Hakufu's dreams of participating in new fights and tournaments are put on hold as new obstacles block her path. Her friends have lost faith in her, new enemies appear, and a younger sister she never knew existed suddenly shows up on her doorstep. If Hakufu ever hopes to compete worldwide, she's going to have to deal with her issues at home first.
As a guy who have watched all three seasons of Ikkitousen (also wrote review for each of them), I will be briefly going over a few pros and cons about this third season, named Great Guardians (GG).
Unlike the previous seasons which focused greatly on the story of Romance of the Three Kingdom, GG was different (primarily due to the apparent defeat of Sousou in Dragon Destiny). As some of you may already know, GG is completely original (*I treat it like a "filler" series*). So not much previous knowledge of the first 2 seasons are required in order to understand GG.
The story is very weak
in GG. It is basically one random event follow by another until half way through the show. As mentioned above, since GG did not follow the Romance of the Three Kingdom, the story is bound to "suck". And the fact that the "villain" is a villain because of such trivial matters doesn't help the story either. As mentioned in the discussion board by some viewers, the director basically "reset" everything back to the way it is at the end of DD (with the exception that Toutaku is confirmed alive).
The overall animation isn't bad though not much improvement when compared to DD...and ecchi guys will like to see the occasional nude Hakufu etc.
The sound for this series is actually quite outstanding especially when compared to the previous seasons. Both the OP and ED received good ratings from fans as well.
It was nice to see for a change that they focused a bit more on character development rather than just introducing tons of characters that just show up for 30 seconds before getting killed. There is basically just two new characters added to GG so that might explain why they have the spare time to develop the characters more than the prior series.
It was very enjoyable for the most part for someone who have seen Ikkitousen's all three seasons. The only department that was really lacking was battles. There just weren't any that can be compared with Dragon Destiny's.
Lastly I would like to comment on the name. I know this will be quite debatable, but in my opinion I don't see how the name relates to this series at all. But since I am not a picky person with names, I'll let it be and it didn't affect my grading of the show ><
In this, the third Ikkitousen anime, it seems as if the makers simply didn't care anymore and threw all the pretence of a story out of the window. Instead of yet another thirteen episodes connected by some sub-par plot on ancient warriors reborn and duking it out, we get a plot device that is mostly there to have good girls do bad deeds in a ridiculous and consciously self-mocking fashion. It's actually a rather fun ride - if you don't mind the occasional badly animated bared breast.
As Ikkitousen: Great Guardians follows on two earlier anime the show assumes that the main characters and their general
situations are known. In this review, I will assume the same. This means that there will be spoilers for those unfamiliar with the previous two series.
Ostensibly, the plot of Ikkitousen: Great Guardians (hereinafter, Guardians) focuses on the character of Saji/Zuo Ci, who has been out of the limelight for most of the two previous seasons. Set shortly after the defeat of Sousou/Cao Cao, with Nanyou/Nanyang and Seito/Chengdu still at peace, Guardians involves far less actual serious combat than the previous two seasons. Instead, about half of the show catches the characters in the trappings of a standard romantic comedy series, portraying them having a picnic, going to the beach, etc.
Early on, yet more characters are introduced, among which the long-lost sister of Sonsaku/Sun Ce, though more important than any of these is the return of an old fan-favourite, Ryofu/Lü Bu. Her mysterious re-appearance is only the prelude to a story that focuses more heavily on toying with the characters than having once more some high-powered enemy appear.
As said, though, any pretence of an actual story is discarded very quickly. Only a few references are made to the ‘warrior’ nature that was so prevalent in the previous two seasons and the connections between the characters and their 3rd century Chinese counterparts. Instead, the story toys with the characters, having them act against their usual natures and setting the stage for quite a few scenes wherein all the protagonists can appear at once. In doing so the story is to be able to pit the entire female cast against each other, showing us what would happen if Ryuubi/Liu Bei went against Kan’u/Guan Yu, for instance. Of course, the entire reason for any of this is to have well-endowed girls in various states of undress duke it out in as overblown and ridiculous a manner as possible. Far more so than the two previous seasons, Guardians wholly embraces that premise, in the process consciously making complete clowns out of most of the characters, thereby declaring that none of it should be taken seriously.
Those characters remain as simplistic as ever and, as always, their defining traits, such as Sonsaku’s lack of brains and Kan’u’s shyness in expressing herself, are used for crude jokes. To the already rather large cast of characters a few new names are added, but as always it isn’t by their names or characterisations that one remembers them, but by their gadgets, so to glasses-and-books and eye-patch are now added quoting-Sunzi and traumatic-past. Did the previous two seasons here and there pretend to have some real character development, Guardians blatantly throws the concept out and works with these distinctive traits, mostly for comic effect.
It is also quite apparent that the makers of the show have opted to include as many elements favoured by the fans as possible. Kan’u’s romantic fondness for Ryuubi is used more often and openly, and a few more liaisons between the girls are thrown in to make more of it. Having Ryofu return is, in itself, a fan pleaser, and she is used quite openly to spice up the goings-on.
As a result, the actions of all characters are, by and large, highly predictable, but as the show doesn’t aim for them developing and surprising us, this can be forgiven.
The art is most likely the worst aspect of the show. Whereas the story and characters lack any real plot or development by choice, much would depend on the art to make up for it. The animation almost seems rather dated, however. Backgrounds lack details, with people added that do not seem to be alive or really doing anything. Little use is made of different shades of colours, setting the different elements of the landscape even more strongly apart from each other, while the characters, far more brightly coloured, often seem strongly superimposed on the background. More damning is that, for a fighting series, the animation is somewhat sloppy. Character movement is at times somewhat stilted, while quite a few fighting moves appear as stills on empty backgrounds.
Character designs haven’t changed since the last season, nor is there any more detail added to these generally rather bland designs. Intriguingly, only the ending sequence shows a new graphical take on the characters, and a very interesting one at that.
And then, there is the fanservice. As with the story, in the art as well the creators of Guardians have dropped any pretence. Much of the previous two seasons were all about showing as much skin as possible, with the DVD extras receiving an R+ rating as they showed the bared breasts of many of the girls. Realising full well that this seemed to be what the audience wanted more of, the makers of Guardians have few qualms with showing full frontal nudity even in the main show. The result, though, is ridiculous, defying both gravity and human anatomy, with the plainly drawn bared breasts having a life of their own.
However, the Ikkitousen series form one of the best examples of a franchise that uses fanservice in its more narrow sense (showing as much skin as can be allowed) in the way it was originally intended. No matter that almost every second shot is constructed in such a way that underwear or skin is showing: compared to the hundreds of other shows that try to captivate an audience by exposing their leads, there are very few shots indeed that are added for no reason but pleasing the fans. In Ikkitousen, the shot itself remains an integral part of the ongoing action and would have remained fully functional if the fanservice were to be removed, making it truly an extra service.
There is nothing about Guardians that can be critically acclaimed. But then, it does not opt to be considered highbrow. It knows its fans and what they want to see, plainly giving it to them. What the show lacks in substance it also lacks in juvenile humour: in openly displaying what it is about it is essentially self-aware and does not even try to hide its clownesque antics behind a plot. The entirety of Ikkitousen should be approached as the light-hearted diversion it is and savoured, not with wine and blue cheese, but with salted peanuts and a beer cap. In its self-mocking ridiculousness it is a fun ride and truly a guilty pleasure.
Most of the Ikkitousen series is a nightmare. But since season 3 feels like it completely abandons its old dry plot, there's almost a whole new story that is actually bearable and decent. With a much better story line, the fanservice now becomes worth it. That being said, Ikkitousen does a great job upholding the ecchi tag. So if you're a titty-hatin' queer, go ahead and move on. Additionally, this season features a ton of god's gift to anime, Ryofu. Season 3 has a few good battles to offer as well. All in all, this is the best Ikkitousen has to offer.
Great Guardians is apparently the third in the Ikkitosen series. However, I'm reviewing this one fresh to the franchise.
First off, I have no idea how these girls move around as they must have an incredibly huge burden on their shoulders. Other than that, expect unusually weak clothing that must be made out of thin paper. In any case, if you're at all sensitive to ecchi series, high levels of fan-service, or full frontal nudity I'd recommend you steer clear of this.
It you are able to handle these, then Great Guardians offers you a modest story line with some interesting characters. The series is focused around
fan service and battles. Character development and romance are far from the standouts in the series.
The animation is good though female characters are a bit over proportioned in areas already noted above. Battle sequences are well done but abnormally high levels of "battle damage" in certain areas probably detracts some from the enjoyment.
The OP/ED aren't that great, way too fast in any case for any Karaoke usage. The BGM is decent though not outstanding. A few tracks are pretty good but the overall thing isn't that memorable. VAs are good, esp. the lively Hakufu.
People with special earrings are modern reincarnations of warriors during the three Kingdoms period in Chinese history. They have great strength, high stamina, and special attacks (which are never explained... probably already done in preceding series).
This particular series is a bit of a toss up as the under workings of the plot are hidden up until the very last episode. The series will keep viewers guessing what's happening and who is "good".
Though it is somewhat of a slice of life, it definitely goes beyond the boundaries of that genre. In all, the battles are a bit repetitive but the ending redeems the series somewhat with a final grand battle.
The series has a fair resolution with the possibility of further continuations (series four?).
With a high female to male ratio, it is typically the case that the main male gets a lot of attention. This isn't really the case here as Kokin is pretty much shelved for the significant battles (and obviously no "attractive" battle damage for him). The main delight here is the hilarious and lively Hakufu who helps bridge the gap between battles with comedic humor and fun idiocy.Overall, there could have been more development but the focus is obviously on the girls engaging in clothing-tearing battles.
This is definitely not a show to take with to work. In any case, it's a decent watch if you have time to kill, though I can't really find the point to it; likewise I can't comment on how important it is in the entire series franchise. That said, it is definitely filled with an overabundance of fan service and dribbles of humor and action. There's also a 6-part OVA which is pretty much just additional fan-service with no real further value.