Samurai Deeper Kyo: Complete Collection (2002)

DVD Cover (Anime Works)
Genres: Animated Action, Animated Fantasy, Animation, Anime, Fantasy Adventure, Samurai Film
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6.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Mojokc
Added: February 21, 2009
Ever wonder what it would be like to live in feudal Japan when a meteor strikes, demons start to appear, and a long forgotten clan of near-immortal beings rise up to claim power back from the Tokugawa regime? Well, if you answered yes to any of the following, then Samurai Deeper Kyo is right up your alley. This 26 episode (6 disc) anime mini-series is based on the Manga of the same title.

The storyline starts us off at the Battle of Sekigahara where a mysterious figure known only as "Demon Eyes Kyo" murders over 1,000 soldiers. He is soon confronted by a Kyoshiro Mibu and thus begins a battle of epic proportions, or so we're led to believe seeing as we never actually SEE the battle take place. At the very height of the battle, a meteor crashes into the battlefield, ending said battle. We skip forward several years later and Kyoshiro is now a traveling herbal medicine dealer as well as a pervert and a klutz. He happens to run across a young woman stranded on the road in need of "medical attention." As our hero starts to treat our lovely young damsel in distress, she whips out a tri-barrel flintlock and captures poor Kyoshiro for the small bounty on his head. She then introduces herself as Yuya Shiina the bounty hunter and claims that she is going to turn him in for the reward. As she checks Kyoshiro's belongings, all he has on his person is his medicine pack, the clothes on his back, and a massive sword bound with restraints to keep it from coming out of the sheath. Yuya begins traveling with Kyoshiro in tow to collect the reward when they're ambushed by a samurai who claims that Kyoshiro wronged him at the Battle of Sekigahara. The strange samurai then transforms from his human form into a demon and explains that the comet that fell caused people all around to start turning into demons (how it does this we never find out - oh well for details, I guess). Obviously, a small battle ensues, a battle which poor little Yuya is completely incapable of handling. During said battle, Kyoshiro's sword becomes unsheathed and his eyes become blood red thus giving us the legendary Demon Eye's Kyo. Apon his transformation, he undergoes a personality change and then proceeds to insult the samurai by not remembering him nor caring too, then kills the samurai / demon without an ounce of effort. Afterward, Kyo then transforms back to harmless little Kyoshiro and Yuya gets the bright idea to tote him along for the even bigger reward on Demon Eye's Kyo which happens to be 1 million Ryo. We now skip ahead a few episodes wherein we have Demon Eye's Kyo reappearing for good and taking over Kyoshiro's body and going on a quest to get his body back. He then explains that when the meteor struck he was torn from his own body and placed inside of Kyoshiro's as a alternate personality and that Kyoshiro hid his body so he could never get it back. Well, to make a very long story short, along the way to recovering his body Kyo and Yuya encounter and "befriend" several allies.

Enough of the rundown, now onto the meat and potatoes of this review, the negative and positive of this series release. Let's get the positive out of the way seeing as that's going to be the shorter of the two. What I liked about this series is the voice acting. So many animes have such horrible voice acting and it's annoying to no fucking end (Naruto is a perfect example of this). The difference here is the actors actually manage to sound how you would envision the characters sounding. Sure, there's a few here and there that just grate on your nerves (Benitora aka Tokugawa Hidetada is a good example), but besides the occasional bad voice actor, the rest are tolerable if not downright good in their respective parts. The fight sequences, though not breath-taking, aren't entirely bad. I've seen worse and I've seen better - it's a 50/50 situation here with the fights not being memorable but not being utterly repulsive. They fall in that gray area of "Ehh, not bad, not bad at all" and then we're done. The last positive thing we have with this series is the historical references with the characters. We have a noteworthy cast of actual historical figures making appearances throughout the series such as Yukimura Sanada, Oda Nobunaga, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Tokugawa Hidetada, Hattori Hanzo and a few others. Well, that wraps up the positive, now onto the negative.

Where do I even begin with the negative? First off, we have a fairly large cast of characters with new characters being introduced and kept going throughout the entirety of the series. This obviously leads to alot of confusion and remembering as we progress throughout the series. I don't know about you, but me personally, I want to watch a show and remember a character from heart, not have to pause and try to remember where the hell I saw them and who they are exactly. Another thing that really irked me about this series is the fact that it deviated so much from its original source material. Though this is a very common thing in the anime industry, normally most animes have the respect to stay somewhat true to the source manga, or they keep it tasteful and somewhat coherent if they do change it up too much. Now, I'm not saying that the Samurai Deeper Kyo Manga was in any sense comprehensive but the storyline didn't involve humans being transformed into demons from a fallen meteor. A ton of material from the manga storyline was sacrificed or outright butchered to produce this second rate, half-assed dramatization of the manga. Onto other matters, as previously mentioned the voice acting was fairly on the up and up but Benitora's voice just irritates you right down to the very core. I mean, come on, who decided it would be a good idea to give a Japanese man in the Feudal era a dumb southern hick accent? This brings us to the ending of the series, and without giving away any storyline or spoilers, I will say that the ending to this anime makes about as much sense as a three-legged cat giving a rabid dog a handjob. It's obscene and just plain retarded to even think about. In no way did the end battle of this series make one bit of sense. Sure, you can see the buildup to it and why it happened, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it sucked and was just a waste of time and money even creating this piece of garbage ending.

If you're a fan of the Manga series, then I recommend staying as far away from this abomination of a anime. For fans of anime and manga, I would suggest watching this series BEFORE reading the mangas. Last but not least, for those of you out there who aren't too certain about animes in general, I would give you this piece of advice: watch something, anything, else. This is one of those animes that will turn you away from the genre faster then a redneck tossing down a six-pack right before walking into the church on his wedding day. Overall, I give this series a 3/10.
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