(13 episodes, 2000)
My previous exposure
Suggested in this very thread.
What’s it about ?
Ran Tsukikage is a drifter that everyone she meets thinks is a samurai. (And she does have the skill : if she starts fighting you, you WILL lose, often in a matter of seconds.) She’s a woman of few words who rarely gives a toss about anything around her, except when sake’s involved ; in which case she’ll start rambling incoherently like a mean drunk.
Her sidekick is Meow, a very talkative martial artist who stumbled onto Ran in the first episode and stuck with her ever since. Let’s be frank, Meow is a bit stupid and gullible, which often provides the hook to involve the duo with whatever the plot of the week is. (This is a very episodic series.)
Mostly, they aimlessly roam the Edo-period Japanese countryside while getting on each other’s nerves. And the audience’s, too.
What did I think of it ?
Well, this could have gone better. While I don’t have a problem against our protagonists’ double act in theory, in practice it can get quite irritating very quickly (especially if Meow starts shouting a bit too much). While most of the time their antics reach the level of “mildly funny”, they rarely rise about it, and sometimes go down to “bloody annoying”.
It doesn’t help that I’m pretty sure I’ve already watched half of these plots, with much better execution, over in Samurai Champloo. Sure, that’s no fault of this show, but the comparison is unavoidable. Here, the directing is pedestrian, most of the characters are one-dimensional (special mention to the generic bad guys, who couldn’t sound more B-movie evil if they tried), and the strict episodic format prevents from attaining any kind of depth.
As it is, the series is cute for a few episodes, after which watching it became a bit of a chore. (I think I lost most of my goodwill with the “Meow finds a baby” episode and its questionable gender politics. And the less said about the “idiot blonde foreigner” episode, the better.) Not that it’s bad, but it just wasn’t funny enough to really be worth the time.