Seven ancient warriors have been fighting for control of Japan for
almost two centuries. They have now been reincarnated as high school
students. Shou Haou, the mightiest of these warriors, returns in the
form of Hakufu Sonsaku, a blonde, overly-endowed airhead. Let the
An in-depth discussion of this series won't be necessary, and I'm
not even going to attempt to explain the plot; not only would it be
impossible, but the plot of this anime series is really just an
excuse to stage numerous fights scenes. In my review of New Fist of
the North Star, I stated I'm not into watching thick-necked
boneheads beat the crap out of each other, and I'll stand by that.
But teenage girls in short skirts beating the crap out of each
other? That's a different story.
Ikki Tousen entertains in spite of itself. Yes, the plot is dumb.
No, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's ridiculous to think
the fate of a country will be determined by a bunch of horny,
teenage martial arts masters. (You'd think one of them would realize
this whole thing could be solved if somebody would just pick up a
gun.) Hakufu is pretty much an idiot (but I'm sure even she knows
Chicken of the Sea is actually tuna), and most of the other
characters are devoid of distinct personalities. The only exceptions
are Hakuf's mother, who just might be a nymphomaniac, and Saji and
Ryonou, two of Hakufu's rival classmates.
Saji likes to guess bra sizes by feeling up anyone who'll let him,
and Ryonou achieves sexual release while she's fighting. An attempt
is made to delineate the various factions and allegiances, but the
sheer number of characters involved makes it nearly impossible to
keep up. This really doesn't matter though; about the time I gave up
trying to sort everything out people started dying. The best thing
about this series is its refusal to take itself seriously. C'mon,
could you imagine this thing being played with a straight face?
We're talking about serial cat fighting here. Remember the Uma
Thurman/Daryl Hannah fight in Kill Bill: Volume 2? Imagine Quentin
put them in schoolgirl uniforms and shot the scene from a low angle.
Now imagine they both start losing their clothes halfway through the
fight (and don't seem to notice). See the appeal of this series?
Achieve the right tone and it's possible to make almost anything
Geneon is responsible for this release, and it's representative of
their exacting standards. The video is dead solid perfect. The
bright color scheme is beautifully represented, with terrific
saturation, and absolutely no edge enhancement, artifacts, or
bleeding. The dubbed soundtrack and the original Japanese mix both
have good channel separation, with a good bit of bass activity and,
when required, a nice wide soundstage. A full surround mix would
have been nice, as there are a couple of 747 flyovers that, while
sounding impressive in stereo, would probably tear off the roof in
5.1. Still, what's here is a solid effort. Extras consist of clean
opening animation, an art gallery, and some hidden outtakes (which I
couldn't find to save my life).
Ikki Tousen isn't art, and it won't change your life in any way, but
it is a pretty good distraction. This one definitely qualifies as a
guilty pleasure, a perfect example of the triumph of style over
substance. Creator Yuji Shiozaki and Geneon Entertainment are found
not guilty on all counts. Bring on the rest of the series!
Non-credit Opening Animation
Full Color Art Gallery