If you thought that you had seen the last of this female version of the Three Kingdoms story, think again. I said that last season and now it is coming back for a third season. Not only that, but with Ikki-Tousen: Xtreme Xecutor also currently running, there are two shows in Japan that feature the heroes of ancient China transformed into cute or hot women in various states of semi-dress.
What They Say
During the last years of Han Dynasty, the world was filled with chaos and disorder. Three girls, Ryubi, Kan'u, and Chohi pledge to be blood-sisters in order to settle this world. After overcoming many hardships, they were finally able to bring back peace. However, a new evil creeps into their momentary peace. The battles of Muso girls are about to start once again.
'Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As you might remember, Shin Koihime Musou, the second season of the anime adaptation of a game with adult themes that took the well-known heroes and characters of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the famed novel that presented a fictionalized version of the decay and fracture of the Han Dynasty in China during the 3rd Century AD, provided us with quite the spectacle (as you can see in my reviews of the first two seasons here at Mania). Now, a third season (it is presented as the second season of Shin Koihime Musou, but as the two shows form a single continuity, this is really the third season of the anime) is currently being broadcast, with a simulcast on Crunchyroll. I highly recommend you watch the first two seasons before moving on to Shin Koihime Musou- Otome Tairan.
The first thing I need to comment upon, as I was already alerted to by one of our forum regulars, was that the audio track is out of sync with the video. Nice going there. (Editors note: The sync issue was corrected within a few hours of initial streaming)
I press ahead regardless, as the dialogue is not the highlight of this show. We spend the beginning of the show with Koumei providing a little bit of backstory for those who might need their memory refreshed, in the guise of writing a letter to her little foster sister. Then, we learn that Ryuubi, who lost her sword last season, has been given a new sword found by the villagers after they searched the lake (you'll have to watch last season to understand all of this). Elsewhere, in what is obviously meant to be a PLOT POINT with a capital P, Kashin, the voluptuous high official of the Han Imperial Court has suddenly been accused of treason and is apparently fed some sort of poison by some little girl (boy? who can tell with some of these character designs) named Choujou. I'm sure we'll see what is going on later.
By the way, the audio-synching problem seems to get worse as the episode plays. It's not just a little stutter: it's about 4 seconds off.
Anyhow, the new opening, as you might expect, shows all (and I mean all) of the girls in their battle outfits, occasionally looking as if they might be able to fight (we see the Lesbian Army engaged in a cavalry charge, as usual). The new opening theme is alright, not as good as the second season's or the first's, though I will admit I did not exactly have the visuals matched to the song to help sell me on it.
This episode seems to be concerned mainly with Ryuubi thinking she has put on weight, because of a comment made by Rin Rin. Ryuubi then has a scene where we see her pulling at her own body, seeing if she's really gotten too fat. Into the middle of this walks Bachou, thus we get a few panty and bra shots, as well as an accidental roll on the floor. And'Magical Shiny Orbs! You'll know what I mean when you see it (and not hear the right audio with it).
At least one thing is pretty clear about this show. As with last season, wherever we have Bachou, we have panty shots. That is not a bad thing, but if that's all this show has going for it'
And the time lag between the audio and the video seems to be getting worse.
So, Ryuubi, admiring how Bachou manages to eat so much while not gaining any weight, decides to join her in training, thinking that the exercise will help her lose weight. Of course, Bachou and her cousin Batai are fanatical in their training regimen, and Ryuubi cannot keep up with them. This seems to depress her more, and so she sneaks out of her bedroom in the middle of the night in search of food, and she finds some strange substance hidden in a cabinet that Koumei was hiding earlier (these turn out to be spoiled menma, bamboo shoots, Chouun's favorite food). The other girls, noting Ryuubi's concern with her stomach and gaining weight, come to the obvious conclusion that she is pregnant.
Considering the lack of men in this show and the obvious inexperience of all of these women with men and what happens between men and women, I can actually believe that they would be this naive. Adding to the'hilarity?'Koumei, the great strategist and bookworm claims that Bachou is the father, despite the fact that Bachou is a woman (no trap here, she's all woman, though very much of the Amazonian variety). Fortunately, Dr. Kada (the weird pseudo-Taoist medicine man, yes, a rare man in this show) and a strange hooded woman appear as Rin Rin is racing out to get a doctor. He comes to examine Ryuubi and notes the obvious fact that she is not pregnant. He diagnoses food poisoning accurately, and Ryuubi is swiftly healed.
Now, it is time to reveal who the hooded woman is. It is none other than Kashin. Why the hood? Well, when we last saw her, she was fed some sort of strange pill that made her ill. Now, we can see what the pill has done. It has given her cat ears, the kind you can't just take off your head. Apparently, this was the work of Choujou, the one whose sex I couldn't quite tell, and that's because he'she'er'it's a eunuch. Oddly, the original source material of the historical novel rears its head briefly again, as the general He Jin was overthrown by a group of evil eunuchs. The poison will slowly turn Kashin into a cat, which is especially galling to her since she hates cats.
But, Dr. Kada, who found Kashin wandering alone in the mountains, knows of an antidote. It requires gathering three hard to find ingredients however. Obviously. So, it's item questing time. One item is at the court of the Son family, so Aisha is headed there. Another is at the top of some mountain or other. And the third comes from very far away normally, but Koumei's teacher apparently keeps a small supply of "elephant's belly button lint" handy, so this gives her a reason to visit home.
I see lots of traveling, baths, undress, and silliness to come.
That's if they fix the synching problem. By the end of the episode, the video was about 2-3 minutes ahead of the audio.
We get more silliness with the female alternate reality girls from not-Ancient China. Expect plenty of panty shots and silly misunderstandings, along with the most unlikely catgirl you could ever imagine. But you may want to wait for Crunchyroll to address a major issue with their stream before trying it out: the audio and video on this first episode are horribly out of sync. If you enjoyed the previous two seasons, then this will be more of the same. If you were left unimpressed, or positively displeased by either of the previous seasons, then there is no reason for you to inflict more pain on yourself.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple Mac Mini with 1GB RAM, Mac OS 10.5 Leopard