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The Winter 2018 Anime Preview Guide
Touken Ranbu Hanamaru season 2

How would you rate episode 1 of
Zoku Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru. (TV 2) ?
Community score: 3.6

What is this?

200 years into our future, the History Retrograde Army is dedicated to altering the course of Japanese history by interfering with pivotal events of the past. The mission to stop them falls to the Touken Danshi – incarnations of famous historical swords. When not dispatched on missions to defend history's status quo and make sure important battles turn out as they're supposed to, this assembly of attractive human swordsmen spends their days at the citadel, a place of peace and harmony that's occasionally interrupted by new arrivals and minor confrontations. Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru season 2 is based on a mobile game and streams on Crunchyroll, Sundays at 12:00 PM EST.

How was the first episode?

Anne Lauenroth


Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru picks off directly where it left off. Yamatonokami Yasuada has left the citadel to become stronger, while Kashuu Kiyomitsu is trying to fill his friend's absence with new tasks. You don't really need to know about these two or any of the other numerous handsome Touken Danshi to follow the events of the second season's premiere. The show's premise isn't hard to grasp, and on the off chance that anyone checks out part two without any familiarity with the franchise, characters drop more than enough exposition to follow along with the light plot, as they reminisce about the events captured in old photos. If the second season of a mobile game adaptation with a gigantic cast could be made accessible to newcomers, director Tomoaki Koshida and his team did their best.

Where Katsugeki! Tōken Ranbu could afford to dedicate more time to each member of its much more manageable cast in between the action sequences, Hanamaru is all about the lovely slice-of-life that happens behind the history-saving scene. From cooking and cleaning to snowman-building and videography – the sheer amount of characters assembled at the citadel by the end of season one makes it hard to grant anyone more than 2-3 personality quirks, which still offers plenty of possibilities for bishounen of all shades to goof around and squabble over everyday issues. Preparations to celebrate New Year's are interrupted by the arrival of two new additions to the ever-growing cast, allowing for a more organic approach to explain the mechanics of Touken Ranbu's take on time and space travel – as well as some short but dynamic action scenes on their first mission.

With enough budget to animate its attractive character designs and their quirks and a soundtrack that can handle slice-of-life just as well as fight scenes, Hanamaru 2's respectable production values are still unlikely to attract viewers looking for profound character drama. But those wanting to spend some more time among their favorite human swords (or just watch a bunch of really pretty guys look cute doing mundane things and occasionally kicking ass) will be more than served.

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