Well here we ladies and gentlemen, my first ever episode by episode review series. I’ve wanted to do this for some time since it gives adds a level of consistency to my blog, and also lets me engage more with anime by reviewing the series episode by episode. So what anime have I picked for this glorious moment? Is it Zombieland Saga (Looking at you Cactus Matt) or maybe even Goblin Slayer? Nah screw all that mainstream stuff we’re looking at Senran Kagura Shinovi Master!
What’s it About?
Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is the latest media in the ever expanding Senran Kagura franchise. I’m a HUGE Senran Kagura fan and have played a good chunk of the games and followed them for some time, so I was pretty stoked for this new anime ever since it was announced. The show is a follow up to the original anime from 5 years ago called Ninja Flash (expect a full review of that some time in the future) and takes elements from previous games in the series. This time the anime is based on the japanese only mobile game New Link, and follows story elements from that game while Ninja Flash had a story ripped from the first game in the series Senran Kagura Burst. The show’s plot so far is somewhat unbeknown, at least to me but I’m sure players of New Link know what’s going on. So what did I think about this one? I personally am VERY intrigued and I’m looking forward to it.
Asuka and Yumi, two Shinobi from different academies, meet up in the rush towards Christmas. They lark around for a while until they are separated. Suddenly two new foes present themselves and assert their power in horrifying fashion. What will they do, who are they, can they be defeated? Who know! This episode didn’t really do too much, it served only to set up future events and introduce the main cast for us. This was a very lax episode and sets the scene for the show. One thing I noticed is that this episode and series were a lot darker that the previous show, and games for that matter. It had a grim change in tone to the end and really did hit you hard with some harsh brutality.
What I liked
The opening scenes were an absolute treat to watch and were both funny and just overall enjoyable to watch. I love seeing Asuka and Yumi interact and work off of each other in their hunt for christmas presents. These two are simple darling together because of their personalities. Asuka is very laid back, perky and fluffy while Yumi always has a dignified and head-held-high style to herself, and hearing them talk about their friends, morals and the importance of smart phones…ok was really fun to watch. I also liked the fanservice, don’t judge me! Senran Kagura is a series that is known for its fanservice and has become synonymous with this fact. The first anime had fanservice and this one is no exception. This fanservice was mostly just tasteful enough for the situations it was used in. I loved the ending song as well, it has inserted itself as one of those songs that I won’t be skipping when the episode ends. Senran Kagura may have fanservice, which I do really enjoy, but the music is always amazing for me and some of my favourite video game soundtracks come from this franchise. Overall this episode had some great little moments particularly to the start and had some nice character interactions, it was great to see these characters all back together and bouncing off of one another with fun jokes and sweet conversations.
What I Didn’t Like
The animation was very jarring to me. I can tell they have had a complete overhaul in the animation style in this show compared to the other, and while it works in some places, in others it falls short. They play it much looser with the movement and facies in this one and this makes certain frames look either too rounded or just disproportionate. The reason I find this annoying is that in some plays the animation is actually quite good, and when these jarring frames appear it sucks you out of the experience. Though I will praise them for the background work, it was certainly very good. I also think I’m so cruel to the animation is because I’m used to seeing these characters in 3D model forms and having correct proportions (or about as correct as one can get with their assets) without the prospect of changing, so I’ll just have to let that gripe go for the next episode. I also wish we got to see more of the other characters besides Yumi and Asuka, though the next episode will provide that. We got to see the Crimson Squad however, who are my favourite troupe in the show. I do have some issues with the fact that the fanservice went from being covered like in the previous show (hair, light beams covering nips etc), but it wasn’t everywhere and made sense where it was used, so it gets off with a light warning. So these were just a few gripes, but overall these aren’t massive ones.
Hopes and Thoughts
I am excited for this show, and look forward to my episode by episode reviews. I do like the more grim tone the show has taken, but it isn’t so grim as to be off putting and acts to accentuate certain points of peril which I think works. After all there’s only so much grim you can include in a show about buxom fanservice ninja babes. I am very intrigued by the story and liked the setup this episode provided. I am really looking forward to continuing it and I’m glad to see Senran Kagura back.
Sorry if this review was kinda meh, it’s my first episode specific review so please let me know what you thought in the comments.
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