Number of episodes: 13. Comes in nice 3 dvd box set
Plot = A- (its adapted from an old novel)
Characters = A
Music = B
Overall = A
A excellent Swords and Samurai type series, that really nicely scratches the spots other classics like Kenshin may have missed. In fact if your a fan of old Samurai films, and drama inherit with your action, you’ll be right at home with this series. 8 warriors each representing one of the virtues of The Bushido. The Way of the Samurai. Very nicely done, with rich historical and dramatic background. Set in the Awa province of Japan during the fuedal wars, the backdrop is set by the two rival clans who are engaged in feirce war. The Satomi, and Anzai. The Satomi are beset by famine, and forced into one last fortress, and in desperation, set in events the blessing, and curse that will haunt the family for the next generation.
Actually some really nice period music in this peice. But the two main themes that usually stick out in anime are…blah. The opening and ending theme, really lend nothing to the series at all. I skipped past them everytime. But the rest of the background music, isnt memorable, but fits very very well. Thats why this soundtrack gets a B. It may not be memorable, but it does its job very well anyway.
As expected with a series which focus’ on 8 individuals, we are slowly brought into the Dog warriors lives one by one, as each is reincarnated in life. And we see the ties that bind them all, and the ways in which they are drawn together, until the very end, when all 8 are together, when we see what REALLY brings them together, and not some mystical power of the 8 beads each one has. We see even a switching of beads, loyaltys, as each Dog Warrior learns what it means to be Samurai, to be a Man, to be a brother. Each character is great in his own way, and each representing a different virtue, thus reflecting it.(the large pacifist, being brotherly Love whos bead only came out when he gave up violence, or Filial Devotion, which only came out when the first boy set his task for manhood and to fulfill his fathers dream). Great Characters, with a damn mysterious Villian(of course).
In the End: Great drama well worth ANY time you put into this, its of important note, that the first 6 episodes are directed and such by a different team than the second half. Though they worked close together, they needed two men for the final vision. It still works great.
My Thoughts(and spoilers):
Ok, I LOVED Genpachi. He was simply the man as it were. The typical full of himself, loveable, joking badass, looking for trouble and often finding more than he needs. The only negative thing in fact for this whole series is the ONE episode, where it seems the animators decided to smoke some crack and work on this. It is totally off base, style wise with everything else, but then they go back to normal as if nothing had happened. Whats worse is th flashbacks in this odd episode which show the normal style.
It still has important story to it, so i dont recommend skipping it. Just grit your teeth and remember, everyone needs a holiday, apprently the animators took theres then.
By Darknight ZO