It's time for the final showdown as the girls prepare to take on the evil sorcerer Ukitsu, who has used the evil magical book from last season (the "Crucial Keys to the Way of Peace") to bring alive of the First Emperor's clay army. Wait, are we watching the same show? Yes, don't worry. There will be boobs.
What They Say
During the last years of Han Dynasty, the world was filled with chaos and disorder. Three girls, Ryubi, Kan'u, and Chouhi 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)
If there is one thing this show has never been, it is subtle. In this, the final episode of the third season of the Koihime Musou franchise, the producers aim to surprise the audience as little as possible. While we have moved away from childish silliness into something approaching a serious plot, this has been the standard practice for this show since its first season. So, we get a suitably "serious" opening with no music, but lots of activity as the girls prepare for battle. We also get Ryuubi's big "hey, you're not so useless after all" moment as her high birth combined with the Dragon Claw sword make it possible to survive Ukitsu's onslaught. Not that it will be so easy, as an ugly looking rat (Choujou, obviously) watches the proceedings. His intentions are clear: scamper away immediately afterwards and try to get Ukitsu to accept the information in exchange for Choujou's restoration to human form.
Then we get the battle plan from Teiiku, one of Sousou's strategists, who comes up with a plan (and looking at the visual of the plan, the animators clearly have a little too much of something in mind) that will get Ryuubi close enough to Ukitsu to defeat him. The plan ends with Rin Rin giving it a completely inappropriate name (though the joke is lost on most of us, as you really need a translator's note here).
With that settled, surely it's time for that tired, old Butterfly Mask joke to resurface as Chouun...I mean Butterfly Mask, appears, with another butterfly mask in hand, this one for Ryuubi to wear during the battle, to give her courage. Kan'u, Koumei, and Rin Rin look on, non-plussed as usual. And like that, she's gone. So now it is time for the announcement of the battle formations, as we have the line up of breasts...I mean the line up of the generals and warriors. On the other side, Ukitsu is visited by a rat (wow, what a surprise). Choujou reveals the existence of the Dragon's Claw and that Ryuubi will be able to wield it against him. This takes Ukitsu by surprise, so he rewards Choujou with the antidote to the drug that turned him into a rat (well, he says it was an antidote, but then it does not concern us any longer; Choujou here was merely a device to move the plot forward, not a character we should concern ourselves with any longer). So much for the surprise, unless our girls have something else up their sleeves.
The battle starts in earnest, with the clay soldiers seemingly invincible. It's not that they can't be defeated, but that they are tireless, while humans, of course, tire from the exertion of slicing through clay. While the "ambush" plan succeeds in getting Ryuubi to Ukitsu's...um...chariot? wagon-thingy? it does not get further than that, since Ryuubi is an inexperienced warrior, and Ukitsu uses his magic to brush her aside like a gnat. The battle is not going well elsewhere, as the Clay Army is nearly limitless in numbers. Things start to look really bad when Ukitsu easily kicks the Dragon Claw off the side of his wagon's platform, while Ryuubi is dangling perilously from the side. That butterfly mask she's wearing isn't doing much for her. Of course, you know what is coming next, it's the classic Villain Thinks He's Won and Taunts the Defeated Heroes Speech, which always comes right before his come-uppence.
Ukitsu wonders why Ryuubi is wearing such a stupid looking mask. Well it's pretty obvious why you would wear a mask: so that no one can recognize you. On cue, the big box that Rin Rin was carrying with her opens up and out jumps the real Ryuubi, carrying the real Dragon Claw. The decoy this whole time was Choukaku, the eldest of the Yellow Hair Ribbon sisters, who now that you mention it, is basically the same exact character design as Ryuubi (down to the oversized breasts), but with just a slight change in hair color. Ryuubi spears Ukitsu with the Dragon Claw, and the evil sorcerer is destroyed. All that is left is for Kada, the Taoist Doctor, to seal the evil book, the Crucial Keys to the Way of Peace.
The battle is over. It's party time in Luoyang and the producers have decided to continue to litter the anime with references to the historical figures (Kashin serving up slices of meat, how clever), as well as copious amounts of fanservice. We are then treated to a montage of funny scenes as the usual ending song plays.
To call Shin Koihime Musou -Otome Tairan formulaic would be to state the obvious, but that's okay, since "obvious" is a central component to the show and its appeal. There are three things you can count on with any season of Koihime Musou: 1) there will be breasts and breast jokes; 2) there will be bathing scenes which will be covered up by fog in the television broadcast, with unedited versions available on home video for Japan; and finally 3) the last two to three episodes of every season will turn into a dramatic arc with a potentially world-ending crisis having to be faced by our heroines. What is slightly amazing is that they managed to give just about every single major female figure at least two to three lines of dialogue while continuing to have such an incredibly large cast. What is not amazing is the show. It's not that it is without amusement or enjoyment. It has its moments, and there are times where the producers are quite clever with their source material. The reason why this franchise will never likely rise above being merely adequate is because it lacks imagination and does not provide a unique experience. It is much too predictable. It is far too cliche. It has many instances of lampshading which make no attempt to hide what is coming, and many characters are merely plot coupons or plot devices with no other reason for existing. Original, it most certainly is not. But that may be why it is so successful: if you know that you like this show just as it is, why would you want anything different? I fully expect to see a Season 4 in due course, as the "source" material has quite a bit to go.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple Mac Mini with 1GB RAM, Mac OS 10.5 Leopard