Ronin Warriors / Samurai Troopers OAV Series 2: Inferno
Ryou and the gang are trying to enjoy their summer vacation, but it's gotten noticeably hot around Tokyo lately. Hotter than it should be. The Warriors team up to find the skyscrapers of Shinjuku being turned into a tropical paradise, and an African warrior has decided to make the Troopers his foe. What's worse is that he even owns the twin to Ryou's Inferno armor ... uh oh.
First off, I should let you know that I actually quite enjoy the Samurai Troopers TV series, which was released in the States under the title of Ronin Warriors years ago. It's more enjoyable than most entrants in the "pretty-boys-in-armor" genre because the characters were actually pretty cool, and there was enough action to hide the fact that this was actually originally a shoujo anime.
Okay, not really: while the original was actually intended for a shounen audience, that's not how Samurai Troopers actually played out in Japan, as the unexpectedly large female fandom would eventually overtake the young boys this was aimed at, unlike a good many of its predecessors and contemporaries, possibly due to the elements of character development and attractive design work. At least one female mangaka (Kaim Tachibana) got her start drawing YST doujinshi; she would eventually come up with the hilarious sentai sendup Shinesman, a case of a great franchise begetting another great franchise.
Unfortunately, that's not the primary reason I'm tackling this particular series. You see, every so often, whenever it seems like we have been watching too much "good" anime like Junkers Come Here and RahXephon, karma dictates that we get subjected to some subpar anime to make up for it.
So it's time for me to dredge up this weird semi-sequel to one of the favorite series of my teenage years and see just where everything went wrong.
The one thing this show has going for it is animation. Lo and behold, the Troopers have some nice backgrounds and fairly decent-looking animation for a change! It's obvious they tossed a budget in the general direction of the animators, because this looks quite a bit better than the TV series (which wasn't bad to begin with, but definitely not on par with, oh, Akira).
And that's about it. No, really.
While the characters are for the most part just like they are in the series, it was aggravating watching Shin fall into an angst attack through the first two episodes of this thing instead of fighting. Granted, throwing the Warriors into this harebrained plot may have something to do with the pretty-boy despair we get to watch.
You see, Mukara, the African warrior with the twin to Ryou's Inferno armor, is so badass, he can defeat the Warriors without using his own armor. Nope, he uses a giant boomerang to slice through buildings and whatnot, and generally make a mess of Shinjuku so he can turn it back into the primeval jungle we all know Japan used to be before the humans came and messed it up. (Right.)
And then the action shifts to somewhere in an Africa that has been stolen ever so subtly from some other anime's fictitious "dark continent". It's truly obvious that the only reference that the animators had for this show were Gainax scripts and pictures of National Geographic, as the actual background is total horse-spit, with the aforementioned boomerang-wielding tribesmen (because boomerangs are SO effective against lions) and characters with names like Mukara and Nadia, err, I mean, Naria. I kept expecting her to hand over the Blue Water to Ryou, just so he can have a chance to regain his pride as a samurai.
And why a samurai armor would end up in Africa is completely beyond the limits of my suspension of disbelief, and the whole problem here is that Mukara has no good reason whatsoever to be fighting the Samurai Troopers other than the White Inferno and Black Inferno just not liking each other. Yeah, that's just swell.
Load on top of that some really nebulous attempts at warrior philosophy on the part of Shin, and we've got a mess that can only be rationalized as the creators getting waaaay too pretentious for their own good, and failing to notice that their production is churning out serious "what-the-hell?" material here.
While diehard Samurai Troopers fans might salivate at the thought of *another* Inferno armor, Inferno is largely ruined by some truly bizarre plotting and a setting as inauthentic as Mona Lisa with a mustache.
While the dedicated Samurai Troopers fanatic might want to add this to their collection (and would probably add a star), the rest of us can safely pass this up for something more accessible. — Carlos/Giancarla Ross
Recommended Audience: Best for die-hard Samurai Troopers fans. While there is a bit of violence here, it's not particularly graphic, and I don't remember there being very much offensive content at all.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source
Review Status: Partial (2/4)
Ronin Warriors / Samurai Troopers OAV Series 2: Inferno © 1990 Sunrise
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