REVIEW: ‘Shin Ikki Tousen,’ Episode 2 – “Jofukuin”

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Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 2

Shin Ikki Tousen is an action/comedy ecchi anime produced by ARMS. Having channeled the powers of a god, Sonken now lays at death’s door. With her water chi depleted, she will not live long unless someone can restore it for her. Her sister Sonsaku willingly throws herself into the challenge, even though it requires her to journey to the far-away training grounds of Jofukuin. A place that sits alongside the netherworld. Can Sonsaku survive the perils that lay before her in Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 2?

With this episode leaving Sonken behind to recover from her wounds, it wastes no time introducing viewers to the new leading lady Sansaku. While she seems like an easy enough to follow anime protagonist so far, after her first full episode, the primary takeaway I have from her is one of genericness. She is that default, goofy yet determined style of protagonist that anime is overflowing with. Sonsaku comes across as entirely lackadaisical and even incompetent while still managing to not only survive through her hardships but often thrive in them.

Surrounding her on her journey to Jofukuin are several new characters that bring plenty of cool-headedness and composure to Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 2. These characters serve as welcome calming agents that help keep the story from devolving into the bizarre, which feels natural for Sonsaku’s personality. They also serve to fill the viewer in on the situation that Sonsaku’s journey is taking her.

I have to confess. I quickly found these new supporting characters far more intriguing than the star. Whether antagonists or allies, each felt far more interesting than the sometimes goofy Sonsaku. I hope that as the series progresses, its star will gain a bit more depth. It’s never easy for a show to thrive if its main character is the weakest personality.

While many of the new characters bring plenty of personality to Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 2‘s proceedings, none stood out like Ganryu. An enigmatic swordswoman wielding a noticeably long Masamune, we are talking Sephiroth proportions here; Ganryu strides onto the battlefield with a chill that makes the viewer initially question whether she is a friend or foe. As the episode allows the viewer to learn a bit more about the warrior and her sword, the character only gets cooler. I’m sincerely hoping that Ganryu sticks around for a long time.

This strong supporting cast arrives in the series, accompanying a scenario that fits them far better than its star. The chilling tone of the area surrounding Jofukuin and the enemies that inhabit it are on par with the sense of brutality and coldness that the villains in the pilot possessed, only now, there is an added level of darkness to the proceedings as the enemies’ ranks include undead, ancient warriors and other, far more threatening mystical opponents.

The visual side of Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 2 continues to deliver all the elements of its pilot. The moments of struggle are delivered well, and the story balances these moments well with the more absurd elements of its visual representation. It impresses me how the story can manage to have such extremes exist within the same 30-minute story while keeping them fairly separate from each other.

When all is said and done, Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 2 gets the new storyline for the series rolling smoothly. While my first impressions of Sonsaku are fairly underwhelming, hopefully, the strong supporting cast will continue to help carry the show’s tale until it can shore up her character.

Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 2 is streaming now on Crunchyroll.


Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 2
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Shin Ikki Tousen Episode 2 gets the new storyline for the series rolling smoothly. While my first impressions of Sonsaku are fairly underwhelming, hopefully, the strong supporting cast will continue to help carry the show’s tale until it can shore up her character.