The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Manyuu Hikenchou

Title: Manyuu Hikenchou
Genre: Action/Comedy
Company: Hoods Entertainment
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 12 July 2011 – 4 Oct 2011

Synopsis: In an alternate world of Tokugawa Japan, breast size has become the deciding factor for the status of women. The Manyuu clan in particular is feared for their busty samurai females and terrifying acts. Heir to the clan Manyuu Chifusa one day rebels against her family by running away with the clan’s sacred scroll, on which secret techniques for the growth of big and beautiful breasts are said to be written, and begins an adventure in search for a way to stop the Manyuu.

The Highlights
Animation: Fight scenes and boobs are animated well; faces often drawn haphazardly.
Breasts: Absolutely ridiculous and gets boring quickly.
Voice acting: Passable.
Characters: Horrible motives and little chemistry; no development through episodes.

I could try and say that the premise of this anime is clever because it takes the traditional measures of wealth in society and replaces it with something asinine like boob size. However, there’s a limit to exactly how much leeway I can give a stupid premise that—I’m not going to beat around the bush—quickly becomes boring and is never really developed beyond a gag point. Though the serious topic of breast size in the anime seems to be a source of drama at first, constant exposure to the 2D goods is truly numbing even by the second or third episode; in the end, you can’t help but think that it’s just a show about boobs.

The main heroines, heiress Chifusa and servant Kaede, aren’t exactly the most interesting leads. Tension between the two friends at the beginning of the show gave way to trite comedy that focused on boobs and idiotic antics, and the anime’s failed attempts to give backstory to them ended brief and emotionless. (I find it incredulous that girls become good friends simply by poking each other in the chest and giggling.) None of the villains in the show are particularly compelling enemies either, with most of their motives taken straight out of a Character Design 101 book.

In fact, the show suffers from the horrible imbalance between drama and comedy that plague so many other anime series. It has a hard time finding the right jokes, and generally the attempts to be funny could have instead been given to screen time for the audience to relate to the main characters more. When there were chances for golden comedic moments, the jokes could have been smarter through something like clever word play rather than crass fanservice.

Perhaps the only two successful points of the anime were the at times luscious animation and passable voice acting, both of which were crucial to the anime’s essence. With a premise focused on exaggerated human female mammary glands, the art must add sensuality to the visuals, or else the flatness of the animation would have contradicted the very point of having a story revolving around breasts. Furthermore, the voices for the characters often needed to be serious at times yet comedic at others, often engaging in serious (?) dialogue about the female anatomy, which was by and large accomplished.

Manyuu Hiken-chou embodies in general much of the problem with mixing action, comedy, and ecchi into a single show. It shares many of these issues with spiritual siblings Seikon the Qwaser and Sekirei, but these other anime at least have plots than can be separated from the fanservice. If you fancy watching a series completely devoid of substance beyond an endless barrage of the female anatomy for whatever reason, you can give this show a shot. Oh, and when you do, make sure you watch the uncensored version at least.

The Rating: 2

Reviewed by: Kylaran

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