REVIEW: ‘Shin Ikki Tousen,’ Episode 1 – “The Return”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 1

Shin Ikki Tousen is an action/comedy ecchi anime produced by ARMS. When the great heroes of the Three Kingdoms Era of China passed on, they left their power behind in the form of sacred beads that could be honed to augment a fighter’s natural gifts through training and preparation. Now, Chubo Sonken is about to inherit one of these beads in her attempt to follow the path blazed by her sister. But she may not be prepared for the world she is about to enter in Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 1.

When Sonken arrives at Nanyo Academy to begin her journey, she quickly finds herself in way over her head. The school greets her with students pulverizing each other, with no apparent rhyme or reason to the fighting. The young would-be fighter is so terrified that she urinates on herself in shock. And this is the lightest surprise Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 1 has in store for her.

Within minutes of getting freshened up, Sonken learns she has inherited the title of leader of the school from her missing sister. Moments later, deadly assassins storm the school, slaughtering all that get in their way in an attempt to find her. I bet this makes your first day of high school feel easy, huh?

While the pilot episode throws quite a bit at its audience, it does a good job of parceling out its back story between flashy action sequences, brutal beatdowns, and chilling moments of being hunted. Though Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 1 may be flashing more than some viewers will be willing to handle.

As mentioned above, Shin Ikki Tousen is an ecchi. This means there are many sexual elements worked into the very non-sexual situations of this episode. The panty shots are pervasive, and there are points where the clash of swords leaves multiple female combats fighting with one of their breasts exposed. If well-known ecchis like High School of the Dead were too much for you, I would recommend steering clear of this.

While all the fan service and nudity will capture a lot of viewers’ attention, Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 1 does do a solid job of setting up the narrative to come. A combination of interesting characters and mystical mysteries are utilized well to create a strong plot hook that has me genuinely curious to know what happens next.

Perhaps the show’s greatest achievement is how it builds the threats that present themselves in this first episode.

With background to layout and future plot to setup, Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 1 has to do a lot with limited time. And while there are some cool combat moments in the back half of this episode, ARMS understands that sometimes the best way to make a villainous first impression is to give the viewer the aftermath of a battle rather than the entire battle itself. Blood-soaked hallways and the ruined remains of fighters do a great job of delivering the severity of the coming threats without spending a lot of time depicting side battles that don’t matter. Once those threats are confronted, they deliver a range of personalities that span the gulf fo cold and stoic to unsettling and creepy.

When all is said and done, Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 1 delivers an interesting narrative beginning. The characters are varied, and the battles waste no time delivering an intensity that many series take much longer to reach. The only recent anime I can think of that delivers as much threat in its first episode as this would be Jujutsu Kaisen. It all comes down to whether or not you are comfortable with some of the show’s visual choices that are most likely to make or break you with this pilot.

Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 1  is streaming now on Crunchyroll.


Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 1
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 1 delivers an interesting narrative beginning. The characters are varied, and the battles waste no time delivering an intensity that many series take much longer to reach. The only recent anime I can think of that delivers as much threat in its first episode as this would be Jujutsu Kaisen. It all comes down to whether or not you are comfortable with some of the show’s visual choices that are most likely to make or break you with this pilot.