What is it?
Rokka no Yuusha, or Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers, is a new anime for 2015. It’s currently airing, with the first episode premiering on July 4, 2015. I’ll do my best to tell you a little about the series, what it’s like, and who I think might enjoy it. I’ll do my best to avoid any spoilers here, though I’ll be talking about the first few episodes, so keep that in mind.
Rokka no Yuusha is based on a light novel series that began in 2011. It has since had 6 volumes published. It has also been adapted as a manga, though this version has been somewhat harder to track since the magazine it began publication in (Super Dash & Go!) only serializes online currently. As of the writing of this article, there are 10 episodes of the current anime. The anime is directed by Takeo Takahashi, who has worked as a director on Aki-Sora, Ookami to Koushinryou, Yosuga no Sora, and a number of other anime.
What's it about?
Rokka no Yuusha is a fantasy anime, and it bears a lot of the usual trappings. You’ll see swordfights, magic, royalty, a bunny girl, and a host of other things you’d probably expect from the genre. In fact, the first couple of episodes will probably feel quite predictable to anyone who has watched much anime, especially fantasy anime. The art style is bright and at times very pretty. There is some CG that can look very out of place against such a backdrop, which is a shame since it tends to draw you out of the moment.
We learn early on that the main arc for the anime will be the defeat of an evil Demon God. We also learn that every time the Demon God awakens, the Gods of Destiny will choose heroes (or Braves) and grant them the power to defeat the Demon God. These Braves are identified by a brand of the Six Flowers appearing on their skin. Over the course of the first episodes, we’ll learn a little bit about previous Braves, but the show doesn’t spend a lot of time in the past.
As you might expect, the show will come to center on these Braves and their efforts to team up to defeat the Demon God. In doing so, the show gives us a nice ensemble cast that helps to keep things from getting dull. Now all that might make for a decent, if unexciting, setup. What makes Rokka no Yuusha interesting comes a couple of episodes in. Here come those mild spoilers I warned you about. I don’t think they’re big, but I do think it’s the easiest way to explain what makes the show unique.
Early on in the series, the Braves meet up outside of the Demon God’s lands so that they can venture together to defeat him. Unfortunately, there seems to be a problem; 7 Braves show up. Throughout the history of Rokka no Yuusha’s world, there have always been 6 Braves. It is a well-known piece of the legend. Nonetheless, there appear to be 7 people emblazoned with the mark of the gods. The Braves deduce that there is only one reason someone might pretend to be a Brave; one of them is an enemy.
This is the twist that makes Rokka no Yuusha interesting. The series takes concepts and character types that are very familiar to anime viewers and it places them in a fairly bland fantasy kingdom that feels very predictable. Once the viewer is feeling comfortable with the setup, Rokka no Yuusha throws a wrench in the works. The most effective thing about this concept is that it will immediately have you guessing for yourself. You’ll find yourself questioning each character’s motive and story. If you’re like me, you’ll think one person seems like the obvious candidate. Then you’ll start to think that very obviousness might in fact make them the least likely candidate. You’ll also realize that the show has done a good job of showing you very little about the characters you’ve met so far, and less still about what their past looks like apart from what they tell each other.
What you’re left with is an anime about a world where 6 (or 7) of the greatest warriors in the world find themselves desperately trying to figure out which one of them is a traitor before they can even really begin the quest they’ve been chosen to complete. They’re suspicious, quick tempered, and confused. What’s more, the show sets itself up in a way that puts you in the same spot.
Who's it for, and what's it like?
So if the idea of watching a fantasy anime mixed with paranoia and an almost courtroom style drama appeal to you, you might find Rokka no Yuusha worth checking out. So far, the characters are a little shallow and a little predictable, but this makes sense given the scenario the anime looks to set up. If you can look past the generic setup and some uneven animation, there’s an interesting mystery here. I think Rokka no Yuusha might be a good fit for viewers who like a detective story and enjoy trying to solve a mystery while the characters do the same.
So, if you already like Rokka no Yuusha, or you’re wondering what it’s similar to, here’s a couple of things that come to mind.
First and foremost, Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei The Animation comes to mind immediately. It has a lot in common with Rokka no Yuusha, but more than anything it puts the viewer in the position to try and solve the mystery along with the characters in the show. The settings are quite different, but the experience is quite similar.
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works is another that came to mind. This one is somewhat similar in terms of environment and setup. It’s also a fantasy anime with a heavy focus on conflict and character. If you like the world of Rokka no Yuusha, this might be a good one to check out. It is, however, part of a bigger continuity.
Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis is one more choice, since they share similar themes and worlds with a focus on adventure.