Ikki Tousen Episode 1

Ikki Tousen

Do you like fanservice?

Because if you don't, you won't like this show. I guarantee it. It's about on Agent Aika's (famous for its fanservice content) level of gratuitousness. A show that features a bunch of sexy high school girls fighting ("she kicks high")... Well, let's just say it's targeted for guys.

The plot follows rival high schools that are battling for control of the Kanto region of Japan. These Fighters (yes, that's capitalized), carry Magatamas, which identify themselves as combatants. Each Magatama is said to possess the spirit of a warrior from the Warring States Period of Chinese history (see Romance of the Three Kingdoms).

So far we've mostly been introduced to Hakufu and Koukin. Hakufu is a girl who possesses an extremely powerful spirit (though I can't figure out who, because the name is given in Japanese and not Chinese), and has come for the purpose of taking over the entire country. Koukin is one of her childhood friends that lives in the Kanto region, and is supposed to try to protect her. Some passing mention is made of Koukin's abilities (and the fact he doesn't display them), but that's probably something left for later episodes.

It's hard to judge a show by it's first episode, as it just deals with setting the stage and introducing some characters. The show moves along rather quickly, though, and features a lot of action from beginning to end. The character designs are pretty much what you'd expect from a show like this (and very reminscient of Tenjo Tenge, a very similar manga series), with nubile, interestingly-costumed girls bouncing around with buff guys.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

Ikki Tousen Episode 2

Ikki Tousen

Wow, what a show. Standard disclaimer applies. If you don't like fanservice, you won't like this show. Likewise, if you loooooove fanservice, you'll probably think this is a great show, regardless of what I tell you.

Anyways, in this episode, the head of the school issues orders for the greatest four to execute Hakufu, and for all the other fighters in the school to defeat Koukin. Because of Hakufu's forgetfullness (I'm trying to be nice, but even Hakufu herself says she's dumb), they get split up, leaving Koukin to fend for himself. As was hinted in the first episode, he's a pretty good fighter, and dispatches all his opponents.

At the same time, Hakufu squares off against Kannei, one of the greatest four. Kannei uses tonfas, and really is one bizarre guy. They say he's gone crazy, and he plays the part well. After Hakufu gets serious, she more or less begins to wipe the floor with Kannei, but that's when Mou comes into the picture. She's definitely a tougher fighter than Kannei (whom she kills), and proceeds to start beating on Hakufu.

Koukin finally reaches Hakufu in time to see Mou knocking her down and out. But Hakufu's spirit takes over for her and proceeds to give Mou a real beating.

Weird show, the art is pretty and you've got as much fanservice as you could want (the fight with Hakufu and Kannei starts off with Kannei cutting open Hakufu's blouse with his tonfas), but the plot is pretty much up in the air, so it's probably too early to say if this is a bad show or not.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 11:54 PM | Comments (0)

Ikki Tousen Episode 3

Ikki Tousen

You need a healthy amount of suspension of disbelief to appreciate the whole warring high schools storyline. I mean, if you give even one second of thought to it, the whole idea is pretty stupid. But this concept is an anime/manga staple, so you'd probably be better off just getting used to it!

This is actually a fairly entertaining show. There's some cool, gratuitously fanservicing fight scenes sprinkled throughout (the long fights always seem to involve at least one female fighter, playing to the show's strengths). The story hasn't really gotten going yet... We know that Hakufu is some sort of warrior of destiny that some of the major want to use, and others want eliminated.

Apparently, at some point, her subconscious takes over for her in the fight, and that increases her ability rather dramatically (in this state, she was able to easily dispatch Mou, who was pretty handily kicking her ass beforehand). Hakufu apparently got depressed because of this fact (that she couldn't beat Mou normally) and wanders around the city to wallow in her sadness.

Near the end of the episode we get a little bit of plot development, but it's mostly just teasers for stuff that is either going to happen behind the scenes or happen in later episodes.

This show is a fun watch, but doesn't really have much substance or depth.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 01:56 AM | Comments (0)

Ikki Tousen Episode 4

Ikki Tousen

Let's see, what did I learn about martial arts from watching this episode of Ikki Tousen? Well, it appears that when girls fight, they tend to have this habit of getting the bottom two-thirds of their shirts/tops torn off. This is important to remember, because it may distract you in battle!

Fanservice abounds in this episode (gee, surprise there) but there's some action scenes, and the plot thickens, as we see the various rivalries and alliances between the schools play out. Hakufu unleashes some of her incredible abilities (no, not those two) without losing control. There's some pretty ruthless politics going on behind the scenes of all the random battling, and I actually find this interesting, though let's just say the plot in this show isn't exactly its crowning feature.

But where is it all going? Besides straight into the gutter...

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 12:17 AM | Comments (1)

Ikki Tousen Episode 5

Ikki Tousen

I believe it's almost certain I'd be enjoying this series more if I could match the various characters to their Three Kingdoms era equivalents. Unfortunately, I only know the Chinese names, and not the Japanese names, and the events they refer to are so vague, I can't do much guesswork. I think a lot of the cleverness in the plot is supposed to hinge off this knowledge, so it's too bad I'm in the dark.

So we don't really have the plot, besides that the Great Fighters' Tournament is about to begin (which Toutaku hopes will force the rival schools to eliminate each other, thus allowing him to avoid his fate and remain in control). Hakufu gets in a big fight to avenge Taishiji, but isn't powerful enough until she succumbs to being taken over by devil-Hakufu. We continue to trend that Hakufu gets her shirt cut/ripped open whenever she gets in a serious fight.

Fluff fluff fanservice whee! By the way, this show's closing theme seems so heinously inappropriate it makes me smile.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 09:05 PM | Comments (0)

Ikki Tousen Episode 6

Ikki Tousen

Ryofu, Kannwu and Hakufu are definitely my three favorite female fighters in this show (okay, that's most of them, but hey). This episode is probably the most fanservice-heavy yet (and that's really saying something). There were some moments in this episode that I was amazed they were allowed to get away with.

The Great Fighters' Tournament is underway, and we get to see Nanyou facing off against their first opponents. There are a few highlights from some of the other matches, but they mostly serve to introduce one character or the other.

Ryofu's intrigue with Saji is illustrated a little more in this episode, but it's still not entirely clear why she's harboring Saji at the risk of betraying her master (and some of his lackeys have definitely began to notice her actions), but she seems to be putting her love for Saji over everything else.

Ryomu has a few cool moves to show off in her two fights, but other than that, this episode was pretty light on the action, despite the fact the battles take up more than fifty percent of the episode.

I guess fanservice can't completely power a show, though.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

Ikki Tousen Episode 7

Ikki Tousen

Wow, what an introduction. Make sure you cover up your kids' eyes and ears when showing them this anime. (By the way, you'd better not be showing this to your kids!)

On to the show! I love Kannwu and all, with her long, static hair, but when she breaks her own arm to get out of Mou's hold (and in subsequent shots we can see her broken bones protruding at all sorts of weird angles), I get the shivers. Kannwu is of course one of the wielders of the punch that rips female characters clothes off attack, which is one of my personal favorites, because of its inability to do any real harm other than add to the already staggering fanservice in this series.

I just noticed something, my two favorite characters so far, Kannwu and Ryofu, both wear loose socks.

Toutaku has been a pretty lame bad guy so far, pulling strings in the background while lying around picking flowers (in a somewhat diabolical manner, but come on... he's picking flowers). I admire his ability to surround himself with beautiful women, but what's the deal with the bandages? I'm sure it's all a setup for when he finally fights, and turns out to be some super powerful warrior, but he just seems so boring right now. His plan is to get his enemies to beat each other up, so that none of them will be strong enough to take him out. He obviously doesn't take into the account the power of narrative to heal main characters!

The action in this episode was pretty good, getting a cool string of fights against Kannwu (whom I hope we haven't seen the last of!). Add on a whole lot of fanservice and some plot development and you have a barely better than average show.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)

Ikki Tousen Episode 8

Ikki Tousen

Yeah! You can tell Toutaku is evil because he particpates in aggressive flower arrangement!

Seriously, I've said it before, but so far, Toutaku is one lame bad guy. He spends all his time in a greenhouse, trimming flowers with a pair of scissors, surrounded by a bunch of girls in cute red suits (okay that part's not so bad). He is, however, manipulating all the other schools, who seem powerless to do something about it, so I guess you have to give him props.

There's a little fighting in this episode, but it's pretty blah. Hakufu doesn't do very well in her match, and Mou is the quick winner in one, then the quick loser in another. What really does prevade throughout this episode is the heavy fanservice. This episode actually had instances of more gratuitous fanservice than even the previous fanservice-laden installments. So, it's saying quite a bit.

The tournament is over, though, and Toutaku's school loses by default. Unlike in previous tournaments, though, Toutaku is not giving up the control of the Kanto region, so we'll see how all the schools react to this development in upcoming episodes.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 12:40 AM | Comments (1)