3 Episode Taste Test: Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls

An amnesiac girl falls to earth. Girls fight until their clothes fall off. A man stands pure and oblivious amidst a brothel's worth of females. A beleaguered viewer has seen it all before. Take your pick from Queen's Blade, Ikkitousen (any flavour) or Tenjou Tenge and Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls (Hundred Blooming Flowers Samurai Girls) will follow both logically and thematically. The premise is simple and familiar: put as much flesh on display as frequently as possible with only a hastily scrawled story to keep it legitimate.

The series' aesthetic draw beyond the curvaceous dolls on parade is the odd blend of chunky, flat characters against abstract watercolour backgrounds which expertly evoke ancient Japanese vistas. So too does the ethos of the characters, steeped in the bushido code of the samurai, the chaste speak of honour and fealty to their master while the unclean employ subterfuge and dirty tactics - as well as servicing their fickle master's sexual whims. It could easily be taken as naive patriotic propaganda with the opening episode's exposition of weapon-wielding girls taking down squadrons of World War 2 planes.

Mostly though it's just uninspired tosh: an ensemble that has been worn by so many other series it's threadbare. The archetypes are all present and correct including the steroid infused alpha-male, still skulking the shadows in these first three episodes; the spunky undersized firecracker with a chip on her shoulder about her chest size all the while channelling May from Guilty Gear in clothing choice; and the overly buxom mother figure with a knack for cooking and a down-to-earth sensibility.

It would be obnoxious were it not mostly inoffensive. The impromptu cunnilingus by the scatterbrained maid not withstanding, the inkblot splatters which cover up the most heinous body parts is certainly an inventive method of censorship and is a motif the opening episode uses to excess before promptly forgetting about it. Like all series of its ilk though it doesn't, and financially can't, portray what is most wanted: decent, pugilistic, one-on-one or one-on-many combat.

The scuffles are over far too quickly, rife with budget saving flashes and CG detritus, ostensibly saving the most fluid of animation until the series' denouement. Bolstered by seemingly endless, inane talking that utterly wastes the series competent aesthetic style. Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls doesn't do anything new, but teases with the glimmer of originality that might, with some luck, yet come to pass.

Responses to “3 Episode Taste Test: Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls”

I got hooked on this for the background art. The story is fluff but it is very pleasing to the eye.
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