Friday, June 25, 2010

Anime Review: Ikki Tousen Xtreme Xecutor

 Ikki Tousen: Xtreme Xecutor was pretty much a zombie flick- with scads of over-the-top service like the previous seasons.

Even though I knew that Ikki Tousen is a service-action show loosely based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, before watching it, I expected it to be lighthearted action, like...well...Koihime Musou, or Kämpfer. I didn't expect the body count that piled up by the end of the first season. (Like Ryofu blowing some random guy's heart out of his chest before suicide-attacking Toutaku. And *sniff* Chinkyuu.) I liked the second season a little better, because I preferred the Nanyou-Seitou-Kyoushou dynamic over Rakuyou vs. Nanyou. I tried one episode of season 3 before going, “Screw this,” and moving on to Xtreme Xecutor. (While, admittedly, hoping that season 4 would bring some overt Kan'u/Ryuubi without sacrificing Kan'u's kakkoii-ness, a la Great Guardians. Liu Bei and Guan Yu would probably be horrified. lol)

First, some superfluous character exposition. (Because I've never reviewed this series before.) Ryuubi, Seito's head, is a mild-mannered book-nerd who's willing to do anything to prevent her subordinates from getting hurt- although she causes devastation to her school at one point in season 2 by losing control of the dragon living inside of her. Sousou, Kyoushou's head, commands respect by being there for his team and, of course, having a crazy-ass dragon inside of him, although his own personality is overshadowed- especially in season 2- by his dragon and the despotic spirit of Cao Cao residing within him. Hakufu's a vivacious meathead who commands respect through her power (which she never abuses) and sheer bravura. Amusingly, she's the only school head who can completely control her dragon, even though she's easily the least intelligent.  ("Under imperial decree, I'm here to execute you." "Ummmmm.... *pondering* What does 'execute' mean?") My favorite characters from each of the three main schools/kingdoms are Kan'u (the baddest mother****er in the entire series; she had me when she fought and beat Ryoumou in season one right after Ryoumou broke her arm), Ryoumou (she's thoroughly badass, also; Hakufu is strong, but she lacks badassery), and Kakouton (not sure why, I just like him). Additionally- my favorite Rakuyou character will always be Chinkyuu. And my favorite Nanban character is definitely Mouyu, who has the same seiyuu as Satou Sei.

The fourth season brings in newcomer Bachou Mouki, who wants revenge on Sou Sou for killing her brother. Even though she's supposed to be part of Ryuubi's faction, she asks Hakufu to train her to be a stronger fighter. (I love how unruffled Ryuubi is at Bachou’s decision not to fight under her.) One of the stupidest/best scenes later on is where Bachou knows how to head-butt a giant snake because it’s moving exactly like the training machine that Hakufu made. (Very Karate Kid.) The main plot involves a fake fighting tournament that’s held to trap most of the strongest fighters on an island so that the heads of Nanban can more easily kill Hakufu, Ryuubi, and Sousou on the mainland, and the main villain can make Ryoumou and Kan’u fight until they spill enough fighter-blood to raise a zombie army. lol

My favorite episode was the final one. It made my little Liu Bei x Guan Yu heeheehee Ryuubi x Kan'u shipping heart go pitter-patter. :-) (I also thought "Damn it, Chouhi! Don't interrupt!" and later, "Hakufu, considering how many enemies you have, that kitten would probably be better off without you coddling it.") The penultimate fight also made me laugh- what with the Halloween music playing and the classic "villain-rising-from-the-dead" thing. It was so stupid and "wtf"-inducing- it was amazing.

Even though it is butchering a classic novel and chock full of plot holes (“This is present day Japan, right? Where are the police? Why did Kan'u turn purple when she was possesed? Does anybody care?”), this series actually has fairly likeable characters, a stupid-fun storyline, and well-choreographed fights. The most well-known downside (or upside, depending on your point of view) is the barrage of fan service. The only things that really made me want to punch the screen were the service involving Ten'i and that one god-awful still-image of Koumei. Otherwise, nothing out of the ordinary for this show.

It's kind of entertaining to contrast how Ikki Tousen and Koihime Musou both, erm, interpret RotTK, while watching each one.

Story: C- (A stupid-fun action story, muddled by panty shots and exploding shirts.)
Art: B
Overall: C+ (B for episode 12. Mwahaha.)


Shinra said...

yup~~~ XD Ryuubi x Kanu is awesomely LoL when Ryuubi doesn't think tat way to kanu... and poor Shiryuu too have falls for tat un-yuri ryuubi...

I nenver like Ikkitousen's story... only for the Overload Yuri of those 2 above >w<

Duskren said...

Hmm, mixed reviews on this one. I personally watched it to keep up with my favorite love match (even though I knew what would happen, DAMN YOU CHOUHI!).

The series's fanservice is what its known for and well they certainly used it to their advantage. If you take that that away from the a whole, its kind of lacking. Animation is good but still...hmm, I think it dug itself in the hole with all the fanservice. I'm a fan because of all the Yuri and yuri subtext... Kan-U is always awesome in my book. *drools a little bit at the thoughts then clears throat* ANYWAY! I started to have faith in Hakufu but, if she wasn't so damn happy-go-lucky and more serious, she'd be a but more likeable. Airheads can be worked off better but still, over-saturated with that character. Is she even that important except for her body and sunny disposition?? Sorry sounding like a whiny narc now, I'm done.

I could've been better but it worked with what it had going for it. Also the final ep was my favorite as well because of the Kan-u/Ryuubi part, so cute!

Katherine said...

@ Shinra- Fufu, but Ryuubi did seem like she might be interested in Kanu during that outdoor birthday present scene in Xtreme Xecutor, did she not? (Or maybe it's my wishful thinking. XD) I would love to see a spin-off starring Ryuubi, with Kanu and Shiryuu competing for her love, fighting tournament-style.

@ Duskren: I'm not a Hakufu fan either, but she did amuse me as the ditzy idiot character type taken to goofy extremes- with the added trait of being able to take out an entire gang of fighters without breaking a sweat. :) And yes- Kanu/Ryuubi fans, unite!!