Rokka – Braves of the Six Flowers Review

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers started off life as a series of light novels written by Ishio Yamagata, followed by a manga adaptation, and finally this 12-episode anime version, which adapts the first novel in the series. The story begins with a couple of episodes that led me to believe this would be a rather dull, if not well animated, affair. In this world an evil demon king was sealed away by a powerful mage, who then split her own power into six and every 300 years six people are chosen to bear the crest of the Six Braves of the Six Flowers and reseal the demon… (That’s a lot of use of the word six, but there you go.) Soon our lead protagonist, Adlet Mayer, arrives all smiles and announces that he’s the strongest person in the world and wants to show everybody, and sure enough he’s chosen as one of the six, along with a smiley, naïve princess named Nashetania, the Saint of Blades (giving her God-like powers over, well, blades…)

This set-up is all rather cliché, and soon they’re off fighting “fiends”, which are CG dinosaurs and demons straight out of a late 90s J-RPG, which, while they fit the very RPG story and character designs, are on the poorer side of CG images… Adlet and Nashetania soon encounter two other braves, the latter meets her loyal knight Goldof, while Adlet meets Flamie Speeddraw, who apart from having a really crap name, is the Saint of Gunpowder and, without spoiling too much, isn’t an easy person to get on with, due to her recent past. Adlet tries desperately to join forces with her, but she is hell-bent on doing this alone, and things get even more hairy when they meet up the other two known Braves. Soon the four arrive at a special temple and meet the other chosen, but there is a problem: there are three other Braves already there, giving them a total of Seven…

This is where the story picks up, as the Seven are sealed within a barrier and the only way out is to find out who the impostor is. This lasts from Episode 5 to 11, the opening song changes to a more serious theme from the more upbeat one for the first four episodes, the ending song changes and generally the whole show goes from clichéed fantasy story 101 to suddenly a well written whodunnit, complete with plenty of red herrings and in-fighting. Episode 12 deals with the big reveal, and then we end on a cliffhanger to lead into the next novel, or series in this case, but as of now (June 2018) there is no second season on the horizon, so… Maybe don’t get too attached to the characters and their world…

The opening for Episodes 1-4 and 12 is “Cry for the Truth” by Michi, where as “Black Swallowtail” by Uroboros is the opening for 5 – 11. Despite only being 12 episodes long, it also has THREE endings, the first being “Secret Sky” by Michi for Episodes 1-3, 8 and 12, second one is “Dance in the Fake” by Yoko Hikasa for Episodes 4, 5 and 10, then finally “Nameless Heart” by Aoi Yuki is the ending for Episodes 6, 7, 9 and 11. You’ll be happy to know that clean versions of all of these are available on the discs, along with the usual trailers. The actual physical extras are rather nice in this collector’s edition, with a 48-Page art book “that features art of the characters, the fiends, props, storyboards from the opening and ending sequences, and a gallery section.”

Both the Japanese and English voice tracks are well performed; the latter is especially interesting as this release is the first time the English dub has been seen (or heard, I guess), which is a nice coup for Anime Limited. I’ll also say that the background music by Michiru Oshima of Fullmetal Alchemist fame is good, especially a dramatic piece of music that plays during a lot of the fight scenes between Braves.

Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers starts off as extremely unoriginal and played-out, but manages to pull off a shift in tone and story style and gives us eight or so really good episodes in spite of the generic RPG-ness that surrounds it. I watched the series in bunches of three over four days, and by the end of Day One I wasn’t looking forward to three more days of the show, but by the end of Day Three I was very tempted to put the last three episodes on straight away, such is the dramatic jump in story and intrigue. Rokka gets a recommendation from me; it produces a great story and some good action once you push past the first quarter.

8 / 10

Cold Cobra

Having watched anime since it was airing late night on the Sci-Fi channel in the late 90s, I consider myself... someone who's watched a lot of anime, and then got hired to write reviews about them. Hooray!

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