Samurai Jam – Bakumatsu Rock
Japanese Title: 幕末Rock
Animated by Studio Deen – Licensed by NAS, Marvelous Inc.
English Release Date: July 23rd, 2014 (Crunchyroll)
This post is an impression of Samurai Jam – Bakumatsu Rock episode four, and will be a weekly feature on Boss Dungeon every Wednesday after each new episode has aired on Crunchyroll.
We’re up to episode four, and the band is still struggling to find a suitable stage to perform on. Clubs are being shut down and intimidated by the government, and officers are making a much better effort to stop Rock music from spreading. However, plans are made to put on a concert at the local bath-houses, where the acoustics are perfect for a heavy rock show. The idea is good, but drummer Kogorou isn’t so sure it can work, and the gang need to figure out what’s wrong with Kogorou before the big performance. Not only that, but head government idols Toshizou and Souji are hanging around, so will our heroes get the chance to rock out?
We’ve been introduced to each main character, and with this episode we’ve had a decent introduction to the dilemmas facing them. However, this is very similar to the second episode, and could be seen as identical in some ways. We learn about several potential insecurities surrounding Kogorou, and we also learn a bit more about his past. However, the whole thing is still very vague, which means I’m still uncertain of what his character is. Any time it seemed as if they were going to dig deeper into the reasons behind Kogorou’s shyness, they end up only scratching the surface. However, the scenes that take place in the bath-house are fun, if only because it’s a change of scenery. Plus, Toshizou and Souji turn up for whatever reason, so that’s good.
Meanwhile, the music is a thing I may stop looking forward to with each episode. It’s still great to hear these songs, and they remain as catchy and fun as always, but I think the initial shock of how awesome these performance scenes can be is gone. The first episode of this show was immense and powerful in ways that later episodes haven’t been, which is because of a lack of animation and the novelty wearing off. Despite that, it’s fun to see the band reenacting my favourite Blink 182 music video, and it was cool seeing lead bassist Shinsaku stop being the serious one. That character is at his best when he doesn’t get angry with anyone, and is just trying to be the straight man to Ryouma’s wackiness. He also gets to take lead with the song, which I figured was the best song so far, if not the best performance.
Overall, it’s not the best episode, but it’s not the worst. We’re at the point where I can see where the plot is going, with the small number of characters reaching a stalemate as well. Could there be more to each of these characters than the show is presenting to us? I doubt it, because this show needs to remain as simple as possible if it wants to keep being fun. I wouldn’t be surprised if this lasts about 13 episodes, although it would be a fun time all the same. I’m just hoping we’re either near the end of the characterisation, and at the start of the proper world-building. I’m also hoping for the show to figure out how to make each character interact with each other better, as they seem to be saying the same things to each other. Perhaps we can have more time with the idol group, or have Ryouma interact with regular townspeople? Either way, I’ll be watching next time!
Just to remind you, the entire soundtrack is right HERE!