Monday, September 17, 2007

Grenadier - The Smiling Senshi

Action, Adventure
Parental Guidance Recommended
2004 Hiroshi Koujina, Grenadier Production Project, Group TAC, Kadokawa Shoten, Toshiba Entertainment

Everything Grenadier
Amazon Editorial Description:
During the age of Japanese Civil War, the faithful samurai Yajiro Torajima is surrounded by an enemy army. At the last moment, the bountiful Rushuna appears and saves him with a smile... and a high -caliber revolver. She is traveling across Japan in search of a way to bring an end to war. Yajiro and Rushuna challenge countless opponents with his sword and her talent for reloading on the bounce.

Service with a smile! >>> by skysenshi
I'm the type of person who never reads covers when it comes to choosing her anime (I just pick a title from a list then rent immediately), mostly because many cover writers tend to spoil everything. So the first thought that came into my head when I saw the opening credits were, "Blond. Pink dress. Huge breasts. Oh, gawd, I'm going to spend the next twelve episodes with a candy-coated airhead!"

When the protagonist, Rushuna Tendo, whipped out her gun, however, I was hooked. I love the idea of a gun-toting heroine (which was why, despite my complaints about FFX-2, I still loved its battle system). Furthermore, the girl is a master at looking stupid when she's actually not, effectively reminding me of myself. She would smile and try to settle things peacefully -- her mantra being to disarm the enemy's will to fight -- but she turns into this badass strategist when encountering particularly stubborn opponents.

With Rushuna are the samurai Yajiro and the balloon specialist Mikan. Their goal is to spread love, hope and courage throughout the land. Heh. Almost. The Empress sent Rushuna out on a mission to unite the borders by using non-violent methods, a task that a lot of those who believed in power begrudged. Every episode is light-hearted, as Rushuna and the gang meet up with one weirdo after another in their quest to fulfill this. Even with the added tinge of drama in the last few episodes, Grenadier still maintains the feel-good atmosphere that leaves one sated in goofy love-love feelings.

There's one thing that a viewer would notice in this series, though. That would be the amount of fan service. Rushuna has a big...chest, and it's almost always the focus of the camera. Since she wants to look sweet and cheerful, she's always hugging someone -- that involves a lot of scenes with heads placed snugly atop you-know-where. She loves baths and when she's not bathing, her clothes get torn off in battle. I suppose you can already imagine how often fan boys will drool over this one.

I know that there have been issues regarding scantily-clad women in anime, but this title is actually a lot of fun. Yes, the shoujo-esque spiels about hopes and dreams may seem cheesy at times. I would, however, like to congratulate its creators for making it entertaining enough. Heck, I did a marathon on this and this is the first anime in year that I've seen. Not bad for a refresher drive into the fandom.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 8; Characters 9; Sounds 7

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