The Spring 2014 Anime Preview Guide
Dai-Shogun

Apr 10th 2014

Hope Chapman

Rating: 1

Review:
Woof, this one's a stinker. I've never seen a show so cheap they have to fake animating a boob jiggle before. Now I have! Basically, they took a shot of boobs and used a rippling distortion effect on them to sort of make it look like they were moving without having to animate anything: just one drawing with a weird watery mask over it. Ugh. Horrifying.

The whole show is horrifying, really. Dai-Shogun easily surpasses Sumo Wrestler Matsutaro as the most assuredly awful thing no one would want to sit through this season. Matsutaro probably still keeps its award for least liked or streamed show though, as Dai-Shogun at least has big crazy overdesigned samurai driving giant robots. Still, the story is incomprehensible, and tries to compensate for audience confusion by dumping backstory narration on us, but no one's paying attention. It's too impossible to ignore the pure slideshow "animation" and completely failed attempts at sex appeal laced in misogyny, homophobia, and all sorts of other nastiness. I don't know how they managed to pack so much discomfort into twenty minutes, but they did it.

Dai-Shogun doesn't merit any further attention. It's garbage for nobody. You're better off watching literally anything else this season. Yes, even Sumo Wrestler Matsutaro, but feel free to shoot higher than that, since we're all spoiled for choice.

Dai-Shogun
is available streaming at Crunchyroll.com.


Carl Kimlinger

Rating: 1.5

Review: There's dumb fun, and then there's just dumb. This is the latter. The place: Nagasaki. The time: 1875. The universe: not ours. Uber-punk Keiichiro has just subdued the last gang in the city, uniting all punks under his banner, and he is bored. He wants a worthwhile fight, and no one's willing to give it to him. Elsewhere, boy virgins are being slaughtered by a mysterious big-boobed woman. The cops, or at least their boneheaded leader, think Keiichiro is cross-dressing and offing the virgins himself. Keiichiro thinks it's the well-endowed swordswoman who braced him in the street. They're both wrong. It's actually an evil ninja woman who is trying to stop the resurrection of a giant robo-god who can only be controlled by a virgin of the Tokugawa line. Guess who's a virgin and a Tokugawa?

There's something kind of charming about a show that is this unrepentantly stupid. Dai-Shogun makes no pretense at being anything other than a big, brainless, libidinous pile of hyperactive trash. It scoffs at logic, couldn't care less about its “mysteries,” and wouldn't know what a serious emotion was, even if such a thing were possible to find in its blizzard of crude fan-service and sneering punks. As such, at least we don't have to slog through a lot of awkward “substance” in order to enjoy its campy idiocy. So it's tempting to go easy on the show. But make no mistake: it's terrible. Keiichiro is intolerable, a fight-obsessed hothead with maybe five working brain-cells and a voice that's never less than twenty decibels too loud. The series’ sense of humor is clunky and forced, its action cheap and pre-drained of all tension. It's loud and gaudy and unpleasant, with just a soupçon of misogyny. Illustrator Shunya Yamashita's designs are great, but even they are crippled by stiff animation and inexplicably gross men. Recommendation: jump ship immediately.

Dai-Shogun – Great Revolution is available streaming at Crunchyroll.


Theron Martin

Rating:
1.5 (of 5)

Review:
Want to see how great artistry can be thoroughly spoiled by crappy animation? Then check out this newest “mecha in a time period where mecha shouldn't exist” alternate-timeline story from the director of Freezing and Shakugan no Shana. Probably no new title this season has more limited animation than this one, and how much of a lack of movement is going on here is glaringly obvious. That's a shame, because the richly-designed and colored artistry and sense of goofy fun could have otherwise made this quite an entertaining view.

The story starts in Nagasaki in 1875 in a world where the Black Ships were turned away in their attempt to open up Japan to the West, and so the Tokugawa shogunate has continue. (That is not clearly explained in the first episode, however.) Keiichiro is a 17-year-old good-for-nothing who loves to fight and wields an impressive hammer, but he's irritated because no one in Nagasaki is willing to fight him anymore, hence making him the city's de facto boss. He just wants a good fight and finds Nagasaki too small for himself. He should be careful what he wishes for, as he soon gets mixed up with a serial-killing sex worker who, he eventually discovers, was actually looking for him all this time. Another sexy woman, who turns out to be a ninja, reveals to him the truth: he is actually a Tokugawa scion, and the bath house-operating grandma who raised him is also an Iga ninja. The Shogun has fallen, and people are after him because of that. Since he is still a virgin, he is also the only person who can operate Susanoo, a special Onigami (read: mecha) which can only be piloted by a Tokugawa virgin.

So you have mecha and big-breasted babes in 19th century Japan. If that phrase alone does not entice you to check the series out then it is probably a waste of time to do so, as it does not offer much else beyond its gimmicks. Strike that: it also has a police chief so obsessed with Keiichiro that he finds ways to fit Keiichiro into the profile of the serial killer even as it becomes apparent that the culprit is a woman, which is a mildly running joke. A certain amount of silliness and a few bath scenes also prevail, but once again, everything the series tries to do is crippled by the (lack of) animation. That has to improve or the series will be unwatchable.

Dai-Shogun is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


Rebecca Silverman

Rating: 1 (out of 5)

Review:

It is 1875 and seventeen-year-old thug Keiichiro wants to take over the city because...he loves fighting? Something like that. In any event, no one will fight him anymore, which makes him angry. What also upsets him is that the cops think he's the Sex House Killer (why not brothel?), someone who has been going around killing seventeen-year-old boys mid-coitus. Keiichiro's convinced that the killer is a busty lady in a red “kimono” (that thing does not have enough fabric to even be a shirt), who turns out not to be the killer, but this other underdressed busty lady is and there are all these mecha and some are steam powered and...oy vey.

Dai-Shogun really wants to be funny, to be sexy, and to hold your attention. Sadly it doesn't really work on any of these counts, at least not for very long. There are a couple of moments of each, but they are fleeting, and the episode as a whole just feels like dreck. It doesn't help that the animation is very cheap and limited. Most scenes are still shots of someone yelling, with only their mouths moving. Sexy scenes are heavily censored (we don't even see butts), and battle scenes are just more of people screaming. Basically every line of dialogue is yelled, which gets old really, really fast. Attempts at being alluring don't feel like they quite work either – somehow a (busty) lady talking about how turned on she is by a guy in a special mecha feels kind of not sexy, although obviously your mileage will vary here. There's also my personal pet peeve about unrealistic breast movement – guys, they don't ripple.

Dai-Shogun tries to be stupid fun, but for me it just came off as stupid and kind of annoying. That I am clearly outside the target audience is certainly worth considering, but the shoddy animation and inability to have a non-yelled line of dialogue seem like they would dim the show's appeal to those who are within it, so there's that to think about as well. Granny (Otomi) is about the only highlight of this episode, which feels like damning it with faint praise.

Dai -Shogun is available streaming at Crunchyroll.


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