Being far more serious than Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru, Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu offers a more action-packed, plot-heavy story for the Touken Ranbu franchise fans. Delivered by Ufotable, known for their gorgeous CG works and animation that makes their productions a cornucopia of visual delight, Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu had the fans expectation on the high for this particular anime adaptation of the series, especially as it focuses more heavily on the more popular swordboys. Unlike Hanamaru, which attempted to give the audience small glimpses of each sword in the series, Katsugeki only focuses on the missions given to the second unit under the leadership of Izuminokami Kanesada with his ever faithful companion Horikawa Kunihiro, along with glimpses of the first unit under the leadership of Yamanbagiri Kunihiro, in which Mikazuki Munechika is also a member of.
Choosing 5 scenes as the ultimate scenes for female fanservice in Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu is hard, not because there are tons of them, but also because Ufotable’s delightful visuals make all the scenes practically all fanservice, considering how beautiful the swordboys look. However, we’ve chosen five scenes of female fanservice that hits really well with the fandom and the long-time fans. Here they are!
5. [Episode 8] Dategumi Cameo
For the Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu audience who also played the game and are already very attached to the swordboys, the casual cameos of other swordboys in Katsugeki’s Citadel are very fun scenes we all look forward to. Especially because unlike Hanamaru, Katsugeki chose only a handful of swords to showcase, and that means not everyone could see their favorite on screen in the gorgeously animated Ufotable work. In episode 6, we already got a brief view of the Citadel’s dining room, where we could see the many swordboys mingling with their brothers and eating together, as well as the very brief appearance of Kogitsunemaru enjoying tea and snacks with Mikazuki Munechika. Episode 8 took it a little bit further, this time making the many fans of the popular Dategumi swords ecstatic: a glimpse of the Dategumi swords doing vegetable field works!
After Izuminokami Kanesada and Horikawa Kunihiro, with Mutsunokami Yoshiyuki tagging along, managed to ask Yagen Toushirou to fight alongside them once again, they went to the vegetable field to ask Tsurumaru Kuninaga to join them back in the Second Unit. Tsurumaru readily accepted, joking that it’s a much better work to do than working in a field, and when Horikawa remarked about how delicious the tomatoes around them look, the audience was suddenly blessed with the cool presence of Shokudaikiri Mitsutada! Being one of the more popular swords, his mere presence is really a fanservice for the audience, especially because he doesn’t get to appear in the main story of Katsugeki.
As if that isn’t enough, though, Katsugeki straight away throws in the next cameo: another sword that once belongs to Date Masamune, who is also super popular, Oookurikara! Fandom might also note how MitsuKuri is a rather popular BL ship, and seeing them in a cameo together is such good fanservice! Both of them encouraged Tsurumaru, who is also a Dategumi sword, to go with Kanesada, who answered it with a fond pet-name “Kara-bou” to Ookurikara. For a fanservice, this scene really hits a lot of fans cleverly: a glimpse of two very popular characters, Mitsutada and Ookurikara, and at the same time, a brief, cute interaction among the three members of Dategumi swords, topped with Tsurumaru’s cute pet-name for Ookurikara! A specific fanservice for a specific part of the audience, but a powerful one!
4. [Episode 13] Higekiri remembering Hizamaru’s name!
This is such an important moment for fans of the Genji brothers! We all know that Higekiri, the beloved older brother of the Genji brothers duo, keeps adorably failing to remember his younger brother’s name, based on the history of how often Hizamaru’s name had been changed. This fact had been a hilarious trope played over and over with Higekiri’s character, no matter which adaptation of Touken Ranbu the Genji brothers appear in. Katsugeki, however, threw a surprise, despite having played the same trope in the earlier episode: in the last battle of Episode 13, Higekiri actually managed to remember Hizamaru’s name!
As the swordboys charge into the frenzy of a thousand enemies, we got to see the two Toushirou brothers execute a gorgeous brothers combo where Honebami threw Yagen in the air with his sword, and sending him cutting through a line of enemies as the time distortion in the sky began to disappear. Upon seeing this, Hizamaru’s first reaction was to smirk and noted to Higekiri that they can’t let another pair of brothers showing them up in the battle. Higekiri in return, simply smiled and agreed, and called Hizamaru by his name before charging into battle himself!
Such an unexpected fanservice for sure sent the fans of Genji brothers screaming—if you were on Japanese Twitter at the time the last episode aired, almost everyone who was live tweeting it were shrieking for that one small moment between the Genji brothers. A lot of fans were congratulating Hizamaru, because finally Higekiri remembered his younger brother’s name! Hopefully this time, he’d remember it for good!
3. [Episode 6] Izuminokami Kanesada’s body
Time to delve into a more concrete fanservice! Touken Ranbu is, after all, designed to showcase the beauty of the swordboys (especially when they’re hurt enough to strip in the game, hm!), and Katsugeki is no exception. This time, with the exceptional visual delight delivered by Ufotable, we finally got to see a shirtless Kane-san! And surprise, he’s more ripped than you have ever expected!
Since episode 5 ended with both Tonbokiri and Izuminokami Kanesada hurt dangerously enough for the Saniwa to call the entire second unit back to Citadel, episode 6 showed the audience Katsugeki’s Citadel for the first time, and, as a bonus, how Izuminokami Kanesada looked when he startled awake after a night of repair in the infirmary. The contrast between his long, black hair and his bare shoulders, with very exquisitely drawn six-pack abs and gorgeous biceps, uncovered by the strategically places plasters.
While this scene is very delightful for us female (and perhaps some of male) fans, it’s also very surprising to have a very ripped Kane-san, considering his design has always seemed very gracefully lean, especially in his Shinsengumi get-up. Some of the fans even joked that he seemed to have more volume when he’s half-naked in Katsugeki compared to his original design in the game. But considering we all get to see a very yummy Kane-san shirtless, and later even see those very some muscles flex gorgeously as he trained, really, who cares?
2. [Episode 4] Yagen’s bleeding thigh and Tsurumaru’s entrance.
Episode 4 is a very special episode for both Yagen Toushirou and Tsurumaru Kuninaga fans. Why? For Yagen’s fans, it’s because this is the episode that showcased Yagen’s badassery and beauty the most; and as for Tsurumaru’s fans, it’s because it’s his long-awaited entrance as the last member of the second unit! Yagen was vastly outnumbered by the Retrograde Army as he tried to prevent them from firing the cannons towards the city. He stood his ground, fighting them as best as he could, but there’s only so much a Tantou could face. The enemy’s sword dug deep into his thigh, marring it with a long gash and taking away the advantage of a Tantou’s speed. Despite managing to kill it, Yagen did realize that he’s in a rather bad situation, especially with the space-time distortion once again forming above their heads. Except instead of more enemies, the thunder brought in a storm of sakura petals that reveals the figure of Tsurumaru Kuninaga, all in his white glory!
It’s interesting to note that while Yagen is a Tantou, he’s also quite possibly one of the characters in Touken Ranbu who gave his female fans the most fanservice. As early as the first episode, Yagen’s fans had been generously treated with pointed frames after frames of Yagen’s bare thighs in various situations, which really peaked at this scene, where the enemy slashed into Yagen’s thigh and Katsugeki very purposefully gave us all a shot zooming onto Yagen’s hand clutching his bleeding, bare thigh. It’s really a miracle that there are no Yagen’s fans who died of excessive nosebleed here with the combination of Yagen’s in-battle badassery and his bleeding thigh!
Tsurumaru’s entrance scene that follows is also a gorgeous fanservice entrance befitting of one of the most popular swords in the entire series. Arriving just in the nick of time when all of the audience is looking with baited breath and tense on the edge of their seats, with the flash of thunder and a storm of sakura petals, there really is no word to describe Tsurumaru’s entrance but with one word: breathtaking. Clad in all white, Tsurumaru proceeded to slay through the enemies in a single slice of his sword, bringing in a beautiful, stark red color contrasting the overall blue-white gradation of the scene. Really, nothing less dramatic and surprising for the sword who’s always happy to surprise everyone!
[Episode 13] The Last Battle
It’s not entirely accurate to call the last battle a fanservice, but the swordboys in the last battle was exceedingly too beautiful no to have killed all of the fans. Not only did Ufotable manage to bring a glorious, gorgeous last battle to screen, there were so many purposeful shoutouts to the fandom that just made fans lose their cool and swamped by intense feelings about the swordboys.
In the last battle, the swordboys from both the first and the second unit all charged into the fray of one thousand enemies—an almost impossible number to win against—unflinching. Most of them in pairs, making shoutouts to the long-time fans who have been more emotionally involved with how the relationships between the swords unfold, such as the previously mentioned Genji brothers moment that happened. We also got to see a beautiful scene of Honebami and Yagen Toushirou brothers working closely and seamlessly together, and of course, the highlight fanservice of the last battle: Mikazuki Munechika and Tsurumaru Kuninaga fighting back-to-back as they lightly banter about being partners! Ufotable didn’t skimp on this scene either: the animation was smooth and the colors were breathtakingly gorgeous, and the way Mikazuki and Tsurumaru ended their attacks with similar moves, back-to-back, was almost too much for MikaTsuru fans!
Not ending it there, we then had Horikawa crashing in the battle by saving his precious Izuminokami Kanesada from a fatal attack. His apology for leaving the unit was cut by Mutsunokami, who led the charge into the enemy, and then the audience got to see another breathtaking scene of Horikawa and Izuminokami Kanesada working together—Horikawa throwing his blade forward to slice through an enemy, and Kane-san finishing him off. This is the culmination of Katsugeki’s story: the moment when Kane-san and Horikawa are finally side-by-side again, partners as they have always supposed to be as the swords formerly owned by Hijikata Toshizou of Shinsengumi!
Of course, the five scenes above barely covers the amount of fangirling that had resulted from the fanservice in Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu! There are still tons of fanservice that sent us fangirls screaming—Mikazuki protecting Honebami in Episode 7, each and every sword’s entrance, Kane-san and Yagen’s new haori looks, and even Tonbokiri’s near-death scene! Honestly, the entire anime was so gorgeous, it’s really hard not to consider every scene in which the swordboys were just present and being beautiful a fanservice scene, because they all felt like fanservice to us!
Let us know more about which fanservice moment in Katsugeki that you noticed and loved in the comment!