Hey guys! So the other day I decided to start watching some anime again because yes, I don’t think I’ve watched much anime in some…3 months possibly? Maybe even more. I’ve actually been sticking to manga and novels
But instead of watching some of the newer stuff, I found myself checking out series like Aldnoah Zero, which I reviewed in 2015 and then I ended up doing some episode by episode impressions for it (2017). I also ended up watching Hakkenden and I was originally only going to watch 3 or 4 episodes…but by the time I checked my clock it was already 5AM, I hadn’t slept a wink and I’d finished season 1!
The first season of Hakkenden is 13 episodes long and is about a boy named Shino who was supposed to die when he was 13, however, his will to survive was so strong that he was given a choice to save himself and the people he loved. Five years later and he’s doing seemingly well with Hamaji, his younger sister, and Sousuke, his older brother/guardian, if you exclude the small fact that Shino hasn’t physically aged since he was saved and is now the bearer of the demonic sword Murasame
Add to that, Rio (the man who gave Shino the choice to live) is now back in his life and is asking for the favor to be repaid. Now Shino and Sousuke have to find the 8 gems of the Princess Fuse legend while also fighting off the Imperial Church’s interest in taking Murasame for themselves.
This is the anime adaptation of Hakkenden by Miyuki Abe who is the mangaka for Super Lovers (hint hint, wink wink)
Ok, so I think I did an ok job making that summary there. I looked at the one on MAL but found it didn’t even touch upon the actual plot of the story. It only talks about how Hamaji is being used by the Church in order to lure Shino out. While that does seem to happen, I don’t think it’s the focus of the series. The summary also implied that Shino and Sousuke don’t get along but I swear I’ve never seen two brothers closer than those two.
Oh and the three of them aren’t actually siblings. They were just raised together and love each other like family
The series starts off at a pretty quick pace. In just one episode we learn about Shino’s past (and therefore Sousuke’s and Hamaji’s) and how he was given the choice to save the people he loved by becoming the container for Murasame. We also get some fight scenes where Shino needs to fight off a demon in the forest, Hamaji gets taken, and both Shino and Sousuke begin their journey to the Imperial Capital where the Church and Osaki family are located. I believe we have three days in just the one episode
There was nothing particularly amazing going on. None of the music really stuck, the animation was a tad stiff (2013), and the pacing was quick, but it wasn’t bad. I liked it enough to want to see what was going to happen next and for a demonic sword, Murasame was actually really cute (though when he comes out, not so much)! Not going to lie, I also like the BL undertones in this series #fujoshimodeactivated
Most of the series is just Shino and Sousuke (though mostly Shino) getting into some kind of mess and meeting people with similar backstories as them. Even though they do have a clear goal of collecting the 8 gems of Princess Fuse not much progress is made. Instead, the series is made so that we only get some clues as to who might have the other gems, and it’s only until episode 13 where the series is like, we should start connecting these dots now. Since Shino and Sousuke already had two gems to begin with, we only need to figure out who the other six individuals possessing the gems may be
Not really a hard task
Aside from collecting the 8 gems, we’re also introduced to some Sousuke trouble. We learn that Sousuke has memory issues where he can’t recall what happened before he ends up living with Shino. It’s later implied that there’s something going on with him but it’s not until we learn about his Shadow that the pieces start to fit (or at least for me that’s how it was). We have our normal Sousuke who holds Shino as (practically) his God, he pampers him, and slaps him when he needs a good scolding. But we also have Shadow Sousuke (Ao) who is obsessed with Shino and claims to hate him (bruh, nobody believes you)
Ao actually brings trouble to Shino and Sousuke even before he appears. Said trouble comes in the form of one of our side characters, Geno. Geno’s family was killed and his heart was taken by Ao two years ago, and since then Geno has been on the search for Ao for revenge. When he sees Sousuke, he immediately tries to kill him! In Geno’s defense, both Sousuke’s are identical
Also, this is my OTP ok. I ship Sousuke and Shino, especially when Shino pulls a Jimmy Kudo and we see what his body actually looks like at age 18 (then again, there’s so many guys wanting a piece of Shino!)
Back off buddy, Shino already has a man and it ain’t you! LOL
I don’t dislike any of the side characters, surprisingly, and we have quite a big cast. We have a guy named Genpachi and his brother Kobungo who are twin demons. We have Keno who initially tries to kill Sousuke, only to then realize he made a mistake (like Oops, sorry I stabbed you with the intent to kill). There’s also Kaname Osaki, who is one of the four member of the “Sacred Beast Four Family”
and possibly the only straight guy in this series. He has a bunch of cute fox servant/bodyguards that I absolutely love! I also consider Hamaji a side character since she doesn’t do anything too important
More guys include Rio, who is also one of the four member of the “Sacred Beast Four Family”, and Dousetsu. Out of everyone, Dousetsu gets the least amount of screen time in Season 1 but considering his last name has “Inu” in it, I figured we’d be seeing him again later on (plus his backstory)
Overall, while Hakkenden wasn’t an amazing series, it was good enough for me to want to watch s2. Season 1 seems to only set down the backstory and some important elements like the 8 gems and their owners, Sousuke v Ao, and the Church wanting Murasame. We don’t really know why Rio wants to reunite the 8 gems but in the last episode it’s alluded that the Princess will be brought back (which one, I’m not sure since there’s 2 in the story).
The music was sometimes embarrassing, and the series had some really good funny scenes, especially if you’re catching those BL undertones. I’m SUPER curious and worried about the whole Sousuke issue. I really want both of them to not be destroyed because
come on! wouldn’t it super hot to have two Sousuke’s in this ship!? as much as I love Sousuke, it only makes sense that Ao exist (like the Good/Dark, Yin/Yang in people)
I ended up giving this series a 7/10 on MAL for Good, but I think a 7.5 would be more appropriate since I felt it was better than Good but not Great just yet
Also kind of random but in the manga, it starts off with one of the village kids having a crush on Shino. He even thinks Shino is a girl and that she’s sickly, but in the anime we don’t have that. I was SO SAD about that, which is one of the reasons I didn’t think there would be so much Shounen-ai feels in this series, but I was wrong~
Have you checked this series out yet? What did you think about it? Or maybe you’re following the manga?