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Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East Season 2 Collection (anime review)

Hakkenden: Eight Dogs from the East Season 2Title:Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East Season 2 Collection

Director: Mitsue Yamazaki

Creator: Miyuki Abe

Anime Adaptation: Osamu Yamasaki

Studio: Studio Deen

U. S. Distributor: Sentai Filmworks, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: Oct. 28th, 2014

Format: Blu-ray / 13 episodes / 325 minutes

Genre: Supernatural, Fantasy, Historical Myth, Action, Adventure

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: B+


Forced to choose between death and an unnatural life bound to the living sword Murasame, Shino Inuzuka chose the sword. Now, however, in the bloody aftermath of his transformation and Kohaku’s death, Shino’s awareness of the true scope of his bond with Murasame has expanded. Is he truly a curse to all who meet him?

In the end, the focus must return to the mysterious beads which started everything. What exactly are their origin and powers? Who and where are the holders who have not yet been located? And what are Rio Saotome and the Imperial Church’s real roles in all of this? Does the woman who is “She,” hold the answers?


Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East Season 2 is a great followup to the plot and story layer down in season 1. The follow through is seamless and it allows the tail to be revealed in a smooth and reliable manner. The characters are brought together and with the search for the remaining Dog Worriers things come together nicely. The episodes are well written and do a great job of telling us about each of the history of the remaining group. I felt like if there was a easy out for these characters to be brought together it was the fact that each was forced out of their home and ended up heading to the capitol city. Of course they needed to come together, but to make them abandon their homes the way they did seemed a little contrived.

The animation was well done and it suited the series well. It came across with a soft easy feeling that also aided in helping the characters remain sympathic and easy to stay connected to. I can’t say that the soundtrack or music made any difference for me. I was somewhat stock and blended in to become nothing more than background noise. That in itself is not a bad thing and in this case I guess it was appropriate because the story didn’t need a dramatic soundtrack.

Overall Grade: B+

I am a fan of the series and found most of it to be really enjoyable. If there was any aspect to it that I found unsettling it was the tendency to make Shino a object of desire for too many of the male characters. I really found that humor to be somewhat disturbing and rather tasteless. I would have rather seen more of a brother approach to the relationships. I know that there was a brotherly commentary running through the series when it cam to Shino and Sosuke and even some underlying connection with Rio Saotome. It is some of the other that seem to come across with more than a brotherly love .

I was also disturb that the story was not properly wrapped up. I guess that there is always hope that more funding will come along to allow production of a third season. If not I will be rather disappointed that there are so many questions left unanswered.

Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East Season 2 is a wonderful second step and it does a great job of bringing the group together. I believe that the fans of this series will be happy with season 2 and that they will also find some frustration with the way it is wrapped up.

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.