18 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Brave 10 episode 1

We’ve had the token boob anime, the popular franchise ripoff, the bland shounen, the dreaded 4-koma adaptation, the Shaft, the sequel to that show you’ve been meaning to watch since forever, and the anime that starts off promising but devolves into wacky harem hijinks and completely loses sight of what made people like it in the first place. Now it’s time for the bishiefest of the season. Boy, don’t you just hate it when bloggers boil everything down is to tired tropes?

There’s something slightly wearing about anime that stick so tiringly to formula. Our female lead is the good-natured yet ditzy stand in for the female audience, for whom said female audience would prefer she wasn’t in anyway. Then there’s the pile of beautiful bishies, all of whom spend their time trying to out-cool each other by appearing aloof and manly. I will at least give the show the credit for the bishie actually looking like men, rather than flat chested androgynous sparkle-machines. What’s more surprising is, despite these characters falling into these same old tired archetypes, I still kinda fell for them.

You see, the set up is very reminiscent of my old favourite Samurai Champloo. A good-natured, slightly ditzy yet fiery young woman enlists the help of a wandering warrior. Said wandering warrior isn’t too keen to help and generally tries to get rid of her, but her persistence keeps them together. Our Mugen lookalike, who in this instance is called Saizo, actually gets right what made Mugen an interesting character. He is unfailingly harsh and any time he does defend the female lead, it’s normally by chance that she happened to be in the same place when he was attacked. There’s a heart hidden under that harsh exterior somewhere, but it’s difficult to unearth and any glimpses of this side are very rare. Descending back into tired trope terms, it’s tsundere done right. Where the heartfelt side is hidden, but that side doesn’t seem like a completely different character, and is hidden because he has something to hide.

Comparisons to Champloo can’t be made without some caveats. So while Brave 10 gets the characterisation right, it doesn’t have Champloo’s great animation, funky soundtrack, unique atmosphere and take on the genre or, well, pretty much any of the other aspects that made Champloo great. In fact, all it really does right that Champloo did is the characterisation, but that’s such a massive plus that it’s enough to keep me going. I even have praise for the female lead. The incessant clinging onto Saizo isn’t annoying because there’s a hint of desperation to her. She’s not doing this because she’s a braindead moron. Like Fuu in Champloo, she has something she’s trying to accomplish and will cling to anything that might help her achieve this.

Also…ummm…well, I think I have a crush on her.

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  1. lostsage
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Needed more goofy grins and skulls.

  2. Alterego
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    “Boy, don’t you just hate it when blog­gers boil everything down is to tired tropes?”

    Umm, no, because many of these are not even tropes. They are not patterns in storytelling, just basic genres, and similar occurances. “The Shaft” or “the 4-koma adaptation” or “the sequel…” are self-evidently returning patterns in the publishing industy, but these can only be “tired” if you are getting a kick out of analyzing the season itself as a “work of art” on it’s own, instead of the stories themselves that it brings.

    • Erif
      Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      Are you a troll?

    • Scamp
      Posted January 11, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      …I was mocking those who get annoyed at the use of tropes in reviewing…


  3. Posted January 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Hello bishie anime!
    And goodbye, bishie anime.
    Wait, Scamp actually says it’s decent? Wait, Scamp actually doesn’t find the female lead grating? Wait, the rest of the season is not very good? Wait…. a picture with boobs? Okay. /goes watch

  4. Erif
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Wow, exceptions are significantly higher now. I was planning on giving the series a try, but I wasn’t expecting much in terms of character development.

    Like you say, the animation is nothing special; it’s been seen before. And nothing can be compared to Samurai Champloo’s soundtrack. =p

  5. Karry
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    “”and the anime that starts off prom­ising but devolves into wacky harem hijinks and com­pletely loses sight of what made people like it in the first place.”

    Now you are just raving. Harem hijinks ? Made people like it ? I dont think you thought this construct through.

    “it doesn’t have Champloo’s funky soundtrack”

    Good. As far as i’m concerned all rappers/hip hoppers can die horribly in a fire.

    • Erif
      Posted January 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      Er, why is that?

    • gw_kimmy
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:22 am | Permalink

      hipster music only. FOREVAR.

      • Erif
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:49 am | Permalink

        The sad thing is Nujabes, one of the collaborators for the Samurai Champloo soundtrack, died in a car crash not too long ago. =|

        Whatever, the Champloo soundtrack is great.

  6. Adrian
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    Don’t really care for the male lead, but I’d like to see Mugen’s reaction to the third picture. That poor guy never had any luck with women.

    • Adamar
      Posted January 10, 2012 at 3:42 am | Permalink

      Didn’t he get with the one chick who was a good fighter?

      That aside- why are you watching Hadena subs, Scamp?

      • Adrian
        Posted January 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        The ninja girl?
        Actually she used him to get rid of her enemies, knocked him unconscious at the end of the episode and said something like: “Someday I’ll marry this guy”. But of course, they never met again.
        There was the blind one too, but…she actually tried to kill him.

      • Scamp
        Posted January 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        I watched Hadena because they were the only ones out. But yeah, they had that obnoxious fancy graphics for the attack names. Eurgh

  7. gw_kimmy
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    ahh you made me want to check this out….i certainly hope more interesting characters are introduced, though. another thing i loved about samurai champloo was that you were under no impression whatsoever that either of the male characters were vying for fuu’s attentions. they were simply a team and that’s that.

    a romance under these circumstances is overdone, really, and i’d rather not watch/read it again. i’ll keep an eye out, for now.

    Posted January 10, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Now that you made the comparison to Champloo its hard to think of Brave 10 as a good watch now :( .Especially when it comes to characters. Mugen was heartless, but he was also a pig and he embraced it amazingly. Saizo is obviously not gonna be as entertaining as Mugen, but I do like his demeanor–not that its even remotely orignal.
    Im gonna watch the show, the battles are good & seem interesting. More Ninja Like combat instead of the same samurai sword shit. Im really hoping the story takes a more original turn and the characters develop well. Its pretty easy to see that Saizo is gonna be a more open hearted character by then end, but they need to twist & turn his heart some. Mugen was so good at hiding his emotion so he never really visibly broke down & it worked really well for Champloo, but i think they need to break Saizo once he opens up to make for better character development.

  9. esha25
    Posted January 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Liked it. I also felt the set up was champloo-esque. While it obviously doesn’t the writing/imagination to back that up. I kind of liked that the fight sequences were old fashioned ie: in a mortal kombat kind of way (hidden technique and stuff). Will keep watching, don’t know why there has to be 10 bishies (seems like over kill) though.

  10. Thrashy
    Posted January 11, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    You may not make Samurai Champloo comparisons until there is a baseball diplomacy episode wherein everyone dies. So it is written!

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