Wednesday, January 6, 2010
When I picked up Koihime Musou to finish watching it (after episode 6, where I originally dropped it), I expected to watch it with a combination of antipathy and boredom. Now that I've finished both seasons, I don't especially like it, but I don't strongly dislike it either. It wasn't good, but it didn't bore me to tears or make me feel like typing a ranting diatribe. Even though it had some brief "ick" moments, it was mostly harmless, stupid sex comedy fluff.
Koihime Musou is based on an erogame of the same title, which is loosely (haha) based on Luo Guanzhong's Romance of the Three Kingdoms- but with the male characters replaced by busty women and girls in silly-looking outfits. Koihime Musou's China should just be considered an alternate universe-China- they have maid cafés, 'shroom-induced Mickey Mouse hallucinations (don't ask), idol otaku (yep, the Yellow Turban Rebellion was fought by a horde of angry nerds), microphones, and sumo wrestling, for starters.
The story follows Kan'u Unchou (originally Guan Yu; nicknamed Aisha in Koihime Musou), a famed bandit-hunter who travels from village to village, hunting, well, bandits (it's always the same three, too) while picking up traveling companions, like Chouhi Yokutoku (originally Yang Fei; nicknamed Rin Rin), a squeaky-voiced girl who Kan'u pledges sisterhood with (Rin Rin doesn't turn out to be as annoying as she could have been, thankfully); Choun Shiryuu (originally Zhao Yun; nicknamed Sei), a traveling warrior who disappears halfway through season 1 and sporadically reappears as a sentai-style "hero of justice" named "Butterfly Mask" (yes, the other characters think it's lame, too- aside from one noteable exception), until she re-joins the group at the end of the season; and Shokatsuryou Koumei (originally Zhuge Liang; nicknamed Shuri), a reserved girl around Rin Rin's age who acts as the brains of the group. Two other fairly major characters also figure into the story: Bachou Mouki (originally Ma Chao; nicknamed Sui), a roughnecked warrior who first befriends Rin Rin (I don't really mind Bachou; just her voice), and Kouchuu Kanshou (originally Huang Zhong; nicknamed Shion), a warrior with mad archery skills who has a small daughter named Riri.
Throughout the first season, the lead characters travel to different places, encountering more minor characters than you can shake a stick at, until they encounter Ryuubi Gentoku (originally...ugh, screw it), the charismatic leader of a ragtag bandit-fighting army. In a nutshell: he turns out be a fake, and in season two, the group encounters the real Ryuubi, a naïve but likeable young woman with no special fighting skills who is searching for the sword that fake-Ryuubi stole from her so he could assume her identity. Kan'u and company help Ryuubi reclaim her sword, and they all decide to keep traveling together, until they need to help General Sou Sou quell the, err, Yellow Turban Rebellion. All's well that ends well.
Most of the series in both seasons is pretty episodic. The individual mini-stories, while never particularly strong, still vary according to which characters (and side characters) play the biggest role. I like Kouchuu, so I mostly liked her intro episode. (Even though the "bandit-distracting" scene pissed me off massively. Who finds crap like that entertaining?) I didn't like Bachou (again, that voice), Enshou, Toutaku's court (they were just boring), or Princess Shaoren, so episodes/scenes that focused on them were pretty "meh" for me. And Sou Sou grew on me over the second season.
The yuri in Koihime Musou consists of: Sei (more in the first season, though), Sou Sou and her entire military command, Ryuubi's thing for "Butterfly Mask" at the beginning of season 2, Rin Rin's small crush on Kan'u, and Queen Sonsaku (who doesn't appear as much as I'd like) and her adviser Shuyu. I think that's it... @__@
And the art: typical moe, but not as bad as it could have been. Kudos to the character designer for giving distinctive looks to such a huge cast. The action scenes are pretty lacking, though. Animation shortcuts abound, and the execution lacks any real tension. Most of the confrontations feel like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon, which the background music doesn't do anything to remedy. But...it's colorful, at least.