Anime Review | Samurai Harem (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 28.02.2016

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Samurai Harem (UK Rating: 15)

Yes, it's yet another light-hearted, ecchi harem romantic comedy! There's plenty of these series released every season and so it's hard for any to really stand out against the rest, but MVM Entertainment's December 2015 release attempts to do just that.

Samurai Harem tries to be different by including martial arts and a fish out of water story. The protagonist of the series, Yoichi Karasuma, has lived far removed from the real world, isolated out in the mountains and training in an ancient Samurai style with his father. Yoichi proves too adept at this punishing life, however, far surpassing the strength of his father at only 17 and leaving his father baffled on what to do with him. He can't possibly tell Yoichi that he has surpassed him, nor that he has nothing else to teach, and so instead he uses the excuse that Yoichi needs to learn about the real world and sends him off to live with a fellow martial arts family. This is where the fish out of water story begins.

Image for Anime Review | Samurai Harem (Lights, Camera, Action!)

From the initial setup, it seems set in a very different time period but Yoichi finds himself in modern day Tokyo, and sees himself staying with a family of sisters at the Ikaruga dojo and going to school, trying to adapt to modern life. The series plays off the age old "Who will he end up with" story as Yoichi finds himself in compromising situations with each of the sisters at the dojo. These, of course, come with the usual checklist of harem clichés.

The eldest sister, Ibuki, runs the dojo since their parents mysteriously abandoned them. She acts motherly to the entire group and is the prominent love interest for Yoichi. The second sister, Ayame, is more tomboyish and the tsundere, also with feelings for Yoichi… but shows it by beating him up. The third sister is the quiet and reserved otaku girl, and also prominent manga artist who enjoys teasing her older sisters and Yoichi about their relationships, and, finally, the token loli in the group is the youngest sister, Kagome... but she's, thankfully, mostly kept out of the ecchi style antics.

Since Yoichi has been taught to live as a samurai, he speaks in a very old-fashioned style, wears a traditional martial arts uniform, and carries a wooden sword everywhere. This invariably ends up causing disturbances and scenes wherever he goes, often somehow ending up with him groping the ladies of the cast. The story does have more than just Yoichi adapting to his new life and which of the ladies will he end up with, fortunately. Along with the focus on the martial arts of the group, there is also a side plot where a mysterious masked brother and sister pair sends assassins after Youichi. These, of course, mostly end up becoming friends with Yoichi and further expand his harem.

Image for Anime Review | Samurai Harem (Lights, Camera, Action!)

While this is very much an ecchi romance, the elements are very much on the lighter side - think more Love Hina than To-Love-Ru. There are groping and bikini scenes, walking in on girls getting changed, and conveniently ripped clothing… but there's nothing particularly lewd here.

This full series collection comes with all 12 episodes and the usual extras of a clean opening and closing, but only with a Japanese audio option (no dubs here), and there are some odd translation choices, particularly when it comes to the slang and colloquial phrases, such as the term "Masher," used in the place of "Pervert" or "Groper."

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

The light-hearted nature of the series makes Samurai Harem easy going watching, and it's an enjoyable show with some good characters and decent enough arc. However, sadly, it doesn't have something to really elevate it enough to lift it head and shoulders above its competitors.

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