Anime Review: Peacemaker Kurogane Complete Collection

By Drew Hurley 21.02.2018

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Peacemaker Kurogane Complete Collection (UK Rating: 15)

Much like the recent release of the complete collection of Chrono Crusade, Anime Limited is bringing another classic series from the early 2000s to the UK. Following a boy with a tragic past, Peacemaker Kurogane is set during Tokugawa and paints a unique picture of the days of the umbrella making Ronin. This complete collection is available courtesy of Anime Limited and is available from 26th February.

The Shinsengumi are legendary in Japan and have been the subject of countless tales surrounding them, with anime like Sengoku Basara and Samurai 7. Not to mention iconic characters from the group appearing in such major series as Gintama and Rurouni Kenshin. The hero of this story is a Tetsunosuke Ichimura, a young man who is planning to become part of the Shinsengumi as a warrior to try and avenge the horrific slaughter of his parents. His brother, Tatsunosuke, has already become a member of the group, although as a bookkeeper and scribe. Tetsu is taken on as a page and is mentored by the men of the Shinsengumi, learning that the truth of becoming a warrior isn't quite as glamorous as he thought but also finding a sense of family among the Wolves of Mibu.

The Shinsengumi should be delivering a combat-heavy action orientated series but, instead, it's more watching the cast go about their day to day lives. Instead of focusing on the battles between the Shinsengumi and the Chōshū clan, most episodes follow the mundane day-to-day of Tetsu's job as a page. Some of the episodes follow Tetsu getting to know notable wolves, like Hijikata and Harada, while the solid story is more something going on in the background.

That story sees a charismatic villain in Yoshida Toshimaru plotting to destroy the Imperial Palace and working constantly against the Shinsengumi with the help of the Chōshū clan. A big part of the story is Yoshida's page, Suzu, who happens to befriend Tetsu, and the two of them are unaware they are working for their master's mortal enemy. It's one of the better side plots, along with a plot following a brother/sister pair of assassins that deserved a story based just around them. There's also a pair of young girls that befriend Suzu, who are training in the red light district. Meanwhile, there are some other parts of the story that make little sense. There's a version of historical figure Sakamoto Ryoma, who is portrayed as a samurai with a cowboy hat and a revolver… it's certainly different, and his personality is just as odd. He uses strange English words in the original Japanese and evokes a cliché British accent in the English dub.

There are 24 episodes total in this series and it's a very safe series. There will be few that add this to their must-see or favourite anime lists. It's not very memorable and there aren't many huge moments; the characters are quite enjoyable, with some fun versions of historical characters. Tonally the show really runs the gambit. While throughout most of the show it feels like a generic shonen, there are some episodes that really break away from that. There are a handful of surprisingly dark episodes that because of the usual light nature make a heck of an impact when they land, especially towards the tail end. Equally, there are a few comedy episodes with genuinely funny moments, with the best of all being based around Okita stealing Hijikata's embarrassing poetry.

Like Chrono Crusade, this series comes from Studio Gonzo, an anime studio made up from former Gainax staff. The studio has knocked out some memorable series over the years, such as Gantz and Desert Punk, however, in recent years its output has dropped dramatically to one or two series, with only the anime adaptation of Akiba's Trip and 18if coming in 2017. Gonzo is well known for its solid hand-drawn animation and that's certainly the case here. The character designs are memorable and the combat smooth.

There is both an English and Japanese dub available and while the English dub has some names that have become major stars today, like Monica Rial and Vic Mignogna, the English dub is actually horrendously bad. Tetsu is an obnoxious little brat anyway, but the English makes him completely unlikeable. Then there's Ayumu's fake Southern accent that is absolutely grating. This is the type of dub that drives people to become sub-only snobs.

Rated 5 out of 10


Peacemaker Kurogane Complete Collection is a decent, if forgettable, series that has considerable issues, the main one being the series seems to be completely disinterested in its own story. It begins to build up certain plots and then suddenly they are forgotten. Unbelievably, a new series of anime films is on the cards, a pair of them arriving in Japan later this year. Hopefully, they will be much better.

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