In ancient China, everyone knows the name Guan Yu, the beautiful bandit hunter whose lustrous black locks and way with a spear are the stuff of legend- and it’s a legend that only grows after she allies with the diminutive yet amazingly strong Zhang Fei. Together, the two girls travel the country, but along the way they meet with both enemies and allies, each seeking to gain what power they can in the turbulent times known as the Three Kingdoms era.
Earlier in the year, we had a HARD GAY remake of the Three Kingdoms with all the characters recast as bishounen, but no one had ever thought to do the same with beautiful women…oh wait, they did, and called it Ikki Tousen. At any rate, apart from the fanservice, Koihime Musou is somewhat different, taking the focus off fighting in paper-thin clothes and instead making it more about the generic adventures of characters who on the whole seemed rather less bearded and a lot more, well, female, that their historical selves.
As a self-confessed Three Kingdoms fangirl, however, I was always more inclined to be more forgiving towards this series than others, especially with the added bonus of matching up historical figures with attractive character designs. For that reason, although most of the series was basically about the girls entering tournaments, eating competitions and generally dealing with the ugly male minor villains of the week, it felt less tiresome than it otherwise would have done. No, it wasn’t something I greatly enjoyed or would go to any lengths to recommend to others, but when it came to relaxing the brain and taking in some eye candy at the same time, it did the job nicely.
Whilst not as brazenly ecchi as Ikki Tousen, as an eroge adaptation Kohime Musou does still have its moments, interspersing the usual jokes about breasts and sleeping together with heavier content such as Cao Cao getting an underling to lick the sweat off of her before later developing a crush on Guan Yu that culminates in attempting to sleep with her. Most of the milder stuff will easily be shrugged off by anime veterans, but it has to be admitted that Cao Cao’s lust for HARD YURI errs on the side of disturbing.
Although not blessed with the highest of animation budgets, Koihime Musou still stands in good stead visually thanks to the sheer beauty of its character designs. Having thrown out the standard bearded male look, the series is free to reinvent its protagonists as beautiful young women, all of whom are easy on the eye. Background music is largely standard, and hence generally forgettable.
The latest in a long line of near identical throwaway series with clichéd storylines, old jokes and a healthy dose of ecchi content, Koihime Musou’s only distinguishing features are its beautiful character designs and tenuous connection with the Three Kingdoms era. For a few people- myself included- it will be something of a guilty pleasure, but everyone else should just leave it alone until all better series have finally been exhausted.