"Maturity in Brave 10 refers to little more than graphic violence; the straightforward storyline unfolds predictably."
Contemporary Anime conventions tell a story technically based in legend, yet Brave 10 feels like historical fan-fiction. Viewers familiar with the Sengoku period may enjoy pointing out allusions, but the cohesion stops there. Real-life references read like labels, standard characters superficially repackaged and renamed. Sardonic and misunderstood Kirigakure Saizo is the typical teen anti-hero. You know him, you’ve met him before in dozens of other series, and in fact Final Fantasy’s Noctis is a dead-ringer. Saizo speaks in snappy one-liners and keeps to himself and still somehow attracts endless female attention.
Seinen Manga and Anime generally target an older audience with complex storylines backed by mature themes. Maturity in Brave 10 refers to little more than graphic violence; the straightforward storyline unfolds predictably. Ninja training leaves Saizo capable of defending himself, but distaste for the feudal system isolates him without guiding direction. Child-like goddess Isanami interrupts Saizo’s personal journey, and the two form an unlikely partnership. They eventually join Sanada Yukimura, a scruffy-looking samurai warrior, recruited as braves united against the warring state.
"Brave 10 cannot claim retro-status as an excuse and simply loses the opportunity to explore creative choreography."
Episodes focus on acquiring new braves to join Sanada’s effort and suffer from a degree of sameness. This is a shame because there is absolutely nothing bad about the series. The animation, writing, and voice acting are standard and at times even good. Despite having a concrete story to follow, deriving content from its comic predecessor, novels, and a wealth of mythology, Brave 10 still feels muddled without any true sense of direction. No focal point, no shining attribute resonates after viewing that leaves me wanting to revisit the series. The action scenes repeat zoomed-in, simplistic animation and even feature cheesy signature moves. Within older Anime, techniques indicative of technical restraints exude an almost endearing nostalgia. Brave 10 cannot claim retro-status as an excuse and simply loses the opportunity to explore creative choreography.
"The included art book while still excellent, diminishes when compared to the impressive amount of content shared with past releases."
Predictability aside, fans of well-known series like Naruto and Rurouni Kenshin searching for similar titles may enjoy Brave 10. The brief story concludes after only twelve episodes and doesn’t require a huge time investment. The wealth of Bishounen characters will likely appeal to some. NIS America delivers another quality collector’s set. However, the included art book while still excellent, diminishes when compared to the impressive amount of content shared with past releases. Natsume and Yuru Yuri both offered insightful production sketches, whereas Brave 10’s content is relegated to screenshots and helpful but brief episode summaries. The previous fandoms are admittedly larger. Ultimately, it comes down to a matter of taste. Those looking for a serious drama won’t find it here.
Review by: Ameenah Salamunic | Review Format: Blu-ray | Running Time: 309 Minutes