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Samurai Harem (Asu no Yoichi) Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

May 3, 2010 by  



An enjoyable but perverted anime series featuring plenty of humor, action, misunderstandings and fan service.  Overall, “Samurai Harem” is a fun, short anime series!

Image courtesy of © Yuu Minamoto (Akitashoten)/Ikaruga Dojo Supporter’s Association. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Samurai Harem (Asu no Yoichi) Complete Collection

DURATION: 12 Episodes (300 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 anamorphic widescreen, Japanese 2.0 Stereo, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks/Section23 Films

RATED: TV PG VD

Release Date: May 11, 2010

Originally created by Yuu Minamoto

Directed by Rion Kujo

Screenplay by Hideyuki Kurata, Tatsuya Takahashi

Music by Tomoki Kikuya

Chief Animation Director: Yumiko Ishii

Anime Production by AIC

Featuring the following voice talent:

Nobuhiko Okamoto as Yoichi Karasuma

Rina Satou as Ibuki Ikaruga

Atsushi Ono as Yoichi’s father

Haruka Tomatsu as Ayame Ikaruga

Hitomi Nabatame as Angela Takatsukasa

Kana Hanazawa as Kagome Ikaruga

Kazuya Nakai as Ryou Washizu

Shintaro Asanuma as Keita Torigaya

Yui Makino as Tsubasa Tsubame

Yukari Tamura as Chihaya Ikaruga

His skill with a sword is magnificent but his social skills still need a lot of work!

After many long years perfecting the art of fighting, 17-year-old Yoichi Karasuma is sent down from the remote mountains where he has been raised thinking that he’s going to study some new martial arts techniques… but what he’s really going to learn about are some slightly more practical things, like electrical appliances, modern clothing and, most especially, how NOT to make girls to want to kill you!

Unfortunately, that last lesson is one Yoichi may not survive, as his new dojo is infested with the infernal creatures in the form of the Ikaruga sisters, and they don’t really seem to understand how “proper” girls are “supposed” to behave! Will Yoichi’s bushido blade be struck down by the fearsome charms of Ibuki, Ayame, Chihaya, and Kagome? Or will the equally lethal girls from the rival Tsubame school be his undoing?

“Samurai Harem” is an anime series featuring perverted humor, action, action and love triangles galore!

“Asu no Yoichi” (known in the US as “Samurai Harem”), the manga series written and illustrated by mangaka Yu Minamoto and serialized in Monthly Shonen Champion back in 2006 and is still ongoing as of today.  The series received an anime adaptation in 2009 and was shown on television via Japan’s major network TBS.

The series revolves around Yoichi Karasuma who is a martial artist that specializes in the Ukiha Kamikaze Swordplay technique.  Having grown so powerful (much more than his father), his father encourages him to leave the mountain area and to gain some skills in the city.  Simply old-fashioned, sporting traditional Japanese clothing and even talking in older Japanese and not used to dealing with people (or seeing women), Yoichi is sent by his father to stay with the Ikaruga family for training.

But what a training does living in a city bring for Yoichi.  Things don’t start out so easily as everything that Yoichi does, he accidentally ends up groping a girl’s breast, somehow enters the female students dressing area and for the most part, is branded a pervert.

Although, not intentional its something that he has to deal with and that is not to earn the wrath of an upset girl/woman.  But Yoichi is a kind guy at heart, dedicated to his training and will defend those who are close to him and that is including the Ikaruga sisters who some find themselves falling for Yoichi.   Meanwhile, someone behind-the-scenes is not so happy that Yoichi has moved into the Ikaruga’s home and is now paying top fighters to hurt Yoichi at all costs.

Who is this mysterious man?

The main characters of “Samurai Harem” are:

The Ikaruga Family:

  • Ibuki Ikaruga – With her parents training in another country, she is the head of the dojo/household.  She teaches the Ukiha Kamikaze Swordplay but has very few students.  Known for her beauty and bigger breasts but also known a as a teen not to mess with.  She is attracted to Yoichi.
  • Ayame Ikaruga – A year younger than Ibuki, she has also trained in the Ukiha Kamikaze Swordplay but has always come up second to her sister, is not as endowed as her sister and receives less attention that she is tired of it.  So, she is more rebellious than Ibuki.  Yoichi is the first guy to see the positive of her and thus, she takes a liking towards Yoichi.
  • Chihaya Ikaruga – The third youngest who is also a talented manga writer/illustrator.  Loves manga and it is her life.  Always trying to keep things balanced between Ibuki and Ayame’s feelings towards Yoichi.  But not afraid to tease them when she tries to pretend that she likes him as well.
  • Kagome Ikaruga – The youngest sister who is ten years old and is very shy.

Classmates and Rivals:

  • Ryou WashizuThe toughest guy at school and the bully until Yoichi beats him.  Known as Wa-san, Washizu is in love with Ibuki and will do anything for her and thus his jealousy towards Yoichi.
  • Keita Torigaya – Washizu’s only friend in the beginning who ends up being an assistant to Chihaya Ikaruga.  Somehow, mysteriously throughout the anime series, he goes through major changes.
  • Tsubasa Tsubame – The heir to Tsubame Benten Ryuu Dojo.  Wants to live a normal life in high school but when her clothes are taken off, she becomes a supreme martial arts fighter.  She is hired by the unknown man to destroy Yoichi.  She accompanies Angela Takatsukasa (her subordinate) and has fallen for Washizu.
  • Angela Takatsukasa – A subordinate of Tsubasa who wants to destroy Yoichi, so she and Tsubasa can make money for their dojo.  But within the process, she sees the good in Yoichi and even starts to like him.  Very good at observation.

Here is a brief spoilerless summary of episodes 1-12 for Samurai Harem (Asu no Yoichi) Complete Collection included on two DVD’s:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – Yoichi Karasuma is sent from the rural mountains to the city for training and must find the Ikaruga family.  But his arrival to the city is more difficult than he has expected.
  • EPISODE 2 – Yoichi attends his first day at Yokko Private School.  Washizu, who is not to thrilled and is jealous that Yoichi lives with Ibiki, challenges him to a duel.
  • EPISODE 3 – The Tsubame Benten Ryuu Dojo girls (Tsubasa and Angela) move to the city that Yoichi is living to defeat him but Tsubasa uses the opportunity to live a normal life.
  • EPISODE 4 – Chihaya is having writer’s block for her new manga and Yoichi starts to inspire her.
  • EPISODE 5 – Yoichi is invited to a date by Yui Hinagata (a henchman who was sent to destroy Yoichi) but in order to prepare him, Ibiki and Yoichi go on a first “test” date.
  • EPISODE 6 – Ibiki gains more students at the dojo including Kagome’s friends and Washizu.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 7 – Ibiki wins a contest to go to an island and thus Yoichi, Tsubasa and Angela join the Ikuraga sisters for some R&R.
  • EPISODE 8 – A gang goes after Washizu and kidnaps Ayame (thinking that is his girlfriend).
  • EPISODE 9 – Washizu wants to confess his love to Ibiki but accidentally confesseses to Ayame.
  • EPISODE 10 – The whole group is invited to the hot springs but Ibiki is kidnapped in the process.  Meanwhile, it is revealed who is sending the martial arts fighters against Yoichi.
  • EPISODE 11 – Yoichi manages to save Ibiki but unfortunately her mind has been wiped out and Ibiki is reverted to the age of four.
  • EPISODE 12 – Yoichi and the Ikaruga’s try to stop Ukyou Saginomiya from marrying Ibiki.

VIDEO:

“Samurai Harem (Asu no Yoichi) Complete Collection” is presented in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen. Animation is pretty good as close-ups feature good detail on the characters, background art is well-painted but most of the scenes are featuring trees, walls or something not fully detailed.  But overall, the animation works for the series as the attention is focused on the characters.  Especially since there is a lot of focus on fan service and an emphasis on the breasts or body parts of a female character but also the fighting scenes.  If there was anything problematic with the video, it seems that there is quite a bit of edge enhancement. Granted, most anime fans will not see this but for those who are quite observant of the overall video, you can definitely see it.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Samurai Harem (Asu no Yoichi) Complete Collection” is presented in Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0. Voice acting is well-done and for the most part, the audio is clear. For a more immersive soundscape, I chose to have my receiver set with stereo on all channels. But overall, the 2.0 track is good. Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Samurai Harem (Asu no Yoichi) Complete Collection” features trailers for upcoming Sentai Filmworks releases and disc 2 features the clean opening and ending themes.

I was actually quite surprised by “Samurai Harem”.  At first, I was thinking that this would be your usual anime harem series but I actually ended up watching this complete series in one sitting because I enjoyed the series.

In some ways, I can see a connection to one of my favorite, older anime series, “Ranma 1/2” in which the protagonist, a martial artist moves into a dojo with sisters who are quite different from each other and then you have all these other side characters who can fight and then you have the various misunderstandings and crazy love triangles.  Where “Ranma 1/2” featured the main characters disliking/liking each other at the same time, for “Samurai Harem”, it’s definitely a storyline that can tease the viewer because the protagonist can literally be with Ibiki, Ayame or another female character.

But unlike “Ranma 1/2” (which did have nudity), “Samurai Harem” uses a lot of perverted humor and fan service to capture the viewer’s attention.  For the main protagonist, Yoichi, no matter if he’s trying to do a good deed, his hands or his face end up in places of another female by accident.  But he’s a good-natured samurai by heart and you are left rooting for him.

This is a series that has its fair share of characters but there is a good amount of character development built into each episode.  If anything, I wish there more episodes especially knowing that the anime series is ongoing and you want to see more adventures with these characters.  I mentioned “Ranma 1/2” but I can also see a little of “Full Metal Panic” in this series as well.

But “Samurai Harem” doesn’t bring anything new to the harem anime series and some can find bits of pieces of things they enjoy from other anime series in this TV series.  But it does have its fine share of humor and action, and with many serious or darker anime series being released in the US of late, it’s good to have a series that is lively, fun, upbeat, happy and not too serious.  So, for those who need a break away from those dark and serious anime titles, this is a pretty fun series to try.

As for the overall content, there is no nudity and with the discussion of fan service, sure it is a series more for the guys but it  is also a series that can easily be enjoyed by the ladies as well.

Overall, “Samurai Harem” is an enjoyable series for one not expecting anything deep or serious.  The series does have its fine share of fan service but it doesn’t consume the anime series to the point that it become testosterone-driven kitsch.  Yes, it does have its share of perverted humor and action but there is also an entertaining story that goes along with that humor and action.

Definitely give “Samurai Harem” a try!






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