Girls study at schools for modern shinobi. They dedicate their entire young lives to learning to become true shinobi, battling each other to polish their skills. And then one day, Asuka, whose grandfather is a legendary shinobi, encounters an ancient evil being named a "Youma" in the back alleys of Tokyo at Christmastime. Where there is light, there is shadow. Over 28 of the strongest and most well-endowed ninjas in history, both good and evil, will collide in a battle to determine true justice. And this deadly battle begins... right now. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen focuses on the “Shinovi Masters”, a ninja tournament to find the “ultimate ninja” but at the same time, “youma” or monsters have been sighted at and amongst all this, Asuka and the Hanzo girls meets two people by the name of Gekkou voiced by Ayane Sakura and Senkou voiced by Akane Fujita telling them that their “justice” is wrong and captures the Hanzo girls as hostages for the Shinovi Masters. With that Yumi, Homura and Miyabi’s group all participate to see what the Shinovi Masters is but how this links to the recent events of the youma.
Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen’s depth comes into play by looking at the characters themselves or more or less the factions they represent. For being a second season, new characters comes in and due to Asuka and the Hanzo girls being held hostages allows them to be the new focus which helps this second season alot and because of that with that gives some major focus towards Yumi voiced by Yumi Hara, once rivals but now friend of Asuka as she participates in the Shinovi Masters to try and help Asuka just like Asuka did to her. The main “hosts” of Shinovi Masters gets some development being the main “villains” of this season, mainly Gekkou, Senkou and the main host and villain Fubuki voiced by Kana Asumi and how this links to the youma and her creating Shinovi Masters. The depth of Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen comes in due to how ninja’s of all different beliefs and faction see to it of becoming the “ultimate ninja”, from Homura’s Squad being renegades, Miyabi’s group following the evil ninja’s and Yumi being once “rival good ninja’s” with unintentionally bad beliefs turned good. However this statement only grows deeper when the true aspects of Shinovi Masters and Fubuki’s true notion comes into play expanding the entire “evil or good ninja” into “what is true evil or true good?”. Like what are the justifications of seeing something as evil or not or if what your doing is truly good for the sake of good and this easily manifest to not only Asuka and Yumi but to Fubuki as well. This insight with the clashing beliefs of Yumi and Fubuki’s sense of justice comes into play of showing that the Lawful, Neatral and Chaotic alignments just as clear cut of being “good or evil” and Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen shows it subtly and how complex the main villain of the anime really is and heck even if our main protagonists are truly good either.
Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen however does have it’s downsides as much as LA praises a shameless fanservice anime for having depth as that is not all it needs to be “great”, as this is Senran Kagura it means fanservice and there is plenty of it and this being TNK means it’s also uncensored to high heaven and there is ALOT of nudity, sometimes “just because”, but yeah this is Senran Kagura where it is shameless but man sometimes the fanservice does get a bit taxing to say the least. Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen also falls victim to erratic pacing issues, from being either too slow to too rushed but even this has it’s upsides as Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen takes it’s time with it’s backstory but downsides of some episodes rushing the plot as well. Finally Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen’s animation quality is ALSO erratic, this done by TNK was all over the place with TNK especially shaky with it’s fight scene animation resorting to panning and static battle scenes at times, even with it’s more serious fight scenes, it does get a bit better in those rare occasions but in comparison to the first season done by Artland, overall the animation quality is a definite downgrade.
In terms of animation, well LA already mentioned it as TNK’s animation is a downgrade compared to the defunct Artland’s take on the first season. Look the animation is subpar with lots of derps and static fight scenes alot fo the time but nonetheless TNK did alright though inconsistent throughout the anime to say the least. When the animation is good it’s great though rare, but when it’s bad…it’s barely “decently animated”, character designs and backgrounds not withstanding. If there was one huge element in which the animation needed to be good, it was the animation and as barely decent the animation TNK did, it was….”ok” but that ain’t saying much.
In terms of voice work, there are a couple of MVP’s in this anime, with Yumi Hara as Yumi having the most focus in Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen but also and most especially Kana Asumi as Fubuki, with LA utterly surprised how playing against the type Kana Asumi does and she hams it up to a regal degree but also showing off her more dramatic moments when needed and utilizing her cadence well which LA didn’t expect from Kana Asumi AT ALL, Kana Asumi quite honestly deserved being the MVP of the voice cast really. LA will give mention to Hitomi Harada as Asuka, as much as Hitomi does her usual squeaky cadence as Asuka, Hitomi gets to show a bit more of range with her acting which helped with how serious Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen actually does get especially with Asuka herself. With such a huge ensemble cast if LA went to look at every character LA will be in this section for a long time, so highlighting things would be seeing Chiwa Saito going full yuri crazy as Imu, Hisako Kanemoto doing both the shy persona but crazy as well as Murakumo and Mako as Ryona being….masochistic crazy and finally Yuu Kobayashi being Yuu Koyabashi as Katsuragi livening things up to calm the tension as the anime gets serious. LA liked this voice cast as huge as it was.
Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen near the end of the anime gives out much more character development to Fubuki and gave Fubuki, our major villain of this season, a great deal of real sympathy for her while also bringing in the major theme of this season being of the “morality of good and evil” isn’t that simple and Fubuki being that manifestation for that culminating into the final fight was just damn amazing to say the least. Sure once again Yumi gets the spotlight as Fubuki is more linked to Yumi than Asuka but nonetheless seeing this focus towards Fubuki, humanizing her, showing sympathy from someone who’s hatred has spilled out and wanting revenge to the people who have wronged her, LA just couldn’t help but love where the direction Senran Kagura Shinobi Masters: Tokyo Youma-hen lead into.
Senran Kagura as a series might be seen as shameless fanservice of just showing tits and ass but with how Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen handled it’s characters and their interactions with one another down to their moral beliefs of what true good and evil are, Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen has some great in-depth insights about morality and actually brilliantly conveyed by it’s main focused-driven characters. Sure the anime is plagued by animation derps, erratic pacing but damn does the plot and yes LA means ACTUAL plot especially when it’s focused on Fubuki and Yumi follows through with it’s flaws and makes this second season manageable and rather interesting and ALMOST makes LA forgive it’s crippling flaws.
So as much as people is in the camp of that TNK’s animation was worse than the first season with Artland and LA is in the same camp, but Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen’s serious plot and characters outright made this second season completely worth it with Fubuki of all characters being the most developed and centralized focus of the anime just made this second season better in soo many ways, in a ways Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen had the opposite problems as the first season did, while the first season’s animation was much more polished but the anime’s plot and characters were just weirdly executed, Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen on the other hand had diminished animation but it’s plot and characters had much more of a narrative and thematic cohesion and focus.
Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen is oddly enough was LA’s guiltiest pleasure for Fall 2018 but it almost didn’t feel like a guilty pleasure as it’s plot and characters were soo cohesively tied to it’s themes of mortality of good and evil quite well and sure tits and ass uncensored and everything and how shameless it is front and center but you know what, that’s kinda what Senran Kagura is and it managed to balance both shameless fanservice and serious plot and characters quite well, sure the plot was rushed in many ways but LA can forgive it due to it’s solid character developments from both protagonists and antagonists and it’s focused plot through it’s thematic and narrative cohesion, LA quite honestly enjoyed Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen with all it’s flaws and all.