The Ikki Tousen series (also known as Battle Vixens) has always been infamous for its large amount of over-the-top fights and female clothes being ripped apart. It’s been a while since the first season was released way back in 2005, but now the sequel has hit our shores in the form of Ikki Tousen: Dragon Destiny – will it offer us a great action title or will it be buried under its trademark fan service?
The action starts with Shimei Ryomou (from Nanyou Academy) entering an old, traditional shrine in an attempt to acquire a golden dragon sphere. Inside the shrine, she is suddenly attacked by stone statues that are protecting this item. After defeating them, Shimei spots a student from another academy who wants to fight for this desired object. While they are battling each other, candles are knocked over, causing the whole shrine to be set on fire; thankfully the sphere is retrieved by the Nanyou student who then escapes. What is this sphere and why is it so important?
The series is loosely based on “The Romance Of The Three Kingdoms.” Three of the largest schools struggle to gain power from each other but it is not until the leader of Kyosho Academy – Sousou Moutoku – starts to gain more power from the demon inside of him that he becomes something of a cruel tyrant (much like the story of Cao Cao of Wei). Then there’s Ryuubi Gentoku the leader of Seito High School,who has a close friendship with Chouhi Ekitoku and Kan’u Unchou; their relationship is similar to that of Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, and Guan Yu of Shu in the novels. Sonsaku Hakufu returns to the series as leader of Nanyo Academy and receives the nickname “The Little Conqueror” (Sun Ce of Wu also had this title). So the novel is closely tied to this series.
If you haven’t seen the first season, then you might be confused by what is currently going on, since this is a direct sequel. It tries to inform you about what has happened before, but as it’s only briefly, it’s a little pointless since so many characters are introduced. Dragon Destiny has the opportunity to give these characters more time to develop, but instead it throws in yet more to remember, leaving me with a feeling of frustration and confusion. Even worse, I ended up not caring for most of them.
Still, the plot is much improved over its predecessor; the story of betrayal and greed ends up being a more engaging experience and the introduction of strategists this time around makes Dragon Destiny less predictable in a good way. However, plot progression is mixed; at one point the mood becomes dark after a fight, but another scene later, we see characters grabbing bosoms in a light-hearted manner which loses a lot of the tension.
The animation is surprisingly great, with character designs looking sharp and the fighting sequences impressively fluid. However, the supernatural elements of the show feel overused. Ikki Tousen does not hold back its ecchi nature and does everything it can to show any female panty shot, torn clothes, or as much skin as it can, adding maid outfits as well as introducing a loli character; Dragon Destiny screams fan service. The English voice acting is decent although bland at times. (Also I encounted a little subtitle error in episode 9.)
The Opening “Heart & Soul” by Mai Kariyuki is your standard, upbeat J-pop offering, showing regular female fighters duking it out; the Closing “Garasu no Hana” by Iori is a more mellow track, with the girls of Seito High School giving a huge amount of fan service.
This collection has a good amount of extra offerings including six short OVAs (the 1st OVA episode was removed due to cuts by the BBFC), TV Spots, Textless OP’s and ED’s, Promotional Videos, Line Art Gallery, and MVM trailers.
Ikki Tousen: Dragon Destiny’s plot has a lot of potential but is ruined by pointless fan service and characters. Still it does a decent job in offering some mindless entertainment.