Greetings, fellow Saniwa! We have sadly reached the final episode of Touken Ranbu -Online-’s second anime adaptation, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu. The series has had some ups and downs, and overall was an absolutely fantastic take on a beloved game, but I’m glad it ended at one cour. Because, guys, the end of this episode made a special announcement- there’s gonna be a movie!! Although there has been nothing released as of yet regarding the content of the movie, the official tweet from ufotable hints that it may be an original work, rather than a compilation movie. How exciting!
So let’s get into the review of the finale!
The battle will continue. It will never end, you know
After finding himself in Hijikata’s room, Izuminokami Kanesada sees that Horikawa Kunihiro has now joined the Shinsengumi. Although mere hours have passed for Kanesada, it has been 3 years for Horikawa. How much of an effect has Horikawa had on the flow of history, and will he succeed in his own personal mission?
When Horikawa and Kane-san reunited, perhaps some people expected the two to face off. They did, but not with their swords. The uchigatana and wakizashi were never enemies, and they never will be. It’s now clear that everything he was doing was for the sake of Kanesada. He never forgot his true mission, and throughout the three years he spent in the Shinsengumi, he worked hard to preserve history, both by fighting the retrograde army and being careful his own actions would not affect what was supposed to happen. The only real change was when Tetsunosuke refused to take Kanesada with him and, surprisingly, Hijikata gave in.
Of course, I tried not to think too deeply about just HOW Horikawa influenced this (I really don’t want to think of Hori-chan being manipulative) and the following exchange was quite cliche. Kane-san stepped in to remind Hijikata about how he should keep his samurai spirit and yadder yandere. Yes, it may have been cliche, but I enjoyed it. Despite his angst, Horikawa does not have a bad bone in his body. It’s strange to think that Horikawa Kunihiro was actually forged centuries before Izuminokami Kanesada.
Just Satisfying Action
Here is where ufotable truly shines. The animation and camerawork in the battle against the 1000 troops was truly stunning. Our poster boy Mikazuchi Munechika appeared halfway through the battle almost deus ex machina style. Why wasn’t he there from the beginning? I’ll tell you why, guys- satisfaction. That’s it. Don’t dwell too much on a small detail like that; we are here to see pretty boys satisfyingly slash their way through multitudes of enemies.
The Perfect Background Music
One thing that made the final battle even more satisfying is the amazing rearrangement of Kalafina’s ending theme. With the blizzard of cherry blossom petals throughout the whole scene, it really was a scene I could watch over and over again.
An Expression Tells More Than Words
Perhaps one of my absolute favorite scenes took place directly after the fight against the Time Retrograde Army. As Hijikata rides into battle, Kane-san and Horikawa rush to witness his final moments. The expressions on the faces of these two Touken Danshi was heart-wrenching. Especially Kane-san’s. Just looking at the emotion on his face as he desperately ran towards the battlefield almost had me in tears. Horikawa cried with his entire body, and I feel it was a perfect direction choice to have the music play over the silence of his tears.
Yagen Leg Watch
Although I would have loooooved for Yagen Leg Watch to go out with a bang in the finale, unfortunately there wasn’t that much of Yagen or his legs. However, there was a little shot that I absolutely adored. Yagen used the sword of his brother, Honebami Toshiro, to propel himself into the air. Yagen and his legs look truly stunning. I have high hopes for the movie version. I’ll be surprised if they don’t show off his wonderful legs.
That’s it, we have finished Katsugeki Touken Ranbu! I feel the series did not disappoint, and although some episodes were definitely more exciting than others, the cinematography and animation stayed the highest quality throughout. I will go into my thoughts on the series as whole later in my series review, but I hope Touken Ranbu fans and people new to the series alike were able to enjoy this story of beautiful sword boys protecting history. Unfortunately the story may have been a little hard to follow for people who are unfamiliar with Japanese history, but hopefully some of my episodes reviews have given a little insight into the happenings of each episode.
I can proudly say that I am very excited and have high hopes for the upcoming movie.