Studio Dogakobo and its writing staff can’t seem to grasp what made Koihime Musou such a wickedly campy and fun show in the first place. After setting out on a promising note (01-03), the show dipped into yuri fanservice hell (04) followed by a forgettable mess (05), but regained some of its initial vigor (06) after it introduced the thigh-slappingly hilarious Zhuge Loliang, who’s a shoe-in for a spot near the top of my list of favorite new characters of the season. Six months ago I would have stabbed myself if you’d told me I’d be clamoring for moar loli; the world’s a funny place and anime affects the mind in mysterious ways.
Now they’ve dropped the ball again with episode 07. Not a complete waste of an episode, mind you, but I must reiterate my original query, do the writers understand what the hell made their show so lovable? I do! And in an attempt to help them out of the fictional hole they’ve dug themselves into I’ll explain it right here and now.
- It’s already episode 07, stop introducing new characters! Your show’s impact depends on cleverly designed, attractive characters that parody historical figures. Yet here we are, in the second half of the show’s life, and we’re again bombarded by two new characters, with many more whose introduction remains (the Wu girls, for example). When will this end? Is this the series’s sole ambition, introducing a bunch of sexy females in colorful non-existent clothing who twat around? Let’s stop the flood of new faces and focus on the ones you managed to make me care about! (I’m sure there are many, many yuri fanboys who watch Koihime Musou for masturbation material and don’t mind the tits parade, but just like them, the window of opportunity for introducing new characters has come and moved on by now, I believe.)
- Paradoxically: it’s only episode 07, stop reusing the same devices! The first contest between Zhang Fei and Ma Chao — with its hilarious announcer who blabs commentary into a wooden spoon in lieu of a microphone, this being 3rd-century China after all — was a nifty twist in storytelling that recast the two’s historical duel as a lighthearted “martial arts” competition and subsequent beauty pageant. That’s fine. But in episode 07 the exact same plot point is used again to introduce Xu Zhu. Hell, I’m pretty sure the bit where Zhang Fei’s trying to read the announcement and Ma Chao comes up behind her and reads it to her were the exact same frames used the first time too! Who spent all the animation budget on coke and whores?
- The chibi sequences have their place. Remember, the focus is on light-hearted campy entertainment, so I won’t begrudge the show its chibi moments. A whole chibi episode might even (gasp) turn out to be not terrible at all.
- On the other hand, a storyline would be nice too. Or at least a plot more fleshed out than “faffing about from town to town”. So far nothing of importance has happened in the world of Koihime Musou except the Tigresses meeting other Tigresses or other Three Kingdoms-era warriors and characters. But when’s the last time you laughed at a joke that was all setup and no punch line? There’s no need to copy the heavy storyline from the historical novel, and the anime has wisely stayed away from it, yet in the end, if Koihime Musou‘s characters don’t evolve and change over the course of its 12 episodes, I’ll have to consider it a failure no matter what else took place, or how entertaining Zhuge Loliang’s antics were.
- But most importantly, don’t forget the laughs! Who gives a shit about the impoverished boy whose house is going to be repoed by unscrupulous brigands? Give me more mysterious female heroines in “unrecognizable” disguise! More wacky misunderstandings! More hip-revealing skirts!
Uhm, okay, maybe that last one wasn’t humorous, but I wouldn’t mind more of it either. Zhang Liao’s one of the best-designed characters so far and it pains me to know in advance that she’ll end up in Cao Cao’s hands… maybe quite literally, if you know what I mean.
Today’s Karen is: PONDERING