Anime Meta-Review


Samurai Showdown


By Date




Title Info

  • type: movie
  • grade: flawed
  • genre: magic_war
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title has been commercially released in Australia.
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Sun Oct 8 13:20:53 EST 2000
  • mod: none

This movie serves as an awesome example of just how poor a simple anime translation of a fighting computer game. The only reason it avoids slipping into the burnable is that I hope it was lack of skill or budget, rather than intent, that resulted in something so poor. The plot is painfully simple. There are eight holy warriors (ie. the characters from the game) who were defeated when one of their number signed up with the enemy. 100 years later their souls have been reborn (into identical bodies) and they're ready for a re-match. The last member of the group to be found is hoshmaru, and unlike the others he barely remembers his past. Although he gets sufficiently aggravated when his village gets wiped out. He's determined to get revenge single handedly, but he must learn to master himself, and find his place as a holy warrior, before he can hope to defeat the evil of a hundred years ago.

In other words it is a loud and unsubtle anime fight scene. The writing is very unsubtle, the characterisation minimal and the plot largely illogical. The ingroup dialog will have you clinging to your sanity even before the dub is considered. The whole core of the tape has problems. For example how did this weird group gather? Why do they keep calling them samurai when only one or two of them seem japanese? and finally, why don't normal people react to this freakish looking bunch, complete with `voodoo man', plate armored frenchman and chain mailed american (I assume). Perhaps they're trying to ignore them. It is acceptable for a fighting game to be simple, but it must have a sense of character and hopefully a sense of energy. This anime fails that test, and them some. It simply feels so two dimensional and simplistic that I can't imagine anyone enjoying this.i

And that's even before the production is considered. It should be obvious that character in a fighting game is also given through the physical appearance and powers of the characters. If nothing else some cool action can make up for a lot of shortcomings. Well, give up on that hope. This is real cardboard cut out stuff with cheap animation, lots of still frames, flickering aura's rather than physical's really, really poor. And the representation of the few physical moves we see are painfully inept. The staging and action, the backgrounds, even the figure animation is amazingly average. And at the same time they still try to do `special moves' (to Hoshmaru's cry of "secret move"...good warcry) when the animation obviously can't handle it. And hoshmaru gets all the airtime, the rest of the team are largely undeveloped and ignored during combats apart from little scenes to show they still exist. Add in some pretty average dubbed voices, at its worst for the way overacted villain, and you've got something relentlessly without merit. although, with story and dialog this flat, good voices wouldn't have made much of a difference.

None of the sites I source from have a review of this movie, lucky buggers. On the other hand that makes this warning all the more valuable. Don't put money down for this tape before you've seen it.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:24 WST 2009