Saturday, June 20, 2009

Samurai Harem: Asu No Yoichi vol. 1 Impression

The classic anime harem formula is on full display in Samurai Harem: Asu No Yoichi volume 1 from Tokyopop and it’s a guilty pleasure many an Otaku will savor. Yu Minamoto has crafted an enjoyable story and brought it to life with art that’s pleasing to look at.

His entire life Yoichi Karasuma has lived isolated in the mountains. Trained in the art of Bushido by his father he is now sent to live in the city with the Ikaruga family, at their dojo, to further his training. After an encounter with a local bully, whom he seems to think is a sparring partner (poor Wa-San) Yoichi begins to settle in with the young ladies of the Ikaruga dojo. Ibuki, very busty and a more traditional sword fighter, Ayame the fashionable socialite, Chihaya the manga writer and Kagome, the youngest sister. It seems that Yoichi for all his training has never encountered beauties like these and he just happens to get into awkward situations over and over again. Plenty of panty shots are wrapped around an evolving love triangle between Yoichi and two of the sisters. How will his relationships evolve, who will he end up with and will Wa-San ever defeat him in a fight? These are just a few of the questions to be revealed, but until then let the awkwardness continue.

So first the art, it’s excellent. While Ibuki starts off as the primary lead, her busty look with long straight hair has been done to death in this type of series. Now Ayame in her preppy style with cell phone and different art direction, now she is worth paying attention to as she is not cookie cutter. Beyond these two even Ikaruga is an average looking character. Each is unique but none really stand out. The backgrounds are well done when needed, but again nothing super special, its modern day Japan. The story also is predictable, well, except for who is in the triangle. I guess I have a soft spot for this type of anime. The nervous romance that is unexpected is always the best.

Overall Samurai Harem is pleasing on the eye, offers up some fan-service and by the end of volume 1 really weaves a tale that will capture the reader’s heart and bring them back for more … with plenty of humor mixed in. Not for everyone, but fans of the harem, romance genre will dig this puppy.

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