Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Earlier this season, I expected to flay this series in my final review of it. But I watched the last episode a little earlier (today's my birthday, btw; I'm 21!), and thought it was a nice ending to a show that became surprisingly watchable.
Hide Yoshino is a clumsy, blonde, odango-haired middle schooler whose friends conveniently nickname her "Hideyoshi" as an ironic jab at how dumb she is. (When I saw the promo art for Sengoku Otome, I thought Hideyoshi would be the scrappy sidekick, a la Koihime Musou's Rin Rin. My face fell when I saw that she was the lead.) When she prays for good grades at a shrine, she trips her way into a portal to an all-female, bikini armor-filled version of the Sengoku era (minus Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Date Masamune), and takes a surprisingly long time (even Miaka took less time to figure it out) to realize that she isn't in modern Japan any more. Hideyoshi becomes the retainer of red-haired Oda Nobunaga, who wants her to help her gather the scattered pieces of the legendary Crimson Armor, which will grant whoever wears it the power to rule Japan. Nobunaga dotes on Hideyoshi enough to inflame the jealousy of her vassal Akechi Mitsuhide, who has it bad for the oblivious Nobunaga and looks like a friend of Hideyoshi's from the "present."
I can't watch this show without thinking about Koihime Musou. They both present a fluffy, de-clawed, all-female fantasy version of a war-torn historical period, and for the most part, I thought of Sengoku Otome as Koihime Musou with a worse lead, less yuri, and less pep. (Even speaking as someone who isn't really a fan of KM.) It even has an Enshou clone. (The "Ohoho!"-ing ojousama-type ruler who makes the leads compete in stupid contests to get something they want- but nothing servicey (as far as I remember), to this show's credit. I'll take human kite-flying over cleavage eel-fishing any day.)
Early on, the characters have several stand-alone adventures, like performing in a play (amusingly titled "Yuri Monogatari"), coming across a group of ghosts in the woods who won't let them leave until they tell a certain amount of scary ghost stories, and settling a harmless rivalry between Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen. Date Masamune, who looks like Hideyoshi's teacher Date-sensei actually turns out to be Date-sensei (no surprise), and she has her own plans for the armor, which are as stupid as everything else in this show. (She still turned out to be my favorite, partly thanks to Hirata Yuka's surprisingly sexy voice. ^_^;)
A (sort of) plot starts to develop involving Mitsuhide's jealousy and the effects of wearing the Crimson Armor, but this show is too frivolous and good-natured to allow any negative consequences. It's utter crap, but it improves (and it's more watchable than the other spring 2011 yuri-ish offering, A Channel), Hideyoshi becomes likeable by the end, and the ending is, again, pleasant. (Even Shiro, the horribly annoying talking dog character, improves in the finale.)
And the yuri. Along with Mitsuhide and "Yuri Monogatari", another character eventually becomes infatuated with Nobunaga and asks her to be her "Oneesama." But my favorite yuri moment is when Date gives Mitsuhide advice on how to seduce Nobunaga before she leaves. (How would she be able to give advice about that so confidently?)
The final verdict- utterly crappy crap that, still, easily could have been worse, especially since it's based on a pachinko game. Surprisingly nice ending.