Hey, I have some time to spare and this new blog + something I kinda wanna talk about… so let’s do this!
The anime winter 2013 season is almost over with most of its shows having reached their climax and end in the last week. One of those shows I was watching and finished recently is called Senran Kagura. It’s an anime basically about ninjas doing ninja stuff… or is it? Yeah, not really.
Off the grid Senran Kagura is a 12 episode anime, adapted from the PSVita game of the same name, produced by FUNimation Entertainment and directed by Takashi Watanabe who is famous for directing animes like Freezing, Groove Adventure Rave, Shakugan no Shana(!) and the first season of Ikki Tousen. He even worked on the storyboard for Death Note, this guy knows what he’s doing.
The anime starts off by showing us main character Asuka (the characters all seem to lack last names which is probably a ninja thing) fighting off random ninjas in the shadows, looking really cool and strong, giving you a glimpse of what the show could be like. Which of course, is a good first impression.
What follows is the opening theme! After that we are told that Asuka is moving back to the city of Asakusa returning to ninja school and continuing her aim of becoming a good ninja and making her granddad proud. On the ship to Asakusa she meets a mysterious girl in black school uniform, engaging in small talk with her. If only she knew at that point that she’ll meet her again some time soon!
Next stop: Asuka arrives at Hanzou Academy which is basically a normal school with a secret ninja school hidden within. If you ask me that’s not really the ideal place to hide a ninja school in but who am I to judge and there needs to be a reason why they are all wearing normal school uniforms! Even though they don’t seem to attend regular classes. So yeah… we’re then finally introduced to Asukas classmates. Dutiful and somewhat bossy Ikaruga, hyperactive big-boobed blonde Katsuragi, clumsy and shy Hibari and finally the silent eye-patch wearing, overprotective when it comes to Hibari, Yagyuu. And yes, they all lack last names. It must be a ninja thing. On the other hand, their teacher Kiriya-sensei, does have one. Maybe you get your ninja last name when your education is over. Who knows? Kiriya-sensei informs Asuka then that her last mission (the awesome scene from before the opening) was basically a total disaster yet she passed by surviving. Works for her.
By now the main introductions are over which means there is time for some action! Clothes changing action! And of course ninja training.
The first episode definitely left a good impression on me showing what we can expect in the future. Ninja missions, some kind of plot, ecchi here and there and comedy. To get to know the characters and their backstories better they show us lots of flashbacks with each of the main characters getting their own episodes. Some are better, others are not this good.
On the opposing side of the five main character girls are the five antagonists. All of them are well-trained ninjas and clearly stronger than the protagonists at first. Their objective is not clear at first, the only thing we know is that they are fighting for the dark side of the force – I mean, they attend a dark ninja school. Dark ninjas basically do the same thing as not-dark-ninjas only more ruthless and apparently enjoy better education. Dark side for the win! Later we find out that they want the secret ninja scroll, hidden in Hanzou Academy so they can add it to their ninja scroll and rule over the world! (Or something) Sounds a bit… textbook. Luckily the antagonist ninjas also have their backstories and flashbacks over the course of the anime and I personally have to say that I was more interested in them than in the protagonists. I mean, they have a bean sprout addicted blonde called Yomi and a green haired snake like girl who doesn’t give a crap about anything at all called Hikage. Also, the mysterious girl Asuka met on the ship and later on, Homura. They and the other two, Mirai and Haruka, seem way more ballanced out as a group than the protagonists are.
Somewhere about in the middle of the anime I asked myself why I was still watching it and wondered if I should drop it entirely because it seemed rather pointless to me. I have seen way better ecchi themed animes and the same goes for plot driven shows. Yet I still powered through and do not regret it because in the end it actually gets good again. The final battle between the good and the dark ninjas had some pretty cool fighting scenes, was interesting, exciting and had a nice piece of wisdom to tell.
Technically speaking, the animation was good, there was nothing to complain about really and the voice actors were fitting (since I can’t speak Japanese I really can’t judge them anyways but the cast seemed fitting to me). Mentionworthy might be Yuu Kobayashi who is the voice actor for Katsuragi. She also does a great job as Sarutobi Ayame in Gintama and Setsuna Sakurazaki in the Mahou Sensei Negima! animes. You also might have heard her in rather small rolls in animes like Fairy Tail, Bleach and Medaka Box. I’d watch a second season if they decide to make one.
Aaaaaaaand sidebar stuff:
Sometimes I find myself wondering why the protagonists are children or teenagers doing adult jobs or why the main cast only consists of girls, when being a ninja sounds more like a guy-job for me. Of course, the videogame probably sells better that way and the anime gets more viewers by having a sexy cast but just logically speaking… this makes little to no sense. It’s also not explained in Senran Kagura but I figured it out myself! Haha! In order to become stronger the ninjas use scrolls. But they don’t seem to read them. They just stuff ’em in their cleavage and boom – super powers! You can’t do that as a guy. These girls must have some magic like part in their cleavage that absorbs the scrolls and gives them an increase of power. We always knew that cleavages hold magic power and that men (and even women) are drawn to them but this takes the cake.
Also, in the last episode Watanabe shows us that he directed Shakugan no Shana by having a Shana cameo appearance! Not really, but this is what I thought when I saw following picture:
All in all if you like light ecchi, ninjas and girls eating long sushi rolls in a somewhat sexy manor this show might be right for you!
If you expect a fantastic plot and/or full on ecchi you will most likely be disappointed.
And of course, if you play the videogames, watch it too. It is fun and has Hikage in it.
That’s it for my really first review ever~! Feel free to leave a comment. Tell me what you liked, disliked and what could have been done better. I’m here to learn and to improve. See you next time!