Ah, Touken Ranbu. That one popular game turned anime about sword boys who… do cute things? Well that’s true to an extent, but as it turns out Touken Ranbu, or ToRanbu for short actually manages to tell a… no, no it doesn’t. Looks like I can’t completely rip off my KanColle review after all. Sigh.
Knowing that TouRanbu is basically KanColle but with swords and boys instead of warships and girls, I knew what I was getting myself into. A simple plot with lots of pandering to the fans of the game, with plenty of characters to go around. Guess what? That’s exactly what it was, except that the plot in TouRanbu is regrettably hardly existent. In fact the plot, if you can call it that only rears it’s head for the first episode, and the last two episodes for a total of four episodes of this twelve episode series. Simply put, 1/3rd of this show has plot, the other 2/3rds serve to pander to fans of the game. Hoping for an anime with a good story? Look elsewhere. Hoping for cute boys doing cute things? You’ve hit the jackpot.
ToRanbu mainly revolves around Yasusada Yamatonokami who used to be Okita’s sword, before he becoming anthropomorphized. The supposed plot of ToRanbu consists of Yasusada Yamatonokami and a dream he has about Okita, which of whom he still has lingering feelings for. This causes an internal struggle within Yasusada Yamatonokami because, as anthropomorphized swords, their jobs are to protect history from the History Retrograde Army who want to alter history, because Historical Revisionists told them to. That means when the History Retrograde Army tries interfering with the time Okita
supposedly died, he has to fight to preserve the fact that his former master Okita supposedly died. This sort of internal struggle is visited a few times in the series, and twice for Yasusada Yamatonokami. The rest of ToRanbu exists only to please the fans of the game, to which I cannot say if it succeeded or not.
So the “story” is weak, what about the characters? Well… They certainly look interesting. I don’t have anything against their designs, and they’re appearances range from normal, to cool, to cute, to weird. But for the most part they are more or less, over-the-top flamboyant Samurai, who in their down time wear tracksuits. With that said, none of them really stood out to me in terms of personality. The issue with it was that there are a lot of them, and only a handful get a good amount of screen time. And of the ones that do get screen time, they often don’t really do anything that makes me care about them, which truly is a pity.
Nearly non-existent plot, and weak characters, is there any saving grace to this show? Well, it certainly was amusing to watch at times, and… and… It was cute? Look, I’m not familiar with the game, so maybe it was full of references to it that I totally missed out on, but even if there were this is just truly an anime made to please fans of the game. For me, ToRanbu is forgettable and failed to entertain me in any meaningful way. Also, Okita died of tuberculosis.
Actually thinking about it… ToRanbu was defenitly a slice of life anime, with small bits of unremarkable action sprinkled in. I guess that excuses it for having no… Wait… NO. NO IT DOESN’T. SCREW YOU TORANBU. SCREW YOU. IF KANCOLLE WAS ABLE TO BE DECENT, YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BE DECENT TOO. GOD.