (but still, you have to admit that the plot was kind of sketchy and some of it came off as cheesy).

  • December 22, 2010 at 11:21 pmEldaron

    Well, i don’t really like ecchi in itself nor anime series like Queen’s Blade so i was really skeptical about this show, but i have to say it highly exceeded all my expectations. It was a great show.

  • December 22, 2010 at 11:27 pmAnoBakaDesu

    Off-topic:
    Angel Beats extra episode (14) is out.

  • December 22, 2010 at 11:34 pmLaN

    Fun series. A continuation would be interesting. Despite the fact that they set themselves up for a sequel, I felt like this actually stood up nicely on it’s own. I would watch a continuation, but I don’t think I would be heartbroken if there wasn’t one. Sounds a little harsh, but I mean it more in the “this was great” way, rather than the “not interested” way.

    • December 22, 2010 at 11:35 pmLaN

      Uh, I guess that wording is wrong anyway, as a sequel would continue to be quite interesting:).

  • December 23, 2010 at 12:07 amLitho

    So that Muneidiot remained a useless trad till the end, eh?

    Typical shounen harem crap.

    Lets hope for better anime this coming season (though I seriously doubt it would happen)

    • December 23, 2010 at 12:21 amDivine

      Judging from your reaction, maybe you should just stop watching anime. You’d probably be doing yourself and everyone else a favor.

    • December 23, 2010 at 12:32 amSilentCid

      ehhh? Too much boobies for you?

    • December 23, 2010 at 12:33 amClick

      What’s with everyone judging shows they didn’t watch? ._.

  • December 23, 2010 at 12:26 amgcsasuke

    LOL Divine got just snapped at Litho.. Hahahahahaha

  • December 23, 2010 at 1:18 amthe_one092001

    I was rather disappointed by the suddenness of the conclusion. Very little wrap-up, all we see is Yoshihiko and Nia sitting back in the school and Muneakira & co. from the back during the credits.

    Nothing about how Yoshihiko and Muneakira had things to “settle,” nor anything about the rest of the harem. Nothing about Yoshihiko-Nia. The episode itself was alright, but just ended far too abruptly.

  • December 23, 2010 at 2:11 amewok40k

    Oh noes… they killed off Jubei!
    Yet, series finale was still packed with action and Jubei died a true samurai’s death.
    While Muneakira wasnt swinging any pointy objects, he proved himself a real general while orchestrating his samurai fgroup in assault on the Eldritch Abomination.
    As for the rest of the cast, I was pleasantly surprised to see Nia (and less pleasantly to see Yoshihiko) alive…
    Well, even with such bitter-tasting victory at the end the show pulled off quite a succesful job for me.

  • December 23, 2010 at 5:07 amkarnos

    jubei!!!!!!! NOOOOO.
    i have to say that this was a very disapointing ending for me with the cheesy way the tried to resolve the plot with “feelings”. and why did they kill of jubei….WHY!!!…….

    on a whole though i have to say this this is a very entertaining anime and one in my top 3 anime list this season.

    My Cottage!

  • December 23, 2010 at 6:02 amdorasaga

    The finale left a “very good impression” Huh? Degraded cut, scene, bad arts (most of the lines behind the characters weren’t even done, looks like some college kids who did it), and all black and white ‘cuz the production apparently is told to save some budget, this is the worst last ep. I’ve seen in years. Even the Gonzo sci-fi can’t beat this one.

    A “10″ out of 100. It makes the last 11 ep. worthless.

    • December 23, 2010 at 7:34 amBossun

      The black and white wasn’t to save money. It followed the artstyle they’ve been going with the entire season. I thought it matched well with what was going on at the time. But you know what they say, haters gonna hate…or troll, in this case

      • December 23, 2010 at 11:01 amdorasaga

        Fantastic, now we’re ad hominem. Trolling my a**. I can troll myself, lad; you don’t need to help me on that. Maybe I shouldn’t get serious, but since you asked for this, Bossun:

        >>It followed the artstyle they’ve been going with the entire season

        Yeah, b&w? Which former ep. got more than a second of b&w? Consistency, anyone?

        And didn’t you catch my whole paragraph before that line? “(most of the lines behind the characters weren’t even done, looks like some college kids who did it).”

        You need to watch the whole series again, my friend. There are significant and apparent degradation of anime quality in this last ep. Just watch.

      • December 23, 2010 at 9:47 pmBossun

        Ad hominem? Hardly. I was just calling it as I saw it. I wasn’t using your trolling as justification for my argument.

        Art Style encompasses more than just color tones, dude. Just because dipping into black and white hadn’t been seen before doesn’t mean that doing so is out of place. The whole ink blot artstyle with heavy borders makes the black and white extremely appropriate for the tone they were conveying during that scene,

        And I did catch your “paragraph” [one sentence isn't a paragraph]. It doesn’t seem like college kids had any part in the production, and the quality has been pretty consistent throughout the whole series. Maybe you should try watching in HD since it sounds like you watched something completely different

      • December 24, 2010 at 3:30 amdorasaga

        I guess you didn’t catch what I was saying. The series has been fine. But episode 12 is really a downer. The flow of the last fight scene (in Black&White) was not as exciting as THE SERIES HAS BEEN, even Divine touched on that.

        And bad arts. Need more proofs? On this randomc page, enlarge snap 08. Compare it to snaps from former episodes; let’s say ep.10, snap 24. The two have similar composition. Both are supposed to be flat, close walls behind the characters. Can’t you tell that the straight lines in snap8, ep12 is broken? That didn’t happen previously?

        I didn’t even try hard on this one. I was going to compare “Strongest Disciple Kenichi,” another action anime with a similar them as Samurai Girls. Kenichi got bad art. A lot of miscolors and I can get on and on how bad the anime is. They didn’t complete the cell (now it’s all digital: frame-) checks. But guess what, at least it’s consistently bad and the last few episodes actually wrapped up the anime series pretty well. Didn’t happen with Samurai Girls.

        I can even compare with the first series of “K-on!!” or “Rideback,” which both go for the single-season length (around 13 episodes), and how the anime quality gradually degraded but they wrapped up OK with their finale, or even better than the episodes before the finale. The first series of “Fullmetal Panic” is another good example as well.

        Episode 12, bad anime? yes. Trying something new? no. Raise your bar, kid. There’s no excuse for bad anime production.

      • December 24, 2010 at 8:21 amDivine

        I actually felt the animation was fine. Lack of time and money is the usual reason for dips in animation. I align my expectations accordingly with that in mind. As long as it’s not glaringly bad, I don’t mind.

  • December 23, 2010 at 6:42 am0927123

    I’m considering on watching this. So tell me a reason I should watch this? Is this like to-love-ru, ecchi anime with little plot? :(

    • December 23, 2010 at 3:09 pmKarmafan

      If you read what everyone else said (as well as the blogger here) you will mostly read that it was a great series. Up until the 12th episode when they tried to do some things different and left us fans unhappy with the choices they made. Same thing with Claymore a few years back (A fantastic cool anime series that had a lackluster last episode to end it).

      If you are wondering if it is worth your time I would say “yes very much so”. Some really good stuff happened between episode 1 and 12. Not to mention you will learn the meaning behind “My Cottage”!!!

    • December 23, 2010 at 11:56 pmFreya

      This show has samurai stuff, some historical bg? if you want to call it that, censored echi, and hilarious comical stuff. Great show.

      My cottage!!

  • December 23, 2010 at 6:57 amEspada

    and now for the dvd/bluray

  • December 23, 2010 at 7:09 amKalliente

    This series did just what it was supposed to. It gave me a lot of laughs. I never set the bar very high for this type of show, so it was a pleasant suprise. I’m not left longing for a second season, but feel satisfied with the way it ended.

  • December 23, 2010 at 7:33 amBossun

    I really enjoyed this series. I think people’s enjoyment is based on something Divine told me when we were first discussing the show. If you go in with an open-mind, without any preconceptions, you’ll enjoy it. If you go in thinking that this show is going to be awesome, that this show is going to be the best this season etc., you’re naturally going to be disappointed; you’ve set the bar too high.

    Biggest Sleeper Hit this season? I think so

  • December 23, 2010 at 8:11 amHenDarou

    While this is not my favorite series this season, it sure deserves an honorable mention. Great comedy and action, that’s for sure. :)

  • December 23, 2010 at 9:33 ammika-chan

    Bland and not original serie, maybe i was expecting so much that it was in the end a delusion. The censor marks decrease my final vote. 5/10

    • December 23, 2010 at 11:58 pmFreya

      Almost every show has censors now. Even AT-X has some. Live with it.

      I’m guessing your expectations were up WAY TO HIGH…seriously.

  • December 23, 2010 at 8:09 pmchidori3souske

    I’m really surprised that this turned out to be a good series. I’m not really fond of watching ecchi shows but heck I was able to finish this one and I’m happy that I’ve given this show a chance. I just wish there will be a season 2 since it was open ended…

    ;_; Juubei…

  • December 24, 2010 at 2:41 amkan

    ดูแล้วก่อสนุกดีครับ

  • December 25, 2010 at 10:57 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    “With great character designs, interesting personalities, lots of hilarious moments, occasional samurai action, and stylistic animation by Arms studio, the fan-service was just that — fan-service. It wasn’t the focus of the show and served no different purpose than it does in any other…”

    This is the problem with a bunch of anime lately, especially those that are based on ones that are SUPPOSED to be otherwise; the fan-service pretty much becomes the center of a majority of the series with a bare minimum, even even that much, of other things (ones that really sticks out being Ikkitousen and Rosario + Vampire; the mangas actually keeping things balanced out overall).

    Just glad this one managed to avoid going down that road.

  • December 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm♛Croosboy♛

    nooooooooooooo jubie

  • January 5, 2011 at 12:48 amInfinity

    I really liked this show :) It wasn’t anything amazing but it was really fun to watch. I didn’t really like the ending all that much and they could have done with a little less time spent in black&white, but all in all I enjoyed the style and how they made this anime different from what i was expecting. I hope they make a season 2! Thanks 4 covering this Divine ^^ “My Cottage!” ^^

  • January 6, 2011 at 6:48 pmDavid Herbert

    I thought this series was better than expected. Does anyone know if there will be a second season?