Hyakka Ryōran: Samurai Bride is the long-awaited sequel to Samurai Girls, also available from Manga Entertainment, and continues the recent tradition of reincarnating famous historical figures as buxom beauties. With so many scantily clad women in this series, it’s a good job we have a Blu-ray to fit them all in, and of course a nice humble DVD offering. Interesting to note is that director KOBUN (Koubun Shizuno) is also the director of the recent hit series Knights of Sidonia, available from Animatsu Entertainment on 17th August 2015.
The recent trend of reincarnating famous historical figures as buxom beauties maybe tiring a little but Samurai Bride has at least changed up the formula. Continuing on from Samurai Girls, the story is set in Great Japan, in an alternate timeline where the Tokugawa Shogunate has remained active after their defeat in World War II and exists in a semi-isolated state. The story follows Muneakira Yagyu, our male protagonist, and Jubei Yagyu, our female protagonist. Muneakira possesses the ability to create Master Samurai, which, of course, works via kissing; during season one Muneakira managed to create a total of seven Master Samurai.
Following the events of season one, and a much-needed break from saving the world, Muneakira returns to the Yagyu Dojo, only to discover that the dojo has in fact been turned into a Maid Café. The reason being that they have been losing money due to the economy, and of course this is the only sensible way to recuperate their loses. Faced with a new threat, Dark Samurai, and receiving a rather one-sided beating, Muneakira has a curse placed on him with the conditions that they get back Jubie’s powers. With the powers of Master Samurai not cutting the mustard in this series, word reaches them that there exists something stronger than Master Samurai – Samurai Bride.
The visual style of Samurai Bride was quite a surprise; having not seen the previous season prior to watching this, my preconceptions were in overdrive, but Samurai Bride certainly caught me off guard. The series employs a unique retro cut-out look with sketchbook style drawn backgrounds that immediately catch your eye. With this release being uncensored, there is a lot more on show that may catch viewers eyes; while it’s a bonus to have battles in the full uncensored glory you may also get a peek at each of the ladies, in their full glory.
The series comes with both English and Japanese audio options; nothing major to note here, both do an adequate job at presenting the characters and for those who are familiar with the prequel, Samurai Girls, the voice cast remains unchanged. There are however some awkward moments within the dub, most notably in the maid café, with characters repeating the words “Moe Moe Heartbeat” to emulate that of real maid cafés. The opening song is AI DO., by Miyuki Hashimoto, and the ending song is Kekka, Guuzen de Gozasourou, by the Japanese voice actors for Jubei Yagyu (Aoi Yuki), Yukimura Sanada (Rie Kugimiya) and Sen Tokugawa (Minako Kotobuki).
Textless opening and ending animations are included, as standard, although with three different openings and seven different endings there’s a little more bonus than normal. There’s also a Japanese preview for the series and Japanese Blu-ray promos, which come with subtitles only. The real bonus with the extras in this release are the Samurai Bride shorts; there are six in total, set in-between episodes within the series. At three minutes each, they won’t take up too much time, but are a welcome addition; they even include an English dub which is rare with shorts.
To compare this style of series to the likes of Steins;Gate would be unfair; Samurai Bride is clear from the get-go as to what its aim is and who it's aimed at. If the first episode’s huge amount of fan service isn’t enough to put you off, then you’ll likely enjoy this series. The animation and visual style of the series is a pleasant experience; they clearly aimed for a memorable look to set it apart from similar series. This release from Manga Entertainment boasts a good selection of extras that seem rather rare in a standard release over the past few years.