Here it is the first reviewed show of Summer 2015. With it comes my new format of reviewing. Rather than doing them three at a time, I will instead be reviewing shows one at a time as they end for you guys. Fair warning: These will have spoilers! The reason for change of format is mostly because I’ve been wanting to go with this style, and also because I’ve recently been laid off and thus have time on my hands. With that let’s jump into…
Rokka -Braves of the Six Flowers-
Rokka came to us in a flurry of action and excitement early this season. It was easily a stand out with its premise of a fantasy steeped in mystery, and quickly caught the attention of the anime viewing public. Along with excellent fight sequences and a decent soundtrack, the show also had a great amount of fan inquiry and debate. Let me be clear that I really did enjoy this show, however there was a point where the writers “jumped the shark” in my opinion. Before we get into that bit of nonsense, let’s cover the story and again there will be spoilers!
The story begins with a young man named Adlet Mayer interrupting a holy duel between two men. It is quickly realized that Adlet’s fighting style is all about hidden weapons and trickery, and he is beaten and thrown in jail. In jail a young girl visits him and explains (through tiresome exposition) about the world they live in, and about the demon god that must be defeated by the Braves of the Six Flowers. Apparently the duel was for favor from a goddess to bear the mark of one of these braves, and after a montage sequence in jail Adlet discovers that he bears such a mark. When the young girl returns to his cell she reveals that not only is she the princess of the kingdom (and a bunny girl), but also the Saint of Blades and one of the braves as well. Nashetania (the girl) breaks Adlet out of jail, and the two set out to meet the other four braves.
After a short time Adlet and Nashetania meet up with Goldov (Nashetania’s body guard/fellow brave) and Flamie (former Brave killer/fellow brave). The four fight briefly until Adlet convinces them to stop, at least until they make it to the designated meeting area. Before hitting the meeting area the braves come upon a fort with soldiers that tell them how to activate an impenetrable fog barrier at the meeting spot. The team of four runs into a group of fiends (servants of the demon god) and Adlet is told to run ahead and secure the barrier point. Adlet by himself goes to the temple, forces open the doors, and after the doors open a heavy fog sets in. Seeing that they are trapped the braves assemble, only to find out that instead of six there are seven braves. The hunt to find the seventh begins.
We quickly meet the rest of the braves at this point. There’s Mora who is the Saint of the Mountain and leader of the organization that keeps tabs on all the saints. Saints in this world are women with powers based what they’re the saint of. For example Flamie is the Saint of Gunpowder, so she can create bullets and explosive charges. Knowing that we meet Chamot the Saint of Swamp, who has the most disgusting power I’ve ever seen. She essentially regurgitates the swamp in her stomach, kills with it, uses the decomposed beings as warriors, and then sucks the swamp back into her stomach. Revolting. Lastly we meet Hans Humpty, who is a bad-ass assassin with an unfortunate name and literal cat-like reflexes. After the introductions the characters fall into the mire of mystery that is their current predicament.
This is point where the show goes from good to great, as the seven begin to suspect one another. Adlet is quickly fingered as the most likely suspect as he was the first one in the temple. Not wanting to bore you with the particulars, the series becomes Adlet running from the other braves, while coming up with hypotheses as to who the seventh brave is. He also slowly brings a couple of the other braves to his side through his reasoning. His hypotheses are quickly debunked one after another until he gambles on a final guess while beaten and bloody. His last guess ends up being correct (mostly) and they are able to finger the seventh brave. The seventh brave turns out to be (MAJOR SPOILER ALERT) Nashetania!
Yes ladies and gentlemen in a twist worthy of Hollywood, the plucky happy-go-lucky bunny girl character was the bad guy. It was awesome, and it suited the mood swings of her character perfectly. It was the perfect complement to a second season too, as she could now be the villain and a source of temptation to the ever loyal Goldov. With this everyone held their collective breath for a second season to be announced. Truly an end befitting an excellent mystery, and then in the same episode they jumped the shark.
MORE SPOILERS! In a move that would make M. Night Shyamalan blush, the writers of this show (or the manga) compounded twist on top of twist. After disabling the fog barrier, the braves then run into another seventh member. That’s right another seventh member was waiting outside the barrier waiting to get in. Now all they’re sure of is that Adlet isn’t the seventh. In essence the show goes right back to square one, leaving us all shaking our heads in disbelief. Not only another brave, but the Saint of Blood who is one of the most ridiculous looking characters I’ve ever seen! She comes dressed up as a cow for crying out loud!
“Wait a minute,” you say, “shouldn’t you be happy to have another mystery on your hands.” Sadly no hapless reader, I am not. I was eager for the show to transition to something more, but instead got a second mystery in the guise of the first one. The romance built between Fremy and Adlet is now an awkward love triangle with the new girl involved as well. For some reason unexplained to the viewers this johnny-come-lately is an acquaintance of Adlet, which makes Flamie into an indignant tsundere of sorts. It’s like they took a chunk of the character development for the season and chucked it out a window. Needless to say I am not happy with the ending of this show.
If you ask me, “Should I watch this show?” my answer will be no. Mostly because you just read my review and I gave away everything important. If you like action you might still like this show though, because some of the scenes were pure gold. I especially liked the fight between Hans and Adlet, so if nothing else check that one out. Like I said it’s a great show up until the end, so give it a try if you really want. As for most of the otaku community and myself however, it’s going to take one hell of a second season to redeem this show in our eyes.
Arigatō my fellow BrOtaku!