DVD Ikke Tousen: Dragon Destiny – Collection
Ikke Tousen: Dragon Destiny is a modern day adaptation of the ancient Chinese story ‘The Romance of the Three Kingdoms’. Based upon the manga Battle Vixens, Ikke Tousen focuses on several feuding schools, each with their own battalion of trained martial artists, possessed by the reincarnated souls of the participants in the original three kingdoms tale, battling for supremacy over the Kanto region.
The three most powerful schools, Kyosho Academy, Nanyo Academy and Seito High School, and their leaders, Sousou Moutoku, Sansaku Hakufu and Ryuubi Gentoku respectively, represent the warring factions during the ancient war and have special powers/abilities garnered through the dragon spirits that lay dormant inside them. The war for supremacy has reawakened.
Shimei Ryomou of Nanyo Academy has stolen a powerful artefact – the Dragon Jade – that is said to change a warrior’s fate. Meanwhile, at Seito High School, Ryuubi Gentoku is learning the ways of the warrior with pretty hopeless results. Her mentor, Kan’u, worries that the burden of the dragon spirit is too much for her young student to bear.
Sousou’s forces are increasing as he attempts to take over Kanto. The dragon spirits that lay dormant within him and Ryuubi are beginning to break free and show their immense and devastating power.
As allegiances are tested and the battle between the academies intensifies, it becomes clear that young Ryuubi has no choice but to call on the dangerous power within her, despite its tragic consequences…
It is difficult to put into words how to perceive such a show during the first viewing. The initial episodes are sporadic to say the least, jumping from character to character and place to place with little in the way of explanation or development. It becomes increasingly difficult to place a character and their allegiances when each exchange lasts a matter of moments. We traverse from academy to academy and are introduced to another ten characters in the process each with his/her own back-story and purpose to current affairs.
It becomes a laborious process of re-watching and sifting through the copious amounts of conversation and action sequences to try and work out whom you are watching onscreen and, indeed, what that character’s relevance is to the story. The show has quite literally bitten off more than it can chew. Instead of focussing on perhaps a handful of students from the schools, we are forced to digest dozens upon dozens, all with the same intent of killing one another.
Sadly, the narrative is not a whole lot better. Hopes are high that the show can develop upon ancient mythology and somehow conjure a feudal Chinese war within a modern-day Japan. Unfortunately, the barrage of poorly executed references towards people and places from the past only fuels the shows lacklustre effort in contextualising its narrative.
Episode to episode is unfortunately the same thing repeated to dire straits. A nod towards the increasing power of Kyosho Academy, followed by some dumb comedy from Ryuubi, who can’t seem to perform the simplest of task without resorting to cutesy stupidity, then a battle sequence, normally ending in gore and plucking out eyeballs, chuck in some sex for good measure, including a huge amount of boobs and torn clothes, and all ending with a subtle message of dragons and the ancient war 1800 years previous.
One of the most striking features of the show, far from the labyrinth of plot devices and intrinsic dialogue, is quite bluntly objectifying the female body. For all of its negative points, Ikke Tousen rallies this with an abundance of debauchery and perversion.
Clearly aimed towards a male market, the show is quite literally frame after frame looking up at the white panties of young schoolgirls. Deriving most of its content from a hentai storyboard, our heroines are objectified within an inch of their lives. As they battle one another, their oversized assets burst from their skimpy shirts and their genitals and buttocks show through their torn undergarments.
There are constant references to breasts, with Ryuubi’s assets even being described as melons.
Every which way the show makes full use of exposing its characters in tight swimsuits, sweating in a sauna, running in gym clothes and battling in pj’s. The excessive use of nudity, rather than outright shocking, is slightly comedic in its ridiculousness. You find yourself laughing at just how ludicrous the creators have been in making sure that female flesh is constantly on show. There are constant references to breasts, with Ryuubi’s assets even being described as melons. At one point, they even decide to show a female student urinating in her panties as her breast is strongly groped by a male assailant.
Of the characters that do actually get ample screen time, that we accidentally realise are main protagonists, Ryuubi’s lead is the typical airhead klutz who can’t swim or fight yet is the vessel for one of the most destructive forces in nature. She is not the cutesy airhead, but an annoying character that only seems to gain some substance when she is being overtaken by the demonic dragon spirit inside of her. The raven-haired Kan’u is little more than Ryuubi’s standard mentor/protector, and Chouhi is the boyish lead who just wants to prove how tough she is.
Characters from rival schools, including antagonist Sousou – a disturbed, dark and bloodthirsty villain – and his band of loyal followers Kakouton and Kakuka, are the typical good-looking male leads who are so shallow and hormonal you can pretty much read straight through them.
They are drawn with detail and clearly evoke the main character types of anime heroines, all with a hint towards fetishising the body – at the half-way point of an episode, a female character is shown on a flash card wearing some sort of sexual costume, from a maid to a nurse to a catsuit. At this point, it just becomes another laughable attempt to try and inject some sort of recurring feature, away from the poor storytelling and confusing plot.
The animation is one of the series’ main positives, though. The action sequences are full of detail, and the settings and backdrops, from the academies, temples, and churches to the large industrial zone of the final episode, are flawless, and do well in providing at least some attention that is sorely missing from the rest of the show.
A show that clearly understands its own shortcomings and decides to compensate for this through a constant barrage of hormone fuelled high schooler’s addiction to breasts, panties and sex. If the series dedicated more time in contextualising the Chinese proverb it is based on, we could have witnessed a really interesting anime. And by cutting the cast down considerably would ensure that an audience would know what was going on and allow them to develop the characters more, instead of merely exploiting them. This is definitely a series for fans of the genre – and probably one that will stay within this mould.
Film: Backyard Release date: 27th December 2010
Certificate: 18 Running time: 117 mins Director:…
Despite there being a great number in their
discography, the French have never been…
You can’t have your cake and eat it; a proverb
that makes little sense to those people that have…