Legend of Basara
Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama
Notes: Shuri is voiced by Kakashi's seiyuu!
Upon the birth of twins, the prophet Nagi proclaimed that the child of fate will bring back prosperity to the country. Everyone assumed that he meant the boy Tatara so his sister Sarasa grows up in his shadow. But after Tatara's death by the Red King's men, Sarasa takes his place, pretending to be her people's savior so they don't lose hope. Sarasa then falls in love with a man she meets at the hot springs. Unbeknownst to one other, each is the other's sworn enemy.
As this is an older anime, the colors are muted and the backgrounds are not detailed. The character designs are a simple shoujo style. The score is just passable and the opening and ending themes are forgettable. But the voices are quite good with Kakashi's voice actor as Shuri, the Red King :)
This series is a nice combination of action and romance. It's basically a quest based fantasy soap opera. The story takes place in a future Japan which appears to be mostly desert. It is not episodic and should be seen in order to follow the plot and the development of the characters.
As in any soap opera romance, there has to be contrivances. Every time Sasara visits the hot springs she encounters Shuri and without knowing anything about each other they fall in love. "Shuri" is really the Red King who is also unaware that Sarasa, is the rebel leader he has resolved to kill. There's also Ageha, an ex-slave/cross-dressing dancer who seems to be omniscient and pops up whenever he's needed.
Despite these contrivances, the story has a solid plot and good complicated main characters as Sarasa tries to lead her people, find allies, recover the legendary swords, and defeat her enemies with luck, strategy and heart rather than strength. Despite the horrible things Shuri does as the Red King, he is not an evil ruler and in some ways quite a good one.
The series gets extra points for a wink at the viewer where Sarasa wonders how any of her people could mistake her for Tatara as they sound different and she's shorter. But they are so desperate for help, they are willing to believe anything, so suspend your belief and enjoy the ride.
The 13 episodes only cover the first few volumes of the manga, which is too bad as it is quite interesting and emotionally provoking.Rated PG-13 for hot springs scenes and violence. Recommended for couples, romantics and those who like a little violence mixed in with romance.