Warning: This post contains some NSFW imagery/nudity.
What’s the show? Senran Kagura: Shinovi Master, Episode 10.
So how’s this episode? I thought for sure, knowing from last week’s preview that this was going to be a hot springs episode, that the show was just going to ~put aside~ it’s main story and indulge in some bath time shenanigans. But to this show’s credit and restraint, not only did they deliver an episode with considerable character development, emotional flashbacks and strong action scenes but they also had time for some fan service too! Who says you can’t have everything?!
How do they manage to pull off both? Aren’t they in the midst of some great battle between shinovi and youma? To an extent, but basically Fubuki (the one intent on taking down the shinovi for their crimes against the youma) and the rest of the shinovi have all gathered in a quaint hot springs village to await the opening of the portal from which all the youma are supposed to come through. The thing is neither Fubuki’s side or “our” side knows the exact location that the portal’s going to appear so they’re kind of ~stuck~ waiting until it does. So what better place to be stuck then a picturesque hot springs?!
Uh-huh… sounds very convenient. Oh of course it is, I’m not going to debate that, but aside from an early ping pong match the episode retains a tense, pre-battle vibe that was really appreciated considering the complicated stakes going forward. And while I would have been fine with full-blown shenanigans, the fact that things are a bit more subdued works really well narratively. There’s a scene between Fubuki and Yumi in a ‘Pot Tub’ and its serious and subdued but also a bit peaceful and intimate, the music in the scene too is pitch perfect.
And what’s this about some “strong action scenes” too? Afterward Kagura and Fubuki square off by a lake and it’s a seriously cool fight (no pun intended) as Fubuki runs along the service, freezing the water behind her. And while it’s cool to see Kagura become her adult form, I think it’d be more impressive her to fight in the little loli form, but I guess that’s not the point of her character. The outcome of the battle is a little bit disappointing, if only because things stop before a true victor can be crowned as Kagura is distracted by Yumi’s oncoming presence and Fubuki stops short of killing her in classic ‘villain’ style. Though that’s something interesting about this series so far…
What’s that? That these last two episodes have made me hasten to outright label her as a ‘villain’ or their side as ‘the bad guys’, because it’s obvious that they’re not and it’s that kind of ambiguity and duality that makes this series a lot more interesting.
And I’m almost afraid to ask but I know if I don’t mention it you’ll do so anyway, the fan service? It’s contextual–which for this show is surprising to say as it usually would take any opportunity no matter how flimsy the excuse to get the girls nude. But here’s it’s just a few of them and it’s in scenes where they are either bathing or changing. The only non-bathing related fan service scene is when adult Kagura gets ‘knocked out’ and she becomes fully naked–which just felt like “hey this is probably the last time we’ll see adult Kagura in this series, better get her naked!” Which I mean, good a reason as any really.
Right… So overall thoughts on the episode? It’s close to one of my favourite episodes of the season, top 3 at least! They got the balance of all this show’s elements perfect and it was interesting and emotional too! Here’s hoping they can carry through this balance (and the better looking action scenes) throughout to the remainder of the episodes!
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
The Naked Truth – Episode 9 Review
If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!