Oh, dear...what to say about this one...
Well, some facts about "Ikki Tousen." It's based on a manga, which seems almost a given in anime these days. The show was broadcast in 2003 in Japan, and has had three additional seasons since its premiere. I don't know who's watching this in Japan that would justify the additional seasons, but wow.
Anyway, the concept of the show is this: rival high schools are fighitng each other for dominance. Because of this, each school has their own set of fighters to defend the school. Hakufu Sonsuru enters the picture, and doesn't realize that her destiny is to unite the schools in peace. "Helping" her in this (a very loose term) is her rich cousin Kouyou Shuuyu, who is determined to protect her but instead becomes a punching bag each time he tries to "protect" her.
And that is pretty much the show.
I should probably save the most obvious problem of the show for later, so let's start with the writing. What little story there is takes its plot very, very loosely from the Chinese Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Each character and story is supposed to be representative of that. But it's just inane. The character development is sorely lacking in this show -- you can pretty much interchange any character in the story and it won't make a lick of difference to what's going on onscreen. Any character development would come from Hakufu, but it goes from "I'm a stupid character with big boobs who has no clue how the world works" to "I'm a stupid character with big boobs but I have a DESTINY!"
The voice acting in the English dub is terrible. Which is sad because looking up some of the actors they've done some good work. I don't blame the actors in this case so much as dealing with some inane dialogue and trying to take it as seriously as they can, but having it sound really, really stupid because of it.
The background music for the show is actually pretty decent. However, the opening theme for the show has this kind of techno/rap feel to it that doesn't quite fit the show.
The animation for the show also leaves something to be desired. The action scenes, of which there are numerous, aren't very ACTIVE. You'll get a still shot suggesting movement, the characters attacking each other, then one character will go into detail what he's doing to the other character. Um, aren't we supposed to see that? If you're going to paralyze someone, shouldn't you show us how you're doing it instead of going into ridiculous detail on what you are doing to the other character? It ends up being a series of still shots with suggested action, making for a not so exciting fight.
In fact, it's almost like they blew the entire show's budget on the animation of the women's boobs. Which is the elephant in the review and I didn't want to get into until last.
The fanservice. The purpose of "fanservice" is to service fans. But you know how if you get too much of a good thing it can actually make you sick? Well, that's what we have here. According to Anime News Network's review of the first DVD release, there were 41 panty shots in the first episode alone. Ick. And the women wear skirts to school that are short enough to allow for that many panty shots.
On top of that, it's laughably ridiculous how easily the women's clothes rip and tear during a fight. A slight breeze would cause a rip in the clothing. And it always seems to tear at very strategic places. The boobs on all the women are so huge that you can't help but wonder how they keep themselves upright at any point during the show.
Overall, avoid this one. It's bad. Really bad.
1 out of 5 stars.
Check out the mini-review at Examiner.com.