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If you have not previously seen the 2010 anime show Hyakka Ryōran: Samurai Girls, then its second season will come as an eye opener, literally. The show is based around a set of young, cute female Samurai and was based on the light novels of Akira Suzuki, who also works as a writer on anime films...
Samurai Bride (2013. 12 eps) is a fan service show which mashes up contemporary themes and Japanese history. The show was directed by KOBU, with character designs by Tsutomu Miyazawa.
You didn’t really need to have seen the original series as the show picks up with the appearance of four dark Samurai, who appear in a cemetery. They provide the show's main protagonist which allows for a satisfying amount of action.
This is not a show to be taken seriously; everything is played for laughs although this is well balanced with the action. Being a fan service show there are a lot of panties and breasts on show and the fight sequences add another opportunity for the girls to shred their clothing. Fan service shows have a long tradition in Japan, unlike most of Western Europe where the nearest thing would be the next Ralph Bakshi film with its playful naughtiness. That said, the Japanese have their own cultural mores so whilst the girls are happy to openly display nipples during bathing scenes, they are otherwise sexless.
Generally, you might think that this is not a very edifying show, unless you’re a pubescent male. The odd thing is that for all its silliness and cheap sexual innuendo, the show looks fantastic. The studio has gone for a look reminiscent of a wood cut, which gives it a very distinctive look. There are a few odd stylistic choices like the splashes of ink which regularly obscure the picture, I couldn’t decide whether this was meant to be a transitional wipe, or suggestive of something you might wipe off the screen after getting over excited.
For choice of audio you get the English 2.0 dub as well as the original Japanese track with English subtitles. Disc one, of the two-disc DVD set holds the first seven shows of the series and, as I have already commented, they look gorgeous. The episodes are unevenly distributed as the extras have been included on the second disc. Japanese Preview (2 min, 22 sec) is a collection of shots from the show; mostly we would call it an advert.
Moving on, we have the Japanese Blu-ray Promos (34 sec x 2) which are two shorter adverts for the Blu-ray and DVD release. It’s a bit redundant as if you have this you already know what the DVD looks like, but have no idea if the quality of the Blu-ray is any better. You get the compulsory clean opening (4 min, 26 sec) and closing sequence (10 min, 19 sec) there are differences, so they have strung them altogether, just in case you thought the show had ten minutes of credits.
There are six original shorts, all of which consists of little but fan service material. At this point I realise that I failed to mention that the girls, in order to make money, have turned their Dojo into a maid café, so the show can cover both nudity and fetishism. That one of the shorts is called ‘Project Big Boobs’ gives you the idea of where these are pitched.
If you're not easily offended then the show has things to recommend it, its fluffy, silly and not to be taken seriously, but the animation style sets it apart from a lot of the shows out there.
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