This is review number three hundred and nine. This anime is part of the Spring 2014 lineup. I think Spring 2015 is about to air so yay, I wasted a year on this damn lineup. I blame the perfectionist in me but also my busy work life. I’ve been inactive for a f*cking month so let’s get this back on track. Hopefully, I can finally move on to another lineup. In the meantime, the anime I’ll be reviewing is called Fuun Ishin Dai☆Shogun. It’s a twelve episode anime about a guy and a mecha. It seems straightforward enough, right? Yeah. Let’s read on.
Keichiro is just a simple pervert working on a bath house run by his grandmother. One day, he was accused of a crime he did not commit. Trying to capture the actual culprit, he soon discovers that he is being hunted by some shady people. It seems that Keichiro is actually a child of the current shogun of Japan and his lineage is rather important. He is the only one left to pilot a robot that only allows Tokugawa members to operate it. Not just any normal Tokugawa member though. A virgin. It needs a virgin guy from the Tokugawa bloodline to get it running. Keichiro is unfortunately the only one left. Along with his fellow companions, our hero will soon lead a charge towards the capital to fight a great evil that threatens the country.
Taking the Pants Off
March has been a hell of a month for me. Things kinda got into overdrive for me and work really took over. I was working 8 to 8 and people should not be working from eight to eight. My mind was literally crushed as I often spend my free time just waiting for a cup of coffee to cool down while I stare blankly at the ceiling. It felt cool to be busy at my job but I don’t ever want to go through that ever again. That is, until next year. But whatever, I have neglected this site long enough. My work load is lighter now so I’ll try my best to pour some love into this little site. My focus now is to finish Spring 2014 and I actually have just two more main series and four mini series’ till I close this b*tch up. I actually started watching this anime since early March but I had to put in on hold because of my job. Fuun Ishin Dai Shogun is an interesting anime. I see a lot of potential in this show with how Shounen and Mecha work together to give this fun story of giant steam powered robots kicking ass during the Meiji Restoration. I heard about that era in Rorouni Kenshin. It’s basically where the Christians started fighting Kenshin Himura. For this anime though, it explores an alternate timeline where the foreigners didn’t come to Japan and the country still closed its doors to the rest of the world. It had an interesting setup and I can smell the Shounen clichés for miles away. This anime just have one distinct downside. It’s made in flash animation. For some strange reason, this JC Staff and ACGT anime had limited animation. Most of its scenes are poorly rendered flash movements that can really turn you off. It’s hard to tell to a story with very little animation so I kinda knew this’ll be the huge anchor that’ll sink this little ship. Still, I had to try it. If Yama Shibai taught me something, it’s that you can tell a story in four minutes and with very limited animation. You just have to give this sh*t a chance. I am still worried though because I don’t think a Shounen/Mecha anime should be presented in flash. Those two genres have a ton of fight scenes and you can’t cover that with flash. That’s just one concern. So many things are definitely limited thanks to the poor choice of animation and it really does givee the biggest damage in the overall anime experience.
This anime is about a guy named Keichiro who has the blood of the Tokugawa. He is a direct heir to the shogun but nobody knows of it yet. It turns out that he has a special task to fulfill. This dude will someday stand up and defend Japan. He will save this country from something evil and he’ll do it with a special mecha hidden from people. This mecha is strong and a lot of people want it for themselves. Well, there is a little plot twist here. Only people of the Tokugawa bloodline can pilot this mecha. Keichiro has been protected by his grandma simply because he is the only surviving heir of the Tokugawa. He is the only one left to drive this giant mecha. There is another condition to operate this mecha though. The pilot has to be a virgin. Yeah, this anime follows a young hot head that has a special role thrust upon him while he deals with his sexual frustrations. It’s a pretty damn good premise to start with. The next man to possibly rule Japan must stay a virgin in order to save his country. It’s ridiculous but it sounds pretty ingenuous as well. Now, Kechiro doesn’t just get into the mecha’s cockpit by himself though. In order to fully control the giant mecha of the Tokugawa’s, Keichiro must pilot this mecha with another person. This person has to be a female and she has to be a virgin as well. Once the initial premise is established, the show slowly introduces us to a bunch of girls that’ll join Keichiro in the cockpit of this giant robot.
The anime has two chapters. The first chapter is about the introduction of the female pilots. This pretty much covers the first half of the show. The important characters are slowly being introduced. The initial premise took a step back here and was slowly forgotten for a while. The reason is because the rest of the characters needed to be introduced. Some of the episodes are all standalone as we see some various misadventures with Keichiro in Nagasaki. He works in a bath house and he pretty much just did a lot of lecherous things. He also got himself into trouble like being accused of murder, tangling with a fox demon and getting assassinated by a bunch of ninjas. There is very little cohesion though. Majority of the episodes are just characters talking and getting into some anti-climactic fights. The main goal is really just to introduce the main girls that’ll help Keichiro. As it turns out, the show is slowly setting up a little harem for our hero. Once the girls are introduced, some of them wanted to take his first time while others are hell bent into making sure his virginity is protected. The show eventually reached a point where the characters did a lot of flirting and teasing. It becomes all the more interesting when Keichiro, learning of this duty he was forced into, is doing his best to get his cherry popped. The anime soon turns into this whacky part harem anime with a little dash of Shounen.
The limited animation didn’t capture the Shounen that well though. You can really only feel the Shounen elements come through when Keichiro have his cool moments. Most episodes would have him act like a horny monkey but then he’ll pull a good guy routine and completely act all heroic. If the animation can keep up with the story then I can totally see the endless potential this now Shounen half harem anime can deliver. Considering how each virgin girl gets a chance to pilot the giant robot with Keichiro, it really opens up a lot of interesting things that can happen in the show. A fun premise has transpired in the anime and, unfortunately, it’s not as impressive as it could have been. The first half really did need to establish a lot of things but it certainly also needed a ton of cool mecha or simple one on one fight scenes. These are things that the stupid flash animation cannot deliver. It tried but they ended up looking like someone narrating a manga to a bunch of people. It looks horrible. I think the show understood that as well that’s why it tried its best to improve on other things. The show focused on one thing it can really do well: character development. It has a lot of scenes where Keichiro is contemplating on how to become a hero. It explored the rest of the characters and really added layers to them. Even his little sidekick with the annoying hairdo gets some chance to be more than a lackey. The first chapter didn’t just introduce the main characters but also developed them really well to the point that the animation doesn’t bother you all that much. Except, character development is another term for having a lot of dialogue scenes. Majority of events in this Shounen/Mecha anime has characters just talking. They don’t do anything else except talk and talk and talk. I would say it is to build up on the second chapter but there is too much of it, to be honest. Too much talking and not enough action can turn a beautiful premise stale. This, sadly, is what happened to this one.
The second chapter introduced the villains of this show. It did it in splendid manner, I might add. An episode dedicated to an officer of the government slaying the entire parliament and bathing his mecha in a literal sea of blood can really get you going. The villain is an awesome individual that once protected Japan from the invading foreigners thus screwing up the Meiji Restoration era. He massacred foreigners with his mecha and it seems he realized that the government has failed him. He protected this country for the people and now he plans of running it in his own vision. This is basically the moment that Keichiro’s life has been waiting for. The Tokugawa lineage has ended and a power hungry bastard has taken the country hostage. Our hero is now destined to fight this hard ass that turned the government into his own personal plaything. At this point, you’d expect fighting. I certainly expected a lot of them. With the introduction of the Shinsengumi as minions of the main villain, who happens to be an all-female group serving one man, you’d expect a lot of confrontations. I honestly expected Keichiro to ride his mecha then go on a journey from Nagasaki to the capital. It seems like the smart thing to do. Shounen cliché dictates that he rides his mecha and goes on a journey. The anime had other plans though. Even with the main villain occupying the capital, Keichiro still didn’t do anything. The show still stuck to character development and more talking. Keichiro and the girls slowly dropped the harem angle and just did their own random thing. While still heavily devoted to Keichiro, they just didn’t really do anything. Even with the Shinsengumi personally attacking Nagasaki to obtain Keichiro’s mecha, there was very little action. It was as if the anime was stalling. After establishing one of the most awesome villains ever, he didn’t confront Keichiro until very late into the show. Going on a Shounen journey usually means discovering your weaknesses and overcoming them. That’s why this cliché exists. Keichiro didn’t do any of that so even the eventual confrontation between the good guy and the villain looked dull and anti-climactic. Well, it’s no surprise if you spent ten out of twelve f*cking episodes just talking. I honestly can’t believe I hung on for that long. I think after episode six that you can tell the show is simply just stalling. The initial premise also slowly lost steam so it really just phased out miserably after knowing it cannot f*cking deliver anything it promised.
You can see things going downhill fast though. The cool mecha concept wasn’t properly utilized and the show lost direction towards the end. I think it was holding back though because it was opting to do all the cool things for another season. With the unappealing animation and the horrible story progression, JC Staff and ACGT must be out of their mind if they think people would want more of this sh*t. The show spent too much on characters and their interactions that it failed to deliver some really cool mecha moments. Keichiro’s robot is special because it transforms into an awesome mecha depending on the girl he is paired with. If he’s with a samurai girl then his robot would be this slim fast ronin mecha. If he’s with a demon fox then his robot would be on all fours moving like a demon fox. It’s such a cool f*cking concept that the show didn’t explore further. I honestly wanted to see more steam powered mechas knocking heads. The anime established a cool era where robots exist and demons are common as well. It’s a shame it focused too much time on character development and relationships. There is so much cool stuff in the premise that it’s a shame the anime didn’t know what to do with it. I’m honestly not surprised this anime failed though. It’s a common thing for anime like this one. This show failed because of two words: original screenplay. Yeah, this show is not adapted from anything hence the lack of common sense of what exactly it should do or what it should become. F*cking original screenplays will be the death of me. I should make a scoreboard of how many f*cking horrible O. Screenplays I actually reviewed. I bet that’ll be fun. These kinds of shows are often too ambitious for their own good and it looks like another one has failed hard. Oh well.
The characters are all pretty decent. Keichiro is your typical Shounen hero. He acts tough and he is often a massive pervert but he is also a big softie. He would often be the butt of several jokes but he is a reliable hero during serious moments. As Shounen dictates, he is also your typical hardheaded guy who acts before thinking. He is often outmatched by a lot of people he fights with but he also learns a lot from his experiences. The show actually pointed out countless times how far beneath he is from his opponents and he needs to mature some more if he wants to defeat them. This is evidently clear when he faced the main villain who easily outmatched him the moment they touched fists. He needed to go on a hero’s journey to have him become the dependable hero he needed to be. This was the one thing the anime didn’t setup so he was really a pathetic weak guy during the second chapter. He was still eating dirt in certain scenes that requires him to overcome his adversities. There is no way to save this character after the second half. All of his bickering eventually mounts and the lack of mecha fights crippled him into this half-baked main character facing a villain definitely out of his league. I doubt they can redeem this dude in the second season if there’ll be one.
There are a lot of side characters. His harem is pretty decent as well. I don’t want to spoil it but I like each and every one in it. They all had different personalities that go well and clashes from time to time. This harem is sadly wasted by the anime though. They established it early on in the show but they didn’t do anything with it. The lack of mecha battles meant that the harem had nothing to do. It’s a shame because all the girls had some interesting personalities that could’ve brighten up the show if properly utilized. Things took a weird turn on the second chapter where Keichiro is suddenly forced to pair up with one of the girls. It didn’t make sense. While she was the most suitable pick for our hero, it doesn’t feel right that he just suddenly grew feelings for her and leave the others behind. Forcing the two of them together also added more f*cking dialogue to the show, I might add. It ultimately just crushed the good thing the show had going. The second chapter delivered a lackluster face-off between the hero and the villain, an anti-climactic buildup for the ending and it also ruined the harem then replaces it with a straight up romance between two characters.
There are other characters like Keichiro’s grandmother, his sidekick, a few sky pirates and a few foreign baddies but they all pretty much stuck to their role in developing the story. Some of them were blatant distractions though like this sky pirate that gives advice to Keichiro. I didn’t really understand his role. He is like this wise sage but all the scenes where our hero is talking to this guy could’ve been given to more mecha fights. It also pisses me off that he had a hand at the ending even though a few of the main characters didn’t join the fray. The show preferred to have this guy fight the awesome Shinsengumi while a few of the girls in Keichiro’s harem just stood in the background. They literally just watched things burn and explode while this fairly new character got a cool moment all his own. In fact, this bastard got more screen time than our awesome villain. Episode six is actually one of my favorite episodes ever because it just detailed our villain’s rise to his throne. It follows his discontent with the government and his solution to fix it which is literally killing them all. It was a very beautiful moment. He is the typical overpowering villain that the hero cannot beat for now because our main character is a groveling weak ass. The villain demands your attention whenever he appears though and I just love his menacing presence. I also love how I do agree with his sentiments and he isn’t really all that bad if it wasn’t for all that mass massacre he seems to enjoy. He is setup just like Keichiro. He also has a special robot and a harem of girls ready to worship him. It gives us a clear picture of what Keichiro would’ve become if the story progression made sense.
I hope this anime doesn’t get another season. I understand that they deliberately made this season suck so it can make a more awesome second season but this anime is pretty faulty at its core. The lack of direction, over stylized elements that lacks simple execution, and the fact that it prefers talking to actual fighting are all clear signs that this original screenplay should best be forgotten. I do applaud JC Staff for, once again, doing something risky. I love how daring JC Staff was with WIXOSS that they abandon everything they are accustomed to and tried something new. They also succeeded in their risky plan. The new risk-taking JC Staff is definitely behind this one because this anime just felt new and daring. Unfortunately, this one tremendously sucks but so are 90% of O. Screenplays released in the wild. I would love to see more of JC Staff works moving forward if they are as daring as this one. They shouldn’t just rely on gimmick though. This anime lacks a direction in its story and proper use of its genre elements. I think they should press on with the second season but they should be mindful of the flaws that made this anime fail, hard. ACGT, on the other hand, is a painfully forgettable anime studio. Their last work is Freezing Vibration and that show failed to deliver as well. This show suits them though. It’s good that they try but maybe they should try harder. Still, going on a joint venture with JC Staff is a pretty smart move on their part. If the execution of this anime was any better then they could’ve established themselves as a promising studio. Sadly, this anime wasn’t really good. I’m impressed they got Dai Sato to write the script for this show. This man has a hand at a few episodes of Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell and Eureka 7. If there’s one guy you would want to write an O. Screenplay for you, I’d trust this guy. It’s weird that his talents didn’t come through with this one. Maybe he just didn’t write a good script or maybe the director botched it. I don’t really trust the director of Shakugan no Shana to deliver a good original anime considering he even turned Shana sour in its final run. Either way, the anime is still pretty bad so maybe they both had a hand in it. I have a lot to say about the visual aspect of this anime so let’s go and bash that next.
Sight and Sound
Shunya Yamashita is known for designing video game characters and it shows. All the characters in the anime are all amazingly designed. Keichiro himself is an amazing standout. The face looks amazing and it is accompanied with an impressive outfit full of accessories and frills that you can’t help but stare at it. He took the era style outfit and turned it modern and awesome. My first thought when I saw the anime is actually wonder what game it came from if it wasn’t for the stupid animation. I really love the character design in this anime. I think it’s the only thing I actually enjoy. Kimonos look traditional but Shunya uses bright colors for them. Some characters have capes on and others just have small accessories on that just looks great to look at. I always believe that a great character design boils down on the small details and Shunya knows this by heart. Male characters are flashy. They have pretty faces on but if that’s not apparent then their flamboyant outfit will catch your attention. It would’ve looked a hell of a lot better if the animation is more fluid but I don’t mind it that much. Female characters are extremely sexy. I unfortunately had to read the guy’s only one shot work and it was a f*cking hentai. He mostly just focuses on finding ways to make girls look hot. He would expose a lot of skin, give curvy girls large breasts and sometimes, he just puts a strong face on the girls if he can’t get away with making them look sexy. This approach works because the girls are amazing standout. Part of the reason why I hated the decision of dropping the harem mid-way is because of the lost potential brought on by Shunya’s design. If there’s one thing I love about the flash animation is that it made the color pop. Default flash colors are strong one note colors. Just look at my horrid creation, GISS. By employing bright colors, the design stands out even more. I especially love the skin color and I might actually color pick that one. It looks amazing. Of course, flash has its limitations which ultimately brought the show down.
Animation sucks. Flash has one movement and that’s left to right. You can go up or down but basically you are just stuck to a simple motion. This looks horrid for an anime because movement is limited. The eyes do not blink. The characters are stuck in a pose and their mouth just moves. If a scene calls for a strong wind to pass through then the characters will talk with the hair just up in the air. The show would then use zoom in and outs to make the motion more different. It’s basically like watching panels of a manga move lazily which I think was the whole appeal the animation is trying to deliver. “Moving manga panels” sounds cool but I think they should’ve gone more meta with it and actually have panel lines and manga scenes suddenly being colored. A straight up flash animation just feels like two studios lacking money to fund this anime. This makes sense as well because mecha fight scenes are actually not flash animated. They are CG rendered with amazing camera work. These are short scenes though but the work on them certainly takes a ton of time, money and effort. I think JC Staff and ACGT didn’t have a lot of those things. It makes you wonder just how f*cking powerful Production IG is. The mecha fight scenes are pretty decent. It looks fine but they’re short and you’re often left craving for more. I do love the mecha designs though. It will f*cking make your pants drop. They are like awesome game characters you just want to play. It’s all the more reason why the fight scenes are so disappointing. They’re short and they’re limited. It’s not good for a Shounen/Mecha show like this one. I must say though that I do admire the way the flow of the episodes are still reasonable. Storyboarding in flash is a b*tch especially with the limited movement so I do admire the way the story still flows fluidly even if the characters are just wasting time talking. It would’ve been more impressive if the fluidly didn’t just end on one episode though and it should carry over through and through.
The anime’s OP is Damashii Rises by Kyoco. Like most bad anime, their soundtrack stands out. From the moment you hear the powerful guitar intro, you can already tell the OP is going to be awesome. The singer’s voice then amazingly stands out from verse to chorus. It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the show. The OP sequence is in full animation. It looks outstanding. From the simple scenes of the character interacting to the mecha fight scenes, seeing it all in fluid animation is stunning. It’s all the more frustrating knowing how stupid the actual animation of the show is. The anime’s ED is “UPON A STAR” by Saeko Zougou. This was sung by one of the harem girls in the show. She’s the main one and she sings a pretty decent song. It sounds solemn and a bit serious. It’s a pretty decent ED. The sequence features her acting all solemn in the rain as well with the background looking all traditional. It also features a weird scene of her happily holding a frog. It’s weird but nothing too surprising. I think the whole ED explores her side of the story or something. It’s good but I honestly don’t like her character since the other girls in the harem standout much better.
5/10 “It had a lot of potential but sadly something the limited animation and lack of story direction cannot fully meet.”
I do get the appeal of the anime but it sadly doesn’t really look that good. The flash animation made it look cheap and the stinging curse of the original screenplays doomed this anime early on. It doesn’t have a lot of appealing power after you realize how it slowly toned down all the good things that made it entertaining. If you enjoy crappy flash animated shows then you’ll love one that is long and drawn out like this one. If you enjoy great character designs then you’ll love the ones in this anime for both the mecha and the characters. I’m really just forcing it at this point. This anime have very little value in terms of story and animation so it’s best to just slowly forget it. I do not recommend this.