Sengoku Night Blood Review
Warning: The following review may/will contain spoilers for Sengoku Night Blood. If you wish to stay clear of what happens in this show's story, please exit the tab and join me once you've watched said show. Or you can take that warning with a grain of salt and still read on anyway. Whatever floats your boat.
With that said:
I've never played mobile games. When titles like Angry Birds, Candy Crush, and Mystic Messenger became popular, I wasn't as enthusiastic as some of my peers or online friends. Does Mystic Messenger sound fun? Yes. I'd love to get my hands on it in the future. But I like to use my phone to check social media, listen to audiobooks, look at my e-mail and ANN, and take photos to look back on. Maybe when I upgrade from my current phone, I could look into games that interest me, but for now, I'm fine with just using a console to play something I enjoy.
Like with another show I talked about recently, Dream Festival, Sengoku Night Blood was initially a mobile game users could download to play on their smartphones and Android devices. Developed by Marvelous Entertainment (who worked on Qualidea Code), Kadokawa, and Otomate (a branch of Idea Factory known for other otome properties), it launched in May 2017 and was free to download until it ceased operations on Christmas Day in 2019. As the protagonist, you had the ability to pick between six different armies (eventually seven), each containing various daimyos from the Sengoku period you could fall in love with. A twist with this adaptation, though: the warriors were either vampires or werewolves, with an oni/demon troop thrown in for good measure.
Before the app came out, an anime adaptation was green-lit (probably due to the success of Otomate's other adapted projects). It aired in the Fall 2017 season alongside two other otome adaptations, Code:Realize (which I loved), and Dynamic Chord (which I didn't). This series piqued my interest because of the stellar character designs. Each army was drawn by a prominent otome game artist for the mobile game, and to see them adapted cohesively for the anime caught my attention. I was curious to see how the show would go about developing 28 men (and no, that is not an exaggeration) and showcase the Sengoku period but bend the rules a bit (like with The Ambition of Oda Nobuna).
When the initial reviews came in, I was not surprised to hear this didn't do well. Yuzuki wasn't a good protagonist, the plot was incredibly confusing, the boys were trash, the animation was terrible: all the ingredients were there to make an epic disaster. But when I sat down to watch it after it initially aired, I was surprised to find I didn't hate it. Sure, there were plenty of problems, but I liked parts of the show and could see where things may have gone better for it. However, I didn't make time to write a review once I finished it, causing it to get lost in the void. I figured I could review it better once I found time to re-watch it. Lo and behold, I have. Did this show hold together on a re-watch?
Yes and no. Despite the show's numerous problems, there's still a part of me that enjoys it. I liked the direction the story goes in, Yuzuki had good parts to her personality, I enjoyed the moments where we got to see more behind the curtain of some of the men, the animation had great parts when it didn't dip under inconsistently drawn frames or poorly drawn scenes, and the OST and voice acting are genuinely enjoyable. These strengths don't make this show top tier, but for what's it worth, Sengoku Night Blood gets its job done and has plenty of fun in the nonsense it brings out for twelve episodes. Hot take: this is better than Dance with Devils.
Let's jump into the story:
Student Yuzuki is walking home after meeting a friend at a cafe (or something) when she decides to turn on her phone. All of a sudden, the screen lights up, and the world freezes around her. Cut to Shinga, a world where alternate versions of legendary Sengoku era daimyos and warriors fight to unify the nation. Since the legendary Himemiko-sama disappeared, each army has been in pursuit of their own version of peace. When Yuzuki wakes up, she finds herself in Toyotomi Army territory, where she's found by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his four subordinates. Intrigued by her the minute he looks into her eyes, Hideyoshi decides she'll stay with them, and in the chaos of the battlefield with his arch-nemesis, Yuzuki nicks her neck. Hideyoshi notices the blood coming from her wound, and he starts to get very excited.
It turns out Shinga is the home of the Gegga Race, groups of supernatural men. The six groups are split four to two, with the werewolves outnumbering the vampires. Right before Hideyoshi can suck Yuzuki's blood (which he believes to have an alluring power, because he's got fangs), Nobunaga Oda finds him, and the two look into each other's eyes with the sense that something definitely happened between them. What could it be?
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. After a wild night, Yuzuki's able to settle down (ish) and do her best to help around the Toyotomi base. However, one thought's constantly on her mind: how the hell is she going to get home? If she finds where Himemiko went, of course! She's given this mission by Obligatory Mascot Imari, who will guide/lose track of Yuzuki multiple times. He tells her the Himemiko protected the Gegga Race with the powers of her blood, but since she's gone missing, they no longer have additional protection from each other and mysterious creatures called yakuma. Since the troops are too busy fighting, the yakuma are able to deal more damage to the land, and soon, the number grows.
This mission gives Yuzuki the perfect opportunity to bounce from one group of boys to another, gaining admiration, flushed faces, and respect. But will an army try to seek her out in order to gain control of her powers? Is the increase in yakuma linked to Yuzuki's arrival in Shinga? Will anyone get chosen in this war of control and over Yuzuki's heart? Will teamwork make the dream work?
I should give Sengoku Night Blood props for a few things. The initial premise isn't too shabby. After we get past the introduction of all the prospective love interests, the show did make me curious to see more. I liked seeing Yuzuki bounce from army to army, even if some of the reasons were incredibly contrived. It was the only way we got to learn more about the boys. The writers also did a great job at building up the final battle. Once we get past the armies' hard feelings towards each other, it's clear the yakuma are a bigger priority than who gets Yuzuki. The reason why they're so frequent won't shock you (much of this anime won't), but why they were powerful clicked into place. I also liked how the final battle wasn't as simple as I thought it would be when I first watched this show. There were a couple of twists I didn't see coming, and seeing Hideyoshi and Nobunaga put their differences aside for one second was great to see as a viewer.
The writers also did a good job showing you what was beyond the first impressions of the army leaders. Some of them aren't very good (Hideyoshi and parts of Date and Nobunaga), but you at least know there's more to these leaders than what meets the eye. They're misunderstood because they hved an image to uphold. They're misunderstood because they're too stoic. It might not make you sympathize with them, but I was happy to at least know something about the men that didn't make them complete trash bins.
Also, it helps build some chemistry between Yuzuki and some of her prospective love interests. Some of it didn't feel necessary or accomplish much of anything (Yuzuki and Yukimura were cute together, but I feel their episode did nothing to make me like them together when I think about it) because there are so many, but I bought into why I could fall for some of them if I was playing the game. I wish I could say the same for Dance With Devils' anime, which only really gave believable development for one of the guys (and he wasn't even end game), making the big climatic song lose clout when this line came out:
Really? Are we just going to forget Loewen, the one with the blue hair (and Rem's dog who can turn into a human), threatened to kill Ritsuka back in Episode 7 and was barely on screen after that?
Unfortunately, that's where all the good points end. Sengoku Night Blood's main problem is juggling a variety of subplots and tying together loose ends. While the show itself is never too busy per episode, it can feel like there's a lot going on. There's the rivalry between the Gegga boys, the missing Himemiko-sama that Yuzuki is connected to, Imari popping up and running around, trying to warn Yuzuki about incoming danger or trying to find her after they're separated, the yakuma, and learning about each troop. The writing doesn't find a good balance between expository dialogue and letting the story progress naturally. There's a lot of talking about what the audience already knows or what we would find obvious. This is most apparent in the second half and on a second watch. I can see it getting on the nerves of experienced reverse harem viewers.
There are also plenty of subplots the show doesn't wrap up. We have no clue what happened with Himemiko, the troops still want to unify Japan with the help of Yuzuki (but there can only be one, and the others think that can't be the Toyotomi army), Yuzuki still needs to get back to the human world, Imari reunited with Yuzuki (for some reason after disappearing when he saw yakuma in Episode 10), and the Mori Army are waiting for their time to strike. It screams, "When we made this, we wanted a Season 2," which clearly didn't happen. One of the big obstacles was defeated (beating the yakuma), but at the same time, having another big plot point I thought the show was going to solve at the beginning of the show get forgotten because the yakuma were more pressing is a waste.
All in all, the story does have some unexpected elements to it, and while I'm happy we got to see more of the army leaders and understand why Yuzuki would be attracted to them (and vice versa), the show still could have been cleaner, not leaving so many subplots haphazardly answered or unanswered. It's why Sengoku Night Blood doesn't have a good rep. While there were parts I enjoyed, I saw the places where it could have been better.
Time to move on to the characters:
Since there are a plethora of love interests, I'm only going to talk about each group's leader aside from Yuzuki.
Speaking of Yuzuki, I'll start with her:
There isn't much going for Yuzuki in the development department. Because she's an insert character for the viewer, we don't get to hear a lot about her background or why she was "picked" to get transported to Shinga. She's always happy to help, apologetic when she feels like something is her fault or accidentally gets in the way of something, and has no allegiance to any of the troops she meets. This causes her to get questioned a few times about being a spy for Hideyoshi, but once she denies this, it also helps her get close to the leaders and befriend them. Who knows? It could lead to something more.
She eventually finds out that her blood has a special ability to "awaken" the dormant powers of each love interest. Because of its similarities to the Himemiko-sama's own powers, Imari tells her she needs to unite the armies of Shinga in order to find where Himemiko might have gone and return to her own world. Of course, she wasn't able to complete it, but no one can deny she hasn't made progress. Everyone fought together to defeat the yakuma, and she's admired by most of the men. Who knows, maybe she'll make more? We'll never find out, but it never hurts to dream.
Yuzuki doesn't deviate much from protagonists in this vein. While I appreciate how the decisions to use her blood were up to her in Episodes 9 and 12, the show doesn't give her much to do, and as such, any material she can get is limited to random jobs she is asked to do or wants to take on, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Her best moment was when she helped Kenshin open up to his foster son. Her worst were all the times she was clumsy. I think parts of the show tried to do more with her, which I appreciated, but it wasn't enough to make Yuzuki any more than a husk of a person at times. There were too many "huh"'s, too many "It's my fault"'s, and a couple times where she could have done more if the writers put more effort into her character. But alas. Yui Komori made countless bad decisions and was treated like poop, but she had more entertaining moments than Yuzuki.
Next up is Hideyoshi:
Before being the leader of his own army, Hideyoshi Toyotomi served under Nobunaga Oda, their goals for peace once the same. However, when Mitsuhide tried to betray his Lord when he got worried about his plans being too reckless, Hideyoshi tried to intervene and almost got killed. Upset by this, he decided to cut ties and now lives with his four subordinates in another area of Japan. He didn't go far, though, because Oda's castle is about an hour or so's walking distance away.
Despite being easygoing, Hideyoshi has a sinister side under the surface. He's great at battle strategy and coming up crafty ways to defeat opponents, like when he flooded out a bandit group's hideout. However, with Nobunaga on his mind, he gets easily distracted and only focuses on how he can defeat him, not how his soldiers can help him. He's also very possessive of Yuzuki, being the first leader to meet her (which makes sense), but he vows to make her stay by his side and be his bride, so all he has to do is convince her that she likes this world more than she likes her own. Should be easy, right? He also owns a monkey named Toukichi, who I wish we got to see more of in this show.
I don't mind Hideyoshi, but his possessive qualities make him weaker in my book. His design and voice are pretty appealing. That's the best thing I can say about him. Besides that, I liked the arc where he realized he needs to trust his friends to help him with his struggles and rebuilt his town while Yuzuki was with Nobunaga. He just ruined any sweet moment he had with Yuzuki when he said s**t like, "I'll make you like this world so much you won't want to leave," and "How's my bride doing?" She's not yours, Hideyoshi. Give her some agency. I don't know how other properties have handled this daimyo, but I hope it's better than this. If he wasn't a sleaze, I'd like him better.
The second leader is Takeda:
If I had to pick a favorite, it'd be this guy. Takeda's charisma radiates the minute he's first on, and he proves to be a relatively warm person. Yuzuki and Hideyoshi's main crew show up to his place when some of his soldiers (led by one of his subordinates, Kosaka Masanobu) go to Hideyoshi's bearing gifts. Masanobu invites Hideyoshi's crew (and Yuzuki) to Takeda's place where the rest of the gifts are gathered and they can have a feast. Thinking this is a trap, Hideyoshi's vassals aren't sure about going, but Hideyoshi's willing to hear Takeda out. Once there, Takeda asks Hideyoshi if he'll form an alliance with him in order to defeat his rival, Kenshin. Hideyoshi refuses because he doesn't need any help in obtaining peace, which Takeda accepts.
During this meeting, Yuzuki wanders around Takeda's property, talking to each of his subordinates and accidentally spilling a bottle containing Takeda's medicine. Feeling awful, Yuzuki helps Hideyoshi and Yamagata look for herbs that could be ground into pills Takeda takes. These pills are for his chronic illness. If his body gets overworked or he doesn't take them, Takeda coughs up blood and isn't able to draw on his strength when on the battlefield. However, he doesn't like taking them because they taste too bitter. Yuzuki is able to find a way to sneak honey into the new bunch, which his taste buds warm up to.
Besides this, Takeda is well-respected by his people and soldiers. In the mobile game, he considers anyone his comrade if his abilities match his and loves obtaining as much information as he can in order to make sure he doesn't lose. His rivalry with Kenshin (who are both werewolves in this franchise) stems from real life, culminating in the Battles of Kawanakajima, which took place from 1553 to 1564. What's interesting is the anime downplayed some of Takeda's real-life calculations, where he may have convinced his own son to commit seppuku. This seems to be common in adaptations of Takeda, more specifically in Japanese theater, at least according to Andy Knowles from Samurai Archives.
Even though we don't get to see a lot of him, I like that Takeda has a warm heart. It would have been fun to see his real dark side, but the version we got is still pretty good. I liked his interactions with Yuzuki, and I'm happy he didn't want to use her blood to gain his strength back when he had a coughing fit after defeating yakuma. He doesn't want anyone else to decide how he should recover, and I respect that. If I was able to play the game (which I can't), I'd probably go hang out with the Takeda army first not only because they're designed by the Code:Realize character designer, but because Takeda makes a charismatic leader. His subordinates aren't that bad, either.
Yukimura's turn in the spotlight:
An interesting fact the anime adaptation team didn't use for the anime: the Sanada army served under the Takeda army before parting ways. Yukimura felt his comrades were too important to be lumped under the Takeda banner. I'm surprised this detail didn't make the anime, but since there's no bad blood between the two, maybe that's the reason why? IDK. I find it strange.
Yukimura meets Yuzuki when she, Hanbee, and Kanbee come to visit the army to learn more abut the Himemiko (Hideyoshi is asked to stay put by his two other retainers, Mitsunari and Toshiie). On the way there, it starts raining, and Yuzuki gets a fever to the point where she can't stand up. The two retainers ask to stay the night so Yuzuki can recover, and Yukimura's older brother, Nobuyuki, asks Sasuke and Saizo to look after her (these two don't get along). After an awkward first introduction (poor Yukimura walks in on Yuzuki changing after picking fresh radishes), both Yuzuki and Yukimura have a fun time hanging out as the latter shows her around. They pick more fresh radishes and get mistaken for a couple by some of the locals. However, the tone of their get-together changes when Yukimura hears of a yakuma attack at a nearby village. Despite his brother telling him not to do reckless things, Yukimura goes to check the village's damage (no deaths, but some property got destroyed). From this, Yuzuki sees the care Yukimura has for his people.
In the game, Yukimura is known for being incredibly generous, which some of the other warlords lack. Compared to his brother, he doesn't mind it when Sasuke and Saizo argue. It takes a lot to dampen his spirits, like when Yuzuki's in danger or he's considering important battle moves, but I think he could get pretty pissed if one of his comrades is threatened.
As I was writing this section, the full extent of Takeda and Yukimura's similarities hit me. They're both warm, friendly, and don't lost their temper unless someone close to them is in danger. However, I'm more drawn to the former than I am the latter. I think it's because we get some backstory to Takeda. He's still a nice character, but he can also be a little boring for those who want more substance with their sweetness. At my age, I know I do.
Up next is Kenshin:
Yuzuki meets Kenshin after getting separated from Hanbee during a big battle where Hideyoshi was trying to defeat Nobunaga. The two were attacked by yakuma twice, plus Yuzuki wasn't able to effectively walk because she injured her knee in a fall. Kenshin finds her in the woods after Imari does. Noticing her injury, he takes her back to his home, where she meets his subordinates and is looked after by his foster son, Kagekatsu. While he takes care of her, she comes to understand Kenshin's relationship with Kagekatsu (which is slightly strained), but trying to find information on Himemiko causes her knee wound to re-open. Kagekatsu feels responsible for this, even though Yuzuki tells him numerous times that it was her own fault. This affects his confidence in taking on a leader role in investigating a rival country's movement, which Kenshin offers to him but gives to Kakizaki instead when he sees doubt flicker in his foster son's eyes.
This inspires Yuzuki to convince Kagekatsu to open up to Kenshin; telling him how much he wants to go will help him see why the latter treats him the way he does. The meeting works, and the next morning, Kagekatsu is sent off. Thankful that Yuzuki was able to arrange this, Kenshin tells her she can wish for anything she wants from him. She tells him she wants him to play the biwa because she heard it the first night she was there and thought it was beautiful.
Kenshin also has strong morals, which he uses to help his soldiers focus in battle and in life. He likes living a traditional lifestyle, and according to the Wikipedia page for this franchise, he's also a big fan of poetry. His confidence is also well-regarded in Shinga, and Takeda's feelings toward him are mutual. We don't get an explanation of why these two armies are rivals in the anime, but since they both house werewolves, that's probably it.
Despite not having a lot of meat to him, I was more gravitated towards Kenshin than I was with Yukimura. I think it's because his episode was more compelling, with him bonding with his foster son, Kagekatsu, and making sure Yuzuki got help for her leg. Granted, I don't know how long she would have stayed in the castle if she wasn't taken by Masamune (who I'll talk about next), but at least compared to Hideyoshi, Kenshin seems to give more of a crap about Yuzuki's feelings. He asked if she wanted him to do anything for her after she got him to talk with his foster son. He didn't put her in a situation where she felt forced to say yes. Because of that, he got some brownie points.
Time to talk about Masamune:
We first meet Masamune in disguise as one of Kenshin's informants in Episode 6, telling him about the uprising in surrounding territories. The following episode, he sneaks back into the Uesugi castle dressed as an informant for Hideyoshi, telling Yuzuki he was asked to get her back to the Toyotomi army in one piece. While his subordinates distract Kenshin's soldiers, Masamune gets Yuzuki out of the castle and onto a horse, where he reveals his true identity as the leader of the Date army. Despite only having two subordinates, Masamune wants his army to be known throughout Shinga, and he doesn't mind backstabbing alliances or manipulating people into doing what he wants.
Yuzuki is wary about leaving the castle, but I can't count going with Masamune as a strike against her because she had no choice, and the evidence he presented was legit. It's not like she saw him on the battlefield before. However, when she finds out she was tricked, the alarm bells go off in her head. Planning to use her as a bargaining chip against Nobunaga (who he was in alliance with), the three men hide out at an abandoned building, locking Yuzuki in a warehouse so she doesn't escape. Underneath Masamune's steel exterior, though, is a heart of gold. Pressured to be a great leader when was a young boy, he has the habit of saying the opposite of what he feels. He also only has one eye, something the game or anime doesn't elaborate on (in real life, Date Masamune lost sight in his right eye due to smallpox). The longer Yuzuki spends time with him, she finds out a little more about him through Shigezane and Kojuro (he can cook and was trained to falcon-hunt when he was a kid). It culminates when Yukimura and his army is sent out by Hideyoshi to get Yuzuki back. Masamune warns Yuzuki that they need to head out earlier than expected because movement around the property has been consistent throughout the past few days. At some point, the group is ambushed by Sasuke, Saizo, and Kamanosuke, and Yuzuki and Date are able to hide out by a cliff while the latter's subordinates keep Sasuke and Saizo entertained. When Yukimura finds the two, Date threatens to kill Yuzuki if he gets closer, but Yuzuki now knows there's more behind Date's exterior. She understands he won't actually do it.
Does this excuse what he did in the first place? Not really. The Date army locking Yuzuki in a shed gave me Diabolik Lovers vibes (which is funny, considering the writer from the anime's second season wrote a couple episodes). It's not something I can look past when the reason why is, "He was pressed to be a great warlord by the people around him. DON'T YOU SEE THIS IS WHAT HE HAS TO DO?!" Masamune and his group also gets the least amount of screentime in the anime, so despite the audience getting to know a bit about them in Episode 7, it wasn't enough to make me fully drawn to them as a whole. The game probably explored them more. Outside of that, I didn't mind Date that much. I liked that he has a soft side and isn't a stoic tsundere most of the time. That's all I can say about him, though.
Last, but certainly not least, is Nobunaga:
Known as the "Demon King of the Sixth Heaven," Nobunaga is known for being absolutely ruthless, showing no regard towards anyone. He doesn't care what others think of him since his goal is the same as the other armies, and he'll go about his own way, thank you very much. The Oda army is the last one Yuzuki visits, ending up in their clutches before Date can use her as a bargaining chip. After Yukimura's rescue mission gets stalled by the yakuma, he and Date work together to defeat them. Coincidentally, Nobunaga's soldiers make their move right after.
After their first meeting goes awry (Nobunaga tells his soldiers not to hesitate in using Yuzuki's blood for their own gain, which they don't end up doing), Yuzuki finds out why Nobunaga is well respected in the eyes of his peers; his subordinates also aren't that bad. When he assigned Hideyoshi to destroy a village when he was still working under him (this was the mission where Mitsuhide betrayed his Lord), no innocent lives were lost. Nobunaga made sure the citizens who lived there knew what was going to happen so they had time to leave. He's also trying to look for the yakuma's nest and lets Yuzuki accompany him while he does this. This is around the time the anime reveals the yakuma are attracted to Yuzuki, which Nobunaga is coming to understand. He's also the one who proposes working together with Hideyoshi to defeat the yakuma at the end of the series in exchange for Yuzuki. While Hideyoshi refuses, he eventually helps his old rival at the end of the day, so they both got what they wanted.
Compared to Masamune, what makes Nobunaga more engaging as a character is that the audience gets to spend more time with him. When I first saw him on screen at the end of the first episode, I expected nothing but the worst things from him. His vassals looked shady, he looked shady, and I wasn't sure what to expect when Yuzuki got captured by him. So I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to not be as bad as I thought it would be.
Sure, Nobunaga's intimidating, but he doesn't treat Yuzuki as bad as it seems in the game. He lets her accompany him to check out potential hiding spots, gives her a book of his so she can memorize his handwriting, and doesn't stop Yuzuki when she suggests using her blood to draw yakuma out when they get close to finding their hideout. There's more behind his character design (which a lot of people seem to love) and tough exterior. I like characters who prove me wrong, even though completely trusting him doesn't sound like the best idea.
The other Toyotomi army members are Maeda Toshiie, the lead fighter with a lot of energy, Ishida Mitsunari, who fills in for any tasks Hideyoshi doesn't complete, Takanaka Hanbee, a feminine-looking strategist who is the first subordinate to admit his feelings to Yuzuki outright (I'm still shocked by that), and Kuroda Kanbee, the other strategist who's quiet most of the time.
The other Takeda army members are Kosaka Masanobu, who doesn't have that much of a personality in the anime outside of reminding Shingen to take his medicine (in the game, he's known for attracting women), Baba Nobuharu, a good-natured commander who often trains with Yamagata, Yamagata Masakage, the youngest member of the army who gets teased about having no experience with women, and Naito Masatoyo, who often surprises people who think he pops out of thin air (like Kuroko Tetsuya); he's also in charge of making Shingen's medicine.
The other Sanada army members are Sanada Nobuyuki, Yukimura's older brother who watches out for the others, Sarutobi Sasuke, the youngest member who often argues with Saizo, Kirigakura Saizo, the vainest member who often argues with Sasuke, and Yuri Kamanosuke, the laziest member who makes great comebacks. He's an underrated king.
The other Uesugi army members are Amakasu Kagemochi, Kenshin's top strategist and resident "cool uncle," Kakizaki Kageie, the most energetic member with a pure soul. Another underrated king, truly. To wrap things up, there's Uesugi Kagekatsu, Kenshin's foster son who struggles with feeling confident in his future role (leading the Uesugi to victory), and Naoe Kanetsugu, who trains with Kagekatsu and is his closest friend who wants to look after him.
The other Date army members are Date Shigezane, who's confident in his skill on the battlefield, and Katakura Kojuro, who's calm, collected, and plays the flute for Masamune whenever he gets nervous. They're pretty boring.
The other Oda army members are Akechi Mitsuhide, who's Nobunaga's right hand man, Mori Ranmaru, the most supportive of his Lord and the first to warm up to Yuzuki while she stays at Nobunaga's castle, Shibata Katsuie, the army's main fighter who isn't as brash as he makes himself out to be, and Niwa Nagahide, whose main specialty is being rude to Katsuie and Ranmaru. I may or may not have written fanfic about the last two.
The only other character is Imari, a white and black tanuki that the writers mismanage throughout the show. He loses track of Yuzuki often after giving her her mission and hides so he isn't seen by the vampires or werewolves. At one point, he's almost caught by Nagahide.
The animation for this anime was produced by Typhoon Graphics, whose only two other full projects are the short anime One Room and Room Mate.
Sengoku Night Blood didn't have a bad foundation. I think the character designs from the game were adapted really well, and when the frames look good, they look good. Close-ups are pristine, and I didn't mind the lighting the studio used for the romantic moments. The filters helped add something and weren't as distracting as the ones in Soul Buster, which took away from the action in the show. However, this anime didn't have a big budget. Some episodes have characters choppily move during most fight scenes, there are plenty of times where things go off-model and don't look pretty, and once the yakuma move on from being shadow creatures to full-on monsters, the designs are pretty ugly. There are also scenes in Episode 5 that were barely animated in the broadcast cut, even ones that got repeated by layering them in a montage. I was pretty surprised to see this again because while I remembered this show not looking the best, I completely forgot about that part.
I think how this show looked can be linked to Typhoon Graphics only have seventeen full-time employees, at least in 2018. I think other animation studios have more staff working behind the scenes to get material looking as good as possible (three I checked have over 50), although some shows are outsourced if more finishing touches need to be done/the show actually needs to get done (the first two arcs of Sailor Moon Crystal come to mind). I'm sure Sengoku Night Blood had to get outsourced, but I'm surprised that even with that, the show buckles under time constraints and sloppy moments. Hopefully the DVD animation looks better, because while this wasn't bad all the time, the bad took over the good.
The score for this series was composed by Naoyuki Horiko, who hasn't worked on his own on an anime before, outside of working on Marvel anime properties like Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher, Iron Man: Rise of Technoverse, and Marvel Future Avengers.
This was easily my favorite part of the anime. I think Horiko's pieces really captured the essence of this series and the franchise as a whole. The battles are immersive with the two "World at War" pieces, the arrangements to the Uesugi, Oda, and Toyotomi army endings capture the feel of each group perfectly, plus my two favorite pieces, "Disquiet" and "Impatience" (which still holds up as one of my favorite tracks of all time and I'm sad was only used in the last five episodes) make you feel uneasy and need to know what's going on. Some game pieces also carried over to the anime, I believe, and the new pieces Horiko composed work well with them so they didn't sound like two separate scores. The tracks work well for the scenes they're in, which helped make watching Sengoku Night Blood more memorable. There was always good music to enjoy, along with the surprises along the way. It made me overlook the obvious flaws.
I also found the voice acting to be pretty good for this anime. Even though it may be standard for a reverse harem show like this, I think the seiyuu cast fit their roles perfectly. It's always a treat to hear Masakazu Morita use his Ichigo tone (because that's a shonen throwback), plus I got introduced to some voice actors I hadn't heard a lot of prior to this show but have been around the reverse harem circuit before. It was a good introduction for anime/franchises to come in my eyes.
Highlights include Rie Kugimiya (hate Yuzuki all you want, she sold that generic reverse harem character), Natsuki Hanae (I can't deny, he sounded cute), Ikkei Yamamoto, Yoshihide Sasaki (both I hadn't heard of before this show but sounded good), Ryota Osaka (I had no clue his voice could go that high), Shunsuke Takeuchi (I know he can play the stoic, serious types well with this character), Katsuyuki Konishi (:3), Ryohei Kimura (one of my biases), Hiroki Yasumoto (Agni), Kotaro Nishiyama (who I'm happy to see getting more work), Daiki Yamashita (who I'm also happy to see get more work), Taku Yashiro (:3, and who I think is legit using the same voice he uses for his Danshi Koukousei, Hajimete no drama CDs), Kosuke Toriumi, Hikaru Midorikawa (who both essentially used their Diabolik Lovers voices), Kazuyuki Okitsu (:3), Yoshihiko Aramaki (who I also hadn't heard of before this show and did a good job with Kagekatsu's demeanor), Tetsuya Kakihara (one of my biases), Yuichiro Umehara (Teika), Toshiyuki Morikawa (who hasn't played a role I haven't liked yet), Nobunaga Shimazaki (who I'm glad is getting more work that isn't Shido), Yusuke Kobayoshi (who I forget has a good range), Masakazu Morita (*ahem*), Tomoaki Maeno (another pick because he voiced a few characters I've liked), and Natsumi Fujiwara (despite Imari's weak character writing, she played him well).
Even though Sengoku Night Blood isn't going to win any awards anytime soon, I still thought this anime was okay. Even though it got about the same amount of things wrong as Juuni Taisen, this was a more enjoyable experience for me. I think it's because the story went in a better direction, I was more interested in finding out what these characters would do next (even if they weren't as well-developed), I was more partial to the score here (even though Juuni Taisen's score had plenty of good moments), and I didn't feel the ending was as anticlimatic in one aspect (although the Himemiko subplot could have at least wrapped up somehow). Even some of the show's bad moments were entertaining in some regard. Putting this show on put me in a good mood, even though I was frustrated by some of the characters and plot decisions. It's like a "so bad, it's good" movie.
I wouldn't recommend this show to casual anime viewers, but if you're a fan of reverse harems or want an entertaining train-wreck for a night in, I'd say you should go for it. Who knows? You might end up finding a new reverse harem favorite. Some people did.
The story isn't as cookie-cutter as I'd anticipated.
Finding out more about the army leaders was interesting.
Chemistry between Yuzuki and some of her love interests is more believable.
While Yuzuki is a wet paper bag, she does make some of her own decisions.
Some cute characters.
Great character designs and art style.
Good voice acting.
Some subplots aren't handled well.
The show screams of "we wanted another season" energy.
I wasn't interested in a few characters.
The animation was a bit sloppy.