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The panel began with the introduction of series director Kagetsu Aizawa and the series producer, Ailian Cai, who briefly introduced the setting and characters before the premiere began. The Sengoku Youko premiere follows a cowardly swordsman named Shinsuke, who encounters a pair of siblings named Jinka and Tama. Jinka is a sage known as a Sendou who specializes in dealing with spirits known as Katawara, and Tama herself is a fox spirit known as a Youko. Jinka carries a profound distance for humans despite being human himself. At the same time, Tama adores humans and wants to deal with humans and Katawara as peacefully as possible to achieve their dream of “reforming the world” and ending their era of conflict. After witnessing Jinka’s strength in battle, Shinsuke decides to follow the siblings on their travels to study Jinka’s strength and learn the secret to becoming stronger.
I’m a big fan of the manga’s author, Satoshi Mizukamiand while I wasn’t as familiar with this series as I am with his other works like Planet With or Spirit Circle, I was pretty excited to check this one out. Of course, I am also familiar with his other well-known work, Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer, and its rather infamously bad anime production. For anyone worried about this potentially being a repeat of that disaster, I’m happy to report that this looks much better than anything from that show. While it doesn’t look mind-blowing on the animation front, it looks reasonably consistent and features a few solid action cuts here and there, so I’m not too worried about the risk of a production collapse. Similarly, nothing about the story itself particularly stands out so far when compared to similar fantasy stories about the Sengoku era. Still, I do know from Mizukami’s other works that many of his stories tend to start fairly straightforward before becoming more and more emotionally complex. The setup here felt pretty solid, so I don’t doubt it’ll become more interesting as it goes along.
Following the premiere, a clip from a later episode was shown to introduce one of the main heroines, Shakugan, followed by an interview with Kagetsu Aizawa regarding the show’s production. He mentioned that one of his biggest points of focus was in portraying Jinka and Tama as roles for audiences to aspire to despite the time they live in, and compared Jinka to Clint Eastwood, saying, “Like how Clint Eastwood is an American model for the ideal male, I wanted to portray him as the ideal for a Japanese male.”
The length of the show was also addressed, and Ailian Cai mentioned that the anime was originally planned only to be two coursesbut due to the manga’s length of 17 volumes, it was decided that it wouldn’t be long enough to do the manga justice, and they worked with Crunchyroll and other partners to extend the episode count to three courses. She also mentioned that while they are working on many action scenes, they are very focused on the story’s human elements and believe that the show’s length will allow them to deliver on those elements.
The presenters then introduced artist Acky Bright, who had drawn chibi versions of the characters for a promotional poster at the convention and spoke about his love for the characters. The panel ended with a final message from both Kagetsu Aizawa and Acky Bright, with Aizawa stating, “Even though this series takes place in an era of battle, it is really a story about weakness and people overcoming that weakness to improve and improve the world ” He hopes that it is something viewers will focus on. Acky Bright mentioned that the series will only get better and better as it goes on and hopes it will capture everyone’s imagination.
Sengoku Youko will premiere on January 10. Crunchyroll will stream the series as it airs in Japan.