The Hakkenden (THE 八犬伝, The Hakkenden?) is an OVA series by AIC in two sequences, the second subtitled Shin Shō (新章 lit. 'new chapter'). The anime is based on the epic novel Nansō Satomi Hakkenden written by Kyokutei Bakin during the latter half of the Edo Period. At 106 volumes, the novel bears the distinction of being the longest novel in classic Japanese literature.
The Hakkenden is most known for its unique approach to animation, switching between several distinct visual styles throughout the duration of the series (sometimes even several times within the same episode). In addition, the series is also noted for its heavy use of symbolic imagery and themes, allowing the series to straddle the line between animation and art.
It is also known for introducing a modern perspective to a literary classic, since outdated, morally ambiguous concepts such as feudal loyalty and devotion are closely scrutinized and re-examined during many of the conflicts in the story. The "THE" at the front of the title is not, in fact, a formality of translation, but an actual part of the title written in English, perhaps chosen by the series' writers to deliberately convey that sense of modernity.