Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood

Web (12 eps x 24 min)
3.048 out of 5 from 1,157 votes
Rank #15,077

The year is 1931. Prince Tokugawa Yoshinobu is 94 years old and holds absolute control over Japan. Remnants of the Meiji era’s culture can be seen around the city, but scientific technology and Japanese esoteric cosmology Onmyodo are also developing, exuding a sense of modernity. Yet lurking behind the glitz is Kuchinawa, a dissident group planning the assassination of the prince, and effectively the fall of the regime. Tasked to extinguish these dissidents is Nue, the government’s secret executioner group. Sawa Yukimura, who works for this organization, suffered from an early age at the hands of the Kuchinawa boss. Her entire family was murdered and she dedicated her life to avenging their death.

Source: Crunchyroll

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This anime hasn't finished yet but I'll write a review for it regardless. It just gets worse and worse over the course of the series. Update: wrote this review at episode 10. Just finished the anime on June 28th and all my points still stand from this review. This anime sucks ass. story: to be quite frank I don't even know what the plot is. All I know is pale faced chick wants revenge for the slaughter of her clan because their blood produces supernatural powers. The actual plot in relation to government protection or some shit firstly is completely and utterly historically incorrect. The guy Tokugawa Yoshinobu isn't even alive in 1931, he died in 1913. Second, what exactly is their purpose. It's never rlly been established why or what they do. They posed as geisha for like the first two episodes then that all disappeared and with that went the structure of the anime. It's too focused on fights and some shitty revenge plots and corny subplots that I don't understand. animation: it's pretty nice and character design is absolutely fantastic when characters are in their transformed states. Fight scenes were underwhelming tho. Sound: intro is immaculate. characters: every single one of them is absolutely terrible, besides the little kid. I don't know what's going on half the time in fact I don't know what's going on ALL THE TIME. Their goalposts change every episode, every body hates pale chick suddenly, that's your best friend. This character dies that character dies this villain stays around then dies. It's just terrible. These characters have no depth besides backstory that's IF they have a backstory. They have the depth of horror movie characters it's unwatchable at some points. They're so weak they can't even function as regular plot pushing filler characters  id say that you should try this anime out for yourself, but to be honest I wouldn't even say that. If you want to sit through boring revenge plots and mid fight scenes with characters you will give not the slightest of fucks about be my guest. But if you want a good revenge story this ain't it watch kill la kill.


What Jouran: The Princess of Snow and Blood definitely feels like is a haiku come to life. The visuals are the immediate standout and despite the weird dash of sci-fi, the nods to old-school samurai stories are there. Yukimura is the obvious shout-out to Lady Snowblood, and like her ancestor, has nothing much to define her beyond her thirst for revenge. She’s got reason to seek that out – after all, when the story begins, she’s the government’s assassin-for-hire, tasked with taking down anyone declared an enemy of the state until she can find who exterminated her clan. Once she accomplishes that however, what’s a paid killer to do? When the dust settles and her mission is cleared, she finds that the simple act of living may be just as dangerous as her last job. It sounds interesting on paper. It even looks like a great plot that could go to a lot of dark places. But Jouran is not a show that’s for subtleties or even evenly-paced sequences of events. It’s a show that’s got more plot twist than actual plot, where the first half runs at breakneck speed before finally finding its groove halfway through. Unfortunately for the show, by the time it allows its story to start breathing, you may have already gotten lost in all the details and other unnecessaries. There’s a nice world here in Jouran, full of cyberpunk and steampunk influences in an eclectic mix of the old and used future. There’s a nice political web being spun here, tangling round and round until all the crashing conspiracies start to make you a little dizzy. But this is a show that poured more energy into its world-building than its story. Either the show was too excited to get to all the juicy parts or it didn’t know which plotline to prioritize until the last minute. The result: Jouran is a series that’s just way too over-complicated for no good reason. Jouran is more misfire than a new, daring addition to historical anime. It had all the elements to tell this nuanced story of a killer and her thoughts about the business, and about how she learns to cope with a life beyond revenge. But more than characters that were just missing a little something to become truly memorable, Jouran is, in the end, a story more focused on the bigger bookend events and bombastic sequences instead of the little in-betweens that would have made the flow more natural and seamless.

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