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Anime / Touken Ranbu - Hanamaru

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"This anime is about the stories of the Hanamaru days of a certain group of Sword Warriors in a certain citadel."

Touken Ranbu - Hanamaru is an anime based on the popular browser game Touken Ranbu.

The year is 2205, and a mysterious force known as the Historical Revisionists are staging attacks on the past in a plot to change history in their favor. The ones who are sent to stop these attacks are the Touken Danshi, historical Japanese swords who have been brought to life as warriors by the Saniwa, who has the power to bring objects to life. Yamatonokami Yasusada, a newcomer to the Saniwa's citadel, must learn to adjust to life with the other swords as well as stop the Historical Revisionists from altering history without trying to change it himself.

The series focuses mostly on Slice of Life elements, though there is still some action and a few serious moments. It is animated by Dogakobo and aired as part of the Fall 2016 season. It is also streaming on Crunchyroll, with Funimation doing a Broadcast Dub for the anime.

In 2017, the series was confirmed to get a second season. Titled Zoku Touken Ranbu Hanamaru, this season focuses on Kashuu and the gang after Yamatonokami leaves for training. The second season premiered on January 7th, 2018.

On February 14, 2021, a trilogy of movies entitled Toku Touken Ranbu Hanamaru ~Setsugetsuka~ was announced; it reportedly involves the appearance of Yamanbagiri Chougi, and premiered in 2022. The films are broken up into Snow Story (Yuki no Maki), Moon Story (Tsuki no Maki), and Flower Story (Hana no Maki).

There was also a manga adaptation of the series that ran in Shonen Jump + from 2016 to 2019. It ran for five volumes, penned by Saru Hoshino. The Satsugetsuka movies were later adapted by the same mangaka.

This series contains examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Only during the episodes's ending sequences. The backgrounds, characters, and some of the stylistic visuals are always rendered in two dimensions; however, the sword or swords being shown off are CGI.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Ookurikara is much less abrasive in this series compared to his home game. He's still moody and solitary, but he does show his affection for Taikogane in Zoku and he gets along better with the other swords.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Yagen, best seen in the first half of Season 1. The Awataguchi children are left without their responsible older brother figure Ichigo Hitofuri, so Yagen tries his best to take Ichigo's place until the Touken Danshi is summoned. However, it's very, very clear that Yagen misses him and wants to be around him just as much as his other brothers. When Ichigo finally relieves Yagen of his responsibility and ruffles his hair, Yagen's holding back tears and blushing when he responds "Don't treat me like a kid! I'm a man!" This is, of course, assuming he's the same mental age as his sword spirit manifestation.
  • Art Shift: In the second season, the characters featured in the ending credits are depicted in a more detailed, semi-realistic art style.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • To the "Jiji came home" meme in Episode 5. According to Hasebe, the Saniwa has been waiting for Mikazuki for a very long time, and they keep making mention of his arrival during the second half of the episode.
    • Several references to Japanese Hasebe memes, such as him being the fastest in Episode 3.
  • As You Know: Hasebe explains the importance of the Sword Warriors to the mischievous swords in his tow for what's said to be the fifth time, and he also carefully explains how the swords get chosen for fighting the Retrogade Forces to his own saniwa.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: In episode 4, this happens to almost all the characters who go to the general store to buy more sake for Jiroutachi, only to end up forgetting to do so as soon as they see something they want to buy. The only one who remembers what they're actually supposed to be doing is Maeda, and even then he buys a salmon (which in Japanese is pronounced sake) instead of sake.
  • Beach Episode: The Touken Danshi go to the beach once per season, and once every movie.
  • Because Destiny Says So: The Touken Danshi are often reminded (either by the Saniwa or each other) that no matter how much they may want to (such as Yamatonokami wondering if he can make it so that Souji Okita never died), changing past events when traveling back is forbidden.
  • Book Ends: The first season begins and ends with the Ikeda Inn raid, and Yamatonokami's attempts to join Okita on the second floor of the event. Yamato also receives the hairpin the Saniwa got for him in both episodes— the first time to cover his chopped bangs, and the last when it's been redecorated following its breaking at the Ikeda. The attacks even happen during the same season.
  • Brick Joke: In episode 2, Kasen expresses a desire to wash Yamanbagiri's cloak, though Yamanbagiri refuses to let him do so. In episode 8, Nikkari and the Awataguchi swords see a white shape running around outside in the middle of the night and they think it's a ghost; it turns out to be Kasen, who's been secretly taking Yamanbagiri's cloak so he can wash it without Yamanbagiri noticing.
  • Call-Back:
    • The striking technique that Yamatonokami shows Kashuu in episode 4 comes in handy when he uses it to save Gokotai in episode 5.
    • It turns out that the Citadel couldn't afford all of the swimsuits for the beach because everyone spent the budget on useless items in Episode 4.
    • Ichigo puts a charm on the sakura tree just as his younger brothers did months ago in Episode 3. This time, he prays that he can be together with his brothers from that point on.
    • Episode 11 is full of them, mostly to episodes 1 and 3 - the charms from the tree, the hair clip, and many more elements appear again.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Like in the game, all the characters are good-looking men or cute boys.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: Poor Izuminokami can't get his full intro quote in when he finally arrives in Episode 4, because every time he tries to say his name, everyone else cuts him off and calls him Kane-san due to all of the fuss Horikawa made of him.
  • Chain of Deals: The third episode has a whopper:
    • Hirano finds a clover while out in the fields with Maeda. Hirano goes back into the citadel to show Uguisumaru, only to find...
    • ... that Doudanuki is having a bad luck streak. Hirano gives the clover to Doudanuki, who gives him a dumbbell in return...
    • ... that ends up being used by Kasen, who needed a paper weight while he was writing calligraphy and gives Hirano a book...
    • ... about anatomy, which Yagen needed to study medicine, and in turn gives Hirano an "experimental vial" which supposedly cures all ills...
    • ... which is given to a sick Yamanbagiri and as thanks, he gives him a fancy cloth that he feels he doesn't need...
    • ... that Nikkari has been eyeing, and in return gives Hirano a body pillow...
    • ... that Sayo wanted because it reminded him of Kousetsu, and in turn Souza gives Hirano a key to his "old playmate"...
    • ... which turns out to be for a tractor that's useful for plowing fields for Hachisuka, so he gives Hirano a castella cake...
    • ... that he shares with Uguisumaru while he's drinking tea. Hirano finally gets the conversation he wanted, along with a picture that Mutsunokami takes of the both of them.
  • Censor Steam: During the sauna scene, Muramasa's entire body is censored by steam in Zoku.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Hakata's constant hunt for money and his stock management finally comes in handy, as it provides enough money for the Citadel to expand in Zoku.
  • Cherry Blossoms: As per usual with the Touken Ranbu, cherry blossoms are a recurring motif in the series. The Hanamaru mentioned in the show's title is even depicted as having the shape of a cherry blossom.
  • Clothing Damage: At points, the Awakening gameplay function is referenced directly by the boys pulling their in-game poses when their clothes are appropriately shredded. Iwatooshi also gets some torn clothes (all the way to his hips) in his ending.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The Awataguchi swords and Nikkari invoke this in episode 8 when they form the "Ghost Extermination Rangers". They each assign themselves colors, and at the end they realize that nobody picked red.
  • Compilation Movie: Touken Ranbu - Hanamaru~Makuai Kaisouroku~ serves as this for the first season. It comes with a new version of "Hanamaru Biyori" sung by the whole cast.
  • Couch Gag: In the opening animation, the characters hanging around at different parts of the citadel change every episode.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Both opening themes are sung by the protagonists of Hanamaru (Yamatonokami and Kashuu)note , while each ending theme is sung by the group of swords who are the focus of the episode in question.
    • Mitsuhiro Ichiki (who voices Yamatonokami) and Toshiki Masuda (who voices Kashuu) sing the opening theme,the first episode's ending theme, and the last episode's ending theme.
    • Oda's swords, Tarusuke Shingaki (Heshikiri Hasebe), Yuuki Tai (Souza Samonji) and Seiichirou Yamashita (Yagen Toushirou) sing the second episode's ending theme.
    • The voice actors for the Awataguchi school tantous (Yagen, Maeda, Hirano, Akita, Gokotai, and Atsushi) sing the third episode's ending theme.
    • Ryōhei Kimura (Izuminokami Kanesada) and Junya Enoki (Horikawa Kunihiro) sing the fourth episode's ending theme.
    • Kosuke Toriumi (Mikazuki Munechika), Kaito Ishikawa (Kasen Kanesada), Soma Saito (Tsurumaru Kuninaga) and Takuya Sato (Shokudaikiri Mitsutada) sings the fifth episode's ending theme.
    • Tooru Sakurai (Yamabushi Kunihiro), Kenji Hamada (Otegine), Hama Kento (Mutsunokami Yoshiyuki), and Jun Oosuka (Hakata Toushirou) sing the sixth episode's ending theme.
    • The ending theme of the seventh episode features all of the Awataguchi school boys, in addition to Atsushi (Ichigo Hitofuri).
    • Episode 8's song is sung by Junji Majima (Nikkari Aoe).
    • The ninth episode's song is sung by Daiki Yamashita (Imanotsurugi) and Eiji Miyashita (Iwatooshi).
    • The Rai School of swords, including Aizen (Seiichirou Yamashita), Hotarumaru (Yūichi Iguchi), and Akashi Kuniyuki (Ryouta Asari) sing the tenth episode's ending song.
    • The ending theme of the twelfth episode is once again sung by the voices of Yamatonokami and Kashuu.
  • Edutainment Show: Delves into this a little bit whenever the swords get into conversations about their previous wielders, or some other interesting tidbits.
  • Easily Forgiven: For almost getting his party killed by the Kebiishi because he wanted to go after Okita during the Ikeda Inn raid, Yamatonokami only really gets off with a scolding. To his credit, he does learn from the experience and leaves the citadel for a while in order to make himself stronger and fully devote himself to his Saniwa.
  • Ensemble Cast: While Yamatonokami and Kashuu are said to be the main characters, each episode focuses on different scenarios involving the various Touken Danshi living in the citadel, as well as the newly summoned Touken Danshi in the episode, ensuring that everyone gets screen time during the series' run. Even the ending themes and vocalists vary depending on the focus of that episode.
  • Expy: Once Episode 11 shows The Shinsengumi during the raid at the Ikeda Inn, you can very clearly see that Yamatonokami's appearance is based off of his old master; besides slight changes in eye and facial shape, he looks almost exactly like Okita.
  • Female Gaze: The first episode has an oddly detailed and focused shot of Mitsutada's lips as he cools off broth to taste, for seemingly no other reason than the fact that they could.
  • The Film of the Series: It was given three, which kind of serve as a third season for the show.
  • Four-Leaf Clover: Episode 3 begins with Maeda and Hirano finding one. Hirano then gives it to Doudanuki after hearing how Doudanuki has been suffering from a string of bad luck. In episode 6, the Toushirou brothers are seen with a mug filled with them in hopes they would help the Saniwa recover from their cold.
  • Fundoshi: At the end of episode 6, it's revealed that the Saniwa made everyone swimsuits...and one colorful fundoshi, raising the question of who's going to wear it when they go to the beach. In episode 7, Mutsunokami is the one who wears it, and he does so without a shred of embarrassment.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • When Souza suggests that they bury a dead body underneath the tree outside the citadel to see what kind of flowers might sprout out, the only one of the boys to smile about the idea is Sayo.
    • Hakata Toushirou is always seen with Otegine in the background of pictures.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Episode 7 plays this for Rule of Drama. The fact that they can't easily summon Ichigo Hitofurinote  is draining on Yagen as he tries to take care of the Awataguchi boys.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Kashuu, as revealed in Episode 5. He's afraid that once Mikazuki finally arrives, he (and by extension all of the other swords) won't be loved anymore due to his rarity and sword's beauty. Mikazuki is able to reassure him in the end, however, and the two become friends.
  • Have We Met?: After Okita has one last conversation with Yamatonokami, he comments that though they've (technically) never met, he seems like a familiar presence and an old friend.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Saniwa, being a Non-Entity General in the game, is never seen or heard speaking. Even their gender is unknown.
  • Image Song: Quite a few of them.
  • Lighter and Softer: Whereas most Touken Ranbu adaptations emphasize the tragic pasts of the Touken Danshi and the price of preserving history while occasionally sprinkling humor and lighthearted moments throughout, Hanamaru instead focuses mainly on the comedic day-to-day lives of the Touken Danshi and ignores the majority of their emotional baggage, making it one of the softer major adaptations of Touken Ranbu along with Sanrio's Wanpaku! Touken Ranbu series. Even the dramatic parts that deal with their pasts account for a very small portion of the series and are largely inconsequential.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The third episode had the sword boys write prayers for the barren tree outside the citadel to bloom. When Yamatonokami took a look at them after they were all hung up, he saw that among the usual "I wish for the tree to bloom" prayers were prayers about missing siblings as well— most notably a series of prayers about the Awataguchi boys wishing for their "Ichi-nii" to return and play with them, and Sayo praying for Kousetsu to come back.
    • Episode 11, when they go back to the Ikeda Inn and the plot suddenly turns serious.
  • Musical Chores: Episode 6 features Hasebe and a couple of other swords singing about making udon for the ill Saniwa during most of the first half of the episode. He even sings when everyone else is just speaking plainly to him. Similarly, Episode 5 of Zoku features Hachisuka and Nagasone singing about cooking for Urashima, to rather disastrous results.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Zoku has plenty of references to the Recollections of the original game.
    • In Zoku episode 6, Kashuu MCs as he does in the musicals, and even wears one of his musical outfits. Yagen also calls Sayo "Sayosuke", as he does in the stage play.
    • Mitsutada and Ookurikara are shown in Konnosuke kigurumis, referencing the Nendoroid Konnosuke outfit that can be purchased.
  • Once an Episode:
    • One of the sword boys narrates the exposition at the beginning of each episode, usually the focus of one of the stories of that episode.
    • Yamatonokami and Kashuu announce the series summary as seen in the page quote. On the last episode, all of the other swords join them and announce the anime's conclusion.
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling: In Zoku's opening, Hotarumaru is seen arm wrestling with Doudanuki. Not only does Hotarumaru easily beat Doudanuki, he sends Doudanuki flying.
  • P.O.V. Cam: Episode 3 of Zoku has some scenes from the perspective of Gokitai's tigers as they run around the Citadel.
  • Pun-Based Title: Hanamaru works as a pun based off of the hanamaru symbol (used to denote excellence like a gold star) and honmaru, the japanese term for the Citadel.
  • Put on a Bus: Yamatonokami for Zoku, given that he's off on his journey for a good chunk of the episodes.
  • Retgone: The final episode of season 1 heavily implies that this would have happened to Yamatonokami if he had actually succeeded in changing history, or at least had been caught doing so and killed by the Kebiishi. This was indicated by how his image had vanished from all the photographs that Mutsunokami had taken of the sword warriors throughout the year, though everyone else back at the citadel could still remember him after it happened. Fortunately Kashuu stops him before it could get worse and his image returns to all the photos shortly afterward.
  • Scary Stinging Swarm: In episode 6, when Otegine is demonstrating how good he is at stabbing things, he accidentally knocks down a beehive which sends an angry swarm of bees after the group.
  • Serious Business: Episode 9 of Zoku features a water gun fight between two teams, which they both take extremely seriously. Naturally, this is Played for Laughs.
  • Shirtless Scene: With how muscular Doudanuki and Yamabushi are, they get one themselves in Zoku episode 3.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Kashuu and Yamatonokami discover the wonders of fabric softener, the scene plays out like something straight out of a Bold detergent commercial.
    • In episode 7 the topic of Idol Singers comes up, and the Awataguchi swords decide to celebrate Ichigo's arrival by holding a concert. Midare suggests that they form a group called AWT48.
    • In episode 9 of Zoku, Hachisuka gets a Bond Gun Barrel shot when there's about to be a water gun fight. Nagasone also wears Cool Shades and holds his water gun sideways in a way that makes him look like The Terminator. During one scene, the narration calls their water fight a "battle without honor and humanity".
  • Shown Their Work: Doubles as Viewers Are Geniuses. A number of clever visual allusions to the characters' past histories and previous owners are included in the character ending songs, although most won't get them unless they are familiar with said history or look into the symbolism.
    • In the episode 5 ending sequence, the real design of Mikazuki Munechika's Koshirae, which is not depicted in his original character design, is shown off in the segments displaying his sword.
  • Sick Episode: In episode 6, the Saniwa falls ill. Kashuu, Yamatonokami, Mutsunokami, Yamabushi, Otegine and Hakata go to the Edo period to find sanshuu fruit so Yagen can make medicine for them, while Hasebe and Shokudaikiri make them udon.
  • Sleep Cute: Sayo manages to rest adorably in Kousetsu's arms after they've both been caught in Episode 8.
  • Slice of Life: Though there are battles and some contemplation about the nature of changing history, the anime mostly focuses on the time the characters spend at the citadel when they aren't busy fighting... until the end.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Aside from Yamatonokami and Kashuu, who have main character privileges, it is clear who the writers' preferred swords are based on how frequently specific swords are given additional screen time throughout the series. Hasebe is even granted the fictitious position of the Saniwa's secretary just to give him more screen time. Come Zoku, there are very few episodes where Hasebe, Shishiou, Tsurumaru, Shokudaikiri, Kasen, and the Samonji brothers aren't randomly inserted into an episodes story.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Like in the game, the story is set in the year 2205, though the swords can travel to different eras of the past.
  • Webcomic Time: Inverted, actually. Although the series feels like a timeless stream of circumstances, each season depicts a year in the life of the swords, taking place on a random day in one month each. They do cover a couple months extra in the ending.
  • Well, This Is Not That Trope: At the beginning of every episode, one of the swords explains the basic premise of the series to the audience— and then goes on to say that the series won't be focusing much on it, or are surprised to see that the audience isn't even paying attention.
  • Workout Fanservice: Doudanuki and Yamabushi, two of the more muscular swords in this Citadel, get a scene of them doing light exercise in towels in Zoku.