I don’t know about any of you guys, but when I think of feudal Japan, the first thing that comes to mind is how gay some of those warriors were (I’m looking at you, Akechi Mitsuhide). It’s just me who thinks that? Well, that must be due to the fact that Sengoku Otome rewrites ancient Japanese history in a more estrogen-heavy way, and for that, I send my thanks~
Synopsis: Yoshino Hide is an average girl who always seems to find trouble wherever she goes. One day Yoshino visits a local shrine to pray in order to pass her upcoming test. However, Yoshino sees a blue light coming from inside the Shrine and looks inside to find a mysterious person performing a magic spell. In a stroke of bad luck, Yoshino trips on a small bell and crashes into the shrine, prompting the stranger to catch her. Upon Yoshino’s capture, the magic spell spirals out of control and sends Yoshino back in time to the Sengoku Era.
Yoshino then encounters Akechi Mitsuhide and Oda Nobunaga. But unlike what really happened during the era, Hideyoshino realizes that everyone in the world is female. She then decides to help Oda Nobunaga find the Crimson Armor which is said to allow the person wearing the armor to conquer all of Japan.
First off, let me say that I’m not the biggest fan of historical anime. Something that comes to mind is the idea of edutainment, however, Sengoku Otome is anything but firmly rooted in reality. Sure, there are some factoids sprinkled here and there, yet there are plenty of liberties taken to ensure that this show is entertaining, and none more so than every character in the anime being female. Now, I’m no historian, but I know that there had to be at least some men in feudal Japan, but there are none in this show. And it’s never explained why that is. Would it have been as entertaining to see a male Akechi Mitsuhide pine for a male Oda Nobunaga? Sure as hell not to yuri fans, so I’m cool with this change.
Anyway, this is basically an isekai anime story, and I have to say, I think it’s a very middle-of-the-road one. Nearly the entirety of the season is spent chasing after the Crimson Armor and the rumored power it brings the one who dons it, so there isn’t a whole lot of story development going on here. Since Nobunaga isn’t the only one who’s after the armor, new additions to the cast eventually come along, and like a katamari, they get swept up and involved with Nobu and her retainers.
That sounds like there’s a lot of fighting amongst them, and while that is true, said fighting doesn’t involve weapons as much as you may think. Comedy plays a big part in this series, and even though I did enjoy it, I was left wanting more of it. I was enjoying this anime the most when it was lighthearted and whimsical, and towards the end, things became more serious, and I didn’t quite enjoy it as much.
The scary stories episode? Fun. Seeing Nobunaga and Yoshi compete for a piece of the Crimson Armor? Fun. The episode with that gay play from Hide and Yoshimoto? So fun. Granted, the story didn’t advance much during these episodes, yet I still found them pretty damn entertaining. Just a little more comedy and playfulness during that stretch would have been much appreciated by me, but it’s not that big of a deal.
Eventually, we learn how and why Hide ended up in this era, and once we finally do, I was left sort of wishing that it had stayed a mystery. I say that because the reasoning is a little silly and far-fetched, and I think no explanation is better than a disappointing one. I guess Thomas Gray was right, ignorance really is bliss. At least the ending was nice—or at least bittersweet—and seeing these characters all laughing and smiling together again was good to see.
Moving on from the forgettable story, let’s talk about something a lot better, the characters. Without a doubt, this was my favorite thing about this anime. The three main characters (Hide, Nobunaga, and Mitsuhide) are likable in their own way, and together, I think they help make this a surprisingly good cast of characters.
In a surprising twist, Nobunaga might actually be the kindest person in this entire anime. Even when someone stands in the way of her dreams of conquest, Nobu usually doesn’t automatically just raise her sword, although she certainly could, if she wanted to. She may be short-tempered, but she’s not actually violent, and personality-wise, there’s a lot to like about her. Seemingly all of the characters take a liking to Nobunaga, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the viewers are the same way. I know I did, and I’m sure I’m not the only one~
For yuri fans, Mitsu is the lesbian hero that we need and deserve. As Nobunaga’s right-hand woman, she’s doing whatever her lord asks of her, and all she wishes to do is to make Nobu happy. Once Hide comes into the picture and is taken under Nobunaga’s wing, Mitsu doesn’t hide her jealousy, and, in fact, that jealousy is taken to extremes. At one point, she plans a murder-suicide involving her and Nobunaga (and she nearly accomplishes it), so it’s clear that Mitsu is very serious about her love for Nobunaga.
I’m making it sound Mitsu and Nobunaga’s relationship is an overly serious aspect of Sengoku Otome, but aside from that phase (which comes after Mitsu sees Nobu “kiss” Hide), things are a lot more lighthearted and not so serious. Throughout, there’s plenty of blushing on Mitsu’s behalf, and the gay play that the girls undertake (which was based on a story written by Yoshimoto, the original Milk Morinaga :P) is another sign of the level of liveliness that this anime is going for. Mind you, this is a one-sided relationship, yet I think there’s still enjoyment to be had from it.
And in case you’re wondering, not only does Mitsu get her own “kiss” from Nobunaga, she gets twelve, and she makes sure that Hide is well aware of this fact. Okay, so these “kisses” come in the form of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but that still counts, according to our List of Yuri Anime Kisses! 😛
Hide is the girl that gets teleported back in time, and given how fun and jovial she is, Hide’s basically the straw that stirs the drink. More often than not, Hide’s the comic relief, and she’s just so spirited that you can’t help but like her. There are a lot of characters like this, but I think the fish out of water situation helped Hide stand out a little more to me, and I’m glad she was a part of this show.
As for the supporting characters, they definitely aren’t as enjoyable as the main cast, but there sure are a lot of them, and a majority of them have some redeeming value as well. Yoshimoto and Ieyasu end up playing key roles, and despite not always being at the forefront, it’s not hard at all to form an opinion of either. For most of the season, Masamune drops in and out of the story, but she plays an important role as well, especially down the stretch. Her personality wasn’t the strongest, so she isn’t as easy to rally behind as some of the other characters, and I was kind of indifferent to her.
Shingen and Kenshin are pretty much a package deal, so whenever one is around, you know the other is sure to follow. Their rivalry is kind of cute, and you get the sense that behind all of the posturing and arguing, they might actually enjoy each other’s company. In other words, they’re a little bit like a far less gay version of Sakurako and Himawari from Yuru Yuri. 😛
Later on, the girls of the Saigoku Three ultimately don’t make a major impact, so they’re mostly forgettable. And I can’t forget about Shiro, the (pervy) pupper who wears a samurai helmet and can talk. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that that also is not historically accurate.
All in all, there are some fun and entertaining characters to be found in Sengoku Otome, but it all comes back to the three main characters, and in my opinion, there as good a reason as any to watch this anime.
Honestly, I expected a lot more fanservice from this anime. That’s not an admission of disappointment or anything, it’s just that, based on Nobunaga’s choice of wardrobe in the key visual, I got some Queen’s Blade flashbacks. Alas, it’s not like that, and I think that’s probably for the best. In addition to fanservice, I was also expecting some more action than we ultimately got. The penultimate episode was the action-fest that I was expecting all along, but the action throughout this series was actually pretty good, so I’m a little disappointed there wasn’t more of it.
As usual, the music wasn’t that memorable for me, but it made enough of a positive impression that I can confidently say that it’s definitely above average. Because of the lack of a ton of action, there aren’t a lot of opportunities for some exceptional music, but how many anime can genuinely boast to have that? Probably not a lot, so I’m fine with the music being merely pretty good. The OP and ED fall into the same boat, although I think all the nakedness might make the ED seem a bit better, in some people’s eyes.
Overall, it’s kind of hard for me to figure out who to recommend Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox to. I’m not sure there’s enough action to really recommend it to action fans, I’m not sure the comedy is plentiful enough to pitch this to comedy fans, and historical fanatics might cringe at the idea of Oda Nobunaga (among others) depicted as a big-breasted woman.
What this anime is though is modestly entertaining, so even though it doesn’t hone in and do one genre exceptionally well, I think it’s decent enough across the board for people to still find it at least somewhat enjoyable. I feel like the characters are a definite bright spot, and for yuri fans, we got ourselves a pretty good yuri character that’s easy to root for, in Mitsu. Everything considered, this show is not so bad for an anime based on a pachinko game, I’d say.