Katsugeki Touken Ranbu Episode 1: Boys, Swords and Time Travel



The year is 1863, Japan is split between the pro-shogunate and anti-shogunate factions. In this chaotic time, the era of the swords is coming to a close. Horikawa Kunihiro has manifested as a Sword Warrior and is joined by Izuminokami Kanesada, a warrior who served under the same master as him. Sword Warriors are “Tsukumogami”, spirits and willpower that reside within a sword. These spirits are awakened by Saniwa to protect the world from the “Time Retrograde Army,” who were sent by historical revisionists from the future to alter history.

– From AnimeLab


My honest opinion of this is that I’m not really feeling it. Despite spending most of the episode with Kunihiro and Kanesada, I don’t actually know anything about them or care in the slightest about the conflicts they get involved in. Even the random saving of a child that apparently shouldn’t have happened but we’ll all just agree didn’t, isn’t enough to in any way make these characters anything more than shiny characters on a screen surrounded by gorgeous backgrounds that don’t really fit together at all times in a way I’ve come to expect after Tales of Zestiria the X.


That isn’t to say it looks bad. For most of the episode it looks amazing. However, there are other scenes where the characters look beautiful, the background looks beautiful, and they both look like they belong in two different shows. I won’t harp on that though given even if I watched this on my usual set up I’d be viewing it in fairly low resolution and given I snuck a watch of this while travelling I had the video quality on the lowest possible setting just to get it to play.


Outside of the visuals and characters though, we have some guys trying to change the past and other guys trying to stop them. The whole personified sword thing is neither here nor there in making this any more interesting and the sudden appearance of a whole bunch of characters at the end of episode 1 made  for a visually interesting fight sequence but not a lot else.

I’m not dropping this because it wasn’t bad, but neither am I feeling particularly compelled to stick with it after episode 1. We’ll see what happens next and whether I can start caring about the characters enough to get into the story.

Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed this post and like the blog, consider becoming a patron to support further growth and future content.



Karandi James.