Hello everybody and welcome to my next where I watch show, where I continue to go through the queues of my various subscriptions and figure out what shows to watch because my backlog is insanely large.
As you can tell by the title, for this session, I'll be taking a look at the anime adaption of the light novel series Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers. It's your typical fantasy plot where a bunch of misfits have to band together to save the world from an evil god who wants to destroy the world for various reasons that only make sense to that god, usually because their counterpart, a good god, is either a family member or just as worse as the evil god.
Of course, you can't just have any random bunch of misfits to save the world! Where would the fun in that be? No, you see, the heroes have to be chosen, and in this case, they have a crest of the Six Flowers on their body indicating that they are one of the Braves. And really, Atlanta could use a lot of help if they want to make it to first place. But things aren't always what they seem, and something is very off when the adventurers get together. It seems that instead of getting Six chosen, we have Seven, which may indicate that one is a fake. Or somebody screwed up the translation of the prophecy, that could be it.
Now, I know this series was discussed when it first aired, but I never watched it. Didn't even watch any clips of it either, so I'm going into this one pretty much close to 100% blind, so no spoilers! And no spoiling from the light novels, either, unless it's related to the episode we watched. Let me give my own incorrect theories, then you can mock me later for being so very wrong.
Normally, if given a choice, I would go for the dub option, which is available on Crunchyroll. However, they don't include a subtitle option, and that'll ruin any potential jokes, so we'll be sticking with the sub. I may watch the dub at some other point, just to compare, but here, we'll be taking the sub and go deeper.
So, will this be the bog standard fantasy anime where killing the Evil God solves everything, or is this one of those deconstruction anime? Let's tune in and find out.
-Our episode begins with a story of a legend. When the demons awaken from the depths of darkness and turn the world into a living hell, the Goddess of Fate will select six heroes and give them the power to save the world. In this picture book story, the goddess is holding up a flower with six petals, which fly off into the story. The narrator adds that there is always six that are chosen, and for that reason, they are known as the Braves of the Six Flowers... with a combined ERA of 3.56. Okay, I'm sorry, I promise to limit the baseball jokes.
-We then go to our OP, which starts with a rocking guitar riff as a foot comes in, which makes the guitar go harder. Then after a spin, we see our red-haired protagonist... I mean, come on! He's got red hair, he's going to be the protagonist! Anyway, the camera spins to what he's looking at and... huh. This is an interesting design choice.
-When I think traditional fantasy, I think more medieval Europe, so already I like where this is going. We then blur out the shot for our title, Rokka ~Braves of the Six Flowers~. And now as the song gets it's more pop idol sound, we get to our character montage. First, we have a bunny girl laying on the ground, who will obviously be our fan service character for the run. But we get ominous as the clear sky quickly turns dark, causing her to wake up. Looks like it's going to rain and cancel the game again.
-We then fly into a temple that has the fantasy trappings of being important, because it's glowing an unnatural glow, then to a mural filled with people, likely the Six Braves of prophecy. On the other side is the Evil God, being all evil because its mural is painted with darker colors. I feel the painter may have been a bit bias here. Then we get some quick shots of another temple, a red sky, and some sort of wave as our protagonist looks on with concern. Then we cut to a girl with a rifle sitting in a campfire, alone, with a flower in her hair. Oh, and she's got an eye-patch, too. Man, I'm getting Drakengard 3 flashbacks here, which cannot be good for this one here.
-Then we cut to a character who appears to be a knight of some sort, then an obvious thief/rogue character, then back to our bunny girl fan service character, who may be important because she's surrounded by possible servants. Then we have the child of the group, because there is always one, and a cool beauty who appears in a field because why not? Then we get the spinning Braves symbol, quickly cutting to what appears to be a Crocodile Man with giant hands. But it's very quick and I only can say that he's a Crocodile Man. Look, in the dub, if they don't turn him into the next Crocodile Dundee, I will be very disappointed. Yes, I know, that's very cliche, but come on, Anime Crocodile Dundee!
-And then terrible looking CGI demons, which leads to our fight. First it's the knight, then our thief/rogue who may actually be a bit psychotic with that slasher smile of his. Then the kid character just... comes closer to the camera and smiles. I think that's more disturbing than our slasher. Then our cool beauty show's that she's an Earth Bender, shooting rocks at the demons. Then we're back to Fan Service Bunny Girl, who is also a mage, before cutting to our protagonist, who unlike the others, uses his bare hands to kill demons, all with his own slasher smile. Really, except for two or three characters, they all had a smile. Hoo boy, we're going deep into the dysfunctional misfits territory, aren't we? But then protagonist gets saved by gunslinger lady, who isn't smile. Then back to the symbol of the Braves, then a panning shot of our seven main characters. And from here we get a montage of each character showing off where the symbol is. Fan Service Bunny Girl is on her chest, close to her neck, the knight is on his right shoulder, gunslinger on her left hand, cool beauty on her back, thief/rogue on his chest, but it's on the left, near his heart, and kid, who may be a girl, is on her... I actually can't tell if that's her arm or thigh, but I'm thinking thigh. Hoo boy, it's going to be that kind of show. But one interesting thing to note is that the protagonist didn't appear in this montage. Interesting. Clearly, he's either not the protagonist, or he'll get a super powerful sign that's better than the others, because protagonist powers.
-Tonight's episode is titled The Strongest Man In The World. If his name is Artie, I will laugh. And if you get that reference, then I am very proud of you. We start on a partially cloudy sky as we get an overhead shot of our adventure city. And it looks like it's built on a lake, because why not build your city on a lake?
-Especially when that lake has two waterfalls. Clearly, this was the best place to have a large and important city. And it's quite active, too, as we see a lot of traffic on one of the three bridges. Of course, we're following protagonist into the city as he goes through the market place, where goods and services are being exchanged at a rapid pace. We see him in front of one stall that is for gambling, eating an apple, when suddenly, a cannon is fired. Must be lunch time. This attracts everybody's attention as they turn to the red temple in the center of the city. Looks like there's a major tournament and we're in the semifinals. What I find the most interesting aspect of this place is the way everybody is dressed. They've got more of an Aztec/Mayan dress to them, and it shows. And I appreciate a fantasy show that doesn't go the typical "medieval Europe" vibe.
-Looks like they'll be fighting in front of the King as the announce introduces the challengers. First, to the West, the Captain of the Royal Guard Batoal Rainhawk, of the Nation of Prosperity's Source, Piena! Wait, isn't the King named Piena? The king is fighting in this tournament? Or maybe it's a family member? Either way, this tournament is totally rigged. His challenge, representing the Red Bear Mercenaries, Quato Gain, of the Nation of Verdant Green, Tomaso! He looks like a real berserker with that outfit. The crowd cheers for the combatants as the announce tells them that this is no normal duel. This match is being held in the presence of the goat King of Piena and the Goddess of Fate. So maybe that guy isn't the brother? Maybe his name is Batoal Rainhawk, then? I guess that would make sense. It's still rigged, though. So the two combatants are told to have a fair fight, and the factor will battle Princess Nachetanya, the winner of the last tournament.
-So, so rigged. But the crowd is looking at something else, for a figure approaches the combatants, interrupting the announcer. It's our protagonist, and the announcer isn't pleased. He demands to know this fool's name? Why, it's Adlet Myer...
-I'm going to have to see some credentials there, Adlet. Everybody is stunned into silence by such a brazen claim. Nobody knows who he is, but Adlet decides that the rules are going to change here. We'll changing this match from a one-on-one to a handicap match, and the two combatants will face Adlet. The combatants, however, aren't in the mood for games. They worked their asses off to get to this point and they won't entertain the whims of some fool, so Gain asks the guards to get rid of him. They begin to encircle Adlet, and it looks like the World's Strongest Man really wants this fight, as he takes out these needles and takes out the guards. Oh Adlet, I hope you didn't kill them, because you don't need a harsher punishment than you already have.
-Gain was able to block the needles, though, and will decide to entertain the whims of Adlet. As for Rainhawk, he just straight up caught them. Okay, that's a bit impressive. And he's decided to join in on the handicap match. And so the fight is on, and our boy Adlet shows off his rather impressive agility, easily dodging the attacks from his powerful foes. He then puts distance between himself and the others by throwing a jar of water at Rainhawk, temporary blinding him. Oh, the irony. They aren't happy with such tricks, but it's about to get worse.
-Adlet, I'm curious, but when did you light them? When you first entered the temple, or when you first entered the city? And in either case, just how long were those fuses? So, yeah, the self-proclaimed strongest man in the world isn't showing off his strength so much as showing off his pragmatism. Those bombs? They're smoke bombs, and they cover up that part of the arena, blinding the other two combatants. In the smoke, Adlet tries to take out Rainhawk, but he's able to deflect the attack. But our boy shows off is agility as he's able to spin in air, then grab Rainhawk by the face and force him down to meet him. There, he takes out what appears to be a lighter and blows fire into Rainhawk. While blinded, Adlet grabs him by the arm and judo throws him, though it sounds like he may have dislocated something because we heard bones cracking during the throw. Okay, maybe the title isn't as self-proclaimed after all.
-With Rainhawk down for the count, we turn our attention to Gain, but he's already done for. During the confusion, Adlet used his sword to release small spike traps, which he stepped in. They're also laced in poison, so he won't be able to stand up. He shows off his trick to everybody, then throws away his sword, announcing his victory! Though he's announcing it to the Goddess of Fate. Oh, and the guards are alive, so that's a plus. Anyway, he demands to be named one of the six Braves, but before he can finish, he gets tackled to the ground. And this is why you don't rant to inanimate objects.
-So the announcer/priest orders him to be arrested as the crowd throws a fit. A lot of money was lost here, and I bet the booker is happy because it means he doesn't owe anybody anything! The day passes, but business proceeds as usual. And after the day, we have our fight, but it looks like Gain is the winner. He either beat a wounded Rainhawk, or he had to withdraw due to his injuries. Either way, he isn't happy. As for Adlet, he's in prison and looks quite beaten up. Thanks for ruining the holy tournament, you jackass! Now the priest will never forgive him! So he can just rot away for all eternity. Jerk.
-Adlet doesn't seem too bothered by this as he lays down to rest. He'll probably recover from his injuries in a few days and then break out. And I imagine he does this quite often. But he doesn't get to sleep quite yet, for you see, he has another visitor, somebody who became an instant fan of his after seeing his fight.
-That looks like Fan Service Bunny Girl, only without the ears. But yeah, instant fan of Adlet. She asks to shake his hand, and he agrees, though he finds it odd for a maid to come here just for that. He takes her hand, but she doesn't let go. Instead, she can tell that his heart is pounding and knows that he isn't good with women. What!? How dare you accuse the strongest man in the world of not being good with women. He's good with everything! Too bad you can't hide your bright red face. Still, she's happy to have come, because she wants to know more about him. She takes a seat at a nearby stone ledge, and after a moment, Adlet begins to tell his story.
-Adlet is eighteen years of age, born in Wooro, the Nation of the White Lakes. Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes, there is a crowd, and yes, that crowd is listening in. Anyway, Adlet's master was named Atro Spiker, who he lived with at age ten. It appears that his house was in the mountains, and Adlet lived there for a long time, spending every hour training to defeat the Demon God. And in this flashback... hoo boy, Adlet, you look terrible. But that way of fighting he learned exists only for the purpose of defeating the Demon God. So... you left your home town to go train to defeat the Demon God because... reasons? I mean, it's a short story, but no dead parents by demons? No kingdoms to get revenge on? Just "I left and trained to defeat a Demon God because... because." Then again, I've seen worse reasons.
-Maid Fan claps at the story, finding it interesting, but adds that she's heard the words "The strongest in the world" enough to last a lifetime. Adlet says that it's a fact that he's the strongest, but Maid Fan states that he hasn't beaten Princess Nachetanya, the Saint of Blades, yet. Well, he was kind of hoping she'd show up, but she hasn't, so it's disappointing. Still, he proclaims that he's better than her, stating it like a fact. Maid Fan comments that there are many strong people in the world, and Adlet won't refute that claim, but...
-Adlet's Ego is starting to rival Gilgamesh's at this point. Maid Fan asks how he knows, and he just says that he knows he's the strongest. Oh, and the Goddess of Fate knows it, too. Now he just needs to teach it to the Demon God and the rest of the world. Wow, even Gil would be telling this guy to turn it down a notch. Maid Fan puts it rather bluntly.
-...Okay, that's just straight up funny. By that, I mean the fact that she just stuck her head in that hole seemingly out of boredom. And with that, Adlet asks what happened with the tournament. Gain won, as we saw earlier, but apparently it was closer than we think. But he got straight up destroyed by Nachetanya in the final round. I think I would have liked to have seen that fight. Adlet thought that Rainhawk was the better of the two, but remember that judo throw he did to the captain? Yeah, that did something to his shoulder, costing him the match. To his credit, Adlet regrets that, though it probably would have been better to wait until the final match, but then again, huge ego.
-Maid Fan asks why Adlet calls himself the strongest in the world, but like before, it's just a fact to him. Plus, if he's the strongest, he'll be chosen as one of the Six Braves. This catches her attention, and Adlet straight up says he has to defeat the Demon God. I knew there was a tragic backstory behind this. And that's why he came to this country. He asks if she knows the Saint of the Single Flower, which she does, because it's a story everyone in the world learns. Even a lowly maid like her. You should treat her better, since she's your fan and all.
-The story goes like this. A millennium ago, a demon appeared on this continent. It was called the Demon God and it began attacking people, because what else is a Demon God going to do? In an illustration, we see it born in this peninsula to the west, where it would expand into tentacles and begin enveloping the land. As it grew, it split off, creating new demons that would kill even more people. The Great Etneral Empire Rohane's armies were defeated by these demons. As a result, the empire was destroyed, the royal family was slain, and its towns and villages were burned off the map. The people were in despair and accepted their fate. But in their darkest hour, a saint appeared. She bore a single flower, and thus, she was called the Saint of the Single Flower. Hooray for heroes of legend!
-Thanks to the Saint, they were able to drive back the Demon God to the west edge and defeated him. When she returned, she warned the people that the Demon God is not dead. Someday, it will awaken from its slumber and turn this world into a living hell. And so she prophesied that when the Demon God awakens, six heroes will appear, bearing her power within them. And we basically get a recap from the stinger earlier in the episode. Just in case you missed it the last time around.
-This is why Adlet came to the temple. In order to be one of the Six Braves, they must prove their might in her temple. And if proven worthy, the mark of the flower will appear on their body. And that is why the people call them the Braves of the Six Flowers. And it looks like the other inmates are engrossed in this story. And apparently, this isn't a one and done deal. The first time the Braves of the Six Flowers appeared was about seven hundred years ago. They were the Hero King Volmer, the Bow Saint Bahna, the Fire Saint Pulka, the Ice Saint Sunimur, the Sun Saint Emih, and the nameless warrior, Ange. He doesn't get to be a saint because he was nameless. The jerks.
-The Demon God didn't fight alone, though. The Demon called King Zophrair appeared to assist, but the heroes succeeded in delaying him and defeating the Demon God. Oh, but we were done yet. Three hundred years ago, another Six Braves appeared again to challenge the Demon God. This time we had the Blade Saint Mahri, the Time Saint Hayuha, the Lightning Saint Melrania, the Sword Saint Bodol, the Wind Saint Roi, and the Salt Saint Mahnyakam. He tends to be very salty a lot of the time. So, for those keeping track, a thousand years ago, we had the Saint of the Single Flower, then three hundred years after that, we had our first set of six, then four hundred years after that, we had another set of six. You'd think, if we went by a pattern, we'd be due for another set in another two hundred years, but then, we won't have a story here.
-Of course, being a Brave doesn't make you immortal. As Maid Fan states, some of their number were lost, but in the end, they succeeded in sealing the Demon God. But it appears the seal is weakening as Adlet notes that many fiends have appeared on the continent. She adds that a crack as appeared in the Prophecy Jewel, and the Crystal that Tells of Demons has grown cloudy. Seriously, the Crystal is named that? You'd think they'd give it a different name, like "Demon Finder Crystal" or something. But with these events, they suspect the Demon God will revive within a year. And despite this impending doom, Adlet continues to boast that it won't be long before he's chosen as one of the Six Braves. Man, imagine if he didn't get chosen? He'll be so disappointed... before getting his protagonist powers, that is.
-Maid Fan asks if Adlet knows of Matora Wichita of the Yellow Fruits Country. Despite the name, they sell red fruit there. He recognizes the name and the person, who is suppose to be the best with the bow in the world. She then asks if he knows of Fudelka of the Country of the Golden Sand, which is not made of gold. Then we have Asurei, the Saint of Ice. Adlet asks where this is going, so she tells them that these three were killed. He suspects that fiends are killing potential Braves before the Demon God's revival, but even he doesn't believe that fiends could defeat them that easily. He suspects that something else is at play here, like somebody is killing them so that only the worst will be selected as Braves. Like anybody knows who is actually going to be a Brave... or do they?
-Maid Fan suggests to Adlet that he stay here until his wounds heal, adding that the prisons are heavily guarded, but he does point out that a maid was able to sneak in. She starts laughing at this, as if she wasn't a maid at all. Perhaps she's actually a ninja, or its equivalent, serving at the beck and call of the Princess, who was curious about this man who ruined the tournament for her country. In either case, she has to return or they'll get mad at her. She's got work to do, after all. Before she leaves, Adlet asks her to pass a message to the Princess. The message says that he's confident she'll be chosen as one of the Six Braves, and he looks forward to the day they fight together. She gives quite a strange look to his message, though.
-It's the kind of look you give to somebody when they've told you something incredibly stupid or asked you to do the impossible. But she promises to deliver the message, if she meets with the Princess. And with that, she leaves, but leaves us with a parting shot at our boy.
-Well, I don't think Adlet has a lot of sense in him, to be honest. We finish up with Adlet, who thinks about those killing potential Braves, then smells his hand, which is the one he uses to shake Maid Fan's hand, then notes the scent of apples. At least she wasn't in the room when you did that, you creep. The next day, it's time for the trial! Or at least, the sentencing. He's going to be in prison for the rest of his life. Good luck holding him, if he truly is the Strong Man in the World. So we see him being escorted to a smaller island at the edge of the lake, then kicked into a pit where he'll have some company, given the remains of the last prisoner there. Though it may have been planned, because when he sits down on the bed, he feels something hard there. When he checks, he finds a sword there. Looks like somebody is watching out for him.
-If you ever get out Adlet, make sure to hook up with that Maid Fan. Time passes, though I can't be certain how long, but they are still feeding him, so that's nice. A lot of time does pass, and our boy makes the best use of it, keeping himself in shape despite only being fed nothing but bread. During this long period, his arm heals, then shortly after that, he thinks it's time to escape. It is kind of boring in there, anyway.
-So Adlet waits until night, and we see the city is still active with people, like kids hanging out or young couples going on dates. This night will be one they won't forget, for we see the beating of the Demon God, and the sky lights up with red. Those who were asleep are in agony as the people cry in fear. They can see that the light is coming from the west, in the direction of Gwenbyer, and beyond that, the Land of the Howling Demons. Fan Service Bunny Girl... uh, I mean, the Princess, watches on, but we can only make out her silhouette. And really, I can't help but think the animators took extra care with drawing her figure, because she's very well... uh, pronounced here.
-As for our boy, Adelt looks up to see the sky turn red. Then his pit is covered in a strange red myst. And from that red myst comes...
-Why is it always tentacles. Adlet is panicking, and really, who can blame him, right? As the plant like objects reach him, he seemingly wakes up from a dream, but he grips his hand in pain. From there, a flaming light emits, and when it leaves, what remains is the Crest of the Six Flowers. Basically, for all of his boasting, Adlet was right, he was one of the Braves. Dammit, now we'll never hear the end of it. He's a bit disappointed that it wasn't more of a big deal. Really? The light show, the flaming hand, that wasn't a big deal? You have such high expectations it'll be a wonder if anybody decides to hook up with you.
-Though Adlet takes a moment to realize what this actually means. No need to escape now! And he had such a perfect plan, too. He calls out for the guards, but it looks like somebody already beat him to the punch. That's because the Princess has come to personally visit Adlet, introducing herself as Nachetanya Loei Piena Augustra. What is it with royals and having very long names? Oh, and we have another big reveal, too.
-As you probably guessed, Fan Service Bunny Girl is Maid Fan, but also the Crown Princess. She's also one of the chosen, as she reveals her mark, which is located on her chest, which she shows by untying the collar and revealing it to him. It's surprisingly not much of a fan service shot because we have the bars there covering up parts of her chest. That's when Adlet reveals his symbol, as well as his proclamation of being the strongest man in the world. And this time, it is truly a fact. God help us all.
-With that, the Princess uses her magic on Adlet's sword, turning it into several blades of light, then, like a conductor, breaks the bars, though she drops several of her own guards in the pit. I wonder if they get hazard pay. She's still standing, though, and as promised, she shall accompany Adlet in their fight to save the world. As their time is limited, they need to move, now. So with the help of the priest, Adlet gets out. Rainhawk tries to stop him, but the Princess gives him a little push into the pit, and soon, they're off. So this is kind of a jail break, then? At the end of the bridge are two of her maids with some horses. Adlet comments on her being prepared, because you never know when you'll need to break out a Brave, right? Well, she gives a short answer here.
-Oh, that's actually a shawl or something like it. We check back in on the priest, who comments that Nachetanya hasn't had her audience with the King, who's currently having issues with voices in his head, or the embarkation ceremony. Are those really that important, though? At one of the check points the guards look towards the west and are unable to react in time as our two Braves pass them with sheer ease. And with these horses, nobody will catch them. Fantastic. So, what's the game plan? First, they'll go to Adlet's hideout, then they'll travel to Gwenbyer, the Country of Iron Hills. And they are actually made of iron. After that, they'll gather at the entrance of the Land of the Howling Demons and meet up with the other four Braves. Except it won't be quite so simple, will it? Cue credits!
-Oooh, nice animation. We start with what appears to be Adlet leaning against a pole as his hair blows in the wind, which is silly smooth. The animation, though his hair might be silky smooth, too. Then we get a montage of the other Braves, like Thief/Rogue, Cool Beauty, Tagalong Kid, Gunslinger, Knight, and Nachetanya, who gets some animation as she turns to the camera with a smile. We then get a panning shot of all the Braves, though what I find interesting is that Adlet is the only one colored in. The others are not. Given the premise of the series, I wonder if this is a case of figuring out who is a Brave, but if that's the case, wouldn't Nachetanya also be colored? Maybe it's an episode thing, and when we get her episode, she'll get a little color.
-We are then at a temple, a sword planted in the ground, before we shoot up to the blue sky. After that, we have walking montages. Adlet is walking over a picture of a village, then after a moment, the picture turns to flames with a figure right behind him. I suspect that it's a demon, given its pointy teeth. Then we see a young Adult running in the forest, who turns back to the ruins of a village. Ah, your typical RPG origin.
-Then we get more shots of our Braves, though four are in light, while Adlet, Gunslinger, and Nachetanya are in shadow. Then we get a shot of the symbol on Adlet's hand, before turning to him in a fighting stance, with I'm assume him in the background, being enveloped in light, before turning and freezing as he turns to the camera. End credits.
-Our next episode is titled First Journey. And it'll be quite a journey, won't it?
And there we have the first episode. We meet two of the Braves, and we have confirmation that Adlet is a legit brave. So much for that theory. But then, what about the others? Well, let's go over them one at a time. I don't have names yet, but when they're given, I'll be adding them. Though I'll really going off of appearances, but that will change as the series goes on.
First, I think it's safe to assume that Nachetanya herself is one of the Braves, since it seems like she's quite strong herself and can cast powerful magic. It is interesting that she was in a rush at the end, but maybe she was looking an excuse to leave and Adlet gave her that excuse. I also think she's a proper Brave because she's the Fan Service Bunny Girl, so she has to be one.
Gunslinger practically screams traitor, given her appearance. So much so that I think it's red herring and she is actually one of the Braves. She'll probably have a dark or troubled past, which will explain her appearance and possible dark attitude, but I think she's legit.
Thief/Rogue also has to be a Brave for the same reason as Gunslinger. He seems to be the type to itch for a fight, but I also suspect that he won't go out of his way to kill fiends unless it was a calling, so I think he's safe.
Tagalong Kid would also have to be a Brave, because nobody sane would send a kid out to fight fiends, unless the kid is insane like the others in some fashion, so I think they are safe.
That leaves Knight and Cool Beauty as our potential fake, but if I were to take a guess at the fake, it'd probably be the knight. I suspect he'll either be somebody with a dark past looking for revenge, no matter what, or is actually a plant by one of the surviving Demon Kings. Either way, for now, that's my bet.
Will my suspicions change? We'll have to see on Tuesday and find out when Adlet and Nachetanya meet up with the others.
Until next time, remember, always make nice with the help, because you never know when they'll actually be royalty in disguise.