Sakura travels to the capital with aspirations of defending the city from the demonic forces of the Black Sanctum Council like her father before her. However, things are not as she imagined as in addition to using her great spiritual energy to pilot a mech called a Kobu, she must also perform on stage as an actor, as The Imperial Flower Division’s cover is an art theater. Making a fool of herself and ruining a production gets her on everyone’s bad side, and somehow she must learn to work with them as well as prevent the enemy from destroying several shrines which protect the city.
- Title: Sakura Wars (Sakura Taisen)
- Series: TV Series
- Episodes: 25
- Status: Finished Airing
- Release Date: Apr 8, 2000 – Sep 23, 2000
- Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama, Mecha
- Rating: PG
My last review was over the OVA series of Sakura Wars and I felt that it left a lot to be desired if it was trying to get itself across as something stand alone for the people who have not played the games it was based off of. Today’s review is over the TV series of Sakura Wars instead, which I feel stands much more on its own in comparison.
Right from the start by covering the production side of things, you can tell that things are going to be different for this series. Instead of Radix, Madhouse is in charge of animation production for this TV series, and they have been involved with the production of many anime over the years, such as Chobits and Death Note. The background music is a step up from the OVAs, as is the dub, though I prefer the original Japanese language track. The OP song is the same as in the other series, so I do not have a different opinion now as opposed to then. The few singing numbers are also still in Japanese, with no attempt to try them in the dub, though this is probably for the best.
One of my complaints with the OVA series is that the story felt kind of disjointed, since it liked to constantly move forward at an almost breakneck pace. That isn’t the case here as there is a more evenly paced story and a more defined one at that. At its core, it is a story of good vs. evil, though there are plenty of overtures that the Flower Troupe are a family of sorts, since they start to act that way out of respect for Iris. This also means there is a lot of camaraderie that eventually develops between the characters, though that isn’t the case early on. In fact, one of the things you will notice early on is that this show is a lot more darker and a bit more mean spirited in comparison to the OVA series.
A lot of this dark tone is attributed thanks to the villains, which are the Kouma, who also go by the Black Sanctum Council. In the OVAs, they were just a nameless collection of minions. Here, they have some notable members to them, such as Aoi Satan, Crimson Miroku, Setsuna, and Rasetsu. Aoi Satan gets the most development since he has ties with both Sakura, Kouran, and some of the supporting characters. The other members don’t really get any character development, though Crimson Miroku sort of does, as she goes from being a haughty rival to Sumire to something that is almost a complete 180 of this. That aside, this is still a marked improvement on the enemies on this time around and you actually get an inkling on how dangerous these guys can be.
Moving onto the characters now, they also receive much greater development than they did in the OVAs, with Sakura, Kouran, and Iris receiving the most. Next would be Sumire and Maria, with Kanna getting the least amount of development. Though, that is only because she is actually the most “normal” in her backstory when compared to everyone else, who has some sort of hangup about them, whether it be an event in their past or how they were treated in the past. Ohgami also is much more important to the plot, as he shows up relatively early and helps bring the girls together when he isn’t developing plans to help fight against the Kouma. You also have some prominent side characters, like Ayame and Yoneda, who have a bigger presence in this series and do quite a bit on their own.
After all this is said, I would go ahead and recommend this series to everyone, since you don’t need to know anything about the video game roots of this series. Thankfully, the entire series is in a single boxset from from Sentai Filmworks if you do ever wish to see this.