[Review] My Anime Carousel Hell, Part 2 – ‘Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru’ (Doga Kobo)

My review on Dangerous Seduction‘s Asuka Hino is TWO WEEKS late, but it’s not my fault!!! I was blindsided! Derailed! Waylaid! Tossed mercilessly into anime hell! And the way down was both excruciating and delicious. *SHIVER*

It’s been a LOOOONG while since I last watched any anime. The last ones I remember watching (sporadically, at that) were Golden TimeStrike the BloodGuilty Crown, and My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (aka Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru and My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected). And then J/Kdrama and otoge took over my life, so it was a refreshing experience to discover new AND old anime and be reminded just how great anime are, and how they are NOT ‘just cartoons’. (I just wish I didn’t ‘have to’ watch them one after another in a mad frenzy. It really was like I had been starved of something I really needed and just didn’t know it.)

These are what I had been ‘busy with’ day and night as I procrastinated over darling Hino’s review (and the rest of my life TBH):

Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru

Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru (Dogakobo)

This 12-episode series is the anime incarnation of the popular browser game by DMM and Nitro+ that started airing in October 2016.

As in the game, the anime revolves around (an ever-increasing number of) historical Japanese swords-turned-ikemen* warriors brought to life by a mysterious Saniwa/sage and sent back in time to stop the Historical Revisionists and their History Retrograde Army of demons from, well, changing history. *(hot/good-looking guy)

Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru

MY Top Moment in TRH: When THIS…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The story primarily follows Yasusada Yamatonokami, one of the uchigatana (samurai sword) used by the Shinsengumi’s Okita Souji (the other being Kiyomitsu Kashuu), as he struggles to make peace with the infamous Ikedaya Affair and his new life as a touken danshi/sword warrior of the Hanamaru Citadel. In the meantime, there is no shortage of all manner and shape of danshi to please every kind of viewer, and their trials and shenanigans will touch and entertain you with each episode.

Even without playing the game, I fell in love with the quirky characters and the animation that made them come to life. It was difficult to tell the story of each toudan (abbre. of touken danshi), especially since there were ALMOST FIFTY that ‘popped out’ out of the Saniwa’s work room over the course of the show, but enough was told about enough characters to make you laugh with them, cry with them, root for them… and all without making you forget about the main story arc involving Yasusada.

Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru (Yasusada & Kiyomitsu)

Hanamaru biyori!

And, man, I couldn’t get that OP (opening song/video) out of my head for DAYS! Yasusada and Kiyomitsu were just a-dooooo-rable dancing to that really catchy theme song!

Showing on Aniplus Asia; also available on Crunchyroll. Season 2 (more like spin-off or alternate series) titled Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu from Ufotable slated to begin airing July 2017.

A musical adaptation of the game also opened in 2015.

PREVIOUS: Part 1 of My Anime Carousel Hell – ‘Sousei no Onmyouji’
NEXT: Part 3 of My Anime Carousel Hell – ‘Sengoku Basara’

[Review] My Anime Carousel Hell, Part 1 – ‘Sousei no Onmyouji’ (Pierrot)

My review on Dangerous Seduction‘s Asuka Hino is TWO WEEKS late, but it’s not my fault!!! I was blindsided! Derailed! Waylaid! Tossed mercilessly into anime hell! And the way down was both excruciating and delicious. *SHIVER*

It’s been a LOOOONG while since I last watched any anime. The last ones I remember watching (sporadically, at that) were Golden Time, Strike the Blood, Guilty Crown, and My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (aka Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru and My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected). And then J/Kdrama and otoge took over my life, so it was a refreshing experience to discover new AND old anime and be reminded just how great anime are, and how they are NOT ‘just cartoons’. (I just wish I didn’t ‘have to’ watch them one after another in a mad frenzy. It really was like I had been starved of something I really needed and just didn’t know it.)

These are what I had been ‘busy with’ day and night as I procrastinated over darling Hino’s review (and the rest of my life TBH):

Sousei no Onmyouji

The series is the animated version of the popular manga by Yoshiaki Sukeno that started airing in April 2016. It’s 44 episodes into 50, and I managed to get myself all caught up all the way from the beginning over the course of a week! It was that addictive!

The story is about two 14 (then 16)-year-old exorcists, Enmadou Rokuro and Adashino Benio, who discover that they are destined to marry and give birth to the Miko — who is supposed to bring an end to the evil overtaking the world. Not only are they way too young to even be thinking of a seriously committed relationship with ANYONE, but their differences also seem to spell the end for them even before they’ve begun.

Rokuro is a prodigy with mysterious origins who has turned his back on being an exorcist because of a tragic event in his past, while overachiever Benio wants to be the strongest exorcist so that she can avenge her parents — who were killed by kegare (‘impurities’ that manifest as demon/ghoul-like creatures).

With help from the Twelve Guardians (aka Heavenly Commanders) of the Exorcist Union, they learn to grow their powers as exorcists and as the prophesied Twin Stars, face dangerous and powerful kegare and basara (stronger, evolved form of ‘impurity’) and all while navigating the equally perilous journey through adolescence and their ‘engagement’.

I fell in love with SNO because of…

The story! SNO was all of dramatic, action-packed, suspenseful, hilarious, cute, sweet, and silly.

The characters! Each character was just adorable and relatable; they drew you into their fantastical world effortlessly. The pacing was excellent! … such that each character’s personality and back story (as necessary) were revealed seamlessly and without much ado.

The animation! Self-explanatory!

The cool exorcist outfits! I would’ve wanted Benio (and Mayura… Heck, most of the female characters!) in stuff other than really mini skirts, but it is shounen, after all! 😂 But, yeah, the guys! Super cool! The clothes hanging low on their hips… Plus, I have a thing for the kind of silhouette created by gaiters, spats, and the like; it just feels so ROMANTIC! Maybe because they harken back to the Victorian/Edwardian eras (hello, steampunk!), or maybe because it’s such a manly piece of clothing commonly associated with military wear.

Gaiter styles from military to anime: (L-R, T-B) Rokuro, Shimon, shinobi, samurai, military, steampunk

And the OST! I have mentioned how hopelessly behind-the-times I am, and the only Jmusic artist on my player (ever, actually) prior to this crazy anime phase was Utada Hikaru. It was such a RUSH to discover other artists because of SNO — like Wagakki Band (whom I’ve been wanting to listen to for a while after watching an NHK special on them), Itowokashi, Girlfriend, and LOL!

Those who have been reading the manga say it’s much better than the anime, but I honestly think the anime can hold up its own. I’ve started reading the manga myself and while (for very obvious reasons) a lot of details get lost in the translation to the small screen, I still think that the anime is a damn solid piece of work that’s as entertaining and moving as any.

Currently airing on Animax, Wednesdays @ 10 PM, same day as Japan.

NEXT: Part 2 of My Anime Carousel Hell – ‘Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru’