From anime and video game publisher, NIS America, comes the action/martial arts series, “Brave 10”, based on the manga series by Kairi Shimotsuki.
Set during the Warring States period, the story of “Brave 10” follows Saizo Kirigakure, a skilled Iga ninja who serves no lord. One day, Saizo comes across Isanami, the priestess of Izumo Shrine, which has been destroyed by Ieyasu Tokugawa’s forces. Fleeing from her pursuers, Isanami asks Saizo for help, and after initially refusing, Saizo ends up getting involved, helping Isanami to reach Ueda Castle, the home of Yukimura Sanada.
Upon her arrival, Isanami asks for Yukimura’s assistance, but he refuses. As Saizo attempts to leave, Isanami refuses to leave his side and the two once come under attack from Tokugawa’s assassins. After Isanami unleashes a powerful attack, Yukimura decides to take her under his protection and Saizo also finds himself serving Yukimura, as one of his 10 Braves.
Suspicious of what his new master has in store, Saizo reluctantly goes along with Yukimura’s plans and with his fellow Braves, they begin to investigate the reason for the attack on Izumo Shrine. They eventually learn that Isanami is in possession of a legendary item that could hold the key to victory for whomever controls it. Not long after, Isanami is kidnapped by Masamune Date, who is out to use the power to start a war and challenge Yukimura.
Once she returns home, Isanami struggles with the idea of the power, and she feels responsible for the deaths at the shrine and the attacks on her friends. At the same time, Saizo and the rest of the Braves work to keep Yukimura safe and find a way to manage Isanami’s power, while picking up some additional warriors along the way.
“Brave 10” is a fun series with a lot of action and comedy. The series also has a fair amount of drama, and there is always someone waiting in the wings to betray a comrade or plotting something sinister.
Saizo is a powerful lead, and the battles that he has against the other newly recruited Braves, as well as Tokugawa’s ninja, are all entertaining and bloody. As exciting as the battle are though, watching Saizo as he tries to deal with Isanami is one of the best parts of the anime, he can handle some of the era’s greatest warriors, but one young girl brings him to his knees.
One thing that did hurt the series a bit for me, is that the story moves at an odd pace. Although the main story stays the focus, there are so many characters that it seems to fall short when it comes to developing the cast, aside from Saizo and Isanami.
Visually, “Brave 10”, has a great look. The animation is smooth and detailed, especially the battles, and the picture quality is clear and striking. The characters all have unique designs as well, each matching up with their special fighting abilities and well as their sometimes insane personalities.
NIS America’s releases typically come with the Japanese dub only, and English subtitles. The Japanese cast does sound exceptional though, they match their characters well and I didn’t find any character that felt like the voice didn’t match. The English subtitles were easy to read and the translations had good flow, but they did move a little faster than I would have liked.
As on-disc extras, “Brave 10” includes the clean opening and closing, Japanese commercials, Japanese trailers and trailers for other NIS America releases. As with all of NIS America’s premium editions, the series comes with a 32-page hardcover art book that includes an episode guide, character guide, world descriptions and art, all packed inside a beautifully designed box featuring the 10 Braves.
“Brave 10” probably isn’t the most historically accurate anime, but it is a series that delivers plenty of action and drama, along with some comedy to keep things a little more lighthearted. Saizo is a different kind of main character, unlike most heroes, he is already established as a powerful fighter and he holds his own against many of the enemies that he faces. Isanami is also an interesting character, she is so carefree when she is around Saizo, they seem like total opposites, which makes for some hilarious interactions. The rest of the Braves, are all unique as well and all of their personalities make for some interesting confrontations.
Publisher: NIS America
Runtime: 309 minutes
Number of Episodes: 12
Number of Discs: 2 Blu-ray
Languages: Japanese with English subtitles
Age Rating: Teen (13+)
Release Date: October 8, 2013
(A review copy of “Brave 10” was provided by NIS America.)