First Impressions – Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun

BL bait of this season

Apologize for the super late post. The authors were busy having a holiday investigating a case in another city and playing Ragnarok 2 exploring a whole new world respectively. Anyhow, it’s that time of DEEN anime. While I can’t expect a lot, there’s no harm in hoping right?
I’ve actually read a few of Abe Miyuki’s BL works before this, so when the anime was announced to be released I decided to check it out! Nope, not because of the possibility of BL moments coming up, definitely not….

Behind the Anime


Studio DEEN // Oh lord, it’s DEEN. My reaction might be exaggerating, but obviously, DEEN is not famous when it comes to quality anime. Only god knows how many times DEEN shattered my hope for them. I don’t want hope too much for Hakkenden, but… But! The Director, Yamazaki Mitsue, was the Assistant Director for Mawaru Penguindrum, and that anime was seizonfabulous. The other Director, Yamazaki Osamu, directed Terra e… (and some other hentai anime plus Hakuouki). How can one not give hope to Hakkenden with such production staff? It was hard not to get excited when I watched the episode too, with seiyuu such as Hiroshi Kamiya and Namikawa Daisuke voicing bishies with white uniforms! I can’t. I’m in love with this anime despite of its DEEN factor. Bad or not, the fact that this is based on Abe Miyuki’s manga can’t be ignored. Abe Miyuki, a yaoi mangaka! Of course it’s going to be dripping with bl bait. What is better than an anime full of bl-bait and beautiful artwork?

Manga by Abe Miyuki // As for art style, I would personally say that the characters look much better in the anime than in the manga. Abe Miyuki’s art style is one that favours boys in general, but I personally think that Shino looks a lot cuter with his boyish charm in the anime, and that Soushiro looks a lot more… mature and MANRY. There’s a type for everyone to love >D On the other hand, for some reason Hamaji looks really scary. Her eyes are disproportionally huge for her face and her hair is a monstrosity, which is really sad because she has nice clothes. Now her face scares me :c Anyway, I would think that this show has had some beautiful art in terms of both background scenery and characters, which is the first thing that I look out for in an anime that I’d be considering to follow.

Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun


Plot & Spiritual Setting // To start the story, there are three people who survived the plague in Ootsuka Village. They are Inuzuka Shino, Inukawa Sousuke, and a girl called Hamaji. However, how they survived is still a mystery, considering how they’re not humans anymore. Anyhow, Shino owns this super cool talking raven that can actually turn into a sword called Murasame, and the Central Church wants the sword by themselves. A central Church member kidnaps Hamaji, and taking the bait, the Inu brothers set out to bring her back… Well, that’s how it starts, at least. Based on the title (Eight Dogs of the East) and the things that are going to happen, it seems that Shino and Sousuke are going to meet their own kind. Who knows, maybe the mystery surrounding our three main characters will be revealed as well. Transforming dogs man, what the heck. Anyhow, Miyu’s going to explain it later.

As it can be seen, spiritual stuff keeps popping out in this anime. From the beginning until the end, all kind of spiritual aspects are entangled with each other, especially when it comes to the main characters’ lives. The interesting thing from Hakkenden is the combination this anime created from two spiritual beliefs that usually clash with each other. Hakkenden combines Oriental belief and Catholicism into one great organization our main characters are fighting against. Unfortunately, combination does not mean equality. The main characters’ caretaker mentioned that the church keep children who posses demonic powers to themselves in fear that the citizens would find out that there are other gods other than the one church follows. By keeping the children with demonic powers, the church hide their existence while having some extra powerful members at the same time. It’s pretty cunning of the church. I don’t know why I’m writing all this, but I have a feeling this spiritual aspect is very important. Who knows, the clashing of the two different religious beliefs might be the climax of this anime? Who knows. Oh, and some revelation about the main characters, of course.


Mysterious Characters // I’ve read a bit of the manga before this, so I can probably guess what’s coming up in the next few episodes. By now you’ve already met our main characters, and I think they are really the kind of characters that you’ll either like or hate at first sight. Like the manga, I envision this to be a very character-centric show, so I would only recommend for you to stick around if you’re okay with our main cast, because they have quite detailed background stories behind them that you’ll learn of over time. The first episode surely gave lots of WTF feels because of the lack of explanations behind things, and all you probably got from it was that Shino has a crow living in him and Sousuke is actually a dog. Basically, what both of them went through was to have their souls merged together with something else, for Shino it was the legendary sword of Murasame (which is affectionately given the form of a hungry crow during normal life) and for Sousuke, it was the soul of the family dog Yoshiro.

Frankly, despite all their weirdness I actually like the two. They’re your typical shounen duo – there’s the reckless and the protector, the fearless and the loyal. I’ve always enjoyed watching this sort of relationships because the lengths that they would go to to keep each other alive, and the sacrifices they would make or have made for each other. And in this anime, you’ll soon see the aftermath of many sacrifices, not only by our main cast, but also by friends they meet along the way. By now you should get the idea that Shino was the one who sacrificed his human life, to live a life of immortality with Murasame merged into him in order to keep the people he loves alive. Oh, and also if you were wondering why Shino looked so strangely different at the beginning of the episode (whatnot with the kimono and long flowly hair and all) it’s actually because Show ▼


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 I thought that as a first episode, it probably wasn’t such a good idea to have bits and pieces of their background story appearing at random parts rather than actually explaining things. You probably went like whaaaat? at a lot of scenes and who are these people even? at the introduction of so many people. In my recollection, only harem shows/adaptations of otome games usually introduce ALL the characters in the first episode. I mean, so much happened in this episode. Hamaji just went from crying to singing and making bad tea to disappearing?! Hello guys, I think it’d be better to slow down the pace a little. Other than that, I did enjoy this first episode. Shino is really adorable to watch. Oh and also, I thought that OP was perfect even despite the weird Engrish at the front! It’s one of those songs that I wouldn’t skip while catching the anime c: Anyway, thanks to anaaga for allowing me to tag on this, and I hope that you guys have enjoyed this in one way or another xD

 You’re welcome, Miyu! Thanks to you, this post is not only about my bitching on DEEN. Actually, I’m fine with the studio at the moment. Hakkenden’s first episode turned out to be… decent, to my surprise. After a while, it seems that DEEN is actually investing properly in the first episode. I mean, this is waay better than Hiiro no Kakera‘s first episode. The animation is still not the best, but it’s also not out of place. There were little case (or probably none) where the characters move awkwardly, and the characters don’t look stiff at all. The color is not too bright like Hiiro no Kakera‘s, so my eyes were not hurting when I watched the episode. It wasn’t too dark either, so I’d say it was well-balanced. While Hakkenden’s animation is not outstanding, it was actually bearable, and that’s definitely something we all need to be thankful from when it comes to DEEN. Unfortunately, DEEN still disappoints me with the fighting scenes. Even Hiiro no Kakera does that better. At least they don’t have still images for the fighting scenes. Seriously DEEN, what the hell, I thought I was going to see Shino moving as he sliced the spider into two, not freezing in a spot then have the spider sliced already. I want movement! It’s only the first episode and they use still images already? Tsk, I expected better from you, DEEN. I hope there’s going to be less still images in the second episode, or else I’m going to flip a table.

Preview: Some hot black-haired black dude getting all tied up. Kinky. I didn’t know Abe Miyuki is into SM.



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13 Responses to “First Impressions – Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun”

  1. Yukarin_YY says:

    huuu thanky for the helpful spoilers, my brain was hurting all episode trying to figure out if Shino was a guy or a girl lol

    I liked the first episode too :> It wasn’t that bad, and I’m always down for an anime with Demon+Church *coughBlueExorcistFTWcough*

    Also, strangely that Black Marimo things, creeped me out during the start, but it’s… kinda cute at the end of the episode. ಠ_ಠ SOMEONE TELL ME I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE. PLEASE.

    • Yukarin_YY says:

      Why is it that there’s always atleast one typo every single time I post!?!? I’m going to start triple checking my posts before I click that [submit comment] button ㅠ_ㅠ

    • Foshizzel says:

      I was thinking the same thing! This is very Blue Exorcist in a lot of ways…hell both series have magical fighting swords.

    • anaaga says:

      Don’t forget, Demon+Church also means gayyyyyyyy

      You’re not the only one. I think that black Marimo is moe. YOU’RE NOT ALONE *hug*

      • Yukarin_YY says:

        thank you~ although, now that it’s been a few days since I watched the episode, it’s getting creepier again ;A; haven’t watched ep 2 yet

        • anaaga says:

          Oh man, the marimo was acting so kawaii in episode two I was all KYAAA~ Episode two post will be next week though since it’s one arc with episode 3

  2. Liza says:

    I agree with Yukarin! I read the spoiler and that made everything okay. I was thinking that Shino just ended up with the spirit of his dead sister or he was a girl before the whole plague thing happened…

    This episode was alright. It didn’t blow me away, it confused me a lot. I really was not expecting the crow to come out Shino’s arm, that was for sure. >_> I think this would have been better with a more slowed down first episode so the characters could be developed a bit more instead of being so confusing.

    I’m also wondering if Hamaji has any super-powers although I doubt it since she was crying while the boys were dying and she wasn’t involved in any of the fighting.

    • anaaga says:

      The thing with slow first episode is that it usually bores the audience. So I guess they’re cramming everything in episode one to peek the audience’s interest

      Hamaji is there just to prevent the boys from kissing each other. She has nice boots though

  3. Foshizzel says:

    It is so strange hearing Natsu’s VA from Fairy Tail doing another series! I can’t get the dragon power hero out of my head when I watched this first episode, but damn his voice works for a child who wants to fight fight fight!

    Not sure if I will continue watching this or not we shall see! If anything keeps me watching it will probably be the powers and fighting.

  4. akagami says:

    So the MC isn’t a female? Definitely looks female-ish in design.

    Couldn’t quite figure out what your overall impressions are so far – as someone who gets goosebumps when anything bi is introduced, would you still recommend this? I’m pretty open to anything as long as it’s fun. This is one of those on my list I’m on the fence about trying…

  5. akagami says:

    On an unrelated note, how is Ragnarok 2? Never played any Korean mmorpgs before (just EQ and WoW).

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