Warning: This post contains some NSFW imagery/nudity.
What’s the show? Senran Kagura: Shinovi Master, Episode 9.
So how’s this episode? This Senran Kagura anime is good at a few things; character banter, fan service, balancing a tone between silly and serious, fan service, managing to have as many characters as they have and not being too confusing oh and did I mention the fan service?
Many times, but I take it you’re trying to make a point? What it’s seemingly less good at is action, which up to this point has been adequate but here mostly felt like a mess. With the stage set for an epic city battle with multiple heroes versing multiple villains it’s clear they were trying to do a Marvel-esque sequence but with the budget this show has it was only ever going to come off as mediocre–at best.
Oh dear, that doesn’t sound good. It’s at least enlivened by the aforementioned character banter which was on full display which did at least give it that Marvel movie ~feeling~ even if it couldn’t keep up with it on a technical level, oh and the fact that every character is in their underwear was a terrific bonus!
Wait, what?! Why is everyone in their underwear? Kagura puts up a “super” kind of Kekkai barrier to both limit the destruction to the surrounding areas and give the girls a necessary boost in power called ‘Frantic’ mode to fight the invading Youma, but as a result it strips them down to their underwear. Because, well, because fan service… it’s probably something that happened in the video game too but hey, I’m not complaining!
Of course. So do they win? Well as this is Episode 9 there is no “winning” here, all the small Youma coalesce into a giant one, which Ryona suggests they tie up in Japanese style bondage because of course, the girls agree to it and it only bloody works! They’re about to deliver the killing blow to the downed beast but Asuka arrives in the nick of time and protests, saying she’ll handle it. She unleashes her newly learned secret ninja art to seal it away, rather than killing it. A merciful move that raises a few eyebrows from her fellow ninjas who have all been taught that Youma are “pure evil”.
But they’re not, are they? Later on Asuka and Yumi are having tea and Yumi desperately wants to know why Asuka’s acting so strange, she breaks out the ultimate ultimatum, tell me or I’ll stop being your friend! It might sound lame but it was actually adorable and it works, or rather, Fubuki–the “evil” woman who’s started this whole war against shinovi shows up and says that she’ll happily tell Yumi the “truth” of the situation.
Which is? Well we don’t get the whole story as I’m sure there’s some grisly details they’ll want to save for future episodes (at least if a particular shot in the opening credits is anything to go by) but it turns out that Fubuki is the child of a Youma and Human, which is a big deal. Basically it means Shinovi have been out there slaughtering Youma just because of how they look and that they are (probably) not that much different to regular humans. At least that’s the impression I get.
So we go from underwear related shenanigans to accusations of ethnic cleansing. Huh. I don’t know, in any other anime I might complain about tonal whiplash but I don’t feel it here, maybe I’m oversimplifying but I think this show even gets its change of tone better than even Goblin Slayer… but I probably shouldn’t go down that rabbit hole.
Yes, let’s not. So overall thoughts on this episode? If the first half of the episode with the battle felt lacking (at least visually, if nothing else) then the promise of what’s to come more than made up for any deficiencies. And not only was it a fun episode it also had considerable dramatic weight too, all-in-all a great episode.
Previous Senran Kagura: Shinovi Master Reviews:
Naughty or Nice? – Episode 1 Review
Naked When Wet – Episode 2 Review
The Hottest Hot Springs – Episode 3 Review
Fan Disservice – Episode 4 Review
Battle Of The Boobs – Episode 5 Review
Putting The Flash In Flashback – Episode 6 Review
Mistakes Of The Past – Episode 7 Review
Grope Expectations – Episode 8 Review
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