Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A shift in tone

Souten Kouro's early plotting is an odd duck to begin with; after a brief burst of early violence, the first thing it really focuses on is one of the least typical episodes in Cao Cao's life - a tragic romance.
While the first episode left me concerned, and the flaws are still present - lots of clever budget saving shit all through the episode, and Cao Cao's voice actor simply cannot sell the towering fury or flamboyance of the man at all - they actually pulled this storyline off pretty well.

Despite the budget limitations, they managed to be stunningly beautiful when the mood demanded it; the pacing was very much what it needed to be, and they managed to suggest the nastier half of these events despite the necessary cuts for television.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms, by its very nature, has almost no female characters; those that do appear tend to be sundry wives not even worth granting names.
This was something King Gonta clearly wanted to address, and there are a number of moments throughout the series in which he manages to dig into the less sausagey side of things.
Dude meets girl, girl captured by evil eunuch, shit goes bad is a pretty standard story as far as ancient Chinese shit goes, but King Gonta managed to make the girl a really fascinating character in her own right, and in twenty minutes she gets a full character arc of her own - one stronger than the entire arc of most anime main characters. I remember making a similar point about the second episode of Kaiba, but coming across a character that is only around for one episode but has more characterization packed into that brief span of time than most characters get in a full series really drives home how thinly characterized most anime end up being.
Not that this will stop me enjoying the piss out of the extremely shallow Sengoku Basara, but it definitely makes me a lot happier that Souten Kouro's around, even if the budget leaves it a little compromised.


  1. Is this going to be one of those 13-episode deals, or extended into a full adaption (or something close to it)? The manga's, what, around 30 volumes?

    Torn on watching this if it gets fansubbed, I guess.