Sunday, September 19

Wandering with Anime

Quirky animated samurai action.

I posted about this short but cool series before, and have recently rediscovered it for conversion to portable viewing. Tsukikage Ran, or Wandering with the Wind, is a 13-episode samurai action anime starring a duo of mismatched but formidable heroines. Ran is a female samurai- beautiful and inexplicably invincible with the katana, and about as alcoholic as they come. She basically just seems to travel aimlessly throughout ancient Japan, with little more than her sword and unquenchable thirst for sake in her possession. Trailing this mysterious warrior woman is Myao, a young girl and expert in the Cat Style of Kung Fu. Thoroughly talkative, inquisitive and impulsive, Myao strikes up a more or less one-sided friendship with Ran at the start of the series, but eventually the stoic samurai woman livens up to her since she usually has money to spend.
The series is basically an animated version of samurai dramas popular in Japan- one shot episodes that basically has Ran and Myao getting involved in some evil plot or oppression. The show invariably ends with the two femme fatales thoroughly kicking butt and cleaning house.
Despite having anb old-style look to it, Tsukikage Ran is surprisingly well-animated, with the action-packed finales of each episode showcasing the heroines' individual fighting styles excellently- Ran with her lightning-quick killer slashes and samurai stances, and Myao with her super-quick acrobatic Cat-Fu.

The series doesn't seem to have any far-reaching plot, nor does it try to explain much of Ran and Myao's motivations. As the title says, they're pretty much just going with the flow, letting themselves go wherever the wind blows. But when it comes to exterminating some baddies, nobody dispenses justice quite like these two. Tsukikage Ran is a nice, understated but surprisingly cool show to catch every now and then... light and quirky anime action that's fresh as a breeze when the time is right.

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