Post Reply Samurai Warriors
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Posted 3/11/15 , edited 3/12/15
by Dingofist

I've spoken in this very space before about the endless amusement I get at Japan's indefatigable ability to convert their historical personages into outlandish games and anime. What an absurd and yet amazing concept. The latest effort to romanticize centuries old civil wars into popular fiction comes in the form of Samurai Warriors , the imaginatively named new anime loosely based on the hack 'n slash game series of the same name from developer Koei.

The whole entire series (games and anime and all, baby) is of course VERY loosely based on the warring states period of Japan, when colorful (in modern media, at least) warlords fought one another for control of the entire country. This, of course, should be common knowledge by now to any serious anime fan out there, because come on.

Samurai Warriors focuses in on a very specific group of years late in the Sengoku era, right around the time Toyotomi Hideyoshi finally succeeded in unifying Japan, and sets up the heroic Sanada brothers Yukimura and Nobuyuki as our dueling protagonists right away.

Because this is anime based on an action game, the brothers make a classic red oni/blue oni duo. Yukimura is naive and pure, fiery and courageous and obviously suffers something of an inferiority complex to his brother. Nobuyuki, meanwhile, comes complete with beautiful white hair and all the cool, calculated cunning one would expect from an intellectual older brother. Is that accurate to history? I'm not sure (I really doubt it) and neither are the writers, probably, but really does it at all matter?

With the who's and when's taken care of, viewers are thrown right into the action as Yukimura begins a reckless charge to take the last contested territory in Japan away from its lord we're told little to nothing about. That's a problem in the early goings, by the way, 496 characters are going to be thrown at you with little to go on other than their names and colorful outfits. This isn't a problem if you're a Japanese history fanatic or a fan of the games, but for more casual viewers it may be a bit off-putting.

But then, Yukimura starts to single-handedly decimate an entire army while dodging raining gunfire and destroying enemy fortifications with insane spear strikes and any worries about court intrigue and politics disappear into the fog of war, taking just as much of a backseat as they do in the Warriors series games.

Therein lies Samurai Warriors greatest strength and its achilles heel. As an action show it's very good in spite of some dangerously average production value. Battles and duels are exciting and over the top, full of exactly the kind of frantic action fans of the games have grown accustomed to. There's really something naturally amusing about a superhuman warrior flinging hordes of nameless goons about with a flick of his spear wrist. The other side of the coin is that too much of the court intrigue is glossed over, and not enough exposition or general information is given to feel incredibly invested in different characters.

Still, what else could one expect from a show based on one of the most infamous gaming series around? End of the day, Samurai Warriors is a fun, mindless action show that is definitely worth taking for a spin whether you're a fan of the hack 'n slash games or just in need of some light-hearted historical semi-fiction.
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