Epic Japanese Samurai Action! – Hyakka Ryouran Review

I came to a conclusion when I watched the last episode of Samurai Jack. I wasn’t ready for it to be over so quickly. I wanted more samurai action. So I turned to the only media outlet that specializes in samurai, anime.

To be completely honest, this isn’t really what I was aiming for when it came to samurai action but I have been watching some serious hearted plots recently that I needed a good rom-com to relax to. It’s like being a member of a heavy metal band; nine hours of Slayer and you what something different to relax to in the afternoon. The kind of plot that only has the stakes raised because it wanted confrontation. Plus it’s a harem so it’s doing things with about as much reason as I am. So let’s slice into this one.


 Episodes: 24 episodes (2 Seasons)
• Aired: SEP 2010 – DEC 2010 & Apr 2013 – Jun 2013
• Genres: Action, Ecchi, Harem, Comedy
• Studio: Arms

Ok, so this is a bit of a weird one so follow me on this. There was a great evil that plagued Japan back in the day and only people under the title Master Samurai were able to stand up to the threat. Eventually, the evil was subdued and but at the cost of most of the Master Samurai. Fast forward to our main character Muneakira (yes I had to search up a proper spelling for it, what of it.) being transferred to a dojo to work on a case. He encounters two girls who are breaking into the dojo and attempt to capture him. When that fails and more girls show up, in the form of the student council, and the two intruders grab him and drag him away with them. They have a fight on a bridge and then a girl suddenly falls from the sky in Muneakira’s arms. She calls him brother, then kisses him, then transforms into a totally new girl and whips the shit out of the student council. Now Muneakira is left with several questions. What happened? How did it happen? And who is this girl?

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Story: 6

I’ll give you a minute to let that all sink in because that’s just the first episode…….. Ready? Ok, let’s go. So for a plot, it’s something; maybe not unique but as far as harem plots go, this one already has goals set up for us to knock out while adding more to the pile as we add a new girl to the mix. I got to be honest; I don’t remember much of the plot of season 1. I remember how it ends, but not how we got there. I know they deduce that Muneakira has the ability to make Master Samurai because he just can and then decide to just roll with it. Other than that, this plot has no will to follow any form of direction. I do remember it to being funny at times though, in that harem sort of way. You know, with the embarrassing moments for the MC that leads to him getting hit in one way or another.
I will say that the plot of season 1 had more going for it than season 2. Season 2 basically looked at how season 1 did and decided it can continue the trend. Very little changes except for the usual harem stuff: More girls, more ecchi, less plot. Season 1 is also more focused than season 2 is, and that’s saying something. Season 1 has a whole plotline revolving around a kidnapping case and is constantly interrupted by the girls, but the single plot thread is still spinning. Season 2, on the other hand, starts off about a maid café, then moves to supernatural ghosts, then to a spirit long dead but very much alive. It’s so scatter-brained. Also, both seasons end with a plot contrived revival scene. Neither of them is explained at any point, but they happen. There isn’t even a lot of fanfare either, it’s just, turn on lights, revive the fallen, end scene.
All in all, this plot is a mess, but it’s a fun mess. The kind of mess one derives entertainment from the humor instead of the story. If I had to make a suggestion, take a break in between seasons. Let your mind re-energize.

Art and Sound: 6 and 7

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this art style was thought up before any plot was made. The reason I say that is because they put more work into making their art style stand out than make the story less….Itself. If you don’t know what I mean, the characters are done in normal anime style but the background and scene transitions are all done like they were painted; the transitions being streaks of paint swiping across the screen. So points for being unique, but I’m gonna have to take back points for trying too hard to show it off. That’s because the painting theme extends all the way to the special effects as well. Basically, anytime a character takes a big hit or powers up a lot, the screen gets splattered with paint spots and/or streaks. Cool with keeping to the theme but not cool for covering up the action. I got used to it at some point. Then I took a break for season 2, came back and realized that I wasn’t actually used to it yet. Other than that, the art is nice to look at and leaves the characters looking really good. I would hope so because looking at things is what harems want you to do.
The sound is better simply because is more controlled than its art counterpart. It said to itself, “I’m going to do a damn good job and not be a nuisance about it. That way I’m appreciated more.” The voice acting was smooth and each person had enough personality to them to make the archetype they came from more enjoyable. The sound effects were nice. The big-ticket items here were the opening and closing songs. Season 1 nailed both, which is cool since few animes I watch manage both. Season 2 was good but not season 1 level good. So all in all, I had a much better time with sound then I did art. You did well indeed personified category, ya did good.

Characters: 7

So now we get to the characters and before we talk about the girls, let’s talk about Muneakira. So this harem’s piece of Osmium (that’s the densest naturally forming element in the world for your chemistry fact of the day) falls under the “nice guy with little power but always is the first to draw a weapon and attack to defend the girls” category. Long category names aside though, he isn’t actually as dense as most male leads are prone to be. He actually admits to not knowing who he would like to choose. Given the circumstances, I don’t blame him, but also will still give him grief for not putting enough in calming the storms between them. His main strategy to every encounter is to go in head first and then figure it out. This will, inevitably, end up with the girls having to go in and finish the fight.
So now speaking of the girls, what kinds do we have here? Well somebody must have spilled the tsun-spice because we have a bunch of tsunderes. We have the hidden tsundere, the-know-it-all tsundere, and the prideful tsundere. The side characters have other archetypes but with the level of depth, that side characters usually get. Somehow though, I enjoy being a part of the tsun-parade. Maybe it’s because they aren’t full Tsundere Mode all the time and actually take time to be sensible (or in one character’s case, stupid). Same can be said of the villain for season 1. In fact, I loved them the most for……reasons.
Season 2 is where I take a little bit of an issue with the characters; more importantly the new ones. The villains are lame to me. They act like cardboard cut-out villains with motivations out of a Saturday morning cartoon. Two of them want to simply fight a strong opponent, the other two want to follow orders, and the last one wants power. Sorry but I’m not impressed. Then there are the new characters for the good guys or rather new character. See not every girl made it to Master Samurai status, so old characters get more time in the spotlight with a new one coming in as well. This new one being a monkey. Wait. Hold on. What?
Not only that but she becomes a master samurai. Now remember that they are made through a kiss, but they also explain that a bond of trust and/or love is needed to make a Master Samurai. He has known this monkey for three days. HOW DOES EITHER OF THESE APPLY?!?!?! Aside from that, we have an old villain becoming a good guy and making Muneakira’s choices all the more difficult. All in all, they are quite enjoyable.

Final Thoughts

As weird of a concept this story was, I enjoyed being on this wild ride. There isn’t much new for season 2, so I strongly recommend taking a break in between seasons to refresh your sensibleness. But that is no problem since this site will give you plenty of options to spend your time with while you wait. The effects take some getting used to but it’s do-able. In the end it may not seem worth it but you will remember it being a thing. Maybe not what entirely happened during that thing, but a thing none-the-less.

Final Score: 6 out of 10

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