Review: Samurai Deeper Kyo

“Four years have past since the bloody battle of Sekigahara. On that day a legend was born – Demon Eyes Kyo the 1000 man slayer. Since then he has lain dormant, hidden inside the body of a medicine man, a healer named Kyoshiro Mibu. But now Demon Eyes Kyo has awakened. The future as it was meant to be, will now be changed forever.”

Or so says every opening in the English dub, which is how I watched this show. Honestly, I was confused too much while watching this show to string together a highly cohesive plot, so we’ll just let the introduction speak for itself.

At this point let me say this will probably be the most negative review yet, since for the most part I’ve truly liked the shows I’ve watched. Of course, while some of you may be excited about this change of pace, I do have to say for the most part I did still enjoy my time watching the show; however, enjoying the experience and enjoying the anime may be quite different, since this show was just lacking in all too many ways.

Let me launch into my main problem, and that would be the overall confusion presented in the show by the numerous characters. In the first episode the audience is introduced to Kyoshiro, who’s a medicine man, Yuya, who’s a bounty hunter, and I believe Yukimura, who you find more out about later. Seems simple thus far with only three characters but, and I invite you to check out the wiki “list of characters”, as each episode progresses there seem to be an exponential increase in the number of main characters present. So much so that by the end I bet few people remember who’s who, or more importantly why they are where they are in the first place?

Which brings up another matter, and that’s the issue of each character’s goals. Eventually, and this really doesn’t spoil much, many of the characters gather around Kyo, with each of them generally having an episode early on focusing on some part of their history. More often than not these episodes explain very little and merely bring out more questions.  Meanwhile in the present times, when a character has settled what they came for you’d imagine the character would leave but for whatever reason they are pretty much all still there as the journey continues!!!

Now let me speak to the animation, which overall I thought was done well, when you could see it that is. The trouble is based on a concept loosely termed the “Kyo Effect”, first introduced to me by the crew of the OtakuGeneration.net podcast. The “Kyo Effect” refers to the overuse of pans and close-ups on characters, thus allowing the animator to focus solely on the faces and lips, while actually showing very little of the body movement. This can lead to some really boring fights, which makes since once you’ve seen the show since very few fights keep your attention, let alone make you really get into the little action present.

Like I said though I did enjoy the experience, but for me that was because I watched it with my friend who got me into anime. We did both agree at the time that it wasn’t the best fare though, and for now I can only put my hope in the manga, which I’ve been told is significantly better. Let’s hope so…

Score: 2 out of 5

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2 comments

  1. I’ve only seen the manga, so my opinion of Samurai Deeper Kyo is somewhat better than yours, but even so, perhaps it’s telling that I stopped reading it midway and was only reminded of it by your review.SPOILER:A lot of confusion is caused by the fact that Kyo is two people. Exactly how this came to be and what it means may differ between the anime and manga, but ultimately I feel that this is essential to remember if the plot is to make any sort of sense.

  2. Yeah in the anime your spoiler is hinted at fairly quickly (in the opening even) so I got that conceptually; however, Kyoshiro Mibu’s intent and story was fleshed out so poorly in the anime, in my opinion, that I just looked at his character as sort of an excuse for the plot. That’s sad to me too because I loved the first couple episodes with him in it, but then as time went on it was like "wait who?" till when it was convenient he was thrust upon us again as a whole different person.I’ll probably try to give the manga a shot once I get time, but I hear a couple of my friends with better opinions of the show are already preparing rebuttals so maybe they’ll show me the light so to speak.


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