Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East season 1 (anime review)

HakkendenTitle: Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East season 1 collection on Blu-ray

Director: Mitsue Yamazaki

Studio: Studio DEEN

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks / Section 23

U. S. Release Date: May 20th, 2014

Format: Blu-ray / 13 Episodes / 325 Minutes

Genre: Supernatural, Fantasy

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+


When their village was wiped out five years ago, there were only three young survivors: boys Shino Inuzuka and Sosuke Inukawa and the girl Hamaji. Through a quirk of fate, both boys share the same peony-shaped birthmark. Genpachi Inukai and Kobungo Inuta were raised hundreds of miles away as foster brothers, but they too share the same birthmark. When they went north as part of the army three years ago, they went to confront demons and came back forever transformed. Now the Imperial Church has come for Shino and Sosuke and they must find eight mystical gems and their owners or face a fate worse than death at the hands of the Church.


Hakkedenden is not a new story, but this version is a new iteration of the infamous warriors. The odd infusion of demon and human seems to work better than I thought it would. This story brings forth some imaginative and humorous depiction of these warriors that leaves them both impotent and powerful at the same time. Of course all the imagination  doesn’t overcome some weak writing and character development. There are plenty of moments that I felt like come across flat and devoid of life. This lack of strength is not overly persuasive, but it does have its moments.

The overall look of the series is somewhat standard and it domes across at a production level that is at minimum expected and at the same time a base line level for any series made within the last few years. Studio DEEN has shown itself to be a top notch producer of wonderful series, but it almost appears as though the b team was put on Hakkenden. Even with the flat production level and moments of weak writing the series manages to rise to a level that makes it with while.

Overall Grade: B+

With all of the lack luster aspects of the production and writing I still found the series very enjoyable. There was something about these characters that as the series moves through it’s paces they became rich enough to enjoy and also peek enough interest to want to see more. I also found all the extras to be fulfilling and a real addition to the package.  If you are a fan of the Hakkenden story then you just might find this series fun in many new ways.

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