On July the 1st 2017, studio ufotable’s latest series Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu begins airing, and I couldn’t be more pumped.
The studio’s name and reputation of creating cinematic quality television shows is already something to be excited about, but looking at the premise and the production staff just got me even more excited.
But what the heck is this show about anyway you may ask?
Well according to the original game’s wiki and My Anime List's summary of the anime, the premise is thus: Twenty minutes into the future a group known as the Historical Revisionists go back in time to change history in their favor potential time paradoxes be damned. The government not wanting these guys to screw humanity over with their timey-wimey shenanigans enlists the help of a sage (as in the player character reffered to as the saniwa) with the ability to bring famous historical swords to life. Said swords happen to take the form of attractive men because of course they do. With the help of your trusty sword men it’s your job to stop the historical revisionists to change history and save humanity and all that good stuff.
Now the series is actually based on a web browser game developed by Nitro+ and hosted on DMMGames (a popular Japanese web game site, they host Kantai Collection as well), so when the adaptation by ufotable was first announced it did make me raise an eyebrow. To put it into perspective imagine if Lucasfilm announced an adaptation of FarmVille. Then again, Shingeki no Bahamut was based on a mobile game and it became a critically acclaimed success, but still I initially approached Katsugeki with a mixture of bewilderment and intellectual curiosity.
However once the staff of the project was slowly revealed, that curiosity got replaced with intense hype. Like really intense. Ufotable appear to be going all out this time: one glance at the production team is enough to get most people to squee (well most people who possesses an unhealthy amount of useless trivia knowledge on the studio and anime staffs in general like me anyway).
First off the director, Shirai Toshiyuki. While this will be his first major directorial work (as in directing a whole series), he did direct a few episodes for various ufotable productions, such as episodes 5 and 12 from Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works and episode 9 of Tales of Zestiria the X. Besides that he did key animation for Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin and both openings of Fate/Zero. He is a fairly skilled director in my opinion, so I’m looking forward to seeing his first major directorial work.
Next up we have the art director, Eto Koji. He was the art director on Fate/Zero, Fate/Stay Night UBW as well as many other projects done by the studio, and did the background art for practically almost everything ufotable has ever done. His most notable non-ufotable related involvements include Angel Beats, Steins; Gate (eps 1-13, as well as ep 15) and the first season of Psycho Pass (episode 1 and 22).
A great example of his work from Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
In addition we have Mitsuru Obunai, Masaru Kimura and Masayuki Kunihiro in charge as the sword fight animators, all of whom are incredibly talented animators on their own right. Besides that, there’s a sword fight supervisor in the form of Kōgyoku Watanabe. No seriously. They hired a sword fight supervisor. This is the first time I have seen an anime studio do that, so wow.
But wait! There is more!
On top of all of that, we have Tatsuya Yamamura in charge of the historical research. Now admittedly I couldn’t find much information about him other than that he wrote many books mainly about the Shinsengumi and that he assisted the historical research in many live action tv and anime productions, for example Tenpouibun Ayakashiayashi. I admit I had to do a double take when I saw that they even hired someone in charge for historical research, that’s not something I expected from them.
Finally, we have the composer Hideyuki Fukasawa, who composed the OST for Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (both seasons), and the psychological horror series Flowers of Evil. And while we are on the subject we also have Kalafina performing the ending theme.
Long story short, there’s plenty to hype here. Of course I won’t let my guard down to Katsugeki completely mind you. I have been burned by promising shows before (*cough* Charlotte *cough*) but the very least we can be optimistic about the production.
(Also I may or may not end up blogging the series weekly but that is still a little up in the air.)