So the summer season has started and as you know from my previous post, My summer 2017 anime picks lets get hypu; I have picked up a bunch of shows with the intention of trying at least the first 3 episodes which will form the basis of my “First Impressions”.
First up we’ll be discussing Katsugeki TOUKEN RANBU. Now before I dive right in, It may be important to note that I know nothing of the source material. I’ve gone into this show completely blind without reading so much as the synopsis. LETS BEGIN!
Touken Ranbu appears to take place somewhere in 1863 when the Samurai era is coming to an end. Continuous foreign relations has divided the country between those who oppose the shogunate and see foreigners as nothing more than “Invaders” and those who follow the shogunate.
History as we know it is in danger of being altered, a force known as the Time Retrograde Army is trying to change the future by interfering with past affairs. A sage known as Saniwa has therefore summoned warriors to enter the past and stop this from happening.
Within seconds of the first episode I immediately noticed how beautiful the show is. The backgrounds and characters have strong vibrant colours and so far everything has been animated so wonderfully. The episode opens up with a carriage chase through the rain, and I was already blown away by the quality of the water puddles on the ground as the horses gallop through them. Not something everyone would be interested in, but its definitely something I would notice.
This doesn’t surprise me much coming from Ufotable, especially in regards to the action. If you are familiar with anything else Ufotable has worked on then you will know they excel at brilliantly crafted action sequences. A good example for this would be Fate/ Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. The way the animation has been executed for the swordplay in Touken Ranbu is very reminiscent of Fate, at least in my eyes.
Another thing to note is that show has a very Bishonen feel to it. This might not surprise anyone familiar with the source material though. So far its a full cast of gentlemen and these dudes are pretty damn good looking.
Decent array of characters.
As I said before, I didn’t have a clue what Touken Ranbu was about going into it, therefore I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the characters are actually the weapons of former warriors through time, who may have developed some kind of fame or legend around them. They have been summoned by the one they now call their master, Saniwa, to stop the Time Retrograde Army from altering the past and changing the future.
So far there hasn’t been a great deal of character development, but that isn’t to say there has been none. We get to see a more despairing side of our gun wielding hero Mutsunokami which can only lead me to believe we will see more like this from our other protagonists in the future. I can only hope that the story and characters develop in a way that enables us to get more background history on who they are, linking this into how they behave and what future actions they might take would be even better.
Three episodes in and I feel I have some connection to Mutsunokami, Izuminokami and Kunihiro. We have been able to see how they react to certain situations and how they interact with each other, there being a clear rivalry between Mutsunokami and Izuminokami, whereas Kunihiro sees Izuminokami as someone to admire and look up to. Not bad for three episodes but I hope they dont neglect the others.
As far as first impressions go, Id say I’m definitely intrigued. There is enough here currently to keep me watching. The story seems to be moving along in a way where it feels like there could be a decent twist or turn any moment, and they explain new information quite well in a way that is easy to digest.
Animation and sound get a big thumbs up so far, with Ufotable not letting me down in the former regard. The ending song provided by Kalafina is amazing and the sound is easily recognizable from their previous tracks. Not surprising considering their involvement with Ufotable works in the past.
Also, how CUTE is this thing!? I want one!
MY VERDICT: I’ll CONTINUE WATCHING