Since a new branch of division to New York has been created, Ohgami has now been assigned to the Paris Division. Now the Flower Division must be able to survive on their own, with the help of their new American-cultured leader.
Sakura Wars: The Movie is a very deceptive title. At first glance (and from what US trailers have been released) this movie is treated as a very open source for people to get interested in the Sakura Wars series. If you go in with intentions like that, I'm sorry to say Sakura Wars: The Movie will leave you dazed and confused.
I'm not going to be touching upon too much of the plot for this movie as it's honestly coming off the chain of TV series, and OVA's released prior to this movie. However as a person watching this movie with only brief understanding of the
series (Between walkthroughs of the game translated) it leaves a lot to be determined. Set in between the events of Sakura Taisen 3 and 4 this movie focuses on the Flower Division surviving on their own after Ichiro Oogami (Main character in the games and Captain of the Division) was transferred to Paris. As we see the girls not only maintain their roles as theater actors,a new threat appears as a conspiracy from the New York division strikes Japan forcing the girls into their Kobu's one more time to fight against the evil Kouma.
This plot is not winning any awards, as it's played by the numbers throughout the entire movie. The big part that did have me interested however was the final sequence in which Sakura and Lachette have a very dramatic performance with each other. That's honestly the only scene that comes to mind that really stood out for me because the performance in Japanese was very good imo.
The art for this movie is great, characters pop out with their color schemes, backgrounds look gorgeous, and the animation over all was very nice except for one thing. The CGI in this movie is very bad. It's not King of Thorn level bad, but it's getting there. This wouldn't be so much an issue but the action scenes in this movie are done with this CGI which causes you to lose the impact of what's going on since the mechs just look ehhhhh.
Sound is great, Sakura Taisen has always been known for having great music and this movie fits the bill. A big shoutout to rhe musical numbers thrown in the movie, especially for the opening.
Characters are already established prior to this movie, so if this is your first experience you will be missing a lot of backstory. You can piece together who exactly is who as you go through it, but I'd def either watch the prior anime or play through the games as you'll be very lost.
Enjoyment is pretty much hampered by the mix of not well developed characters, predictable story, and jarring CGI. Even the grand conclusion for the battle is not very impressive when considering the stakes and the fact that one of the characters only comes in for maybe like 2 minutes in the final showdown (who is important to prior Sakura Taisen games) is just a punch to the nads. If it wasn't for the good character art/backgrounds and great musical numbers/perfomances I'd have most likely stopped watching this movie by the half way mark.
All in all if you're a Sakura Wars fan I'd give it a shot if you're interested. As to everyone else who's looking for a first exposure to the series, either watch the first anime and work your way up or just play the games. Otherwise this movie will leave a bitter experience in your mouth.