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Samurai: Hunt for the Sword
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 11/26/2002

When Shinjuro's father Tessyusai takes off on an unexpected mission, Shinjuro is left in charge of their family's dojo. But the samurai attending the school don't think Shinjuro is fit to be the master, and so they decide to leave until Tessyusai returns. To make matters worse, all the dojos are being called upon to patrol the town because some unwanted elements are prowling about. As fate would have it, Shinjuro encounters the band of would-be ninja thieves during his shift... but there is actually more to the situation than meets the eye, and it involves his father's mission and a couple of magical swords. But the real challenge comes when Shinjuro is called upon to duel the cold and calculating leader of the opposing samurai school, Mikage.
Given the title Samurai: Hunt for the Sword, I was half-expecting something heavy along the lines of "Ninja Scroll". What I got instead was a two-episode OAV series that is like a weird cross between "Love Hina" (minus the humor) and "Ninja Cadets".
Samurai Hunt for the Sword is mainly about Shinjuro, a budding young samurai. Like his father's abandoned students, I had trouble taking him seriously. Maybe it's because of his wishy-washy overall look... I don't know. But one look at him had me doubting if he could hold a sword properly, much less manage a dojo. After Shinjuro takes over, his cutesy ninja girl childhood friend Koharu decides to stay in the dojo as well. Just moments later, a mysterious cutesy girl named Lei Lin appears... also set on staying in the dojo. Later on we meet some more girls who are interested in Shinjuro for one reason or another, including one from the enemy's camp.
The main highlight of Samurai Hunt for the Sword is Shinjuro's showdown with Mikage, a savvy and highly skilled samurai who looks like he could be hundreds of leagues better than Shinjuro. A rather interesting duel ensues, and it all whizzes by so fast that by the end of the battle I was sure that Shinjuro had won, but I couldn't tell what happened to Mikage. The ending is just as vague and leaves much to be desired. We see Shinjuro standing in front of a wooden post, or what could be a grave, and I was like "Who died?" We'll never know, because the credits start to roll after that scene and there are no epilogues whatsoever.
The visuals are a mixed bag. The character designs are overly cutesy in style when it comes to the protagonists, and rather serious-looking when it comes to the antagonists. They don't look bad, just strangely mismatched. Although all the scenes are very clear and vibrant, I found that details had been skimped on when it came to the backgrounds and action sequences. I should mention that there are also some bits of fan service in the form of a few (and I do mean really few) boob shots.
Samurai Hunt for the Sword is just another dull and run-of-the-mill ninja / samurai anime. I was actually very bored throughout its duration -- and it's only one hour long.
For a really good samurai anime, see "Rurouni Kenshin".

Samurai: Hunt for the Sword
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Review Title:
Samurai: Hunt for the Sword
Alternative Titles:
Kaitouranma: The Animation
60 Minutes
General Rating:
2 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Action, Adventure, Martial Arts,
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