Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls – Final Thoughts

The Fall 2010 anime season is coming to an end, and that means it’s time to write some final thoughts posts on series that I watched and didn’t blog. This post is for Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls, a girl-on-girl fighting/fan-service series that started off with some promise but just kept going downhill.

Brief Description of the series:
In an alternate modern Japan still ruled by the Tokugawa shogunate, a girl falls out of sky into a guy’s arm, kisses him and transforms into a bad-ass master samurai. The guy (male protagonist and sword instructor Muneakira) can now kiss other girls and make them into master samurai as well, and now Muneakira and his female companion have to uncover plots and save Japan from destruction.

I picked up this show expecting something along the lines of Queen’s Blade or Sekirei, but Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls actually had a pretty good first two episodes. There was the distinctive but appealing inky art style and special effects, and the female character designs were pretty attractive. The episodes did a decent job setting up the environment. Added to that, the debut fight of Jubei (the female lead) was actually well-animated and with good moves from the combatant and no cloth-shredding. What’s more, the male protagonist Muneakira, being a sword instructor and all, looked like he might not be completely useless. Things certainly looked promising from that point, but unfortunately the first two episodes were the best part of the show.

After that, Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls treated us to string of episodes that became more and more filler-ish. First few of these were about Muneakira adding two more girls to his harem which still had something to do with the overall story, but then the rest was more random side stories and/or fan service comedy that were pretty forgettable. The action scenes were still not bad, but they become increasingly rare. It’s not that the show has completely forgotten about its plot, but the progress was extremely slow until the last three or four episodes.

When the time came to wrap the show up with the final battle against evil, Hyakka Ryouran did not manage to pull itself together. Yoshiko had a ridiculous plot, and then the evil bitch Gisen just randomly showed up and started doing stuff. I wasn’t expecting too much from the story at that point, but I was also disappointed by the action. There was a fair bit of fighting, but the quality was considerable lower than what we’ve seen in the previous battles. A lot of the combat was just flashes of inky lines and streaks flying around in the sky instead of the more detailed exchanges we saw earlier in the show. The fact that Muneakira turned out to be nearly useless certainly didn’t help. While better than the wandering episodes in the middle, the last few episodes failed to impress and the show couldn’t quite end on a high note.

Overall, Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls turned out to be another one of those shows that couldn’t live up to its potential. It kind of reminds me of Occult Academy from the previous season which was another show with a good beginning but ruined by filler-ish episodes in the middle, but Occult Academy had better quality overall. So as it stands, Hyakka Ryouran is tolerable to watch, but nowhere near what I would call a good show.

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