I know I've been saying this a lot lately, not just in person to person conversation, but on forums with other anime fans in various sights, the quality of anime and story-telling in anime is sinking at an absurd, and a show like Koutetsu Sangokushi is stark evidence that not only are a lot of these shows really bad, but they're getting worse.
Now, I after finishing this, I really tried to sit back and decipher what really makes this such an intolerable show, and how I managed to sit through this. One reason was just to see what the author was going to pull out of his ass for an ending so I can grade this as a whole, and in retrospect, I didn't think I needed to. That being said, I can take the four worst elements (there are many more than that) from Sangokushi and apply them to what's wrong with a lot of other recently produced anime.
1. The Plot
My biggest pet peeve with this show is it's inablity to connect character's motives to the story. From the beginning, you can pretty much tell where the direction is going with Rikuson and Koumei, but the road to get there is marred with poor outlining and reason to care. I'm not sure how a formula so basic gets done so badly. Nothing happens for episodes at a time, and when it seems like something's happening, you're not really moved by what transpires. There's supposed to be a war going on, but you could never tell, as there's surprisingly little focus on the fact that three kingdoms are fighting for some oracle that could turn the tide in their favor, but most of the focus is on one kingdom, and more time is devoted to flowery language (pardon the pun) about feelings. It's paint-by-numbers in the most uninteresting way, and you get lulled into a state of complete blandness. Take a note, potential authors; stories about war should not be about the war itself, but rather a pissy, whiny brat whose sad that his master won't comb his hair. It's hard to believe this is categorized as action.
2. The Characters
These are the most generic group of pretty boys you may ever see. Even the three characters out of the six protagonists that I like are paper thin in terms of personality and chemistry (Kannei, Ryoutou, and Kin). Rikuson, the lead "hero" is a total failure as far as personalities to care about. He's one-demonsional, uninteresting, and overall pretty unlikable. The villains aren't any better, as they are all stock, undeveloped stereotypes with cliched grasps for power that failed to make the cut for Sengoku Basara 3. Relationships amongst the cast goes nowhere as the six leads are supposed to bond under the tides of war with even less subtle shonen-ai tendencies that don't even qualify as comedy or entertaining titillation. As a guy whose seen better shonen-ai based comedy, this one leaves me feeling empty, even though Ryoutou is adorable.
3. The Animation
When Clutch Cargo and Go Bots is kicking your ass in the animation department, you need to get out of the business. Was this made on a budget of $45.98? The "action scenes" in this show are just baaaaaaaad! There isn't a single fluid fight in all of Koutetsu Sangokushi that isn't accompanied by the distractingly awful CGI power-up effects that make it hard to see what a character is doing. It looks like someone just learned how to make animated, colored smoke and ran with it for 25 episodes. Attach this to the same routine, sword clashing tests of strength, and you have the most mundane, insipid battles in the history of animation to take place on your screen. Card duels in Yu-Gi-Oh have more motion and visual techniques!
My, God, is this show is soooo boring. I could probably forgive the bad animation, the run-of-the-mill plot, and the bland characters if it was just a little bit entertaining. But there are just streches where people talk, and talk, and talk, and the subject matter is 50% consisted of feelings, and 50% plants. I am not kidding. For an anime based on a war between three kingdoms, there is a hell of a lot of talk about posies, peonies, and lilies. None of this dialouge goes anywhere and it never stops. So many scenes take place on a balcony, or a bridge over moonlight as two people just talk about nothing.
OVERALL: I would rather fly head first through a windshield at 75 mph and have my face sanded off by the pavement than to watch this show ever again. I'd rather be hung by driving meat hooks into my index finger nails and have grade schoolers whack me in the groin with bats than to recommend this show to anyone. It's the epitome of what a lot of these half-assed anime TV series are full of, and it drives me crazy. Long-winded, slow-moving, boring shows that never shut up and tell a decent three arc story, thinking that drawn out, pseudo-philisophical discussions between two piles of balsa wood peppered with language written by someone who failed drama school for overused metaphors qualifies as entertainment don't impress me.
OVERALL SCORE: 4 out of 10
PROS: The music and opening theme is the only highlight
CONS: Everything else