In December 2021, Studio Ufotable released a trailer for the upcoming Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu film, four years after the film’s development was initially announced. Although no official release date has been given, fans are eagerly awaiting the announcement.
Along with that, a new game is also set to release on May 24, 2022 on Nintendo Switch and Steam. With all this new content coming, now is the perfect time to start the franchise.
The plot of Touken Ranbu
The franchise began with a browser game simply titled Touken Ranbu. The game is free to play and is based on the concept of forging and encountering famous swords and weapons from Japanese history. Each weapon takes the form of a touken danshi (swordman) that serves under the player (Saniwa) as they try to stop the retrograde army of time messing with the timeline. The game was developed by DMM and Nitroplus and is extremely popular among young women in particular.
Where to play Touken Ranbu
Playing the original DMM version of the game is difficult without using a VPN or being in Japan – it’s doable, but buggy. However, in 2021 an international version of the game was created and hosted by Johren. The game is also available on mobile, but it may require creating a Japanese app store account if you’re trying to play the Japanese version. English versions are also available, but players who create their accounts through DMM will need to download the Japanese app. The game is free on all ports, with optional in-game purchases available.
Where to watch the Touken Ranbu Animated
Two different series have been created for Touken Ranbu. The first was Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru, a light slice-of-life style show that follows the daily lives of young men, particularly Yamatonokami Yasusada and Kashuu Kiyomitsu. The two shared the same owner in the past and are extremely close. Along with the others, they try to help their sage, or Saniwa, by completing tasks and carrying out missions to keep the timeline safe. Two seasons have been produced and a series of films are scheduled to air from May to September 2022.
Both seasons can be streamed for free on Funimation and Crunchyroll or purchased on YouTube for $0.99 USD, or on Amazon, Apple TV, and Google Play Store for $1.99 to $2.99 per episode. The first season alone costs around $24.99 in HD or $16.99 in standard definition, but the second season is not available as a package on most sites. The compilation film released in 2017 does not appear to be currently available through streaming services.
The second series, Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu, was produced in 2017 and serves as the setting for the film that Studio Ufotable is creating. The story follows the young man Izuminokami Kanesada and his close friend Horikawa Kunihiro as they battle the retrograde army of time. Like Kashuu and Yasusada, they served the same owner together and are extremely close. As Kanesada grapples with the difficulties of leading a unit, Kunihiro begins to wonder if the TRA is actually wrong. Like its counterpart, katsugeki is available through Funimation but requires a premium subscription to view. However, it is available for free via Crunchyroll.
Where to watch the Touken Ranbu Theatrical plays and live action film
Along with the anime series and the game, several stage productions have also been produced. About nine musicals and twelve plays in total have been premiered, with two more scheduled for release in 2023 respectively. Many of these plays are available on DMM’s website, albeit without subtitles, for around US$30. A representation, The Tale of Sogawas released with English subtitles on the Japan Foundation’s official YouTube channel.
DVDs of the musicals are available on the official website, but they cost around 100 USD. A live-action movie featuring the cast of the play was released in Japan in 2019, but a subtitled version is not yet available. It can also be purchased on DMM like the original games for around $30. A sequel film is planned for 2023.
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