First Impressions – Gifuu Dodou!! Kanetsugu no Keiji

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Gifuu Dodou should be manly enough to satisfy even the most manly of tastes.

Pretty much everything you need to know about this series you can guess from the writer/director and the time slot.  It’s based on a manga by Hara Tetsuo, famous for Fist of the North Star, who’s also acting as Chief Director.  And it’s filling the same time slot as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.  Given that many a manly quarrel has erupted over whether FotNS or JJBA is the manliest MANga/anime ever, it’s no surprise that this show is so GAR it practically has a “No Girls Allowed” sign over the title.

The Japanese are endlessly fascinated with the Sengoku Era, and otaku are certainly no exception.  But Gifuu Doudou doesn’t have pretty moeblobs as female versions of Sengoku warlords or any such trickeration – it’s just impossibly buff dudes with tiny heads doing a sort of semi-ironic flight of fancy with history.  The character designs are exactly what you’d expect, and so is the dialogue.  The first episode isn’t heavy on action and violence – it’s more about GAR poses and playing the biwa (in a GAR way) but one assumes there more bloodshed to come.

The story seems to center around two real-life warlords, “legendary eccentric” Maeda Keiji (Satou Takuya) and best friend Naoe Kanetsugu (Namikawa Daisuke).  The first episode finds the two already inseparable, and dedicates most of its time to a flashback to when they met.  There’s a paper-thin plot here about Uwanariuchi, a real ritual that took place when a man took a second wife less than a month after divorcing the first, who barges into the kitchen of the second with an army of women carrying wooden swords and threatening violence, usually to be bought off by a bribe.  Mostly, though, it’s all about Maeda and Kanetsugu – mostly Maeda so far – getting plenty of chances to look cool.

I don’t think anyone is going to find much surprising here, apart from the fact that before JoJo this sort of shounen anime seemed quite out of fashion.  It’s a pretty standard-looking DEEN series, bright color palette and modest animation, and the heroes act like heroes in series like JoJo and Fist act.  It’s fun though, just as those series are – Namikawa (I’d swear he’s also playing Kanetsugu’s dorky retainer) and Satou are obviously having a blast, with Namikawa especially good.  That he can play roles like this, Hisoka, Squealer and Waver in one year gives some idea of the man’s range.  I can’t find credits for the music yet but I’d swear the two leads are singing the ED, and maybe the OP too – which isn’t surprising, it’s that sort of show.  It doesn’t seem like a great fit for me to blog for much the same reasons JJBA didn’t, and I don’t see any reason to think this series will be as good as that one – but I’ll certainly watch a few more episodes, at the very least.

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  1. k

    The dorky retainer is played by some guy named Kawamoto Naru, but yes, the ending is sung by Namikawa and Satou Takuya.

    The opening is by Kikkawa Kouji, extra hilariously because he not only has a moderately GAR image himself these days (well, in a JPop/JRock performer way), but he also plays Saigou Takamori aka "The Last True Samurai" in the current Taiga drama whose title escapes me. He also played Jinei in the Rurouni Kenshin movie, and also the best Oda Nobunaga I've seen in live action, in the Taiga drama Tenchijin.

  2. l

    At first glance, I thought this was some sort of bara yaoi series. XDD

    Prabably too manly for me in any case. I meanthis dude seems to be the most pleasant looking of the bunch and he's already scarier than any of the Titans from SnK. The rest of them are downright terrifying.


  3. Uesugi looks like a 70's porn star. I mean, I hear that's what they looked like.

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