Episode 1 Impressions: Bakumatsu Rock

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Alternative history is always an interesting plot element to spice up what wasn’t always a glamorous or fun period.  Though to put music battles in an Edo setting may be quite a stretch.  That said, does Bakumatsu Rock amount to anything but a cheap concert ticket?

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Yes, these are your knights.

Synopsis
Set at the end of the shogun’s rule over Japan in the mid 1900s, the Tokugawa shogunate utilize warriors as idols to sing the Heaven’s Song in order to control the people. Most of the tickets to concerts go to samurai class and wealthy merchants while the lower class use all of their money on concert lottery tickets leading to a restricted life.

In order to keep the demand high and squash any chances at other forms of entertainment, the government restricts singing to only those assigned to sing the Heaven’s song. Singing any other song will lead to capital punishment and the use of instruments like guitars that have grown popular in the west is forbidden and will be taken away.

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Quite a unique protagonist..

Despite this, Sakamoto Ryoma is a spirited man seeking to spread his own type of song. Gifted with a guitar given to him by an afro wearing man named Yoshida Shoin, he ends up being confronted by two of Yoshida’s pupils named Katsura Kogoro and Takasugi Shinsaku.

When Ryoma is confronted by a band of government warriors who are also famous idols who sing the Heaven’s Song, Ruyoma breaks into song after learning about Rock from the west. His passion unlocks what Kogoro calls Peace Soul and transforms him as well as Kogoro and Shinsaku into rocking combatants that moves the people around them. Including the government officials.

However back at headquarters, it seems the leading officials are not amused by the praise their men have for the rock concert they experienced and it’s quickly noted that Ryoma must be snuffed out.

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Did we just magical girl a rock concert?

Thoughts
What an absolutely horrendous show. While it’s quite obvious that it was a show designed for a female audience, I tried to go into it with blinders to the overly fan service driven male characters. Despite ignoring the fan service, I wasn’t able to get any entertainment from the moment to moment events.

Most of the show was spent following Ryoma as he barked about his desire to sing his song. He was both overly energetic (to a young Naruto level) and obnoxiously loud in personality. With an entire surrounding cast of normal and quite calm personalities, he was an attention starved child.

About the only entertaining aspect of the show was the oddly placed rock concert towards the end. There was some pretty decent music there. However it was fairly hard to follow since the cloths started flying off and people began to transform into shirtless rock stars in a magical girl fashion.

Perhaps if you’re of the female gender or like seeing shirtless men there may be something here to enjoy. However when ignoring that element, there’s nothing else here of entertaining value. Just an excuse to have a rock concert and pretty boys.

Watch on Crunchyroll.

Episode 1: Peace Soul! Let’s Rock!

THUMBS DOWN!

THUMBS DOWN!

IMPRESSIONS VERDICT:
Terrible

Pros:

  • Decent music
  • Unique and silly premise

Cons:

  • Humor is poor
  • Boring dialog
  • Pacing all over the place
  • No substance to entertain

Impressions are based on a single episode and don’t necessarily reflect the series as a whole. Unless dropped, we will continue to give updates on thoughts and impressions of the series as time goes by.

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Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 800 shows. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Once a week, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.