Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls

Genre: Action, fanservice
Score: OK

The Tokugawa shogunate has ruled Great Japan for 400 years, preserving its cultural isolation with the power of Master Samurai, powerful female warriors who are utterly loyal to their general. Yagyu is heir to a minor samurai family, but when a girl falls from the sky, kisses him and transforms, his life as a reluctant general has begun. Soon a princess, some revolutionaries and various other cute factions are after him.

When the opening scene features WW2-era planes being destroyed by a group of girls with swords (and a reckless disregard for gravity), you know this series is going to be odd. It has an odd premise, equating magical girls with samurai. It has an odd mix of styles, contrasting feudal Japan with sci fi tech. It has an odd visual style, in parts like ukiyo-e but often more like eastern calligraphy, with bold strokes and messy splatters of ink. It has an odd form of censorship, dripping blotches of ink on strategic areas of the screen. It has an odd habit of naming characters after historical and fictional ones without any accounting for gender, from Hattori Hanzo the combat maid to Charles d’Artanian the French blonde.

Oddness will only get you so far though. If you can get past that and the excessive fanservice – whether you watch the censored or obscene version is up to you – it has at least a passable plot. In the end it gets more points for originality than for execution though.