So recently, I’m addicted to this anime called Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun. Originally, it’s an adaption from a 106 volume novel series called Nansou Satomi Hakkenden by Kyokutei Bakin, but the story line in this anime is somehow different, I read. There’s also a manga version by Abe Miyuki, and I’ve been reading it, however scanlation had been really slow.
Honestly, I wanted to read the novel. But I couldn’t. I’m limited by the fact that I couldn’t read or even understand Japanese. And worse, that it’s from the Edo period. If translations are available, like Vampire Hunter D, I would definitely read it.
The series is a bit more on the darker drama shoujo type with occasional comedic scenes. There are violent scenes and funny hints of BL. It runs two seasons, so far, and it’s still ongoing.
The anime story line revolves around a sickly kid named Shiro. Five years prior, his entire village was wiped out by a plague, leaving 3 survivors him and 2 other childhood friends. When he and his friends were dying, someone came and offered him if he wanted live for a price. Wanting to live, he took in the spirit of an old Japanese sword named Murasame. Having Murasame live with him in the same body, gives him the ability to see a sense supernatural things, special powers and eternal youth.
He was living quietly for 5 years until one of childhood friends got kidnapped by the Church who were “collecting” children with supernatural powers. He chased after his friend to a grand mansion where people from families that harbors sacred beasts lives. He lived off there for a while also helping out church with some odd jobs, here and there. Eventually, he was given the task of searching for 8 special beads (I guess this is where the “Eight Dogs of the East” from the title comes in) of which he and his other childhood friend each owns one. The people who owns the 6 other more beads are all gathering around him, one after another, when he doesn’t even notice it.
There’s also something of a darker story that lingers in the background as you go on with the series. You get to see how much people sacrifices for certain goals, and secrets certain people hide. There are side scenes that are little by little being revealed throughout the series. When I first notice this, I thought, “Why are there unnecessary scenes inserted randomly in this series?” It was until I got half way when I realized that these short “unnecessary” scenes are glimpse of supposed bigger story later (not yet revealed as of this posting). As soon as I finished the first season, I re-watch them again to confirm what I discovered.
I’m really hooked with the story. I love that it’s all about supernatural beings and that it has sacred beasts and such. I also love that it’s a bit dark, dramatic and comedic at the same time. I was hoping for more violence to it, though. But since it’s a shoujo, I guess I’ll compromise. All in all, I’ll give this anime a 9/10.
I hope that they would really finish the story and not leave it hanging like most anime.