Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East Review

[Note: this review only pertains to the the first season]

Shino looks like a harmless kid, but he’s far older and more dangerous than he seems. His body is home to a particularly dangerous demon sword and though he usually fights for what’s right, there is no telling just how long he can control his other half. Especially when there are others like him out there, not all with good intention.

There’s nothing worse than Fullmetal Alchemist in here, but some of it is creepy. The creature living in Shino is pretty much in his arm and he comes out in a rather disturbing manner. Although there in no blood in that “transformation,” there is plenty in the rest of the series. Characters get slashed, bitten, and tortured. In fact, the amount of violence in this show gets closer to Trinity Blood‘s level near the end and nearly got a WZ. So if you’re squeamish around violence, it’d be best to avoid this one.

As with most shows in the TV14 range, there are a few instances of the b-words used. But they are rare and usually you only have to deal with a d-mn or two.

Shockingly, the nudity in this show is very low to non-existent. The worse it gets, beyond seeing bare guy chests, is one particular character who is bluntly labeled a prostitute and lives in a brothel. We never see anything happening, but we know it does and she wakes up in bed at least once naked (sheets cover any details). The topic is quite serious for a show like this and I was surprised they dared even go that far, but regardless, we’re spared from too much fanservice.
Ah. Shino also dressed as a girl in his younger years, a device that’s used as a joke now and again from that point on, especially concerning one older male character that is said to go for Shino’s “type.”  Nothing ever occurs, however.

If the idea of demons and such living right alongside Catholic churches bothers you, this show is a skip. The ideas of God and various creatures of Japanese folklore living side by side is a common theme and can’t be avoided. Most of the theological topics concentrate on politics within the churches, so, as usual for anime, no indoctrination is to be found here. Although, expect the ideas of sins and forgiveness to be woven here and there.

Personal impression:
This review only covers the first season for good reason. I barely made it through thirteen episodes without falling asleep.
Now the odd thing is, this show should have all the ingredients for a good run. And it does have a decent amount of high stars. So, why was I so painfully bored throughout season one? My brother, who was watching it with me at the time, made a very accurate comment which I rather find rings true: This show has no focus. It meanders. The characters have backgrounds and thus should have goals, but they walk here and there with seemingly little purpose. Even when provided with a quest for the rest of the series (finding others that have marbles like they were born with), the characters move slowly and without any rush. It’d make more sense to say they were going out for groceries rather than handling an important mission considering the flippant attitude the characters have the whole time. This makes any action that comes up seem pointless and of little concern to viewers.
The music is decent, even containing tracks sung by the band that sung the original Last Exile ender, and the art is good too. But these elements hardly make up for such lazy characters.
If you don’t mind an aimless feeling in your shows, you probably won’t mind this show’s issues. But if you like your characters to be driven, seek your entertainment elsewhere.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 13 (season one only)
Languages: Sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre(s): Action, fantasy
Website: n/a
Legal streaming: Crunchyroll
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This entry was posted in Ages: Young Adult, Anime Reviews, TV Series and tagged , , , by inrosegalaxy. Bookmark the permalink.

About inrosegalaxy

Raised on everything from Moby Dick to the Star Wars X-Wing books from a young age, it came as no surprise to anyone who knew me that I’d become a literature graduate and avid writer. But my love of a good story wasn’t restricted to the written word in my early years. Star Trek, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and badly dubbed Godzilla flicks helped shape my love of science fiction on screen as well. I wrote my first story while in the second grade. It was a horrifying tale about murdering a fairy-eating dog via a slice of pizza (in my defense, my only exposure to pizza was in the cafeteria and I swear you could legitimately kill someone with those things). I was a special snowflake. Today I write science fiction, fairy tales, Gothic epistolaries, fantasy and anything else that pops into my bizarre and twisted mind. I write new articles for my blog every Tuesday and Thursday. And if you happen to fancy Japanese animation, I also run an anime review blog, RRAR, which updates every Monday.

4 thoughts on “Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East Review

  1. I couldn’t get into this show either, and normally I’d be all over this kind of story paired with these types of characters (if only as a kind of guilty pleasure). Like you though, I had a hard time keeping my eyes open.

    • Yeah, it’s really sad, actually. This could have been excellent. If only the characters were actually motivated! It would have made a world of difference. A shame.

  2. Pingback: Extra: I just can’t | Risembool Ranger Anime Reviews

  3. Pingback: Karnival Review | Risembool Ranger Anime Reviews

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