Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox is an anime from TMS Entertainment based on pachinko games. And to think, it hasn’t been that long since I looked at Umi Monogatari, another anime based on a pachinko game. I don’t get it, what is it about pachinko games that makes people think they’d lend themselves to a story? But Umi Monogatari was a good series, so maybe this one will be too. Let’s find out.
We open up with Japan in the modern day, a middle school girl named Hide Yoshino, nicknamed Hideyoshi, stops at an old shrine to pray for success in her exams because she is doing very badly in school and doesn’t want to attend summer classes. While there she stumbles into a strange glowing circle where a feminine form is sitting and stumbles into an alternate world set in the Sengoku period. In this world there are no men and Hideyoshi runs into a burning village where she’s rescued by Mitsuhide and Nobunaga. They take her to Nobunaga’s castle because Nobunaga thinks she might be helpful in acquiring the pieces of the crimson armour… somehow. Hideyoshi decides to stay and help Nobunaga because she as no idea how to get home. This leads to all kinds of shenanigans.
Let’s talk about the problems with the story. First off, there’s not much point to having Hideyoshi as a modern day girl. They use it for a few “fish out of water” jokes, but it doesn’t do much. Secondly, the entire population being female is dumb. Really, it would have made more sense if they’d just had it set in a world where women were the ones in power but men still existed. As it is they have to waste time with a stupid explanation for how reproduction happens and then just never bring it up again. The humour is pretty mixed too. While there are some funny moments, there are also a lot of attempts at humour that fall flat. For example, they have an ongoing joke about a talking male dog perving on the various female characters. It’s not funny, it contributes nothing and it makes no sense. Why is a dog interested in human women? See, this is another reason that men should have existed. They could’ve made this character an old guy. Sure, it would still be stupid and cliché but at least it would’ve made sense.
On the positive side, there are plenty of jokes that do work, albeit they’re in the minority. I also do like the way they handle the question of leadership and what makes for a good leader. It’s a nicely done little side element. The series also does manage to have some competently handled sources of tension by using actual historical events.
The characters are a bit mixed as well. There’s some really good stuff with Nobunaga herself and some of the side characters get some good moments. Unfortunately our main focus, Hideyoshi, is an obnoxious moron who spends more time getting rescued than she spends doing anything remotely useful. Most of the side characters are pretty one note too. Which wouldn’t be so much of an issue if they played less of a role, but they consistently show up for the same few jokes. For example, Kenshin and Shingen have two ongoing jokes. They have a rivalry going and they’re homo-erotic about it. It’s kind of funny in one episode and it is funny in another one based on the execution, but most of their appearances don’t really offer anything except for a reminder that they still exist.
There are some good aspects of the art. The backgrounds are pretty well done. The action sequences are pretty strong too. Then we’ve got the character designs, which emphasise mindless fan-service above making sense. These women are supposed to be warriors but most of them leave all their vitals exposed so that they can prance about in battle bikinis. There are also some art errors. There’s a scene where Masamune Date goes from not wearing her eye-patch to wearing it, to not wearing it again. Where’s an editor when you need one?
There are some good performances in this. Kitamura Eri in particular gets to show a great deal of range and does it very well. Toyoguchi Megumi also gives a good performance as Nobunaga. Akesaka Satomi is also quite good in this. Even the actors who voice more annoying characters, like Hidaka Rina as Hideyoshi, still manage to give competent performances. There is some exaggeration to them at times, but it manages to keep them mostly toned down and more realistic. The music is also nicely done.
We’ve got the les-yay between Kenshin and Shingen. Mitsuhide is also shown as being in love with Nobunaga and there are a few cases where they use “onee-sama” in its yuri sense. There are a few disturbing scenes with Hideyoshi. Disturbing since she looks and acts significantly younger than the other girls. Furthermore, she’s probably supposed to be given that she’s in middle school. To be fair, there aren’t many scenes like that with her and most of them are done so that they’re more ambiguous but there’s still enough that it gets sketchy. The ho-yay factor is going to be a 6/10.
Sengoku Otome is not a bad series. It has some funny moments and some that are pretty good. However, it also has quite a few stupid moments, the main character is annoying and the art is overly fond of fan-service. Even though it’s not a bad series, it’s certainly not a good one either. In the end my rating is going to be a 4/10. It’s below average. If you’re really interested in seeing a comedic series about important historical figures as women, I’m sure there’s something better out there but giving this one a try isn’t a bad idea. Who knows, you might get more laughs from it than I did. Next week I’ll look at Strike Witches.