Samurai Warriors is based on the fourth installment of the video game franchise with the same name. The series is loosely set during Sengoku period Japan. After successfully uniting Japan under a single peaceful rule, Hideyoshi Toyotomi passes away. Soon after his passing, a divide forms between the ranks. Both sides are adamant about honoring the wishes and legacy of Hideyoshi, but disagree on how to do so. Samurai Warriors centers around the Sanada brothers who find themselves on opposing sides of this great divide.
The nation is divided into two factions. Some believe that the next ruler should be Hideyori, the son of Hideyoshi. Lord Ieyasu Tokugawa however believes that the boy is too young and ill equipped to maintain peace in the land. The military leaders are split and swear loyalties to the camps they believe will best honor the dying wishes of Hideyoshi to maintain peace in the land. The road to peace however is riddled in war and bloodshed. Yukimura and Nobuyuki Sanada have always fought alongside one another as brothers do. Their life experiences however have led them on different paths. Yukimura believes that reign should remain with the Toyotomi name. Nobuyuki has witnessed the power and honor of Tokugawa and is adamant in his ability to rule. Brothers become enemies and know that the day will come where they must face off.
Many battles arise during this great war. Many lives are lost and it weighs heavy on all sides. Both camps believe they are on the path of righteousness, which makes the series even more tragic. The Toyotomi may not have the numbers, but they do have military brilliance and power with Yukimura. During one battle however, the Toyotomi ranks fall and Yukimura is summoned for sentencing. To his surprise, rather than execution, he is sentenced to live out the rest of his days in exile. Yukimura must find a new meaning in life now that his identity as a warrior has been stripped away. Alliances will be tested and broken. Shamed warriors find redemption. Murders will be avenged. A true leader will rise, but will he succeed?
Samurai Warriors is a series meant for a specific audience. If you are a fan of strategy, internal dialogue and manipulation, this is made for you. The weaponry, armor and action sequences are impressive and entertaining. The show is at its best during battles. The voice cast is fantastic and brings these characters to life. The animation is smooth and creative. Besides the action sequences, the music is probably the best thing about this series. It is scored perfectly throughout the entire run.
Now onto the parts that fall short… The intro to the series is absolutely confusing. It turns out that it is somewhat of a recap of the animated movie that precedes the show. This 48 minute long feature is actually in the extras of the box set, but I didn’t know that until after I finished the series. It doesn’t say it anywhere to watch the film first. If you get this box set, make sure to watch the movie entitled Samurai Warriors: Legend of the Sanada before starting the actual series. The show will make so much more sense if you do. There are SO many characters in the show that it is hard to keep them all straight. Character intros are so poorly paced in the beginning that they just put the name of the character over their head when they talk and then move on. Every time I looked away for a second I swear there were 3 new characters. The greatest failure for the series in my eyes however is the finale. It is abrupt, without emotional payout and makes hardly any sense. I’m honestly still frustrated by the final fight scene. If you watch the show you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
This show had so much going for it, but it falls short of being a well rounded series. I wish someone had told the creators that more is not always better. I did enjoy a lot of the show even if it doesn’t sound like it. Like I said before, the show shines during the action scenes. They do a very good job at honoring the gameplay from the video game franchise. Overall, the show is a quick and fun ride, but don’t expect much of a finale.
The box set includes all 12 episodes of the series on two discs. The show can be viewed in English and Japanese. Extras include the feature film Samurai Warriors: Legend of Sanada, textless opening/closing songs and trailers. Shorts called Samurai Warrior High School can be viewed after each episode and show chibi versions of the characters in a school setting. Originally produced by TYO Animations in conjunction with Funimation. If you like the Samurai Warrior and Dynasty Warrior video game franchises, you will most likely enjoy this series so give it a shot! You can find it here. See ya next time!