In case you missed it, CLICK HERE to read my review of episode 1.
Welcome to my review of episode 2 of Senran Kagura Shinovi Master. Last episode we established a new threat in the form of Gekkou and Senkou, who delivered a beat down on Asuka so intense it left her fighting for her life. So what better way to follow that up with a swimsuit episode? Quick NSFW warning, no full on nudity will be shown but some explicit screenshots will be shown. Also the toil I went through to capture the most ‘SFW’ shots I could was a real challenge, *sign* the things I do for Senran Kagura.
Through the machinations of an unknown individual, Hebijo Academy, Gessen Academy and The Crimson Squad all converge on a spa resort. Once there, the groups engage in a playful game of Peach Beach Splash, but with a twist. If their clothing is hit they become naked, and the last one standing wins. When the tournament ends, the evil Gessen Twins appear to the girls, showing them the kidnapped Hanzo girls, with Asuka reappearing with seemingly a sense of destroyed morale. This episode also introduces the concept of a contest to find the strongest shinobi, The Shinobi Master. What lies in store for the girls, what is the fate of Hanzo Academy, but most importantly… where can I get that magical clothes vanishing stuff?
What I liked
This was an all round great episode. It had great character interactions, great action, a fun story and a hard-hitting and really intense ending that sets up the rest of the series. First off I want to say that I am in love with the opening theme. I love the beat, the build up to the chorus, the visuals that accompany it and the whole electro rock style the song has. But in terms of the actual episode, I particularly liked the segment with the Hebijo Girls and the Crimson Squad too. It was great to see Homura and her ladies doing shinobi things, it was a lot of fun to see them work together and the fight between Miyabi and Homura was really well animated, looked awesome and even snuck in some fanservice. The PBS stuff was also fun, a nice little callback to the game of the same name and it led to some great character moments, fanservice galore and some decent animation and physical comedy. The characters in the episode were on point, each one showcasing their unique little quirks, conversing with one another in great ways and offering us some really fun moments via their dialogue. Also any moment where Haruka is on-screen is automatically the best part of the episode, she is best girl and no one can or will tell me otherwise. Finally, I particularly enjoyed Asuka’s ending moments, as it sets in motion that Asuka is due for some character development and correlates with all the promotional art that seems to show Asuka either distanced from the others or simply being more despair ridden and serious. However, while I do believe this is really her, I also think she might have been brainwashed to feel this way, but considering the beatdown she experienced, I believe its genuine.
What I Didn’t Like
There weren’t any real major issues with this episode other than one thing. That one thing is the animation. It was very ‘all over the place’ and ranged from very nice looking to very mediocre. It was good in some places, the fight between Homura and Miyabi was very well done and the combat was beautifully choreographed. However in other points, characters either looked disproportionate or just really off model, I think the reason this annoys me so much is that in some places the animation is great, so it really bugs me when it jars this badly. I also wish we got to see just a tad more of the whole PDS stuff and while the ending section showing the Hanzo girls was a refreshingly dark moment, it kinda threw the rest of the episode off kilter and I think it would have been better if we’d just seen Asuka in her despairful state instead of showing the others as it would leave more horrors to the imagination. I also hope that the Hanzo girls aren’t like this for the rest of the series, they’re part of the flagship academy for the franchise and having them be out of the action for most of the time would feel a bit cheap, but that’s more of an overall concern rather than a gripe with the episode itself.
Overall, this was a fantastic episode and was just pure Senran Kagura goofiness. The fanservice was everywhere and it was great, the character interactions were a real highlight of the episode. It was great to see PBS get some love and that entire sequence was a great couple of minutes. The ending was very intriguing and keeps you interested since it has such a stark contrast from Asuka’s usual outlook. If it wasn’t for the animation quirks I’d say this episode would be perfect, but even with that little demerit it is a fabulous episode. I’ve decided that for these episode reviews I’m going to leave a score out of 10 since it helps indicate my overall final thoughts on the episode.
Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it, if you did please consider leaving a like and following my blog for updates on future posts. Also follow me on twitter @joe_reviews for further updates and general nonsense. Till next time.