Well damn I haven’t been having much luck with protagonists lately, but at least they haven’t been so infuriating that I wanted to quit watching… Oh hey Rokka didn’t see you there, you pretentious douche. As you can probably tell I’m a little bitter but it’s through love I swear! Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers has all the makings of an epic fantasy anime, but it takes two steps forward and one step back into a bear trap ¬_¬
Our story starts in random magical landville where we meet out main character Adlet Mayer who decides to prove himself to the Goddess of Fate by kicking the crap out of some old guys in a tournament he wasn’t invited to, to prove he is the strongest and should be chosen by her. Chosen for what you ask? Well long ago a demon god appeared (nope no one knows why or how) and started putting the hurt on everyone, destroying empires etc. (again no reason given) he created demon armies and just before the people completely keeled over a prophet appeared carrying a single flower, she fought back against the demon god and sealed him away where he came from.
However she clearly wasn’t strong enough or lazy because she just put him into a slumber, she then said he would come back and that 6 warriors, called braves, would be chosen representing the six petals of her magic flower and they would kick his ass back to slumber.
This has happened at least twice before 300-400 years apart, so yep it’s about time for the guy to wake up again. Other lore important to this land is that some people are chosen to be saints, they can only be women and must have a shrine dedicated to them and prayed to enough. A saint basically becomes an x-men with some crazy powers but anyway…
Adlet immediately gets arrested and after meeting a ‘maid’ and totally not the warrior princess he wanted to fight ¬_¬ spends quite a long time training in his little cell. One night he is chosen to be a brave, yep just like that, and he is freed by the maid/princess Nashetania, who has also been chosen, and they hightail it out of there. I will point out that despite Adlet being annoying I was still well on board this fantasy train at this point.
So they both journey towards the meeting point knowing that the others chosen will attempt the same, we have a few cute bonding scenes between the pair with Adlet helping the sheltered Nashetania get used to fighting demons. She also reveals that she had sent her best knight Goldof to investigate mysterious deaths of heroes prior to their brave awakening. Seems like someone had been trying to take out the heavy hitters before they could be chosen leaving weaker heroes with a lower chance of success. Oooo intrigue.
They come across an attacked village so Adlet decides to separate and risk his life saving one girl left back at the village, with Nashetania left to just carry on protecting villagers. While Adlet is prancing around Goldof returns, he knows the identity of the murderer and has also been chosen to be a brave. He’s the strong, silent type who clearly is completely in love and devoted to Nashetania :3 ADORABLE.
Meanwhile Adlet meets an albino girl named Fremy with a massive flower on her head. A flower! But this anime is all about flowers!!!!111! So yeah she is another brave and the saint of gunpowder, she’s also a bit of an ass and tries to kill Adlet and refuses to meet the other braves saying she will defeat the god alone so I already know she’s a dumb character. I mean she can’t even get away from Adlet ¬_¬
Eventually our crew meet up and wouldn’t you know it, Fremy is the murderer. Naturally Nashetania and Goldof don’t take too kindly to this as she provides no explanation for her actions just sits there like a bulldog chewing a wasp. But Adlet with his super power of stupid just says “come on guys we’re all braves, what’s a little prior murder of comrades that could have really helped between friends?” So yeah it’s from this point that I started to get a feeling the anime was going down the toilet quickly.
Their next destination is a forest temple made by some other saints that when activated will create a sealing fog meaning once the braves have entered the demon lands they will be sealed in until the defeat of the demon god, this will also seal the demons in so seems a pretty good idea. The forest is overrun with demons trying to get there first, so our heroes send Adlet to protect the temple, when he gets there and busts open the door he finds the fog has just been activated somehow and they are all trapped. The other braves are there as well but uh oh, there’s seven but there are only ever six braves! Dun dun dunnnnnn, so we change from a fantasy anime to a betrayal cat and mouse game?
We are introduced to Chamo, a little girl who is the saint of swamps and can vomit up swamp water and make demons to fight for her out of it. She is immensely powerful and only answers to Mora the leader of the saints and the saint of mountains, she is very intelligent and commanding. Lastly we have Hans, an assassin who is very perceptive and mimics a cat…
So now it’s become a game of paranoia, they need to shut down the barrier to get out to find the demon god but they know one of them has activated it and won’t reveal themselves so one of them has to be fake. This is where it just went on waaaaaaay too long. By the way you never meet another demon, they literally get out of this mess and the series ends which I found particularly lame. Naturally Fremy is suspected first, she reveals she is the first hybrid of demon and human, with the demons working tirelessly for years to create a demon that could carry a human baby, she never met her father and she was raised quite happily among demons.
She was sent out to murder the other heroes, however when she went up against Chamo she lost and ran away. Her mother disowned her and revealed she was a puppet all along, thus Fremy vowed revenge and wants to kill the demon god to piss off her mother. Yeah I know it’s tragic and all but to me it just comes across as pure selfish behaviour, she doesn’t care at all about what she’s done and only wants to inflict pain against those who have wronged her. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched too many series with this archetype but I’m done with it. If she had some semblance of remorse or something came back that forced her to take some accountability I would feel she was a strong character. Instead we get Adlet who yes falls in love with her and protects her from here on out.
The group then suspect Adlet as he was the first in the temple, only Nashetania seems to hold out hope for the guy. So Adlet kidnaps Fremy and runs for his life while trying to discover the real traitor.
I am willing to talk about what this series does well, they managed to keep the tension of being stuck with a traitor very well, however it was pretty easy to guess who it was to my disappointment (hint: it’s the one character none of the other characters bother to suspect). But Adlet being on the run and fighting the other braves was pretty good, the saint’s powers were unique and well implemented and I like the character designs and art work (even if they did a weird 3D thing with the demons and weapons which looked ugly as hell at times). The explanation of how the traitor was able to activate the barrier was also well thought out and watching the other braves lose it when they can trust no one was great xD
However for me the biggest failing was the characters themselves, Adlet became so unlikable for me at the end. He started off being arrogant and overbearing but at least wanting to protect people, by the end he just loved Fremy and wanted to keep her safe which I felt was trading in a lot of his ideals. Fremy became more sympathetic but she there was still so little to like about her personality, it was cold and bland.
The other characters had so much to give, Hans is a cheeky assassin who is able to tell a lot more about people than they would like, Chamo is a child with way too much power and little understanding, Mora is a serious powerhouse who needs control. Nashetania is a sheltered princess whose family was killed in civil war so had to learn to fight and is prone to bouts of hysteria and Goldof is a loyal knight with clearly some baggage as to why he acts this way. These characters were criminally left in favour of the two bland main characters.
But what sealed the hatred in my eyes was the ending, the traitor is called out and gives their reasons. From the outset it seems reasonable, they want the world to co-exist with demons, for this to happen though a huge number of lives would have to be sacrificed. Could this be a does the end justify the means dilemma? No, the traitor doesn’t elaborate further and estimates half a million people would have to be sacrificed but says it in the same way you would complain about having to give up some free time to get some work done. They then cackle madly which annoyed me further. This character’s personality and traumatic history does lend itself to a desire of peace regardless of price but they just opted to make them kooky which just made their goals look false.
The heroes escape, as does the traitor, and are left in shock. The king comes along and agrees to activate the barrier for them once they are gone. But what else happens? Another brave turns up so they are back to seven again meaning another one of them has to be a traitor… No just no, lightning will not strike twice this is just so laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame. Were there no other conflicts or ways to create tension?!
Well I’ll stop my complaining now, a lot of people already enjoy this anime and I can see why they would. If there is another season it has a great fantasy set up and the lore seems interesting. But for me the boring, lame main characters mean I will absolutely not watch another season. If you can tolerate those character types I would recommend it but if you’re like me and certain traits rub you the wrong way as well as nonsensical motivations then stay away.