Lurkers' Retreat
Pioneer Pioneer LDCE
1: PIO 10019
2: PIO 10020
3: PIO 10025
4: PIO 10028
5: PIO 10029
All dub

Cert  15

The Hakkenden, Volumes 1 - 5

It is touted as the first fully animated adaptation of a 200 year-old story called Nanso Satomi Hakkenden, which seems fair enough. Certainly any similarity between this and R.G. Veda are purely coincidental as a group of warriors are drawn together to find out why they have been chosen and why they had to come together in the first place.

The story is a little disjointed at the start, but seems to come together as the story moves along. The first episode is devoted to the origin of the marbles that each of the dog warriors has, which is mixed up within an inter-tribal dispute during the 15th century, which is where this story is primarily based. From there, the next five detail the joining of the first four of these dog warriors and the various perils that they face, including the identity of one serious creep who seems to be a common foe and definately a bit suspect, humanity-wise.

I mentioned R.G.Veda earlier. While the subject matter is very similar in context, that is where any similarity ends. The Hakkenden is obviously longer, hopefully more complete and a lot more interesting to watch. The animation is typical Pioneer, the charas being fairly drawn in the style of a number of anime recently released through the same label (by that, I mean comparatively; this is the first release by Pioneer since the end of Armitage III some seven to eight months ago!) The dub is by Ocean Studios and is a typical WordFit™ job, with which I am as happy as I ever get with a dub. The level of release (three episodes per tape) is just right for the price, so I can recommend this as good viewing to any anime viewer who is keen on historical drama, though humour lovers might find it heavy going.

[4 stars]

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