More women, more battles, more bare breasts,
yet there is even less plot here.
Shin Koihime Musō was another random anime I found on demand, and at first it looked kind of promising: groups of female warriors in ancient China defend the land, have fun adventures, and become closer to each other in the process. What could go wrong? As it turns out, oh so much could (and did) go terribly, terribly wrong.
I was a bit confused at the beginning of episode one because there are so many characters to keep track of and you’re really thrown right into the middle of the story. Perhaps if I were at all familiar with the Chinese historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which is the inspiration for the adult visual novel and strategy game that the anime is based on, I wouldn’t have gotten so lost, but alas I am not. Then I found out that this is season two (the first season is titled simply Koihime Musō) which explains the lack of, well, explanation regarding the story and characters. Still, even though the names were difficult to catch, I was going with it pretty well until the first bath scene in which I discovered that it would be yet another extreme fan service-filled series. Okay, so there’s a girl flailing around in the bath for no apparent reason, whatever. Like it or not I’m getting used to fan service, so it’s not the deciding factor in whether I continue to watch an anime anymore.
But naked butts aside, the first episode was pretty slow, centering on the relationship between two of the warriors (not an out-and-out love relationship, just whether one girl has the right to call the other girl by her given name). During this time I discovered that instead of women warriors in battle, this show is more about comedic moments and fan service. Episode two tried to introduce some sort of loose storyline about a girl on a quest to recover her family’s stolen heirloom sword, but then episode three threw all of that out the window in favor of a ridiculous drawn-out contest between two groups of gals for the sword in question. By the time it reached the battle where the girls had to catch eels not with their hands but with their naked breasts (in front of the entire gawking village) I was done with this series.
I’ve already mentioned my distaste for Queen’s Blade, so the fact that this show made that one look halfway intelligent and plot-driven pretty much says it all. I saw a lot of similarities between the two shows in that situations are created not for the sake of the story but for the seeming purpose of showing half-naked women in ridiculous or sexually compromising positions. I’ll give Shin Koihime Musō credit in that the strong bonds of the groups of women made it feel less blatantly sexist than Queen’s Blade. (In episode two most of the fan service comes from a lone traveling girl getting her shirt ripped off by male bandits, but at least some of the other female warriors show up and kick the crap out of the thugs.)
However, the cutesy silliness of Shin Koihime Musō almost makes the fan service more creepy than the “realism” of Queen’s Blade. (I say “realism” in quotes because, though the show did not have typical swimmy-eyed moments of anime comedy, Queen’s Blade is only realistic if you really believe that all women look like Barbie dolls.) Shin Koihime Musō is too cute for porn and too trashy for shojo and it doesn’t have enough story to keep Chinese history fanatics (or just regular ol’ story-driven anime fans like yours truly) engaged. The only good things I got from the three episodes I sat through were a new cute anime song, “Otome Ryouran☆Battle PARTY” by Mai Goto, Nami Kurokawa, and Hiroka Nishizawa, as well as desire to study up on China’s Three Kingdoms after the fall of the Han dynasty, and finally, a newfound determination to stay as far away from eels as humanly possible.