I first picked this harem-ecchi action anime up years ago. I dropped it after 4 episodes and today I've come back with alcohol, due to my dislike for harem-ecchi, but to finish what I started. I will try to keep my opinion out of this and give this anime a fair review. Though low expectations have made me do this with booze. It full of action, good music and *ugh* fan-service. Back in the day I used to enjoy anime like Sekirei, but my tastes have matured and I've become more cynical over the years.
The quality is immaculate for a 2010 anime and I was able to find this in 1080p blu-ray quality. But the style of this anime... is out of this world. The inky, artistic outlined style of this anime is beautiful and very unique. Yes, some aspects like the character design appear to be generic, but upon closer inspection some things look a bit more distinctive. Especially as Some of the character designs seem unoriginal from a distance. There is plenty of blood splattered around like ink, which is also present quite a bit. The rarely used setting of a psuedo-'feudal Japan' really help the art style. There is even an aged film look for flashbacks. But on to the negative. At times the inky animation looks a bit naff. But there's worse.
Being an ecchi harem anime, this does have a lot of unnecessary fan-service and nudity. Though from what I've heard, there is a censored version of this anime, I do not know how. The only versions of the anime I've found have toplessness in them. This is especially noticeable in the outro, which otherwise makes interesting use of the chibi-style. If you have read my previous reviews, you should know my views on ecchi, fan-service and nudity. It's only acceptable when it serves a just purpose. As far as I could tell, there was no need for the nudity here. There is implied sex, which would justify nudity, but the context is just all wrong. But it goes one step further with one character... this thing is censored even in the uncensored version! Thankfully frontal nudity is mannequinned (mannequin crotch) especially for when the guy is nude, which is fairly often. Overall the animation would get max score for the sweet, unique style of animation, but the pointless fan-service brings it down.
The music is fairly good. The intro music is energetic and does a good job of introducing the action of the anime. The outro is not so great, wasn't to my taste, but was still suited to the distasteful animation in the outro. Not that the outro music was that bad, it just made sense. The background music in the anime itself was utilised as was appropriate, no music during the scenes that didn't need any, action music for the fight scenes and comedy tunes for the funny ones. Heck, there were moments when the music reminded me of the music from Angel Beats, a compliment if anything. Despite all the praise I give it, the music didn't tempt me enough to get the soundtrack.At times the music reminds me of the music from the comedic sections of Angel Beats, yet more praise.
Surprisingly this anime is available in both English and Japanese. And with good voice actors doing the roles too. (The wrong names are listed for every VA on this site) Major name in the dub business David Matranga does the voice of the protagonist Muneakira Yagyuu and also did the voices of Hinata from Angel Beats, Kubodera from Another, Tomoya Okazaki from Clannad and Duke Dracul from Kaibutsu Oujo, which was the last anime I watched. Emily Neves who voices Jubei, also did the voices of Angel from Angel Beats, Kotomi Ichinose from Clannad, Mei Hoshino from Yumekui Merry and once again Reiri Kamura from Kaibutsu Oujo I recently watched. Hilary Haag did the voice of Yukimura and also did the voice of Yui from Angel Beats, Fuuko from Clannad, Merry from Yumekui Merry and yet again Princess Sherwood from Kaibutsu Oujo. Shelley Calene-Black the voice of Matabei did the voices of Kyou from Clannad, Shirakawa from Elfen Lied, Saki from Yumekui Merry and Hime from Kaibutsu Oujo. Yet more major names like Luci Christian for Sen, Maggi Flecknoe for Hanzou and Melissa Davis as Gisen. I must add that Rie Kugumiya does the Japanese voice for Yukimura and I hate her voice. She's been type-cast as the flat-chested tsundere little bitch and I hate that character trope. I definitely didn't want to watch this in Japanese.
So many good dub VAs, as is evident from the good anime that, coincidentally, they have collectively done voices for. Overall the sound design is very good and misses out for not being exceptional enough for me to want the soundtrack.
The only real male character in this anime is Muneakira Yagyuu, a samurai warrior who somehow has tha ability to make master samurai contracts, a power that ahould be exclusive only to great general. He means well to each of the other characters and thankfully he isn't a pervert. Unfortunately being the only man, he is the target of the affections of every damn girl. Ugh. He tries to avoid being kissed and all but unfortunately, despite his background in combat he is still overpowered by these girls fairly often. While he doesn't have any thoughts or feelings for any of the girls, he still feels the trope of the genric harem protagonist as he doesn't choose a girl. He's insensitive at times and has no guts whe it comes to women, that or he's like me and is too respectful to do anything to hurt them. He does have a bad taste in swinwear, I wouldn't be surprised if he even wore briefs instead of boxers. Have some good taste in your clothing man!
Jubei Yagyuu is the mysterious split-personality redhead girl who appears from the sky in the first episode. Like almost every other character in this anime she has large breasts. She is dim-witted and clueless about a lot of things, but means well. She likes to eat a lot and acts like an innocent child. She's harmless and even gives Matabei a nickname of Beita. She refers to Muneakira as big brother (onii-chan), despite having no relation to him, the name is unexplained. She treats Kanetsugu like a pet and calls her Guutsu-Guutsu. But when kissed by Muneakira, her personality changes and she becomes a master samurai. This only oocurs with her and when she turns into a master samurai, Muneakira becomes tied down and is unable to move. One who is somewhat aggressive and quite the opposite of Jubei's normal self. Her power level is apparently at least 6 digits and her weapon of choice appears to be a katana. Her eyes change and her gets shorter with the transformation too.
Sen Tokugawa is the princess and the authoritative figure in this anime. Though it doesn't mean she behaves in a sensible and mature way. A teenage girl in all respects, except for her unrealistic large breasts and curvaceous body. She is apparently a childhood friend and acquaintance of Muneakira's. She is rather strict and very protective over Muneakira, as is clear from an early episode. Obviously she has feelings for Muneakira. Her master samurai weapon of choice appears to be a spear. She can be rather mean and moody at times. Overall Sen Tokugawa is somehwhat childish and a bit of a bully sometimes.
Hanzou Yoshinari Hattori is Sen's maid, servant and personal protector. She has glasses that contain technology that allow her to scan things like power. Seems just like a scouter from DBZ. From certain scenes, it appears that Hanzo has feeling for her princess, a shame they never get her anywhere with the princess. She's even a bit of a masochist and loves to be punished by Sen. She wears strange heels, wields double sided blades and hides ranged weapons in her skirt. Like her master, she hates things like kissing and girls getting intimate with guys.
Yukimura Sanada is the trope flat-chested short girl in this anime, the only one of the sort. She seems to behave with more dignity than Sen who is her rival in love. But when it comes to Muneakira she acts like the dumb lovestruchk girl she is. Just like every other character of the trope, she gets upset when people mebtion her height or especially her flat chest. She has smarts and initiative to make up for it. She often is found arguing with Sen or annoying Kanetsugu. Her weapons of choice are fans.
Yukimura's bodyguard and best friend is Matabei Gotou. She has no damn modesty and is fine leaving her breasts unveiled at times, when other girls would notice it and be embarrassed about it. She is protective over Yukimura of course and wears a wierd thong-like thing? She's a gentle character, not as smart as many of the other characters but is smarter than Jubei. Just enough brains to be normal. Weapon of choice is a staff.
Kanetsugu Naoe is a penniless, ojou-sama type character and the comic relief of the anime. She is rather dumb as such and has a grudge against Yukimura for embarrasing her when they were both children. While Jubei is dumb in a childish way, this character is just plain idiotic, despite her attempts to appear to be smart. A real dunce and she's gullible to boot. She likes to sneak around and spy on the rest of the gang, she hates Muneakira and thinks he is a pervert with a legit harem (where he actualy does stuff with them). She often gets knocked out. and her favourite weapons is a comically oversized hammer. She claims to be a warrior of love, yet she knows nothing of it. She has no idea how disposable she is to her master Yoshihiko Tokugawa.
Other characters are not exactly considered protagonists or main characters. The shady Yoshihiko Tokugawa (Sen's brother) seems to be a jerk who treats women like shit, effectively keeping Charles De D'artagnan (a french girl) as his bitch. Gisen Yagyuu (still not related to Muneakira) is a perverted seductress who strongly believes that generals should treat their samurai like dirt and be forceful and mean to them. She tries to seduce Muneakira and tries to 'tuck him in' on many occasions. The usual shitty characters then, despite a few interesting ones.
The story is set in a modern day feudal Japan, ruled by the Tokugawa government, where master samurai are a dying breed and are very rare. Though I find it very strange that only guys appear to take on the role as generals and only girls can be master samurai. Muneakira Yagyuu is sent to the abode (apparently an academy) of princess Sen Tokugawa to investigate the disappearances of many students. That's all there is to the story without spoilers. There is jackshit about romance and resolving the harem. with the exception of the one sided romance between Nia and her general. Occasionally progress is made with this overall plot. There's a few twists and turns and interesting developments, but this is drowned in the usual ecchi-harem malarkey. Expect the usual lack of conclusion from this, even regarding the somewhat interesting overall plot. There is a sequel which has an interesting name suggesting the story continues. I plan on watching it next to see whether this first series is justified in its lack of a complete conclusion. But looking on the bright side, these ecchi harem concentrate the story in the last few episodes. The last four episodes are filled with plot progression, so including the first episode 5/12 episodes are decent. Better than most of these filler-filled anime then.
I'm disappointed that such good voices were used for such a bad anime. There were a LOT of moments where I drunkenly shouted WTF at the top of my lungs out loud while watching this anime. Yes there is major BS and shocking content. This is not one to watch for anyone who wants good story and no anime trope crap. This is one of the better harem ecchis for those who enjoy those genres though. I'd still put forward the usual arguement that porn is better for perverts, but this provides story with the crazy BS and some people may enjoy that shock and find it funny. I might have laughed once or twice in my drunken stupor. I can only allow a recommendation for fans of ecchi-harem, so enjoy!
Family-friendliness Rating: 5/5 Nudity and typical harem-ecchi BS and then explicit scene, despite censorship (lower is better)
Overall Rating: 4/10 (higher is better)
I had some hope for this one when I first saw it because it was trying to be visually a little different, with thick lines that give the show a wood-block quality and ink splatters. But beyond that it is pretty conventional, and also just downright dull.
I do love ecchi's and harems and Samurai Girls is one of the best I have seen. Not only are the characters (except for Kanetsugu, she was incredibly annoying) all interesting and in their own way like-able but the plot took very unexpected turns and the story got quite dark, when they introduced Gisen who turned out to be a brilliant villan. The animation is also really unique and I haven't seen an animation style like this before. More in video review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB1onliKUcI
BBFC rating - 18 for strong sex and sexualized nudity
This story seem a little interesting, but the blood effects are so annoying. This is about 2 girls who were runaways from another territory and the student counsil tries to catch them. the dude found them inside his dojo and was attacked by them. he defeats them within seconds and the story starts there. but seriously, the blood affects are annoying. they use it as a censor, but sometimes they splat blood just for the hell of it. thats how i feel.
This is an anime definatly worth watching. Its animation style is unique. The charcters are sort of cliche but not over the top. Story was ok. But the thing i oved most was the animation style, the inkblot theme was amazig and i would love to see more of it.