Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru – Review

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In the year 2205, the past is threatened by the historical revisionists who seek to change it. Protecting history becomes the task of a boisterous band of swords that are brought to life, including the glamorous Kashuu Kiyomitsu and the kindly Yamatonokami Yasusada. Beyond their battles, these legendary swords from different eras lead charming daily lives.

Touken Ranbu is based on a video game series of the same name from Japan. It centers around a group of living swords who are brought to live by a sage in the form of young men. Throughout the series the sword boys are traveling back in time to stop evil from re-writing history. We spend most of our time watching their every day lives in the citadel.

I found the series difficult to get into my self. Granted it is clear the audience for this series is decidedly female given the handsome young men that each sword is transformed to represent. The story felt as though it struggled to balance the history altering story plot with the daily lives of the swords angle. The real focus was on the lives of the now living swords in the citadel. Still the animation quality and voice dubbing were both well done for the series. The Touken Ranbu video game series has been a major hit in Japan. It even started the rise of female fans posing for photos with historical Japanese swords.

There are some comedic moments that you can enjoy in the 12-episode first season but for me, this is a series I would stream versus purchase. Season 2 just starting airing Jan 2018 so expect a dub of season 2 in the near future. The blu-ray/dvd combo pack release will include all 12 episodes, plus extras. You can pick your copy or stream the series at Funimation.com

Robert Prentice