About Touken Ranbu
Touken Ranbu - Handsome hunks with the souls of historical Japanese swords
Touken Ranbu (which translates to "wild dance of swords") is a free-to-play online collectible card video game released by DMM and Nitroplus in January 2015. In the game, players assume the role of a Saniwa sage who travels back in time to defeat evil forces that are trying to change the course of history. As a sage, you have the ability to animate famous historical swords, which are anthropomorphized as attractive young men. Your duty is to bring these blades to life, create an army and defeat the enemies! The video game has received two anime adaptations, Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru by Doga Kobo in 2016 and Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu by Ufotable in 2017. Touken Ranbu Pocket, the smartphone app version of the game for Apple iOS and Android, became available in March 2016.
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Touken Ranbu has been called a gender-swapped version of the game Kantai Collection, also by DMM, which anthropomorphizes historical warships as young girls. Touken Ranbu quickly became very popular in Japan, particularly among young women, amassing over a million registered players within only 6 months of its debut. The game has been credited with reviving the Japanese cultural trend of "katana joshi," women who are interested in and pose with historical Japanese swords.
In the anime adaptation, Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru, the year is 2205 and a special sage known as Saniwa has the ability to breathe life into inanimate objects. Concurrently, dark forces have initiated a plot to travel back in time and change the course of history. The only ones capable of stopping this evil act are the Saniwa and their strongest animations: historical Japanese swords, in the form of handsome young men. The first season aired from October to December 2016 and a sequel was announced at the Hanamaru Biyori special event in Japan in February 2017. The second season aired from January to March 2018. Funimation has licensed Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru for an English-language release.
In the other anime adaptation, Katsugeki Touken Ranbu, it is the year 1863 and Japan is split between the pro-shogunate and pro-imperial factions. In this chaotic time, the era of battling with swords is coming to a close but Sword Warriors are still finding ways to thrive. Sword Warriors are "Tsukumogami," spirits and willpower that reside within a sword. These spirits are awakened by Saniwa to protect the world from the "Time Retrograde Army," who were sent by historical revisionists from the future to alter history. Horikawa Kunihiro has manifested as a Sword Warrior and is joined by Izuminokami Kanesada, a fellow Warrior who served under the same master. Along their journey, the two Sword Warriors encounter Mutsunokami Yoshiyuki, Yagen Toushirou, Tonbokiri and Tsurumaru Kuninaga. They band together and devote themselves to defeating the Time Retrograde Army. A manga version of the anime began serialization in Jump Square magazine in July 2017.