Posted on 29 September 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Finished Series: Action, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu, Reviews by Lenlo

Every Anime season we the viewers are shown a number of adaptations, often made after Light or Visual Novels. It’s an already written story with an established base, a smart business decision. In recent years studios have also begun pulling from the Video Game market for their shows. Pieces like the Idolmaster series, Kantai Collection and Akibas Trip. I bring this up not because this is a new event, but because the anime I want to talk about today, Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu, is one such anime.

Ranbu is based off of the online video game Touken Ranbu, along the same lines as Kantai Collection. It focuses on a group of warriors who are the human personification of famous weapons, sent back in time. Their task? To protect history from the forces of the Time Retrograde Army, who seek to change history for an unknown reason. Ranbu focuses in on the 2nd Unit, newly minted and formed from a group who have never worked together before. Together they will face the hordes of the Retrograde Army and defend the past from the future!

Let’s jump in.


Posted on 25 September 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

Welcome to the final week of Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu, where the plot is rushed and the art is at its best. Lets jump in.

Ranbu opens this week with the title card, skipping the OP. Looks like they want all the time they can get. Picking up where they left off, Ranbu has Horikawa go and get the young Tetsunoske at Hijikata’s request. Reenacting the flashback we saw in earlier episodes, Hijikata tasks him to take his sword back to his family. During this, Horikawa walks out and meets Kane in an empty part of the fort. The direction here is good, with shots mostly showing them together but with objects such as a cannon between them. The two talk for awhile and we learn that for the past 3 years Horikawa has been fighting the Retrograde while working for Hijikata. During that time, apparently he still has not made a decision about whether or not to save Hijikata. Had their breakup lasted longer than an hour for Kane, it would almost be touching.


Posted on 18 September 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

Welcome to the penultimate episode of Ranbu! Unable to end with a small, personal story, Ranbu prepares for the largest battle yet! Lets jump in.

Ranbu opens up right were last week left off. Kane’s sword falling, to strike Horikawa. Instead, it cuts into the dirt at his feet, moved aside at the final moments. I mentioned last week that I would be disappointed if this ended with Horikawa surviving. If some magical power of friendship caused him to return to the Citadel. However, I failed to consider another option, where it was Kane who faltered. Unable to kill his partner, he fails his duty and lets Horikawa walk away, and I can accept that. For Horikawa to survive, one of the two had to fail/betray their beliefs. Horikawa would have had to leave Hijikata to his fate and Kane had to let a clear threat to history leave unchallenged. All in all, a good way to open the episode.

With the arrival of their Master Saniwa however, everything starts to go down hill. Saniwa teleports in right next to them and starts one of the dullest scenes in the series. In this scene, Kane and Mutsunokami explain what has happened and Saniwa simply… accepts it. He says, why not do both? Why not protect the innocents and history, as if it was that simple. Does this mean he just didn’t care before? The only thing I gathered from this conversation is what I suspected weeks ago. That Saniwa has no personality and is purely a springboard for plot/explanation.

As it is, that is exactly what Saniwa does. After their chat he teleports them to the battle of Hakodate, 3 years in the future-past. This isn’t made clear however, as they simply teleport and the battle is suddenly underway, without any indication that time had passed. What this means however is that Horikawa has been here, waiting for time to pass normally, for 3 years. Whether or not this has had an effect on him, I cant wait to see. This also means though that Tonbokiri, Tsurumaru and Yagen were left to watch-over Ryoma, so our 2nd Unit must fight without them.

After a quick explanation of what is going at the Battle of Hakodate, Saniwa deduces that the Retrograde will no doubt be here. As he finishes, supposedly 50 Retrograde solders are teleporting in, causing Mutsunokami to question if they are trying to change the course of the whole battle. I doubt 50 soldiers could accomplish that in a battle of thousands, but we will leave that alone for now. Kane and Mutsunokami quickly cut down some stragglers before meeting the full force. Knowing they cant do it alone however, Saniwa summons in some reinforcements. In a pretty, sakura flower effect, the 1st Unit arrive and they make short work of the group of 50.

During this whole segment, the character moments aren’t worth mentioning, but the combat itself is quite good. We get a number of quick blade exchanges with actual choreography. Clearly they were saving it all for this grand finale, as we soon learn that the Retrograde are sending in a staggering 1000 soldiers. What confuses me about this, is that the Retrograde has never done this before. Do they have limitless soldiers? If so, why not over run any other time period instead of sending groups of 10-20? This inconsistency in tactics and numbers makes this whole event feel like the typical Shounen bump in the stakes of the fight. Like most, Ranbu fails to realize that the best Shounen arcs tend to be those with the more personal stakes. The ones that don’t require ridiculously strong or large number of enemies. But I am getting sidetracked here.

After leaving the First Unit, Kane splits up with Mutsunokami so that he can track down Horikawa. He runs through the fields towards the Shinsengumi encampment and manages to sneak inside. Curious what their guard situation is like for him to do this, but once again we will ignore it. Kane arrives at Hijikata’s personal room, the room we saw in the flashback. He examines the map with the armies laid out, the sword that both sits on the desk and at his waist. While doing so, Kane hears a voice and footsteps approaching. He quickly hides out of sight, seeing Hijikata enter the room. No doubt this is the scene we saw before, where Hijikata gives the sword to the young man, to return to his family.

However, instead of the young entering the room, its Horikawa! During his 3 years stuck in this time, it would appear that Horikawa has taken the young soldiers place. Its  clever reveal, as I had not considered Horikawa taking his place, yet when the flashback was first showed I thought they looked similar. Now the only question is, what is Horikawa’s endgame? Does he plan to return to the battlefield, giving Hijikata the sword, so that Kane can participate in the battle? Will he try to kidnap Hijikata and remove him from the field? Perhaps he spent the last 3 years attempting to talk to him, get him to change his mind. What about the ridiculous, 1000 Retrograde soldiers?

Regardless, it all comes to a head in next weeks final episode of Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu. Talk to you then folks!

Posted on 11 September 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

This week in Ranbu, we are treated to a pleasant surprise. Not some great, flashy final combat arc but a continuation of the smaller character focused pieces. Lets talk about it.

Ranbu opens up the episode by letting us know the consequences of what has happened last week. It appears that after his argument with Kane, Horikawa has disappeared! Clearly this is in relation to Ryoma, Mutsunokami’s master, and Hijikata, Kane and Horikawa’s master. This is a good choice of final arc, as it makes use of the last few character focused episodes and side-steps the need for a final villain. Its not often in a shounen anime like Ranbu that we get character focused finales. Assuming they stick with it, Ranbu is looking to close strong.

Unable to decide what to do about Horikawa, Kane gathers the team and informs them of his disappearance. Multiple ideas are thrown out, from Horikawa falling to the Retrograde, to maybe an attack on Ryoma to save Hijikata in the future. As it turns out, history has changed with Ryoma leaving the Satsuma residence early for some reason. Lucky stroke for him, as we will learn later. Eventually though the group splits up, 3 guarding Ryoma and 3 heading off to find Horikawa. It removes characters that we didn’t need, focusing in on Kane, Horikawa and Mutsunokami. Its good that we are getting time with the most developed of our leads.

Once away from the others, Mutsunokami decides to have a heart to heart with Kane. He states that Hijikata, even if he survived the battle he died in, wouldn’t have a good life. That Hijikata was a warrior, whose time was ending. That there can be no good life for Kane’s old master and he has a point. During this conversation we are shown a flashback of Hijikata before he died. He sends Kane, as a sword, away to his brother-in-law, turning Kane into a memento. This explains why Horikawa is much more focused on their old master, because he was with Hijikata until his death. Meanwhile Kane’s time with him ended when he got sent away. It does the job of reinforcing the difference in mindset between Kane and Horikawa, no doubt for the upcoming finale.

Their conversation is interrupted however when another fire breaks out, this time at the Satsuma residence, where Ryoma was staying. Its a very pretty sequence, though the sword fights are more flash than substance at this point. The fire, the collapsing buildings, everything is rendered beautifully. While standing amidst this inferno however, Kane is approached by non other than Horikawa, a child in his arms. Didnt think he would appear until next episode, but lets see where this goes.

Horikawa starts with some small talk, how he could only save a single child and how he knew Kane would be here. He uses that though to jump into his main shpeal. That were they really protecting history? All these people dead, the child in his arms barely alive, yet they protected history? Does nothing change, do these people even matter? So begins a long discussion of ideals and what it means to protect. Seeing it going nowhere, Horikawa finally poses the question, asking if Kane will join him in his quest to save Hijikata. Kane, loving his old master but being the loyal man he his, of course refuses, placing them at an impasse.

Its interesting to see the two bring their differing experiences with Hijikata to bear. Each interpreted his actions differently and each was there for moments the other wasn’t. Yet at the end of the day, they are two different people. Now Horikawa must decide, will he fight Kane and escape, or submit and forgo his desire to save Hijikata? Choosing a sort of in between, Horikawa cites how Hijikata used to ‘break’ his soldiers during punishment. Kane knows what he means, and clearly doesn’t like it, but knows something must be done. Horikawa approaches, asking one last time if Kane will join him. In silent response, as Mutsunokami runs to try and stop him, the blade falls and we cut to the ED.

All in all, a pretty good episode. For those that like action they got some quick Retrograde fights and burning buildings. For those that prefer story and character writing, they got an interesting final arc, and everyone got to enjoy the art. So long as the final episode doesn’t negate everything that happened this week, Ranbu can finish the season strong. However if Horikawa comes out of this unscathed and with no repercussions, there will be a reckoning.

See you next week for the exciting conclusion of Ranbu!

Posted on 4 September 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

This week Ranbu treats us to another character focused episode, with quiet moments but little lasting material. Lets jump in.

Ranbu starts the episode off right where the last episode ended. The sun is rising and our party has just said goodbye to Ryoma. Very quickly we see who the focus this week is, as Horikawa begins to question some of their orders. Turns out, meeting Mutsunokami’s old master has raised some flags for him. He tries to work this out by talking to Mutsunokami, but he doesnt have any good answers for Horikawa. It looks like he might have to talk to the Commander about this, but as it turns out they cant leave just yet. They must stay in this time, for an as of yet undisclosed reason. As a fire that never occurred in history breaks out, we cut to the OP.

Returning from the OP, it looks like quite alot is happening. People are dieing and fires are starting that never should have. History is off. Apparently, some Retrograde are laying low after the last mission, still intent on capturing Ryoma. Kane quickly decides that watching over Ryoma should be their first priority. During this time, Horikawa continues to ask questions. If Ryoma is successful, will that not harm their old master Hijikata, of the Shinsengumi? Are they working against their old master? Kane, as the captain, is alot more stoic about this, but I would wager hes simply trying not to think about it.

As it turns out, Kane and Horikawa’s old master Hijikata is also in this city. All this does is rile Horikawa up, as he argues against why he cant meet Hijikata. Its rather ham fisted at times, but its a contast to last episode with Mutsunokami. During this, Ryoma slipped out of the Satsuma residence to go look at plum trees. Can you guess whats going to happen? Hijikata also happens to be in that area, and this turns into a game of keep away, even if neither side really knows it. While watching over Ryoma however, Horikawa begins to have some pretty dark thoughts. If he killed Ryoma, would it not make his old masters life better? Does he still have a duty to Hijikata?

Its an interesting line to go down, but simply knowing Horikawa’s character weakened it. Ranbu hasn’t done anything daring yet. Its played everything safe. That’s fine, shows can do that and still be good. It just makes them predictable. Which is why Horikawa doing nothing here came as no surprise. Continuing on, after this internal debate, the Retrograde attack! Everyone in the park hears the tree fall setting everyone into motion. Ryoma is sent away and once again Tonbokiri decides it’s smart to stand alone. The man needs to learn to work with a team.

While Tonbokiri is off fighting Retrograde, Kane and Horikawa are running after Ryoma. In the best scene of the episode though, Hijikata passes right in from of Kane, running towards the sound of combat. It happened fast, and to Kane who had been fighting against seeing Hijikata this entire time. For a moment he shuts down, before we see Kane is crying. He was afraid of what his reaction would be seeing Hijikata again, yet this short glimpse was enough for him. He steels himself to preserve the future that he knows will lead to a horrible life for his former master. Because that is his duty.

After this moment of resolution, another Ootachi appears. As if to demonstrate their growth, internal and external, Mutsunokami and Kane manage to dispatch it quickly. Still weaker than the 1st Unit, but better than their last attempt. There’s a quick ending scene with Kane and Horikawa, talking about their former master afterwords. This scene, along with the ‘non-interference’ speeches earlier, would all have hit harder had they not already been undercut by the first episode. Remember back when Kane saved that girl from a fire in Episode 1, completely ignoring the non-interference rule? As I said it would, it’s undercut all of their future scenes on the topic. We have already been shown its a non-issue. But I digress.

Ranbu only has 2 episodes left. In this remaining time, they must establish a final arc and some sort of satisfying conclusion. I don’t see how they can do it. There’s no main villain, there is nothing really at stake and the Retrograde are faceless antagonists. As it is, I am expecting a flashy final fight with a hollow plot behind it. I would love to be proven wrong but I don’t think I will be.

As always though, we will find out next week. See you then!

Posted on 28 August 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

This week Ranbu gives us a character-focused episode, in a self contained little story. Good, but with its problems. Lets jump in!

Ranbu starts off with the 2nd Unit teleporting in to Kyoto in style, falling from the sky as swords. The mission this time? To protect Sakamoto Ryoma during the Taradaya Incident, where he was almost caught. No doubt, the Retrograde Army plan for him to be captured, ruining his plan to bring down the Tokugawa Shogunate. As it turns out, Ryoma was Mutsunokami’s former master! Clearly, Mutsunokami is the focus of Ranbu this week.

Because of his association with Ryoma, Mutsunokami knows all about the incident and how to plan around it. This puts our 2nd Unit on even ground with the Retrograde Army, as now they know that path to defend. Strangely however, Mutsunokami wants little to do with Ryoma. He wants to avoid meeting him again, perhaps because he fears how he would act? Or maybe what he would say, affecting the future? Regardless its an interesting character point. Soon after they lay out their plan, night comes and everything starts.

Police surround the inn where Ryoma is staying, setting off the Taraday Incident. Ryoma and his guard flee, with the 2nd Unit taking out the Retrograde Army as they appear. Shockingly competent, the 2nd Unit takes care of everything quickly and quietly. However it wouldn’t be an episode with the 2nd Unit if nothing went wrong. A Retrograde slips past and attacks Ryoma, doing who knows what. We next cut to Mutsunokami fighting some simply Retrograde, before turning a corner and seeing a terrible sight.

In a very nice scene, we see Ryoma fleeing from a horde of police, alone and unable to fight. Lights behind him, as he trips and falls to the dirt, Mutsunokami debating whether or not to jump in. After a short speech from Ryoma, he does just that. Running into the fray, defeating the police and saving Ryoma. They flee together, slowly opening up, Mutsunokami fixing his hands and protecting him. During some of their scenes together you can see how alike they are and how Ryoma influenced Mutsunokami. When Mutsunokami finally talks, Ryoma even remarks on their similar accents. After these bonding scenes, Ryoma is lead back to the Satsuma Clan house, only to run into one final group of Retrograde.

In this final segment, we get some pretty scenes and a quick fight. Little occurs here story wise, but Mutsunokami has quick but well done fight in an alley way. With the fight over, Ryoma is turned over to the Satsuma clan, and the mission is over. All in all, an above average episode, but with the lack of a final arc I am concerned how Ranbu is planning to end the season. I am not sure what sort of final mission would be satisfying to end Ranbu when it had little overarching story.

Still, we have 3 episodes left, so the only thing to do is wait. See you next week for another episode of Ranbu!


Posted on 22 August 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

This was perhaps the best week yet for Ranbu. There are no flashy fights or new enemies, but there is a lot of characterization and quiet moments. Lets jump in.

Ranbu starts this week right after the 1st Units victory of the unnamed Retrograde soldier. Honebami does some fawning over the units strength, before being told there is one more job left to do. Surprisingly they don’t mean more combat, but rather a humanitarian effort. Having completed their mission, the 1st Unit wants to help those affected by it. So they go around and buy some food, to hold a little soup kitchen sort of event. This was very unexpected, but very welcome. Our first unit, even the large scary one, has a heart. Unhappy with simply protecting the future, they decided to also protect the people. It’s purely character focused and I love it. Continuing this trend, the 2nd Unit has some character scenes as well, but none as good I fear.

We cut back to the Citadel, where Saniwa and our resident fox discuss the previous mission of the 2nd Unit. Apparently, they protected history by the thinnest of margins. Saniwa, being the terrible employer he is however, states they did more than he expected. Truly? Then why give them this job? Though this is all ok, as Kane has some ‘quality’ that makes up for all this. Once again, Saniwa is a terrible employer. During this conversation another emergency occurs, meaning our 2nd Unit is going to get another arc. Kane better get ready, because he has a job to do!

Speaking of Kane, he is having some confidence issues. We transition to him sitting by a river, contemplating their last mission. Apparently he has the same doubts I did, which is good to know. He has his doubts as to how history could possibly be saved with that fire, with all those dead. Its good that this is a reoccurring issue, rather than one off with him. As he considers this, Horikawa approaches, and the two set off. One by one they gather the members of the 2nd Unit, Kane asking them if they will fight once more with him. One by one we see the effects this loss had on the 2nd Unit, eventually reaching Tonbokiri.

There is a small scene with Mutsunokami losing his mind about being asked last, which went on for too long, but that is a minor gripe. It broke up the solemn, quiet moment, with some poor comedy, but it ends on a sweet note. Mutsunokami leaves a gift of Daifuku for Tonbokiri, his favorite food. In a much more subtle scene of sweet comedy, Tonbokiri reveals the mountain of Daifuku everyone else had left for him. It’s a good welcome back to the best character of the squad.

With the sunshine and lollipops of the gang getting back together though, the warning from Saniwa’s scene comes out. The 2nd Unit is summoned, once more into the breach! They are being sent out on another mission, running into the 1st Unit on their way out. By the 1st Units estimation, they are now prepared, but we will have to see.

All in all, a good episode. Quiet, lots of character moments, and the opening of a new arc. Disappointed we still don’t have an antagonist but I doubt we will be getting one at this point. Ranbu appears to like its villain of the week story, so let’s roll with it. So long as these character scenes continue, between the pretty combat scenes, Ranbu can end on a high note. I’m looking forward to see if that is the case.

See you next week!

Posted on 15 August 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

Welcome back to another week of Ranbu. This week we have mystery, intrigue and a stupid amount of new characters. Lets jump into it.

Ranbu opens up the episode on a burning castle under siege, troops inside and a battle raging. We see a figure cut down in the smoke, only for his spirit to flow into an Oni mask on the wall. Cut to the OP. A good start, with the mask becoming our villain for the week and giving us some hints as to how the Retrograde army comes to be. Sadly this air of mystery quickly gives way to another action focused episode as the OP ends and we see our new group of heroes in action.

The first squad, who I will not name simply because I can only keep track of so many characters, are fighting the Retrograde army as they zap in. Already we see they are a step up from our old unit. They quickly tracked down the Retrograde Army to their point of entrance and are cutting them down with ease. Even an Ootachi goes down with one swing, even though our old unit had trouble with one. Its a good display of the power difference between the units. Next up we have some expository scenes, setting up the conflict and giving us some backstory to our characters.

As it turns out, most of them are from the same clan, Ashikaga. The first unit is, in some form or another, made up of great weapons from a renowned clan. Interspersed among the backstory and exposition, Ranbu shows us some scenes around town. Even though a war just ended, people are hiding in the town. We quickly learn a street slasher is going around, murdering people at night, and that many think it to be the deceased Shogun. The mystery element comes back in here for a bit, more so when we learn Mikazuki was wielded by the Shogun.

After our group eats their fill, they head out once more to the town. Scouting around town they find little, until Honebami is confronted by the Slasher. Turns out, the Oni mask turned into a spear wielding Retrograde Soldier. The Oni is made immediately threatening by being able to summon more Retrograde. We already know that a single Retrograde is no threat to the first unit, but what about a horde? After summoning more soldiers, the Oni quickly flees, motioning for Honebami to follow it. The Oni leads Honebami to a ruined site, the castle from Ranbu‘s opening scene.

Smarter than previous Retrograde, the Oni was leading our group into a trap! It summons a horde of Ootachis to deal with the first unit, oh what shall they do? Sadly, this isn’t even a challenge. Our new leads cut through this horde like butter, setting up the strength of the first unit. This fight goes on for a bit, with lots of individual flashes of style but little extended choreography. In particular I enjoyed Mikazuki’s attack displaying his crest. Its disappointing however, as the air of mystery has been completely dropped by this point. Ranbu has made it clear that flash is all it has at this point. Its pretty but the characters are shallow. It has lots of effects and paint, but no substance.

We never find out why the Shogun became a Retrograde soldier. There is no setup for a future arc. Every character aside from Mikazuki and Mitsunokami seem to have a single note. I want there to be more to Ranbu than just a pretty face, but the harder I look the more disappointed I am when I find nothing.

See you next folks, and lets be thankful we at least got the future fox food club.

Posted on 7 August 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

Snap, crackle, pop, Ranbu opens this week on a bolt of lightning! We ended last episode on a low point, our heroes defeated and being teleported out at the last second. They reappear on a platform, surrounded by smoldering coals, in what we later learn is the Citadel. The base of operations for our party. Lots going on here, and we will get to it, but lets focus in on our heroes.

The damage from their respective fights appears to have carried over, as both Kane and Tonbokiri are rushed into medical treatment. Its a strange medical treatment, as they magically pad paper on a wound and heal a sword, but its pretty to look at. An explanation would be nice, as we still have no idea as to how our heroes exist as both weapon and time-cop. I understand time is an issue in anime, it has to be used effectively, but I do think it would help flesh out the narrative and characters abit. The rest of the party not in critical condition however, have a much easier and light hearted time.

The comedy this episode really works, as we get some TSA style inspections, witty banter and a time traveling fox food club. It does a good job of filling space between scenes that, even if they don’t succeed, attempt to be dramatic. For example we learn that Tonbokiri is in a comatose state from his wounds, good consequences for their loss. This is undercut when he recovers consciousness later on in the episode. We hear that, as of 2205, the time our characters are based out of, history has not changed. Edo gets a full broadside during an important meeting, goes up in flames, and there are no changes? Didn’t our heroes fail? They completed their mission, history is preserved, so all things considered they won with minimal casualties! Its a disappointing resolution after a well done end of an arc, leaving Ranbu in an akward place.

Speaking of arcs, lets talk about the next one. Much of this episode was focused on Mikazuki, the man in blue and usual captain of the First Squad. Everything this episode, from the music to the lighting and camera angles, leads us to think this is not a good man. Found in the Commanders office alone, ominous music and shadows cast over his face, Mikazuki might be the villain we so desperatly need. Ranbu reinforced this feeling when the Commander states that the Retrograde army usually arnt this subtle, meaning these smart tactics are new. Its laid on so thick, I could almost believe Ranbu is throwing us a red herring. I dont think Ranbu is that clever however as even Mikazuki’s laugh sounds evil.

Continuing on, theres a nice bit of video-game fan service. There is a cafeteria scene with a crazy amount of unique character designs milling about in the background. No doubt they all appear in the game series, so I am sure fans appreciated that. Some of these characters even get names and speaking lines as we are introduced to Yagens brother. A mild mannered white haired boy, he resembles Yagen alot. Curious how a weapon has a brother, but ill roll with it. Numerous scenes occur, some quite frankly pointless scenes that scream “CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT” like an air horn. Its all rather ham fisted, but I suppose its better than nothing. There does have to be consequences for how last episode ended, with defeat and a sweeping orchestra. This week atleast ends on a much less dramatic note.

This week closes out on a flash of the First Squad, which Yagens brother has just been assigned to. Apparently there is a new crisis and they have been sent out! Most likely we will follow the First Squad on this mission for a few episodes as the Second squad recovers. With this squad mostly being comrpised of villainous looking people such as Mikazuki though, I am hoping Ranbu will treat us to some First vs Second squad conflict in the future.

Its not surprising we got a breather episode to setup the next arc, but for the most part Ranbu was empty this week. Scenes could have been shorter with the same content and Tonbokiri could have spent more time out of comission. All in all a little disappointing.

Heres hoping the First Squad makes it interesting again. See you next week!


Posted on 1 August 2017 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu

A rather shallow episode of Ranbu this week, but not without its twists, both pleasant and disappointing.

Ranbu opens up the week on Tonbokiri and Horikawa on the bridge, most likely immediately after Kane and Mutsunokami left. Little happens here, some one sided conversation with posing, before we cut back to the boat. Here is where most of the meat is going to happen for this episode. We quickly learn the name of the white cloaked swordsman, Tsurumaru, and get to see him in action. Making full use of the 3D environments, we get some ambitious soaring camera angles around the ship. This lets us get a good view of Tsurumaru’s love for the fight, as we even see him egging the Retrograde troops on. This with his facial expressions make him seem like the unhinged member of the party. Its all rather well done.

During one of his taunts, Kane and Mutsunokami finally arrive on the boat, quickly putting an end to the fight. There’s some quick, meaningless, dialogue while the crew and the boat are dealt with. Then Mutsunokami gets to live his dream and pilot a boat! Alone. I am pretty sure this is more than a one person job, but hey, rule of cool right? During all this Tsurumaru finally lets Kane, and by extension us, know that the Retrograde army doesnt have to stop the meeting. Instead, they can just burn Edo to the ground! With a ghost ship full of Retrograde army zombies! Where did they get the 2nd ship? Doesn’t matter apparently, cause back we go to the bridge.

Here at the bridge we get the continuation of the fight against the Ootachi. There are some nice cuts with Tonbokiri, before the fight is interrupted by the palanquin of Katsu, one of the men from the oh so important meeting. One could almost think this was the plan, to intercept the pallanquine, but instead the Ootach goes berserk and flees into the night! A bit ridiculous since the Ootachi will attack the palanquin later on, but we will get to that. No instead the Ootachi jumps onto a tower and lights its sword on fire, Gondor calls for aid! Curious why he didn’t light it up in the fight, but it makes for a pretty reveal. Sadly there is little foreshadowing or build up to this little twist. Makes me think the Retrograde army are less, intelligent foes, and more convenient plot generators.

One interesting thing about the Retrograde army though, they actually win this round! The cannons go off, cannons not from this era supposedly, and Edo goes up in flames. History gets a full broadside! Some beautiful fire on the ship and in the town gives us a nice scene cut into the Ootachi attacking the palanquin it avoided earlier. Here we get another interesting twist where, presumably, one of our heroes goes down for the count. After a short fight Tonbokiri, one of the least developed but most likable characters, gets a slash across the chest and a sword through the gut. Its a nice scene, the weapon which represents Tonbokiri breaking as he goes down. Tonbokiri isn’t the only one with a serious wound though, as we transition to Kane on the ship. In a rage, he kills some Retrograde, and gets a sword through the stomach. Bad day.

With Kane and Tonbokiri down, it looks like we are hitting the nadir of our heroes journey. With a howl everyone gets teleported back to home base and we get a somber credits scene. Its thematic but we know so little about these characters and what they are fighting for that the episode hit like a lightweight. The only novel thing about it is that our heroes lost, which was unexpected for this series. I hope we get to see how history changed because of all this, so we get a sense of whats at stake. Instead, we get an after credits scene.

Its a scene that dismisses everything that has happened so far and introduces another new character! Well done Ranbu, well done. Mikazuchi, leader of the first unit, who will apparently replace or join our old party. We really didn’t need new characters. What Ranbu needed was an actual villain. Someone with charisma, someone who could carry this show. Instead we get more and more of the video-game roster and a video-games shallow story. At-least we get a new arc next week.

See you next time everyone!

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Featured Posts

Dr. STONE – 15/16 [The Culmination of Two Million Years/A Tale for the Ages]

This week of Dr.STONE is a double feature, courtesy of my inability to write! Here we cover the conclusion of the Grand Bout, finish the Cure-All and then dive into the history of Ishigami village. So without further ado, since we have a lot to cover this week, let’s dive in. Starting off, first an […]

Beastars – 02

Furry anthropomorphic animals animals are in fashion now thanks to the onslaught of countless isekai settings, but Beastars is here to offer something fresh and different. Indeed, there are many elements from Beastars that we can feel optimistic about. The manga source is penned by Paru Itagaki, which recent news reveals to be the daughter […]

Hoshiai no Sora – 02

Hoshiai no Sora picks up where Mix left off in terms of character-driven sports dramas. Between those two and Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru at the start of the year, we’ve had a strong representative for the genre at all points during 2019. Though it’s just two episodes old, Hoshiai has the potential to be the […]

Mononoke – 11 [Goblin Cat, Part 2] – Throwback Thursday

Welcome one and all to the penultimate week of Mononoke! Apologies for the lateness of this, life is busy busy right now, much like Mononoke itself. As this week we dive into the mystery at hand, our suspects start to talk and the series gets… weird. Let’s dive in! Starting off, what do I mean […]

Legend of the Galactic Heroes Die Neue These – 13-16

This really wasn’t the best way for me to pop back into blogging for a while if I am to be frank. It’s not hard to shake off the rust but to walk into the middle of a series I watched a year ago which has a cast and political landscape to dwarf a star […]

Fire Force 12 – Eve of Hostilities in Asakusa

Welcome back to Beni town!  After a two week break, Fire Force has awkwardly picked back up with its penultimate episode (for the first cour).  Missed Shinra and the gang?  Unfortunately, there’s some Catgirl this week, but aside from that, we have another solid effort all around.  Let’s get into it!

Vinland Saga – 14 [The Light of Dawn]

This is a big week for Vinland. One of the best episodes, not just of the season, but the year for me. So many things just came together to really nail it. As this week Askeladd makes us question who we are rooting for, and really throws the brutality of war in our face. Let’s […]

Mononoke – 10 [Goblin Cat, Part 1] – Throwback Thursday

Hello all, apologies for the delay, and welcome to the final arc of Mononoke! This is perhaps the most unique one yet. As we skip forward to a modern era, set the entire thing in a single location, and have ourselves a murder mystery. So, lets dive in! Right off the bat, as always, I […]

Vinland Saga – 12/13 [The Land on the Far Bank/Child of a Hero]

Hello again everyone and welcome to a double feature for Vinland Saga. Apologies for the missed week, but even I am not totally immune to sickness. So this week we cover episodes 12 and 13. Where we learn quite a bit about Askeladd, Canute finds his voice and winter starts to turn. In we go! […]

Latest Reviews

Mix: Meisei Story Review – 75/100

Mix is, by my count, the eighth Mitsuru Adachi work to be adapted to animation. I’ve only seen one of the other seven, so it may not be my place to say this, but Mix probably ranks around the middle of those eight. Its main cast is complex, but the non-baseball players among them slip […]

DanMachi2 Anime Review – 40/100

“Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon” burst onto the anime scene as something of a B-tier cult classic.  2015 saw Season 1 massively outperform expectations  – ignoring the occasionally shoddy animation – to bring excitement and mostly fan service (and the cosplayer favorite: the Hestia ribbon).  Now, four years later, the […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba Anime Review – 80/100

It’s hard to find a more ubiquitous genre in anime than Shounen. Maybe romance/moe-blobs, but it’s a close race. With series like One Piece and until recently Naruto, being a constant presence each season/year. Often this makes it difficult for newer series to break into the anime market in a meaningful way. With the recent […]

Youjo Senki Movie Review – 85/100

Outside of a very few exceptions, I have come to despise the isekai genre with its predominantly self-inserted overpowered male protagonists, massive harems, fan-service bait and overused fantasy settings. Youjo Senki is none of those things and it has gained a very special place in my heart where it features the combined arms of a […]

Fate/Stay Night Heaven’s Feel – II Lost Butterfly Anime Review – 91/100

Long time no see and strap in cause this is going to be a long one. I will preface this review with the assumption that you have seen the first movie of this trilogy and this movie as well as the assumption that whomever is reading this knows what a command spell is. So basically […]

Serial Experiments Lain Anime Review – 78/100 – Throwback Thursday

Serial Experiments Lain is weird. It is a series unlike any other, wholly unique in anime, both modern and historical. Every aspect of it, from presentation to narrative, is best described as an experience. It is because of this that I believe Lain is a must watch, if only to experience a piece of anime […]

Penguin Highway (2018) Movie Review – 89/100

You’re walking along in your neighborhood, going about your daily routine. It’s a fine morning. The sun is shining brightly. But suddenly, you see something strange. You squint your eyes; even rub them, to make sure it isn’t a mirage before exclaiming with excitement, “Oh, look. It’s a bird. No, it’s a plane! No no. […]

One Punch Man Season 2 Anime Review – 34/100

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Dororo Anime Review – 55/100

In the modern anime sphere, getting a complete story, start to finish, is a rare thing. As is getting an adaptation for an older work. Dororo however has, through the grace of Twin Engine, managed to get both of these. Based on the 1967 manga of the same name by legendary Mangaka Osamu Tezuka, Dororo […]