With Yoshihiko out of the picture, the final battle now commences with Gisen and Jubei going at it with all their might.
What They Say:
Episode 12: The Goodbye Kiss
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Samurai Girls has certainly had its ups and down as any harem series does, and the penultimate episode shook things up a bit more as well. Having Nia discover some emotionsl and become more than just a tool was interesting, as was seeing the fallout from it here as Yoshihiko went kind of nuts over it and insisted that he's not going to follow her orders. A lot of what he had planned has now gone awry because of Gisen's role in events as her plan, pushed forward by others, is now coming to fruition more. The push for the remaining girls to become master samurai becomes paramount at this point in order to deal with the fight that's about to roll on through the area.
There's actually a nice sense of coming together from all the girls at this point as they put aside a lot of what has caused division because of the need for the greater good. The small group that's ready to head into the battle proper, with the vines reaching out everywhere causing damage and fear, give off the properly epic feeling as they stand before it. A lot of what's carried this series has definitely been style over substance, but there's a good bit of substance under all the style that has helped to elevate it to something more. The relationship side has also been well handled as more and more of the girls have accepted Muneakira as their general and they his master samurai. Bringing all the pacts together and focusing on just a few of them here as they go into battle gives it the right kind of feeling, both as an action series and a harem series.
What's interesting as the final battle plays out is that Muneakira really does take to the general role and directs the trio that heads in to defeat Gisen, rather than leading them into the battle. Providing the support and direction side changes the flow of it nicely so that they get notice of things they'd miss otherwise and end up working better as a directed team than working on their own. But it all moves forward to the battle between sisters as Gisen and Jubei fight it out within the thing that she's set to destroy everything with. It's a positively creepy and personal battle that is fought and thoroughly engaging, much as the other fights that go on outside of there among all the girls that are doing what they can.
Samurai Girls really surprised me from the start. If there was a series I had absolutely low expectations for this season, it was this one simply by the name alone. Yet once you delved into it, it displayed such an intriguing sense of style to it and plied it all with a lot of substance that you couldn't quite discern at first that it quickly became a dark horse favorite. The finale gives us pretty much non-stop action once it sets a few things up and the payoff is substantial. It took the really neat style of fusing old Japan with modern times in a way that felt more controlled yet realistic than many other series do. And the action has handsome payoff in terms of style as well, with a significant amount of it done in black and white to heighten the experience. It leaves you thoroughly enjoying it and watching the intensity of it all. Samurai Girls gave me more than I thought it could and it did it with confidence and style. It's a show I can easily see re-watching to find the little details and see how it all ties together even better when viewed in a single sitting. This was definitely a series to give a chance to as it managed to surprise thoroughly.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.