Warning: This post contains some NSFW imagery/nudity.
What’s the show? Senran Kagura: Shinovi Master, Episode 6.
So how’s this episode? It’s become abundantly clear that this show doesn’t have enough narrative material to properly fill its 12 episodes. Which wouldn’t be a problem if the show relied on its strengths; obviously the fan service, but also its humour and character interactions. This episode has a bit of good fan service, a few good character moments and even some meaningful development and it even managed to make me laugh a couple of times. But and this is a big but the episode consisted of both a flashback fight sequence as well as a present day fight sequence and the dialogue that comprised a lot of it was among the most repetitive I’ve heard.
Can you give an example? Basically in the past Asuka and Yami had a fight over which shinobi way of life is better with Yumi siding with her grandfather’s extremist teaching that only ‘good ninjas’ should be allowed to live with all ‘evil ninjas’ being eradicated in order to create a world of only ‘good’ people. Whereas Asuka has friends who are ‘evil ninjas’ and sees the need for “all kinds of people” in the world–the whole yin/yang, ‘can’t be light without darkness’ way of thinking. Now, in the present Yumi shares Asuka’s worldview whereas Senkou and Gekkou–the twins responsible for the shinovi masters tournament carry on the extremist teachings of only ‘good ninjas’ surviving.
And what’s wrong with that? Nothing at all. It’s a legitimate and compelling argument, but they have the argument over and over without little variations to their respective spiels for nearly 20 minutes. Basically it’s a case of padding out what should have been a 3 minute flashback and a 5 minute fight scene into double that so they had enough material to fill out a whole episode.
So it’s no good? I didn’t say that, it’s at least better than Episode 4 which was kinda boring and with the added insult of zero nude fan service. And there were some actual compelling scenes here like the aforementioned flashback, as well as Senkou and Gekkou’s flashback of finding Kurokage’s battle journal which helped make their whole world view a lot more understandable (though no less extreme). I just think they could have cut about 5 minutes of the talking back and forth about which side is better, and put it to better use. That’s my major complaint.
Fair enough. So where does that leave your overall thoughts? So I’ve started doing something different while writing these reviews, I watch the episode for a second time on half of my computer screen while writing the review on the other half. It helps refresh my memory and isn’t nearly as distracting as I thought it might be. So in watching this episode again, I actually enjoyed it a lot more than the first time through–the little character moments and brief comic relief stood out a lot more and the repetitive nature was less glaringly obnoxious. My comments still stand but overall I really enjoyed this episode. I think this could be a show that benefits from binge-watching once its finished.
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