Samurai Deeper Kyo anime review

Samurai Deeper Kyo anime review
In the year 1600, during the battle of Sekigahara, warriors Kyoshiro Mibu and "Demon Eyes" Kyo - the legendary slayer of a thousand men - engaged in fierce combat. Both men disappeared when a meteor crashed in the battlegrounds. Four years later, Kyoshiro is spotted on a rural highway, acting as a traveling medicine salesman. He is captured by the female bounty hunter Yuya Shiina when she discovers that deep inside him is the dormant personality of "Demon Eyes" Kyo himself.

I really should have taken detailed notes when watching these seven episodes. Because, having complained that the previous disc left viewers with too many unanswered questions, I now found myself bombarded with information. And, although I hate to complain, now it’s way too much information! Revelations and people from Demon Eyes Kyo’s past keep popping up. 

The true identity of ‘Our lord’ or ‘His majesty’ is at last revealed and it seems that this mighty warrior, presumed dead, has been looking for a suitable body that will be strong enough to house him and his considerable powers. And Kyo’s body, frozen in ice, is exactly what he desires. (Um, sound a little familiar, this plotline? Echoes of Sasuke/Orochimaru, anyone? Alas, there the resemblance ends.) If you don’t want to know his identity, please look away now! Kyo prepares to fight the grotesque monster that warlord Oda Nobunaga has become after Benitora fails in his brave attempt to defeat him. The last of the Jyūnishinshō  make themselves known as the dark and grisly secrets of the Sea of Trees are revealed. Yuya’s life is placed in grave danger – but help may be at hand from a surprising source. And a new enemy reveals itself: the Mibu Clan.

In fairness to this series, many of the questions thrown up in the earlier episodes are answered on this disc. But if only the creative team had taken the (pretty basic!) decision to foreshadow events to come later on, this could have been a much more coherent and compelling anime. As it is, it still suffers from the introduction of too many characters in a random way. This is far too late in the story to be bringing in new people from Kyo’s past. If they’d been introduced in the first episode at Kyo’s side at the fateful battle, their reappearance now would really tell; as it is, it’s just a case of ‘Who the hell is this?’

I fully accept that if you’re basing an anime series on a manga written to appear weekly or monthly, the action may well prove episodic (Monster of the Week.) It’s all too easy for the mangaka to fall back on this formula, rather than choosing to develop the characters he/she has already created. But at the time this TV series was commissioned there were already enough tankoubon in print for the script writers to have been able to re-shape the existing material into a more coherent form for the new medium. And how do I know? Because the producer, Tomohiro Yamada, in the one extra included on this disc, tells us, in so many words. He acknowledges that – since childhood - he read the manga regularly as it appeared in Weekly Shonen Magazine. (He also admits that they couldn’t put all the manga characters into the anime. Well, thank goodness for that; there are already far too many to keep track of!)

There are, nevertheless, some telling moments that stand out. The encounter between Kyo and the legendary smith/swordmaster Muramasa gives hints at what a good series this could have been. There are also some moments that are so off-the-wall crazy that they are genuinely entertaining, even if for all the wrong reasons. Check out, for example, the two girls who arrive to kidnap Lady Sakura. Or should I say – the two sexy nurses? Yup, that’s right. These two seem to have sashayed their way in from a Totally Different Series. The time is certainly out of joint after the Mysterious Event at the Battle of Sekigahara.

There is no improvement in the US dub, alas, with actors mispronouncing names all over the place – and Migeira’s hispanic accent causing total suspension of disbelief. They are simply no match for the starry Japanese cast.

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Samurai Deeper Kyo. Watch it now:
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