Hakkenden is an anime series that comes from a manga series that comes from a novel series about eight dog warriors. The novel series was made into an anime series previously in 1990. This current series bears almost no resemblance to the previous series, luckily. So leaving all that history behind, this post is just about the current, two season series.
The main character of Hakkenden is a young boy named Inuzuka Shino. The other characters who are dog warriors include Inukawa Sousuke, Inukai Genpachi, Inuta Kobungo, Inusaka Keno, Inuyama Dousetsu, Inumura Daikaku and Inue Shinobu. Besides having “inu” (dog) in their names, each of the eight dog warriors bears a flower-shaped birthmark and carries a glass bead with a symbol in it. The symbols are devotion, duty, integrity (faith), brotherhood, wisdom, loyalty, gratitude, and benevolence, in the same order as their holders, above.
Other main characters include Satomi Riou, Osaki Kaname, Ao, (the series villain), and two females characters, Hamaji and Mizuki Ayane, although those two female characters could be considered minor side characters, for the amount of screen time they get.
The plot in this series is slow starting. The first 13 episodes don’t even introduce all eight dog warriors, and just begin to hint at the issues surrounding the characters of Ao and Sousuke. Essentially all the first season does is set the stage. It covers the story background: that Rio rescued Shino, Sousuke and Hamaji when their village was destroyed and gave Shino the living sword Murasame in exchange for keeping him alive, or in order to keep him alive. Shino harbors Murasame in his body and can extract it and use it at will. Murasame can take the form of a large black raven, or a sword, which Shino knows how to use. Because Shino holds Murasame inside himself, he looks 13 years old instead of the 18 he actually is.
The first season slowly introduces the characters as Shino and Sousuke come across them. A little background is provided for each dog warrior, including each warrior’s connection to the supernatural. As the story slowly progresses, Shino and Sousuke help each character solve issues when they meet. Essentially the first season is the eight warriors beginning to gather together.
The second season is where all the plot lies. The reasons for Ao’s and Rio’s machinations come to light. Ao is somehow Sousuke’s “shadow”, which is why he looks just like Sousuke except for a golden eye. Ao is attempting to steal Sousuke’s life force, and essentially to become him. Rio is having Shino gather the eight beads and their warriors together in order to prevent their collection by the bad guys, but also because when they’re all together it’s possible to have a wish granted. At the end, when the eight are all gathered together and it looks like Ao and the bad guys will win, it’s Shino’s wish that is granted, that Sousuke will survive. So the good guys win in the final hour and life goes on. Ao is still in play though, so it’s a non-ending ending, but not a bad one.
This series is full of really gorgeous characters and decent music, so despite the plot being slow, it’s very nice to watch. I would say it’s not one of the great series, but definitely worth watching.
Post a Comment