Samurai Girls Complete Collection (Cert 15)
3 Discs (Distributor: Manga Entertainment) Running time: 275 minutes approx.
In the alternate land known as Great Japan, the Tokugawa Shogunate has remained the ruling force of the country and the way of the samurai lives on in the women of the realm. At the Buou Academy for trainee samurai, Muneakira Yagyu returns to his dojo to find it taken over by two young ladies, fifteen year-old Yukimura Sanada and her loyal bodyguard Matabei Goto. They are embroiled in a dispute with the Student Council, represented by Sen Tokugawa – a childhood friend of Muneakira – and her faithful maid/bodyguard Hattori Hanzo concerning the mystery of disappearing students.
While trying to act as peacemaker, a naked girl falls from the sky and into Muneakira’s arms. This ditzy and confused girl named Jubei steals a kiss from Muneakira and undergoes a remarkable transformation into a fearsome Master Samurai. It transpires that Muneakira is a “General” who can unlock this latent power; a timely discovery as Sen’s brother, the sinister Yoshihiko Tokugawa is planning on creating his own race of Master Samurai.
Don’t be fooled by the conflict element at the end of the above plotline, this is a harem comedy first and foremost. Having the female leads being re-imaginings of famous figures from the feudal periods of Japanese history is flimsy camouflage at best. Indeed the main thrust of the story doesn’t come to the fore until the final four episodes of this twelve episode outing from the kings of the ribald harem show, Studio ARMS.
The remaining episodes introduce us to the buxom beauties indulging in the usual shenanigans endemic within this type of show as they either try to encourage Muneakira to unlock their inner Master Samurai or, in the case of Hattori and Matabei, avoid making this lip locking pact.
The transformation into Master Samurai usually entails an increase of one’s skills by an incredible rate and is not something that is easily controlled as Sanada, the second to make the pact, discovers. Jubei is the only one who undergoes a personality transplant after transforming which is explained at the end. Even though Jubei shares the same surname as Muneakira, it is clear (we hope) that they are not related, otherwise this show would be entering into some VERY dodgy territory.
Hattori – who sports a pair of hi-tech glasses which can read the power levels of each samurai – and Matabei are largely reluctant to smooch with Muneakira for fear of breaking the loyalty bonds with their masters while Sen is the resident tsundere of the bunch – keeps Muneakira at arm’s length yet harbours strong feelings for him while displaying signs of extreme and violent jealousy whenever the other girls get close to him. An old acquaintance of Sanada’s, Kanetsugu Naoe, the self professed “Warrior Of Love” shows up to settle an old grudge dating back to their infant years but has really been assigned to spy on Sanada by Sen.
Naoe, with her giant mallet, is the comic relief of the show, never taken seriously by the others. Then another mysterious maiden falls from the sky and into Muneakira’s arms. This time it’s the eye patch wearing Gisen Yagyu who makes no bones of her desire to do more than just kiss Muneakira. Of course, this is just a small part of a sinister master plan she has been tasked with fulfilling.
Believe it or not, in between the “Carry On” style mishaps between Muneakira and his near naked female companions there are some battle scenes to be enjoyed, although they feature mostly as the show reaches its (pardon the pun) climax – just in case one felt this show was trying to present a samurai show with no sword swinging action! Aside from the often depicted Asian icons, a slice of French history creeps into the proceedings with the inclusion of Charles d’Artagnan, a (what else?) busty French babe under the employ of Yoshihiko Tokugawa.
It may be hard to believe that this show has anything to separate it from every other ecchi harm show on the market but it does – the animation and artwork. From the opening frame this looks like no other anime with its pallid colours and bold use of thick black lines bordering the characters. The back grounds are suffused with a grainy effect which creates a sense of austere sparseness and lack of depth to the picture.
There is also the omnipresent addition of the ink blots which may serve well as a great segue way device but their random appearance is distracting at best – more so for Japanese TV viewers where the nudity was conveniently obscured by these blotches (this release is uncut). One can probably imagine the character designs without prior viewing and you’d be right with the girls all possessing impressive mammaries – aside from token flatty/butt of all jokes Sanada – and curvaceous bodies to die for. Indeed for Matabei, Jubei and Gisen, clothing seems to be an easily disposable inconvenience so their wares are often on regular display.
On the surface Samurai Girls doesn’t appear to offer anything new or original for the viewer and merely panders for the fan service/sub porn addict audience. In actual fact, for all of its tawdry and unashamed low brow content there is enough to engage the more discerning viewer, the main strength being the comedic interaction between the samurai girls themselves – thanks mostly in part to Naoe’s misguided arrogance and determination in being taken seriously by her peers who take great pleasure in either ignoring her and beating her up!
In all honesty, this is not a title that can be easily recommended – unless you really can’t get enough of naked boobs and scenes of risqué prurience – but to dismiss it outright would somehow be churlish and unfair. If you view this title fully prepared for what it has to offer there is no reason to feel disappointed or short changed.
English Language Version
Japanese Language version with English Subtitles
OVA Episode 1
OVA Episode 2
4 Cases Manga 1-6
OVA Episode 3
OVA Episode 4
English & Japanese Subbed Opening
English & Japanese Subbed Closing
OVA Episode 5
OVA Episode 6
Rating – ***
Man In Black