So, it has been about three weeks or so since the start of the Spring 2021 anime season and earlier, I gave seven recommendations for the season. I have to admit, looking back, that I regret recommending Way of the Househusband as it’s pretty mediocre now that I’ve watched it.
What I’d like to do now is talk about another series airing right now on Crunchyroll that I think is fantastic, and this time, I’m a lot more confident recommending this one. It’s called Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood.
What’s the Story?
Joran takes place in an alternative early twentieth-century Japan where Tokugawa Yoshinobu never stepped down as the last shogun and gave up his power to the first Prime Minister. Japan also discovered the “Dragon Vein”, a unique energy source found only in that country and able to dramatically advance its technology.
You see this mish-mash of old-school Japan and modern elements. There are hanging trolley cars on glowing suspension lines, big colorful advertisements, weird guns, and glowing swords akin to lightsabers.
The main character is Sawa Yukimura, an 18-year-old girl who runs a used bookstore during the day, but at night, she becomes an executioner for the secret police known as Nue. Sawa hopes to use the secret police to track down the people who murdered her family.
If I could describe Joran in one word, it’s cool. This anime is really cool. The series is directed by Susumu Kudo, who’s best known for directing the Mardock Scramble trilogy, which is about a cyborg girl getting revenge on the man who tried to kill her. Mardock Scramble has great dynamic action that’s colorful and impactful. Lo and behold, that’s exactly what Joran has too.
This scene that I’ve linked above is from the first episode and it’s a great showcase of the action scenes. The animation is eye-catching from the slick detective, Tsukishiro, slicing up the bad guys and turning them into a blood sprinkler to Sawa transforming into her berserker mode, letting us see her flesh strip away from half of her face to reveal a fiery skull.
Reminiscent of Kurosawa
The fight scenes and the show’s slow, meticulous pace reminded me of Kurosawa movies. If you don’t know who that is, Akira Kurosawa is a famous Japanese director who made some of the best movies of all time and they typically involve a lone samurai facing insurmountable odds but pulling through.
And it also reminds me of the manga, Lone Wolf and Cub; this is an epic story of a samurai who travels the countryside with his son on his quest for vengeance. Sure enough, Sawa has a little sister she takes care of, and she has some pretty wild scenes within these first three episodes.
I love revenge movies such as John Wick and Kill Bill, and I know many people feel the same way. Revenge stories are some of the most popular because I believe they tap into a type of raw emotion that everybody has.
If you like revenge stories with awesome action scenes, you should definitely watch Joran: The Princess of Snow and Blood.
And once you’ve watched it, you can let us know your thoughts on the show and what you actually think of this review!