Change of pace, lunatics. We’ll be taking a break from EUREKA SEVEN and YU YU HAKUSHO for the next week or so to catch up with a number of fine, new Funimation titles that have come to my doorstep over the past couple months. Perhaps we’ll find a new series to follow after these current one run out?
A samurai anime that basically starts with a gang of medieval greasers (with pompadours!) running a raid on a village like they’re moto-crashing a sock hop is just my style of ridiculous samurai anime. I never heard of this particular Capcom title before I came across the DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack - - a gamier friend said it’s an import that hasn’t gotten that big of run in these parts. The intro made me think it might be the big C’s take on historical fighters like SOUL CALIBUR or SAMURAI SHODOWN, but the show itself would seem like a Japanese riff on DYNASTY WARRIORS. Whatever the origins are, this show is just as preposterously over-the-top as it needs to be.
I can’t tell how serious SAMURAI KINGS was originally intended to be, but this dub’s just an adamantine argument for how gleefully entertaining a title can be when the translation team gets room to make the material tongue-in-cheek. Or fist-in-cheek, as it were, because SAMURAI KINGS is fueled by an absolutely delirious supply of preposterone that gets you cracking up at the same time you’re pumping your fist in the air.
Hell, it isn’t even afraid to riff on the homoeroticism that comes when manly men like our pals in the picture above get a little TOO carried away with their own displays of manliness. That screengrab comes from a hilarious scene that just kind of has to be seen to be believed. What starts as your usual exchange of feudal formalities between an apprentice and his master takes a quick switchback turn into this ludicrous “bro out” brawl as the two keep smashing each other into stone walls while shouting eachother’s names in some sort of display of mutual affection. It almost felt like the scene was guest directed by John K.
And yet, all the serious stuff about dynastic feuds, grudges and various layers of manipulation actually works better than in other, grimmer samurai anime precisely because the show’s not taking itself that seriously. I might not be motivated to seek this game out, necessarily, but I definitely want to catch more of this slickly and sleekly animated, furiously-charged show.
Watch this episode, "Azure and Crimson, A Fateful Encounter" here and decide for yourself.