This is review number one hundred and eighty eight. This anime is part of the Winter 2013 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is Senran Kagura. It’s an action anime with girl ninjas that have massive boobs. Sounds like fun, right? It’s a twelve episode anime that has bouncing boobs. Oh, I mentioned the boobs already? One more time then: boobs. Let’s read on.
The anime is about a group of aspiring ninjas training in their secret hideout with their instructor watching them grow day by day. They are taught the basics and the advanced skills ninjas must possess as well as the duties and honors they must uphold. They also live their happy life together as they undergo training. Their peaceful days are disrupted though when a group of powerful ninjas from another school, apparently evil, has decided to challenge the girls. Can these aspiring ninjas defeat opponents more powerful than them?
Taking the Pants Off
This anime is adapted from a game that was released back in 2011. That’s pretty old, right? I’m from the 90s so my idea of anything old is skewered by now. Anyways, video game adapted anime are always a red flag. Games are complex beyond anything an anime can ever reach so it is pretty worrying. This anime honestly tried though. It had a story, great characters and a decent build up while also having a ton of boob grabbing, panty shots and half naked girls getting their clothes ripped off while they fight. Yes, this anime is massively Ecchi. It’s dirty enough to repel weak minded viewers yet not hardcore enough to satisfy true born perverts so it’s an easy to digest kind of Ecchi anime that I can suggest you can try. There is certainly something to watch in this anime but it’s a fact that Story and Heavy Fan Service do not mix. They’re like cat and water but in this anime, we are getting a bit of both worlds so the attempt is definitely appreciated.
The anime is pretty simple. It’s a story about good guys versus bad guys. It doesn’t get more complicated than that. A bunch of girls trying to become ninjas are training while another group of girls trying to be ninjas as well are basically being stuck up b*tches and fighting the unprepared girls. The girls are beaten then they trained and fight another day. As you can see, it’s a pretty straight forward story and even predictable. I don’t fault the anime for having a simple and predictable story though because it still had a decent build up. There is a beginning, middle and end that the anime displayed pretty clearly. Still though, a predictable story is still disappointing. Thankfully, the story isn’t the only thing the anime was focused on. This anime is really very character driven.
The anime was really about the characters. Both the good guys and the bad guys were featured heavily in this show. Throughout the various training and challenges the girls do, the show always find time to flesh out the characters. The fact that there are more than fifteen characters in the anime, I am pretty impressed at how the anime was able to give each one a decent focus. The characters aren’t special at first. They have the familiar generic personality you’d expect from an Ecchi anime. There is the strict girl, the laidback loud type, the level headed one, the quiet one and the airhead minus the perverted male character to orbit around in. As the anime progresses though, the girls develop. The show reveals their backstory through various flashbacks and throughout the various trainings the girls undertook. Each girl was presented a personal conflict that the anime was able to incorporate to the story. It was a great way to build up the fights against the bad girls of the other school.
The antagonists also go through the same process. They are light handedly introduced though since they are just supporting characters but the anime was able to squeeze in their backstory and flashbacks while they fight. The anime slowly peel off their mask and we slowly understand the enemies in a different light. Again, it’s not the same as the main character’s development so they often felt a bit rushed or really just unneeded elements that mostly slows down an exciting fight. These are vital to the overall story though so they are important in the long run.
The character development took too long though, in my opinion. You already know how the story will go down so I often felt that the various trainings and bonding time of the girls are all just pleasantries. The anime focuses too much time on the fleshing out of the characters that the story’s pace is greatly affected. This action anime even felt like a Slice of Life cute girls doing cute things kind of show because of how drawn out those training sessions and corresponding fluff moments were. I can forgive the character development taking precedent over the story but the fighting was also heavily affected by these long fleshing out. Sometime the anticipated fight scenes feel a bit hollow and lacking of a good storytelling because it was trying to build up the story but it is hindered by too many character developments.
Fear not though. The story may not be great and the overexposed characters may annoy you but this is an Ecchi anime so it has one more element to feature. Four letters, one word: Boobs. I forgot to mention that the girls in the anime all have massive breasts and they mostly fight half naked. The Ecchi elements of the anime are so pronounce that it was often the reason why I kept watching the show. With the pace being hugely affected by the conflicting elements of the anime, it was the bouncing boobs and the girls in bikinis or the refreshing shoujo ai aspects of the show that really keeps me watching. The fan service is not a main focus of the show though. The story is still of main importance in the anime so the girls just casually flash their panties and grab each other like it was nothing. The perverted nature of the anime is never directly addressed but it is there and you cannot ignore it. I also like the fact that there is no male character ninja in the anime (except for old dudes) so it was really just girl on girl action throughout the anime. There isn’t a harem and I appreciate that in the anime. Another thing I loved was the fact that the anime never really went overboard. There is enough to make fan service haters go “ewww- another anie about boobs, I’ll drop this show now” but there is also nothing too major that it needed to be censored. Yes! Sweet and powerful Pikachu, there is no blinding beam of light to censor the anime. Every panty shot, boob grabbing and suggestive oral scenes are displayed in their glory. Obvious bathing scenes need to cover some places but it stops there. Everything else is uncensored and thank god for that.
For an Ecchi anime, this is really impressive. I have seen just one dirty anime that I really enjoyed because it had a story. Every other Ecchi anime I’ve seen panders to its audience and drowns itself on boobs and panty shots. This anime had those Ecchi elements yet it was also focus on the story and the characters. It’s not an impressive story or massively complex characters but it’s still something I personally appreciate. The fact that the story was able to accommodate the side stories of the rivalry between the girls, introduce an overarching story, a plot twist (completely unsurprisingly predictable) and a decent ending while featuring strong characters and having a lot of dirty scenes is pretty goddamn impressive. It has glaring flaws but I don’t really expect an Ecchi anime to blow me away. Heck, present some gravity defying boobs and I’d rate it a 6. To be fair though, along with the story, the anime also had disappointing fight scenes. It was too short at times and the rivalry was nicely hyped yet the blow out was not a big bang but a harmless whimper.
Ecchi and Story once again cannot mix as evidence by this anime. The story was good but when you have girls training to be ninjas having their clothes ripped off, you kind of can’t help but roll your eyes over. The various ridiculous scenes to complement the fan service were also a bit hard to take. The girls transform when they fight. They change from their school uniform into well…another uniform. There is also a girl that hides a giant gun under her skirt. It was hard to watch sometimes. Now, if you’re a veteran pervert like me then this won’t be a problem because it’s a common trope for Ecchi anime but it’s still something that greatly affects the anime. It has boobs though. Big boobs.
This is a great show. It’s mediocre at best but I applaud its attempts and it was able to give me a decent anime experience. A video game adapted anime has all the opportunity to fail. An Ecchi anime with heavy fan service has all the opportunity to fail. An anime with a predictable story had all the opportunity to suck. This anime had all the opportunities to fail yet it was able to feature a lot of decent things combined to make one great anime and I’ll give points for that. After all, it could’ve just given us boobs but it respected it viewers by presenting something more and I think that is pretty great.
Sight and Sound
Character design is pretty generic. They’re the usual looks you’d expect in an Ecchi anime. The girls all vary in their preferred style to match their generic personality. There is the annoying loud blond, the serious straight black haired Japanese girl, the white haired quiet girl, the airheaded pink haired girl, and the level headed normal type. I do love the range of the characters. Every character looks different. The good guys and the bad guys had their unique style to them. They’re generic styles but unique, nonetheless. From matured looks to even a loli, the anime certainly had diverse characters. The outfits of the characters were unique as well. They don’t stand out as much but there is enough individuality to appreciate a character because of how she looks. The characters have one thing in common though. They all have big boobs. No, not perky boobs. They’re overly emphasized boobs. The male characters are all old dudes though and I only counted three. They don’t touch the girls so it was nice to see an Ecchi with no harem in it.
The action in the anime was pretty decent. It was often a bit short though because it was diluted by the narrative of the anime but it was still enjoyable. I love the fact that the demeanors of the characters greatly affect the overall flow of the fights and there was a rivalry build among the girls. Even though they were mostly just swinging and shooting, the characters really made the fights interesting.
The animation was pretty decent. It was able to make the fight scenes look good and the characters run around a lot so I feel the animation was able to present them wonderfully. The ninja aspect of the anime was shown through the animation and small details were given justice. The Ecchi was also nicely presented. You can see the boobs bounce independently when the girls fight and I think that was a nice touch. The animation on their techniques was also nicely presented. As well as the effects, I think the animation really made the show more intriguing.
The fan service was obviously pretty great. The panty shots are pretty simple. There is often blatant ass and crotch shots but the anime played it off as something normal. They are certainly visually pleasing scenes and I think the anime nicely featured it. A part of me is saying it was overdone a bit but I can’t complain that much. There are also a lot of boob grabbing and girls getting half naked in the anime. It was great. The characters look decent but I do feel the lack of emphasis on some of the fan service scenes was a bit disappointing.
The anime’s OP is “Break your world” by Sayaka Sasaki. It’s a decent song. It emphasized on the action part of the anime as it has a never giving up theme. It was pretty normal though until it hits its chorus. The OP was pretty great though. It featured the main girls and some short teases of their backstory while also featuring the great animation of the anime via the transformations and the flashy poses of the girls. It’s an awesome OP.
The anime had three ED spread across the anime. There is an ED sang by the good girls. It’s “Fighting Dreamer” by Asuka (Hitomi Harada), Ikaruga (Asami Imai), Katsuragi (Yuu Kobayashi), Yagyuu (Kaori Mizuhashi), Hibari (Yuka Iguchi). It’s a pretty normal song featuring the voices of the main characters. They all had an awesome individual segment of the song that nicely builds for a decent chorus. It lacks energy for me though. The ED sequence features the girls in still poses as they seem to be performing in a band. The other song is sung by the bad girls. “Yamiyo wa Otome wo Hana ni Suru (闇夜は乙女を花にする)” by Homura (Eri Kitamura), Yomi (Ai Kayano), Hikage (Ryoko Shiraishi), Mirai (Saori Goto), Haruka (Megumi Toyoguchi). It’s basically the same as the first ED. This was cute because the bad guys are proudly singing a song claiming to be proud about being bad. It’s still a bit normal lacking energy for an ED song. The last one was sung by one of the main characters, Asuka, voiced by Hitomi Harada. This is a bit impressive because the singer’s voice was really amazing. It had a strong emotion to it that I appreciate. It’s a bit sad though that it is often drowned out by the show’s dialogue because it plays while the show was still going and it doesn’t have an ED sequence of its own.
4/10 “I’ll give the boobs a three points and the honest attempt for a story one points.”
This is an enjoyable show. The flaws are glaringly obvious though so it will affect your viewing experience. If you can look past all that though then you can discover how wonderful the show is. If you like Ecchi anime then this show is for you. If you like interesting characters in your Ecchi then you’ll like this one. I recommend it.