Many anime fans probably didn’t know that Shin Sakura Taisen the Animation isn’t actually a brand new IP but a sequel—of sorts—to Sakura Taisen. Originally released in the late 90s, Sakura Taisen: Ouka Kenran would begin as a 4 episode OVA series and then become Sakura Taisen, which lasted for 25 episodes. A lot has definitely changed in terms of the original series and this new sequel. Since we’re enjoying Shin Sakura Taisen the Animation—despite its various flaws—we decided to look at how this series has changed and why we think some of these changes are both good and bad.
Love it or hate it, the first major difference between the early 2000s Sakura Wars and this sequel is the animation style. Gone is the traditional anime look and we’ve been given a CGI/3D form that will most surely turn some away from the series. While the animation isn’t amazing, Shin Sakura Taisen the Animation does gain some ground over the original as various battles within the show and even the stage performances have some modern-day aesthetics. We might not be in love with this updated look but Sakura Taisen needed a fresh coat of paint for its sequel lest it fall victim to being an older-styled show in the modern day of anime.
The Same Themes and Concepts Return
What made Sakura Taisen stand out when it released was the fact that it was like two genres in one. You had an idol-esque story as the lovely ladies of the series sang and danced in the theater they worked at by day and then fought in massive mech fights at night. Shin Sakura Taisen the Animation keeps this unique format and adds to it more up-to-date songs and routines. Those that love the original will no doubt notice that there are some throwbacks—noticeable in the opening for example—that make sure you remember this series has roots from long ago.
New Troop, New Story
Despite being a sequel, one could almost mistake Shin Sakura Taisen the Animation for a spin-off. The lead cast in Sakura Taisen—like Sakura and Ichiro—aren’t front and center and instead, we have a new dance/mech crew! We have a new Sakura—who uses the last name Amamiya—and a new male lead, Seijuurou Kamiyama. We like the dynamic between these two and the other ladies of the team as it reminds us of the original series but has its own flavor. It might be sad to see the original crew fall to the background but we never dislike a new generation of warriors for a new generation of anime viewers!
Chibi Mechs Return
One element that hasn’t changed from Sakura Taisen into Shin Sakura Taisen the Animation is the mech design which we absolutely adore in both series! Unlike traditional mechs—that scream human-like—these mechs are chibified and we are glad Shin Sakura Taisen the Animation didn’t remove this theme. Don’t mistake the chibi mechs as weak, though, these little machines pack some heavy weapons and abilities that make their battles truly eye-catching!
At first glance, it might seem like Shin Sakura Taisen the Animation is a different beast from its predecessor but, as you can tell above, not everything has changed. While we have mixed feelings on this mech-based idol series—you’ll see what our full thoughts are in our review coming at the end of the season—there’s still much we enjoy. Are you liking—or hating—Shin Sakura Taisen the Animation? Comment below to let us know! For even more articles like this one be sure to keep stuck to our glorious hive here at Honey’s Anime!