First Impression: Hakkenden ~ Touhou Hakken Ibun 2

More bishies, more drama

I apologize for the extremely late First Impression of Hakkenden 2, as I was running back and forth from one city from another. I still made my impression though, because I ended up really liking how Hakkenden started its first season. Sorry, Kara.
I just finished season 1 of Hakkenden, so I’m all ready for a season 2! …I look forward to learning more about the last 2 guardians (or whatever they’re called. Bead holders?). …Mostly because one of them seems like he’s a megane character.

Second Season

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New Characters // anaaga thought that Rio with the other Church guy was going to be the remaining guardians of the princess. anaaga was wrong because it turned out that there are two brand new characters to fill the roles of remaining guardians. The first one is Inumura Daikaku, whose story started the second season of this anime. He is a doll maker with an ignorant personality, but he’s actually a family man who cares about his adopted family, especially his father. Daikaku has sharp black eyes that reflects his personality, and he has a cat guarding him. The other guardian is named Inue Shinobu, a blond shota whose appearance is yet to be made in the anime. Unfortunately, not much is known about Shinobu right now, so I’m more interested in Daikaku. I would love seeing his shell cracked by Shino, having his heart opened after the traumatizing event that caused his death.

The church introduced new characters at the end of the first season, but staff adds even more characters to the list. As if the weirdo Fenegan is not enough, there is another church weirdo named Hinozuka Nachi. He is one of the four protectors from church though, making him another one of Riou’s partner-in-crime. He looks shabby, but obviously there is something behind that unshaven stub of his. Or else, there is no way his black cat Kaede would choose him.

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Golden-Haired Woman & The Legend // Finally Shino is one step closer to solving the mystery of his murderer. Though, it’s baffling how Shino does not remember anything about his murderer’s face, hey, at least he knows now that she’s golden-haired /roll eyes/ That’s not really my concern, but I find it interesting how the golden-haired woman looks more like the “good princess” rather than the evil one. Her wavy golden hair and her pale white skin is just like how the legend depicts the good princess. This doesn’t make sense of course, because why would the princess kills her own guardians? Is she the good princess or the bad one? The truth is getting hazy now, and it seems that the legend is not how it was told. Even if it is, there must be some kind of dark twist that makes the golden-haired woman kill Shino. Is it because of the death of the princess that’s necessary to seal the evil force, or is it the wishes of the guardians? I just hope DEEN can cover this part flawlessly as the manga hasn’t revealed everything yet.

Production

Old + Old // Here’s the bad news: it’s still DEEN. Yeah, DEEN’s reputation is not that famous among many anime fans. Fortunately, there’s a good news. Since the first season was a success (in a way), DEEN decided to be bold and invest more on the animation of this series. At least, that is what I see in the beautiful colors that are blatantly used in the opening and ending. Some (many) images are still, but the art is definitely sharper than the first season. Not a bad way to start the first episode, DEEN. Let’s just hope DEEN keeps it up until the end.

With the exception of DEEN getting bolder in the second season, there’s nothing new about the production of the anime… Except Ceui. Yep, she’s the one who sang the ending for season two, and DEEN made a good decision at hiring her again. Her high-pitched voice that is melodramatic makes it perfect for her to sing the slow yet harmonious ending song, capturing the guardians’ secrets and doubts at the ending’s still images. Good job, Ceui! anaaga is a fan of hers too.

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Disorganization // Well, if you went straight from season 1 to 2 like I just did, things seem… a bit disconnected story-wise. I mean, episode 13, the church was so insistent on seeing Shino and I thought for sure that he was in some sort of trouble regarding that organization. I mean, that Lilith woman was totally fighting Shino (and was actually matching him in power) in the last episode of the last season, and now they’re asking Riou for favours. Or at least Fenegan is asking for favours and he seemed like he was super suspicious of Riou when he made his first appearance in the last episode. …And now the storyline has completely forgotten about that and is instead talking about doll makers and cats that bring the dead back to life. Right. At least some things haven’t been forgotten. Hanaji seems to be doing alright. …Even though Shino was worried about the church targeting her to get to him and Kaname (who was supposed to be preventing that) doesn’t seem to be around. Well, whatever. This new arc seems to be pretty interesting.

Hmm, well aside from the random story change between seasons 1 and 2, this was a pretty good opening. There’s a bit of a mystery surrounding the cats and dolls that I want to see more of. Plus there’s still the mystery of the woman who killed everyone that seems to have some kind of relevance here. …Really, there’s not a lot to say. I love the supernatural aspect of Hakkenden and I always have, so this was just a good episode all around in that aspect. The character relationships? …Er, the other Sousuke hasn’t even bothered to show up that much, so I can’t really even say much about it. There wasn’t much new going on this episode aside from the arc storyline. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as they go back to all of the loose ends somewhere in the season. I imagine that if they’re going to go into the two Sousuke’s, it will be near the end of the series. So yeah, a good opening that I don’t have much to say about. I just hope that Hakkenden continues to be just as dark as it has been in the past, and that we see grown Shino sometime in the future.

Can’t say much about this since it’s only the first episoe, but I am deifnitely loving it already. I absolutely have no problem with the first episode, with the exception of the disconnection Kara points out that I am happy to ignore. Just like Kara, the supernatural part of Hakkenden never fails to amaze me. Abe-sensei is able to fuse a classic legend with some modern aspect of this world, creating a fresh story that has all the enjoyable aspects of a classic and exciting modernization. Moreover, the characters are also unique. Though they are still anime stereotypes, Abe-sensei managed to shape the characters in such a way that the audience can have fun seeing the characters interacting with each other. There is also the mystery air that is shrouding Hakkenden more and more, slowly turning this bishie-feast anime into something deeper and darker. There are so many things I love about this anime. The world in Hakkenden is unique, and there is no way I am going to forget it even when the anime ends. Let’s just hope I still have this attitude by the end of season two.

Preview: Will the cat finally reach his master?

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8 Responses to “First Impression: Hakkenden ~ Touhou Hakken Ibun 2”

  1. Liza says:

    Yay! I was waiting for this! :D And of course they throw us right into a new plotline which I am a-okay with! And now there’s more mystery than just the other Sousuke. Who is this blond woman? Why did she want to kill her own protectors? Although I really thought Hamaji would end up being the princess in the end.

    • anaaga says:

      My guess is that Hamaji is the other princess, probably the “dark one.” C’mon, she has been in that “holy” pose for the last two openings, there is no way she doesn’t have any important role

      • Liza says:

        Huh. I never thought of that. 0_0

        I guess the eight “dogs” will be deferring to the “dark” princess now. XD

  2. mistress_kisara says:

    I liked the premiere I’m really interested in the mystery surrounding the blonde woman. This show is really underrated its probably because it’s a female-oriented show and the BL vibes ^^;

    • anaaga says:

      Overall, Hakkenden created a perfect mystery setting to make this anime more than just supernatural anime with BL tone. The legends, the music, the setting of the town, the use of religion cults and so on. It’s too bad people underestimate this anime just because of its BL tone when there is more in the anime than that *sigh*

      • Liza says:

        The BL is actually pretty tame too. Genpachi’s attraction can be argued as being funny. Sousuke and Shino do have a couple of “questionable” scenes but it isn’t everywhere!

  3. Kyokai says:

    OMG, DEEN actually doing quality but hey, the first episode was not bad and I’m digging the new bishie voiced by Tsuda (hnng). :3

    • anaaga says:

      It seems that DEEN finally knows that they’re doing. AFTER ALL THESE YEARS. and Yeah Tsuda’s voice totally matches Daikaku’s face NNGGHHH

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