Animation: Fair
Depth: Weak
Design: Fair
Characters: Weak
Story: Weak

Type: TV   (12 episodes)

Vintage: 2003

Category:

» martial arts

Tagline:

Everyone wants a piece of the new girl in town
Verdict: weak
Next in series:
Review:

Ikki Tousen

Also known as: Battle Vixens


Summary: >

Recorded in Chinese history, are the tales of various figures in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In the Kento region of Japan, these warriors are reincarnated as high school students and fight for dominance. Their story seems pre-determined, and while many of them are confident in their ability to fight against others, can any of them fight against their fate?


Thoughts: >

The first thing that needs to be explained about Ikki Tousen is the basis of the series. Romance of the Three Kingdoms is considered one of the great classics of Chinese literature, and probably a regular topic of study around Asia. This means that there is an assumed level of familiarity with the basis of Ikki Tousen that a western audience will likely not have. Point being, the foundation of Ikki Tousen is relegated to "some stuff in a Chinese legend" for most of us, but the intent was supposed to be much more than that.

The characters are terrible: none are what I would call likable. Hafuku, the idiot female lead; stumbles through the story and is repeatedly beaten up until her "true soul" awakens. Then she becomes an ass kicking machine. There is never any buildup of suspense, as either she's winning or losing, but never really on par with any of her opponents. Her cousin is the main male character. He's supposed to protect Hafuku, but generally just gets beaten up himself. This anime has a very large cast, but none of them are well developed, and few of them even matter. The insignificance of characters introduced and then quickly forgotten only compounds the problem of poor story telling.

Fan service is "heavily represented" to put it nicely. If you don't see a panty shot in 30 seconds, it's because you accidentally paused the show. Along with this there is a lot of clothing shredding going on. The female cast takes the brunt of this, but in particular Hafuku is the focus time and time again. It's strange that she gets hit in the chest but only the front gets shredded. This isn't the first anime I've seen this in either. Is some kind of fetish material?

While not being a high budget production, the fight scenes are pulled off surprisingly well. It doesn't have exceptional animation, but resources are well utilized to give action a good amount of flare that has a similar impact. Even more impressive is that the fight choreography is sensible, and well thought out. This doesn't mean that fights are necessarily enjoyable to watch however. The reasoning behind the fighting is basically "because we like to fight" and isn't based on any logic. The dialog doesn't help in this area either. The worst aspect is the absolutely terrible music backing it all up. The best I can describe it is: really lame music from some ancient DOS PC game. I had higher hopes for the soundtrack considering the catchy intro song.

The story is badly assembled. Ikki Tousen takes events featured in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and plays "connect the dots" with those points, but fails to flesh out a proper story of its own. It then highlights this weakness in narratives explaining similar happenings in history; like that somehow covers for the lack of story. The attempt at some kind of plot twist towards the end is hilariously weak, and the finish is as dumb as can be expected.

Ikki Tousen is pretty much all panties and fighting and yet more panties. If those two things are enough to carry a title for you, then it's watchable. Other than that, it's not strong enough in any other aspect to recommend. I can't say I hate it though, and there was a part of the story with a green haired girl that I found mildly intriguing. I couldn't shake the feeling that nearly everything in this title was done better in Tenjou Tenge, which itself was only okay.


Quote: >

Thug: She's dumb but she's got big boobs.


Screen Caps: >

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reviewed by archen in 2012