BAKUMATSU – Anime Preview
Synopsis: This story takes place during the Bakumatsu era in Japan. Japan’s history looked bleak during this time, and many passionate men fought over hegemony within the country, various ideals in their hearts. Shinsaku Takasugi, a samurai warrior from Choshu, attempts to sneak onto a ship run by Yoshinobu Tokugawa, his partner Kogoro Katsura at his side. Takasugi and Katsura aim to steal a legendary treasure that is said to have the ability to control time: the pocket watch “Jishingi.” However, the moment they obtain the watch, it is stolen from them by a woman dressed in black. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Bakumatsu is not only yet another anime to be set during the Japanese historical period of the same name, but also another game to anime adaptation for the Fall season. Between the Sky and Sea still holds top spot this Fall for laziest adaptation, but Bakumatsu is no prize pig.Its biggest downfall are its characters. While the leads have some personality (the classic action hero and straight man pairing) with Shinsaku Takasugi and Kogoro Katsura, they’re simply not that compelling. It doesn’t help that beyond these two we meet quite a few other pretty boy characters, yet none of them have immediately memorable personalities or quirks. No one’s design in this really stands out either. Run with the Wind, another title from the Fall, gets this right, producing characters you immediately can identify thanks to memorable traits. Bakumatsu stumbles comparatively, and outside of our ho-hum pair of leads, everyone else is simply forgettable.
Linny: Bakumatsu has the undeniable feel of a reverse harem anime/dating sim as it throws stereotypical pretty boy after pretty boy at you. Even the original promo image for the series is overflowing with pretty boys. Heck, one of them soon gets a midriff baring outfit change in the episode. This makes it clear to me that the main aim/appeal of the show is to win over those who like shows that will woo them with pretty faces.On the downside, with most of the guys having very generic standard pretty boy faces, they soon start to blend with each other and with the high number of characters in this episode, become hard to remember and distinguish for anyone less/not interested in finding themselves a ‘husbando’ or a ‘ship’.
Tom: Bakumatsu tries to skirt the character stuff by getting right to the story. We jump into the fray as Shinsaku and Kogoro sneak aboard an enemy ship and things don’t let up too much. But without memorable dialogue, compelling characters, or anything to suck you in this whole first episode feels dry and dull.
Linny: Like most game based anime, Bakumatsu is a mix of opposing elements that haven’t been blended together tightly and come off as more of a random mishmash. We start in historical Japan with a few supernatural elements, aka a magic pocket watch that can apparently control time. Then we switch to… another Japan but this time with more westernized outfits and wooden android like mechanical objects. Combine everything we have discussed so far in this review and you end up with a show that’s likely best suited only to the reverse harem/dating sim loving crowd. Everyone else can give this show an easy pass.
Tom: Even if pretty boys were all you needed, Bakumatsu is further encumbered by dull animation. Already we have quite a few shots suffering low-detail artwork and action scenes that lack punch. Bakumatsu isn’t an awful title, but it is a forgettable one.
Bakumatsu is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.