Peacemaker Volume 1: Innocence Lost
What ADV said:
For 15-year-old Tetsunosuke Ichimura, childhood innocence has given way to a blinding thirst for revenge. Haunted by the vicious slaying of his parents, Tetsu decides to seek out the Shinsengumi, an elite group of swordsmen sworn to protect the capital. The Shinsengumi are engaged in a brutal conflict with the Choshu rebels, the same ruthless killers who murdered Tetsu’s parents. In the name of justice – and against the will of his older brother – Tetsu desperately hopes to join the Shinsengumi.
But an incident late one night forces him to face reality. The Shinsengumi show themselves capable of the same brutality as his parents' murderers. Wading through a sea of espionage, intrigue, and flowing blood, the young boy must decide whether to shed his humanity and become a demon of the Shinsengumi, or to relinquish his hatred and become a Peacemaker in the spirit of his father. Revenge is sweet, but is it worth losing your soul?
Before i got the Anime, I had read the first volume of the Manga titled Peacemaker Kurogane and I looked forward to seeing the Anime. When I started watching the DVD I found the show to be somewhat slow going. While funny in parts the plot was not developed enough to keep my interest peaked. There is quite a wide variety of characters featured in the storyline and so as with many series I find the setting of the scene to be a slow but essential section of the main story.
The program appears to be a mixture of ridiculous comedy paired with action akin to the likes of Samurai X or Ninja Scroll albeit with a dark undertone of vengeance. This provides the storyline with a similar subject as most of the samurai anime ever made. Despite these similarities the story appears to be quite original and interesting, the comedy aspect also adds a nice touch to the anime.
Content of the DVD (may contain spoilers)
The program starts with the two Ichimura brothers travelling together after the recent death of their father. They make their way to the temple of Mibu. When you’re in a rut and need to avenge your father’s death,what can you do?, why not join a clan of samurai warriors? i hear you cry. Well It seems as though this is a plan for a young boy named Tetsunosuke. A young and proud boy who has a burning rage for vengeance, which comes from witnessing the gruesome death of his father. Now this young boy is in a road to become stronger to take his revenge, but will this road lead to his own destruction?
The action starts out with Tetsunosuke, also known as Tetsu, in front of the Shinsengumi stronghold. This powerful clan in Japan is now hiring recruits, what better way to grow strong then to join the Shinsengumi? With vengeance on his Image 1 of 9. Click to enlarge
Image 1 of 9. Click to enlarge
At the entrance of the Shinsengumi, two guards turn Tetsunosuke away and as he is the type of character to rise to any type of confrontation, this causes a little fracas. Luckily both Tetsu and Tatsu escape alive, and of course with Tatsu apologizing again and again. After a disappointing meeting, we find the two brothers sitting around when they meet someone that might change Tetsu's luck turns around. They meet a young boy named Soji Okita, and amazingly enough he is one of the squad leaders for the Shinsengumi. After their meeting, Soji decides to bring them to the Shinsengumi stronghold to fight the first squad leader of the Shinsengumi, which also happens to be Soji but of course the two brothers are unaware. The two are waiting for this squad leader inside the practise area, within the Shinsengumi stronghold. As Tetsu is preparing to fight the infamous leader of the first squad, they discover that he is actually their newfound friend! After an amazing fight, Soji comes out the victor, but this still proved that Tetsu was a competent fighter. The whole camp is now raving about how well Tetsu did and it seems clear he will be accepted into the Shinsengumi.
But of course there is another obstacle in his path, Toshizo Hijikata, deputy commander of the Shinsengumi, comes and intervenes. He says he will not accept a weakling but you see that he understands Tetsu has come with anger and revenge on his mind and in his heart. He casts him out; not wanting to train a warrior it seems who is filled with hate.
With a rainy and cold morning, we discover Tetsu sitting in front of the Shinsengumi stronghold in an act of defiance. This seems to get through to Toshizo Hijikata, and after a speech by Tetsu, asking to become a demon; he is let into the Shinsengumi. But of course Hijikata makes the claim that he did this for Soji's sake, but we know this is far from the truth. It seems that Tetsu and Hijikata have something in common, we will probably find out what that is later in the series. So now, as a member of the Shinsengumi, Tetsu is expecting his noble job within it. So of course he assigned as a page to Hijikata. Not quite as noble and exciting as he was probably expecting, but according to Soji it’s a great "honour". As Tetsu continues his boring job Image 2 of 9. Click to enlarge
Image 2 of 9. Click to enlarge
Being extremely bored with his page job, Tetsu wonders around the camp. But there is something he has never seen before, a "watcher", a spy for the Shinsengumi named Susumu Yamazaki. He takes it upon himself to follow this watcher and find out more about this man and his mysterious job. Of course this leads to more and more trouble. While Tetsu is following the watcher, he bumps into a group of men harassing a little girl. As expected Tetsu steps into help, little does he know what he's getting into. Luckily Soji, Sanosuke, and Shinpachi are walking by to get him out of this mess and easily stop the men. Soji leads Tetsu and the girl down an empty alley to safety, but they are not alone. One of the remaining thugs follows them down the alley, before the thug gets to his victim, Tetsu screams "Soji!” A stream of blood follows right after, but not that of Soji or Tetsu. Tetsu has no idea what he did by doing that; his actions caused the death of a man. A rebel group has been moving into the area, but the Shinsengumi does not want to alarm them nor have them on their guard, the element of surprise is the key element. But by Tetsu screaming Soji's name, the thug would have known the Shinsengumi was in the area thus putting his whole rebel group on alarm, ruining the plans of the Shinsengumi. This is why Soji had to kill him, for the welfare of the Shinsengumi.
Seito, a mysterious and eccentric man, he has the power to talk to the spirits of the dead. A powerful leader amongst the Shinsengumi, his sword is as described as one of the best warriors of the Shinsengumi. He detects a shadow that haunts Tetsu, but he cannot communicate with it. Being intrigued with this man Tetsu decides to follow him at night, abandoning his post. Little does he know what a night he is in for, four men that are possessed by an evil sorcerer confront Seito. After easily disposing of them, they are resurrected. It seems that these undead fighting machines will not stop. Luckily the watcher is also following Seito this night; he finds this mysterious and evil sorcerer and narrowly misses him with a deadly blow. Tetsu runs back to his post after watching all that has transpired, but of course he receives a scolding from Hijikata in the morning. What evil has come to invade this peaceful town? What horrors will Tetsu have to face? Whatever comes to pass we are sure that Tetsu's eager personality and desire for revenge will help through whatever comes.
Thoughts Image 3 of 9. Click to enlarge
I have seen new styles of anime come through
Image 3 of 9. Click to enlarge
As far as the voice cast go, I must say that ADV has picked a perfect voice actor for every character. Every voice fits well. We also see some of Anime Advance’s favourite voice talents, Monica Rial and Vic Mignogna; whom you may recognize from RahXephon.
The forceful and almost cold character of Toshizo Hijikata was perfectly done by Mike MacRae; the voice is wise and serious fitting the character. As Hijikata is usually dealing punishment or figuring out battle plans, a fitting voice was definitely needed to make his character work. The subtitles were all perfectly timed and centred, and no mistakes were evident.
The sound track is great, the music helps to set the scene perfectly for each part of the episodes. the opening theme has a fresh rock feel to it, that although it took me by suprise the first playing, by the end of the volume it had grown on me and i now really enjoy it, also the closing theme has a similar feel to it but it is distinct enough to bring the end of each episode.
Peacemaker is a new and fresh style of anime. The mixing of 3d renderings and drawn animation is a pleasure to look at, Similar to that of DN Angel ‘s visual aspects. Also the scenery is especially well done. The visuals are a new and fresh idea in the nostalgic world of samurai anime. The animation style when compared to other samurai animation set in the same era, the likes of Kai Doh Maru and Samurai Champloo, is distinct and while it is not as original as Samurai Champloo it is still generally aesthetically pleasing. The sound effects are crisp, clear, and realistic but above all the music is perfect. The music ties all the situations together, it adds tension and drama but it can only do this if it’s done well. The voice cast is all perfectly picked for the characters; I cannot say how many times I have disliked an anime because of the terrible voice-acting cast.
All together despite the slow start to the anime I feel this anime has a lot of promise and providing the pace of the storyline picks up in the later volumes we will be in for a real treat. I feel could catch on very soon and become a must see for everyone., only time will tell.
Recently VIZ came out with their feminine answer to Shonen Jump, their Older Teen (16+) read known as Sho(u)jo Beat, a read I’ve been waiting for sometime now it seems… a title for the shoujo fan(atic...
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