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[R1 DVD box art]
AKA: 真・恋姫†無双
Genre: Action, adventure, comedy.
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: R1 DVD from Sentai Filmworks.
Content Rating: TV MA (Violence, nudity.)
Related Series: Koihime Musou (Season 1), Shin Koihime Musou: Otome Tairan (season 3)
Also Recommended: Ikkitousen, Dragon Ball, Inu-Yasha, My-Hime
Notes: The OAV is included in this review -- technically -- since it's available on the DVD set.

Loosely based on the adult visual novel series published by Nexton and developed by BaseSon, itself loosely based on the novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms". This is NOT related to the hentai anime Koihime.

You can find all three seasons of this show on Crunchyroll, even internationally.
Rating:
 

Shin Koihime Musou

Synopsis

After rescuing the town from the bandits, Aisha (Kan'u) and Rin Rin (Chohi) finds themselves in the company of Ryubi, who, much to the surprise of the girls, is actually a girl herself. As it turned out, the Ryubi they knew from earlier was actually an impostor who stole the real Ryubi's family's sword in a bid for fame and power. Eager for more excitement, Aisha agrees to help her reclaim her sword. And where Aisha goes, her friends naturally follow.

Review

Koihime Musou and its sequel, Shin Koihime Musou, isn't the first show I've watched that loosely bases itself on the Three Kingdoms. It's also not the only show that I've filed in my small folder of guilty pleasures, part of that guilt being that I'm not really familiar with the original material. I'd like to think it's not really a requirement to get the most out of this show, though, but I can't say for sure. But then, I have an innate weakness for shows featuring a group of friends setting out on a journey for various reasons.

What I CAN say for sure, however, is that Shin Koihime Musou continues the honorable and proud tradition of exchanging historical Chinese generals with ludicrously busty girls. But where Ikkitousen takes its heroes into the modern world, Koihime Musou (and its sequel) likes to at least keep things in the proper timeline. Then again, if you're reading this, you probably already watched the first show.

So, how does Shin Koihime Musou fare compared to its prequel? Pretty much the same, actually. In fact, it's exactly the same kind of cross-season progression as Aria, Maria Watches Over Us... or even Ikkitousen, since we're on that wavelength. Did you like the first show? Then it's a given that you'll continue enjoying this. And if not, well...

While Shin Koihime Musou has what you could call two main story arcs -- Aisha and her friends helping Ryubi reclaim her sword, plus the introduction of the three Cho sisters and their rise to fame with the help of a book of spells -- it's still as episodic as ever. The girls travel to a town, help the residents with their problems and move on by the end of the episode. Along the way, new characters are introduced (or, in the case of Shin; old friends are occasionally revisited.) Like Tim mentioned in his review of the first season, Koihime Musou actually has a lot of characters it's easy to like. Unfortunately, it also means you have to deal with the ones who aren't, which is the show's achilles heel. At the top of that list is the sheer idiocy of Reiha and her vaguely Eiken-level selection of sexually demeaning games, which is sadly the point where Shin Koihime Musou really outdid itself compared to the first season. It's survivable, though, being just a matter of knowing which episode to skip. (Hint: It's episode three.) Sadly, the Cho sisters also adds little of value to the show, unless you're really fond of J-pop. (And pretty cheap one at that.)

Where Shin Koihime Musou really... well, I guess "shine" would be too strong an adjective, but it has its glimmers from time to time. Most of it is centered around the relationships between the main players of this little jaunt, one scene in particular I liked being the scene at the end of the first episode where our key players share their given names to reinforce their friendship. The show's sense of humor is also helped by Cho'un's (Sei's) dry wit and the occasional situational comedy act, like the girls having too much fun putting Kada's emphasis on his role in life every time it's mentioned, even if it's just in passing. Maybe it's just me, but when it comes to comedy, it's better when shows aren't trying too hard to bring out the guffaws, and Shin Koihime Musou both succeeds and fails here. Yes, it's possible.

When it comes down to it, Shin Koihime Musou is a simple show, which means if you're up for some simple entertainment, it's going to do just that. There are some things that needs to be stomached depending on your preferences, but all in all, the Koihime Musou series is fairly harmless fluff.

Surprisingly entertaining -- but occasionally unbelievably stupid -- Saturday Morning cartoon fare. The ending tempted me to drop it to two stars, as did a good chunk of the comedy centered around fanservice. Think of it as a nearly-three, or a two and a half, if you will.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: Violence is relatively mild, even if the show itself doesn't really make it a secret that people die in battles like these. I've got a sneaky suspicion that the DVD's TV MA/14+ rating is set more because of the generous amounts of nudity that can be found in this season. (Not to mention Reiha's tasteless idea of competitive games. If you need hints: eels + cleavage.)



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, Japanese with English subs only
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Shin Koihime Musou © 2009 NX Media LLC.