Reviewby Luke Carroll, Apr 5th 2011
Ikki Tousen: Dragon Destiny
A new destiny for ancient heroes!
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms continues on in modern Japan, as the rival high schools involved in the retelling of the epic saga struggle to achieve dominance. The focus begins to shift to other high schools and the interaction of their front runners. In the backdrop, the dragons of the remaining two great leaders are awakening, leading to growing mayhem. As ancient artifacts are acquired and events unfold, the battles keep raging on with enough intensity to rend flesh and clothing.
Out there in the anime world, there are four categories that titles fall into: those without fan-service, those that contain a small amount of fan-service, those that push for a much higher use of fan-service, and then finally there's Ikki Tousen; a series that throws any sort of legible plot out the window in a bid to shamelessly flaunt over-proportioned schoolgirls that fight each other in a constant set of 'who can get the other more nude' battles.
I'm going to be honest here, the plot that goes with this boob-fest features just as many holes and rips as the girls clothing do after many of their fights. Based on the ancient Chinese novel The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, an account of a rather turbulent time in China's history, I'd be lying if I said the series made much sense. Unless you have knowledge of this period of ancient Chinese history, all the references to cast names, areas and the never ending backstabbing that occurs throughout these episodes will be lost on you. All you can really understand is that there are school students fighting each other —where their teachers and parents are I don't know— some have a powerful dragons hidden within a few of them, and that there's lots and lots of fan-service on display.
And when I say lots, I certainly mean it. Fights rarely end without the destruction of clothing, boobs flying out left right and center, skirts constantly lifting up, and even the loss of bladder control. Nothing is sacred on this playing field. The whole experience winds up becoming so blatantly mind numbing that you begin to look at every scene that doesn't feature fan-service and question yourself why there isn't any. Of course for a series that wants to show it all off, having a decent set of visuals becomes essential. At least in this regard animation studio ARMS has done a decent job, although it's hard to say they don't have any experience in this type of show going by their history.
Unfortunately all this focus on visuals and showing off the girls naughty bits does mean that items such as music and sound do get pushed far back in the care factor. The background music is fairly solid, however it is about as predictable and bland as they come. The voice work isn't certainly something to praise too much about either, although it's hard to really expect anything special from this type of series. The opening and closing themes do deserve some praise though, despite the fact that they too are plastered in fan-service from ear to ear.
The biggest surprise of this volume however comes in the form of extras. Normally I would be expecting nothing but the bare minimum for this type of series, but flicking to the extras menu gives a list that includes two OVAs, a promotional video (extended trailer really), and a small sketch gallery on top of the usual textless opening/closing and Madman trailers. Unfortunately, as if the animation staff didn't think they pushed the boundaries enough, these OVAs —set in a hot spring nonetheless— turn out to be nothing more than an excuse for the animators to dodge the TV censors and for fans to see the disproportionate girls in much more detail. Can't say I was expecting something more special though.
Ikki Tousen: Dragon Destiny is certainly not a series you would jump into without having any idea of what to expect. It clearly will never sit high on anyone's list of world class anime, however it would amazingly never be at the bottom either. What we have here is an anime that pushes the boundaries of unadulterated anime to the limits. And even though it features blatant boob bouncing, terrible plotting and a constant wave of clothing destruction, Dragon Destiny does somehow —and almost magically— create itself a sense of sexy violent fun that will leave you feeling a little dirty afterward, but amazingly intact.
Overall (dub) : C
Overall (sub) : C+
Story : D+
Animation : B-
Art : B
Music : C
+ Lots of fan-service (if that's your thing), a completely shameless almost pleasurable brain-dead affair
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