As far as mysterious magical artifacts go… this one actually looks pretty low-key.

Summary:

Towards the end of the Edo period in Japan, multiple factions have begun fighting over a mysterious relic that can manipulate time. Shinsaku and Kogorou are two good friends and imperial loyalist patriots from Choshu who are trying to steal this relic and destroy it, due to the immense power it holds–which would be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.

Shinsaku (left) and Kogorou (right); the closest things we have to main characters in this show.

Although Shinsaku and Kogorou are successful in stealing the relic (a strange looking pocketwatch) from a ship; it is then stolen from THEM by a female ninja. They believe the female ninja works for someone at Nijo Castle, and resolve to break into the place. Once inside, however; all Shinsaku and Kogorou find is a mysterious glowing man. Not finding the relic they were looking for, the two leave. However… their world suddenly changes, as the two gets transported to an alternate history Japan. The person who had stolen the relic from them is already using it for nefarious deeds. Shinsaku, the more brash one of the duo, decides to take matters into his own hands and stop this nonsense once and for all.

what the hell kind of bullshit fortress is THIS

My Opinion:

Alright, I really dragged my feet on getting around to watching this show and doing this review, so I apologize for that. The summary that many anime news sites put up for this series implied that it was going to be yet another otome anime; which made me real wary as none of the ones I personally reviewed ever turned out well. But after watching the first episode of Bakumatsu, it ended up being… not so bad.

The most surprising thing to me about this show so far is that the anime producers appeared to have cut out the otome plot completely. We don’t get a heroine in this anime series nor a romance plot–instead the show seems to focus on Shinsaku and Kogorou, as they attempt to fix their world’s history through lots of swordfighting. This is a really interesting choice for the direction of the series; although at the moment I can’t really tell if it was a good decision or not.

Otome romance elements or no, we still get introduced to about a dozen or more guys in this episode, so it is a little overwhelming. All of the “main” guys are designated by special hair highlights, showing their clan emblem. This is a pretty interesting stylistic choice, but it works far better in some than in others. Take exhibit A:

now this just looks silly

All the guys so far also have fairly cookie-cutter personalities and designs. Bakumatsu is already confirmed to be a 12-episode long series, and that really worries me with a cast this big. There is almost no way that everyone will be able to be fleshed out fully in such a short season.

While the swordfighting/action elements in this episode were decently choreographed, the animation doesn’t seem up to the same quality. There were already noticeable bits of QUALITY ANIMATION throughout this first episode–which is really worrying considering that most of an anime’s budget is shoved into the first and last episodes of a series. (What, did they animation studio spend all their budget on the characters’ hair highlights?)

Overall, I find it hard to think up much to say about Bakumatsu‘s first episode. The historical context of the show is a bit confusing; but I’m sure that it’s less so for Japanese viewers who would be more versed in Japanese history. The actual plot of the series (time travel shenanigans) is pretty basic but it’s got enough substance to build a solid story off of. Bakumatsu looks to be a pretty average type of anime so far, and that’s essentially the only strong opinion I have about it.

Out of five:

precure heart2precure heart2 and 1/2

Being the immature adult that I am, I laughed at this.