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Review: Musou Kakyo - A Summer Day's Dream

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Spoilers/plot synopsis: on/off

As this is only the second Touhou anime, comparisons with the previous work are inevitable, so I'll get that out of the way: Musou Kakyu: A Summer Day's Dream is a doujin-anime, made by the doujin group Maikaze, which made TPSS its bitch, and Maikaze does just about everything right that Sound-Holic did wrong. Short version: it's great, with only a few minor issues that, in my opinion, don't really detract from the whole.

The story goes something like this: Reimu and Suika are preparing for a festival at the shrine, something mysterious happens, and Reimu goes nuts, taking Marisa and Aya along the way to beat up everyone she runs into. She is then given slightly more information, and announces that this must be an Incident!

In other words, it's basically the exact same kind of plot as the first few stages of a given Touhou game. That's part of the beauty of it: fans of the Touhou games will be instantly familiar with it. It also remains cheerful and lighthearted throughout, which also fits the general Touhou "atmosphere" if you can call it that; one of the most giggle-worthy moments, if you're paying attention, is that one of the books in Patchouli's library is apparently called Wikipedia. It has a fairly relaxed pace, too. Really, they aren't taking themselves seriously, or at least any more seriously than the games themselves, and that's a good thing.

The backgrounds are gorgeous. They clearly put a lot of effort into this — effort made by someone who had a great deal of skill and knew what they were doing. Unfortunately, you then immediately run into the fact that the characters (and objects with which they interact) are ... very distinct from the backgrounds. It greatly suffers from Conspicuously Light Patch (Warning, link leads to TVTropes. Muffin will not be held responsible for hours of time lost as a result of following it.But see also this disclaimer) there. The characters themselves also look somewhat off; occasionally, they look a bit too chubby, and apart from Remilia's fangs, everyone's faces were identical.

Another "professional" bit is the fact that pretty much all the actresses1 are big-name ones, although since there's no canonical standard, your mileage may vary. Heck, looking at peoples' reactions, I've seen just about every possible combination of opinions as to whose voices were good and whose were bad. My own personal reactions: Everyone was just fine, really. Patchouli and Remilia took a few minutes each to grow on me; for some reason, I'd expected Remilia to have, er, an older-sounding voice, which doesn't make sense. And Patchouli goes "Mukyu!" at one point, which is awesome.

Characterization-wise, I only found one major flaw (in my opinion), which is that Sakuya ... acts a bit too much like a Mikuru-type maid. I mean, in the games, she's a no-nonsense can-do Elegant Battle Maid, fiercely loyal to Remilia and ready to stab intruders to bits at the drop of a maid-headband. In here, she acts a little too ... cute and down-to-earth. I dunno, maybe they're taking cues from Silent Sinner in Blue or something, where she also acts a bit less Elegant than necessary.

One of the most surprising aspects is that the DVD includes English subtitles — and that KirbyM proofread them and is thus in the credits. For Western fans, this is a great bonus. It's those little things which they did even though they didn't need to do it which enhances an already-great product.2 Bottom line is, it's a great find, and something you should buy if this is at all possible. I can't wait to see where the series goes.

Oh, yes, I forgot to mention: after the credits, the announcer says "The second episode is called 'Yukarin is 17 years old!' ... Just kidding, we haven't decided on a name yet!" This has become a miniature meme, it seems ...

1All women, of course; there's no sign of Rinnosuke in this story.

2As an aside, someone in the Maidens of the Kaleidoscope thread about this got all butthurt that the English subtitles on the pirated version which was uploaded to Youtube (yes, Youtube, which always has lower quality and resolutions) weren't perfectly legible. They then tried to claim that the illegibility was Maikaze's fault.

9 Comments (auto-closed) (rss feed)

Facteur Rien

The beginning of the celebrity for KirbyM?
Be able to speak japanese is the garantee of utility for a touhou fan.

Shinku tsuki

...In some point of the chapter, Sakuya calls Meiling "china" XD...
I also thought about how Sakuya acted, and it seemed like she wasn't her. You are right: very cute and not as elegant as she is.Same as you, I was also hoping to see Sakuya fighting, I mean...ZA WARUDO!!
About the voices... Aya's voice was nothing like I imagined it. Waaaaay too cute.
I will talk about what I'm most experienced with: the designs/draws. The designs are fine, there's nothing really wrong with them but... they are- as everything else- too cute. Remilia has really tiny wings, in perfect memento it said that her wings were almost as tall as her. And as you said, the faces are all the same (and stupidly wide)
However, after all, it is touhou, it has its essence...

Duran

To be honest this mainly covered Sakuya's cute ditzy side; fanon is infamous for making her a 'perfect elegent' ice b----. And despite what fanon goes on about, Sakuya has been known to serve Marisa snacks on her little 'raids'; that and Marisa's style of 'borrowing' is going to the SDM, acting like she belongs there, most likely making small talk with the Fairy maids, before going to the library. I get the impression the only one remotely annoyed by this is Patchouli.

Marisa's too much like Alice; that's the worse problem, in particular about her reaction to "let's go to the SDM"

I don't have a major problem with the other roles.

Alas, I don't think we'll see a sequel.

Dizzy H. Muffin

Alas, I don't think we'll see a sequel.

Yeah ... that's kinda making me think of reconsidering parts of this. Someone on MotK brought it up, and I think they had a point.

Considering the time it took to make the damn thing, and it's only a half-hour long: nothing fricking happens. All we get is some "prologue/stage-1 shenanigans" and a short fight-scene that isn't really danmaku. It's kinda like we've been handed 1/7 of a story, and said 1/7 was too long for what it was, and we're not likely to get the rest of it any time soon.

Rain of blood over Elysium

Well, Duran...you are somewhat wrong: "The elegant maid of a certain mansion"( a PCB phrase), "Perfect and Elegant Servant" (her tittle in IaMP and in SWR), "In either case, she's a fairly serious person" ( phrase of IN), "She shops at the Human Village, but she is cold toward other humans and has no friends there"( PMiSS) . She IS elegant and cold...

And it's obvious that they won't do a sequel, I mean...why would they do it NOW? And nobody's heard about anything...they are deffinetly not going to do it... maybe we should give up on the idea of having a proper anime of touhou... *sigh*

Duran

The title could be a joke of Remilia's. And I didn't she wasn't elegent and cold; I just said not always. That coldness might be shyness, ala Sasaki from Azumanga Daioh (If shy and quiet in front of most people, and often gives the impression she's cold)

And only a secondary would take stuff said in PMiSS so literally. (Akyu confirmed for partially unreliable recorder; it'd help if she didn't depend on hear say)

Perhaps it's for the best there's never a Touhou anime; the last thing we need is more danged secondaries.

Rain of blood over Elysium

Well, i agree with you that the title might be because of Remilia...(However, Remilia is not THAT elegant either...well, WHATEVER)
But even if they make a good- or a perfect- anime( remembering that we are talking about a game-based anime), some fans will hate it. That always happens. It's because some fans can't see it as a represantation of what they played...
...

Duran

But I feel this more or less captures the spirit of Touhou well despite its little flaws. Though one thing that kinda grated on me is the pre-spell card chants and shout-outs. It just seemed like something out of a cheesy shounen anime.

Zemyla

Reimu and Suika are preparing for a festival at the shrine (plot goof here, by the way: Reimu asks Suika to go and buy sake. Isn't Suika able to produce an infinite amount from her gourd?)

I figure Suika's sake is gettin' drunk sake; lots of alcohol, very little flavor. Reimu wants sake that she can serve to guests.