OP Sequence

OP: 「Last vision for last」 by 飛蘭 (Faylan)
Watch the OP!: Download, Streaming ▼

「はじめての忠」 (Hajimete no Chuu)
“First Kiss”

An early broadcast premiere of the anime adaptation of Hobby Japan‘s 40th anniversary original novel and figure series was aired on Tokyo MX almost a month before the actual start of the fall season. Much like their other work that ARMS studio animated, Queen’s Blade, I just know a lot of people are going to quickly write this series off, but I’m tempted to cover it to prevent that from happening. Ignorance is not bliss. If this series had less emphasis on voluptuous characters and AT-X wasn’t offering an uncensored variety (which they probably will), I get the feeling that a lot more people would be watching it after seeing some promo material and reading about the premise.

In addition to featuring an art style with thick outlines that give off a feudal yet modern feel, this series features an all-star cast of seiyuu led by the young Yuuki Aoi who’s on everyone’s radar nowadays. If I had my choice for male lead, I probably would’ve opted for someone other than Hirakawa Daisuke due to the negative connotation I have with his School Days lead role, but actually don’t mind his voice acting once I get that image out of my head. Rounding out the support cast are names such as Kugimiya Rie, Kobayashi Yuu, Gotou Saori, Kotobuki Minako, Toyosaki Aki, Koshimizu Ami, Mizuhara Kaoru, and Sakurai Takahiro. In other words, it’s a line-up full of names people will recognize from other notable series such as CODE GEASS, K-ON, and Toradora. The cast is nearly the same caliber of names that Queen’s Blade had, but the latter wasn’t given the time of day by most people because it of it’s uncensored variety. However, as someone drawn in by the cast and character designs and not swayed by the obvious appeal, I actually found that Queen’s Blade had more plot than a lot of people would give it credit for. It wasn’t all that profound and had the usual clothes being torn off in battle a la Ikkitousen style — which ARMS also animated — but had enough to it to make it a lot more interesting than other series, even if the fan-service were toned down and censored. Characters die too! Well, at least one of them did.

With Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls, it’s starting to feel much the same way, except the premise involving a fictional feudal/modern Japan where the Tokugawa shogunate remained in power instead of imperial rule being restored under the Emperor piques my interest much more. For anyone with an interest in Japanese history and samurai, you’ll have to suspend your disbelief at the depiction of Japan taking out foreign superpowers and their advanced weaponry (fighter planes and all) with swords alone, but should still find enjoyment from the references that are made to real history. The story itself takes place in the current day 21st century, with the key difference being that the 15th shogunate, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, didn’t resign during the Bakumatsu in 1867 and pave way for the Meiji Restoration. Instead, Japan remained under military rule and is now led by the 25th shogunate, and many of the famous samurai and historical figures from that time have descendants we see here — often of the hotter female variety. Awesome old name samurai and swordsmiths with young daughters taking up their steed? Count me in!

Admittedly, the one thing that I don’t really care for is the portrayal of worldwide Japanese superiority. Somehow, they want us to believe that the katana didn’t lose out to the European-supplied muskets that were heavily employed during the Sengoku period by daimyo such as the infamous Oda Nobunaga. As a fictional piece of work, I don’t mind whatsoever though, particularly after seeing a relatively more faithful depiction of the Tokugawa shogunate’s collapse in Hakuouki, whose sequel airing this fall will provide. Furthermore, there doesn’t seem like there’s going to be a lot in the way of Japan’s interactions with other countries hereon in, as this over-the-top fiction crossed with non-fiction series is actually considered a romantic high school comedy. Given the setting, it’s hard to really see it as simply that, but it becomes more prevalent that that’s what we’re dealing with as things move along.

This first episode gave us a feel for that with Yagyuu Muneakira (Hirakawa Daisuke) arriving at Buou Gakuen Juku, a military type of school located at the base of Mt. Fuji. He’s actually there on official business that has yet to be revealed, but runs into Sanada Yukimura (Kugimiya Rie) and Gotou Matabee (Kobayashi Yuu), who are members of the anti-Tokugawa faction, the Toyotomi clan. Being the true spirited samurai that he is, Muneakira isn’t quick to judge them as radicals, even though they’ve made themselves out to be by sneaking into the Yagyuu dojo and going against the “Toyotomi hunters” led by Hattori Hanzou Yoshinari (Gotou Saori). On paper, the Hattori ninja army is considered the school’s public morals committee, and Yoshinari in particular seems to have an S&M relationship with the student council’s vice president, Tokugawa Sen (Kotobuki Minako), the daughter of the current Tokugawa shogunate. Muneakira’s sense of righteousness and suspicion of corruption in the Tokugawa shogunate opens the way for additional conflict, as he’s a descendant of the Yagyuu clan and a master of the Yagyuu Shinkage-ryuu school of swordsmanship that’s supposed to serve the shogunate and teach them the art. Things get even more out of whack when a mysterious girl appears out of nowhere and affectionately addresses him as her older brother, before kissing him and becoming what appears to be the reincarnation of master swordsman, Yagyuu Jubei Mitsuyoshi. For that stark change in personality, cue in Yuuki Aoi to provide the meaner side of her voice’s range.

So with the action-filled feudal premise extended to modern times, the lovely character designs, all-star cast of seiyuu, and a unique ink-splatter type of art style that’s reminiscent of Street Fighter IV and handy for censoring, I’m definitely going to follow this series to see how it turns out. Based on this first showing, it already has the makings of being better than it initially seems, much like I felt with Queen’s Blade when I gave it an honorable mention in the Best of Anime 2009 as a series that exceeded expectations. Quite frankly, I’d be willing to watch and cover the censored version like I did with Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou if it means more people will give it a chance. From the looks of it, AT-X won’t be the first station airing it, so that will likely be the case if I do end up covering this series next month.


ED Sequence

ED: 「恋にせっせ通りゃんせ」 (Koi ni Sesse Tooryanse) by 悠木碧・釘宮理恵・寿美菜子 (Yuuki Aoi, Kugimiya Rie, Kotobuki Minako)
Watch the ED!: Download, Streaming ▼


  1. Hesitant. Too much fan service can turn a deep and moving storyline into shitty anime within one episode – and from the images, this series will be overly peppered with pointless fan service. Though the art seems nice and the concept of a modern-feudal Japan society sounds interesting.

  2. man… those ink blots. wth?! stopped watching it right after that first censoring ink. was disappointed too, coz i was excited with it being under the samurai genre and the cool style of animation. maybe i’ll give it another try once a few eps have aired.

  3. 1st episode was pretty good. Not stupid like Ikki tousen or nonsensical like Queens Blade. Kind of weird like Sengoku Basara, but watching chicks is much better than yelling buff guys. There’s a slight Sekirei tinge because of kiss/norito concept. Hopefully they can keep up this quality. Also, I like how the male character is not completely useless like more harem settings.

    1. Totally agreed. Much like D, I like the animation, the art quality and the character/background design. In other words, all the pillar for a great and/or exciting story. Hopefully it’ll develop to be a good one.

  4. This looks like an entertaining show, the art style is unique, as for people complaining about the ink splatter, I actually think it adds to the style of the show. I’m going to give this a go as a well once it starts airing.

  5. My friends have been talking about this a lot. I was wondering what the show looked like. Thanks for writing up on it. By the looks of it though, the ink splatters are a problem. Maybe I should wait a while to watch it uncensored? :}

    1. I personally like the ink spot, which look more like rain drop than ink.

      It is like going to the beach and seeing girls in bikini than seeing them walking around butt-naked. Mystery create more sense of desirability. Save the nipple and vagina for the hentai series…

  6. I actually expected this to be a total train wreck from episode one, but I ended up watching it 3 times. Although its kinda sugar coated in fan service, a lot of it took me by surprise, especially the art style along with the ink splatters. The fights don’t seem that bad from what I’ve seen so far, and the plot actually seems pretty interesting. Don’t just dismiss a show because it has a lot of fan service, because who knows, you could be missing out. Watch an episode or two and then decide 😛

    “Somehow, they want us to believe that the katana didn’t lose out to the European-supplied muskets”
    Muskets automatically lose to katanas if you can cut open a jet plane(s) with them xD

  7. Meh, this series made me face palm when I saw Sanada Yukimura -_- well actually I saw it before it came with those 6 coins in the background but this Yukimura -_- completely destroy my image of the Sanada Yukimura that I got from Sengoku Basara -_- I mean this one is like some tsundere rich girl character that probably plays the role of The Chick while the other Yukimura plays the role of a bad ass butt monkey -_-…

    Suppa Tenko
  8. When I watched it I got a feeling that it was like if Strike Witches, Seikirei, Sengoku Basara and Gurren Lagann combined together to make a samurai anime.

    I’m actually a lot more interested in it now than I was when I first read the series description. It’s just so over the top and ridiculous that I love it. I also really like the art design.

  9. I realize that Divine already did touch on the ‘foreign’ part but I still have to say that it’s getting old. Seriously Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki do not justify these decades of blatantly American evil foreigners.

    To be fair I’ll admit it seems interesting at least and it probably deserves three more episodes before declaring ‘itsucksIhatemodernanimethesewritersareawful!’

    On another note I find it incredibly ironic that swords were supposed to be better than guns in this series’ history considering that Tokugawa had a huge portion of his forces made up of muskets when he came to power.

    1. Having lived in Japan for over 3 years, the Evil American image is more than justify – even in the modern world. Our military bases and the overall troop’s attitude towards the local population and businesses is deplorable. Basically, it comes down to, “You have a xxxx base/fort/camp/port nearby and I’ve been stationed here X years and can’t speak a lick of Japanese! But you should learn to f’ing speak English!!” or “I’m an American and I want that! And I want that for free or next to it or I’ll intimidate the shit out of you and your customers! Then I’ll start a riot with my GI buddies, harass you, your customers, and we’ll wreck your store on our way out and you can’t do jack shit to us!! Because we’re Americans!”

      1. @Tablespoon
        Without evidence like a comprehensive criminology study I can’t take that as reliable. This really isn’t the place for that so I declare my hurt nationalism and your anger at soldiers to be over and done with.

      2. I’ve served in the USAF and were present at numerous moments such as these – committed by members of ALL the branches. Don’t believe me, Google it!

        Everything we see corny bad guys do in anime (intimidate, harassed, threatened), I’ve seen our men/women commit while stationed in Japan – and they walk away laughing and bragging about for a week. It’s not my own personal dislike of the military – on the contrary, I vastly support my fellow brothers and sisters arms. It’s how most of the military acts when we’re abroad that upsets me.

      3. Military personnels and civilians are two totally different things…

        When you enter the military, they train you to kill and survive on the battlefield. When you re-enter civilian territory, you have to be re-institutionalize, otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to live among civilians. Wars ruin lives in more than one ways…

      4. Chaos, you’re absolutely right about that. It’s a sad fact and knowing plenty of great friends in the military stationed in different countries. I did hear the same thing as them.
        Grant, like tablespoon said, google things. I did overhear many things. Some great and some really bad. Thank Goodness, all military personals are not some fcked up bullies but they do pull and bring a lot of bad attention. Even more sad is that often enough, many will tend to put everyone in the same basket (or a few rotten apples spoil the basket…not sure if that’s the right saying).
        I stated somewhere before, it’s all background and cultural diversity too. Japanese are proud people (not saying others are not…I’m just pointing this fact out) and having foreign military bases still active in their country would feel the same if the table was turned around. With that in mind, put some jerk offs who know shit about the country and culture they’ve stationed to and you got one annoying mix.
        All in all, I guess you would have to live there to see what’s really going on.

  10. I dunno, I think the censorship is far better than Queen’s Blade. Spontaneously making the entire region covered in mist one second, then completely dispersing it the next? Ew. At least the ink blots make sense with the artistic decisions.

    But yeah…I sat through QB, and all around it felt like a pretty good Shounen series…only with the excessive fanservice. Which kinda got excessive to the point of being a turnoff.

  11. I don’t mind the ink splatter censorship thing, I thought it was a rather clever way to do it. Hell its better than a fucking Crow (air gear) or someones head (zetsobou sensei) and definitely more creative than a freaking BLACK BAR CENSOR OF DOOM.

  12. I am not that bothered by the patriotic view as I am pretty used to the same from hollywood movies.

    Muskets wasn’t that awesome either as they were inferior to bow and arrow. The upside was that it took less time to train a musketeer then a bowman.

  13. I think this looks actually good and I think the ink splatter is a nice touch ala Street Fighter 4, tbh I found the fanservice far less intrusive then High School Of the dead which everyone was raving about and is turning out to be a fairly average anime. So I don’t think this anime should be overlooked so quickly

  14. I think it’s safe to assume the only foreign contact they’ll show would be from the French swordsman, or rather a French swordswoman who’s a descendant of the close friend of the Three Musketeers. LOL

    1. No, I think there are more foreigners there than you think. It is true that the storyline line said that they were successful in fighting off the foreigners, but they didn’t mention anything about Japan attack the rest of the world like how they took over most of Asia during WWII. They do have modern technology like camera and train, so there must be foreigners around. But I expect them to be carefully limited and restricted by the shogunate such as they are only allow in certain parts of Japan or have to wear special clothing under a supervisor at all time.

      1. If the alternate history is to be followed, the only foreigners with major presence there, well besides the Chinese I would say, would be the Dutch, which were restricted to Yokohama by the Shogunate. In the case of the French, they barely had any interest in Japan anyway even before the Shogunate period, so chances of having a Frenchman (or woman) is quite slim.

  15. Okay….I didnt actually see the episode yet.I love the backround/scenery. But the actually characters on the other hand,Idk…..I never really did like the thick outlines on any characters. When I watch a show I would like the cast to look as natural as possible. I mean we dont walk around with thick black outlines of us…..then again we’re real. I hope you get what I mean. :/ I prob wont bother with it bc it doesnt look like my kind of show anyways.

    1. No, more like a harem. The girl has a thing for S&M with fetish on stocking and licking legs. I don’t see any guys other than Yagyuu so girls must have to play among themselves I guess.

  16. I’m really interested in this since I heard about it in July,I’ll watch it for sure when I find time to be alone.
    Wow Divine your comparison with muskets and all,you thought so much about it.As expected of you.

    yeah this came outta nowhere to me “didn’t hear about it” the thick outlines and lush pastel-like hues got my eyes interested and made a Nigga feel like the shit was rotoscoped ,even though this is probably a cgi off shoot. in all honesty i feel it instantly “artistically” puts shows like Katanagatari to shame “especially minus the useless banter” as for the formula of the plot…nothing new, but I’m a sucker for individual weapon style “but why two spear wielders?? shoulda been an axe” chicks with GREAT character DESIGNS! FANSERVICE??????? why the fuck NOT?!?! HAHAHAHA!! its all good! AND TELL ME THE THEME DON’T SOUND EXACTLY LIKE THE ONE FROM CANAAN “must be the synth”??? like the ED TOO, cute shit! my kind of show so far, HEY DIVINE i like ur angle with da whole politic thing…I’m with how their portraying it! that’s why i like ANIME, ANYTHING GOES!! hell, maybe it was that chick with big HAMMER that CRUSHED the enola gay befo it dropped DA A-bomb, that would be sweet!………………………….^damn i just ranted^…don’t drink and post guys

    BROOKLYN otaku
  18. I’m really excited on watching this series after hearing Yagyuu Jubei I had to rewatch some related anime, Ninja Scroll and Jubei-chan, and best of all Hobby Japan releasing the novel for digital download on Ibook and kindle. Hopefully the censors wont hurt I’d really like to watch this series for the epic battles.

  19. I find this an interesting thing – are they trying to make fanservice anime an art form now?

    That’s the general idea I get. The music isn’t half bad, and I like the animation as well as character designs. I’ll be following this for a bit, I guess…Just to see how the plot goes.

  20. I personally like this series already from what I saw in the first episode.

    Graphic- very high graphic and used of colors with a mixed of real and comic style animation, which is very different from other animes.

    Storyline- I was confused from the start. After reading Divine review, I got a better idea what is going on. Kinda like Code Geass and Deathnote, where the storyline is in an alternate reality.

    Characters- you can’t get much from just 1 eps, but the character is interesting.

    Genre- samurai, fighting, modern alternate reality, sexually appealing themes aiming at guys due to the harem of girls and sex appeal. The problem with having a lot of ecchi scenes is that it drive away the girls viewers. They see it as perverted and stop watching it.

    Censorship- I personally like the ink style censorship, it leave more to the imagination and you can watch it with girls or in groups without feeling shame when other people walk by.

    Overall, I will definitely watch this series.

    1. I think at least some girls will watch this. It doesn’t have the main deterrent for girls watching, a weak male lead. The guy is reasonably strong willed and manly enough to attract some female viewers.

  21. Any series that has the voice actress of Shana (Shakugan No Shana) and Tiaga (Toradora) in it has got to be decent. She was a riot in this 1st episode. I don’t care too much for the ink blots and the opening that was overly political (while ignoring the facts of WW2) but I will keep watching to see how this series turns out.

  22. Hirakawa Daisuke’s voice is plain annoying in the way he uses it with his character on the show, it’s similar to how he portrayed Amakawa Yuuto in Omamori Himari. For me it somewhat ruins or distracts my attention listening to his whiny dialogue.

    I don’t remember much from School Days so for me there’s no negative connotations with his role in that, but looking at his other voice work, he was fine as Senbonzakura in Bleach and Irie Naoki in Itazura na Kiss to the degree I didn’t even know it was him who voiced those characters.

    On the opposite side of the spectrum, I’m amazed at Yuuki Aoi’s voice range. I wasn’t aware of which seiyuus were in the show when I watched the first episode, so I was in a state of “wtf” when I saw that Yuuki Aoi was Yagyuu Jubei Mitsuyoshi – particularly at the scene where she introduces herself.


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