While I subscribe more to the hot-blooded type of manliness (i.e. Shin Mazinger, Sengoku Basara), I wholeheartedly approve of Souten Kouro’s angle, too.
It’s a lot like LOGH. TBH, I think Souten Kouro is closer to LOGH than Tytania. We have the upstart noble, Cao Cao, who seeks to overthrow the decadent imperial dynasty by amassing both political and military power. On the other side of things, we have Liu Bei, the slacker bandit lord who seeks world conquest for… we’ll see. Cao Cao and Reinhard are extremely alike, having both lost precious women in their lives to the foibles of those more powerful than them. However, I can’t really compare Liu Bei and Yang since the only real trait they share right now is extreme laziness.
Cao Cao is a pretty interesting protagonist. He’s rich, handsome and talented, but those aren’t enough when he’s up against powerful enemies. He uses a combination of guile and honesty to win people over to his cause, as well as a little bit of sword-waving. In six episodes, we’ve seen him kill a man through debate, convert enemies to his cause with his oratory skills, troll a proud warrior into submission, divest corrupt officials of their riches and executing them afterwards, bed three women at once, and set the giant boulder of rebellion rolling with four mere words. And the clincher is, he hasn’t grown a beard yet.
There’s more beside these noteworthy exploits. I particularly admire Cao Cao’s leadership style, alternating harshness and softness to his subordinates, expecting nothing but the best from them. His strict adherence to the law is an important quality of any state-builder, as any chap can tell you that a law unenforced is as good as no law at all.
Cao Cao also puts his more refined talents into good use. In one episode, he sets up a ceremonial sword dance for the Emperor. The resulting event is awesomely staged, in which several women swoon as if in a Frank Sinatra concert.
Sadly, I can’t comment on Liu Bei much (other than a penchant for flatulence), since as of this time of writing, he had just been introduced. It’ll be interesting to see the two story threads develop and intertwine with other, however. At any rate, 3 Kingdoms fan-favorite Guan Yu is awesomely portrayed, so there’s no complaint.
The little touches add up. There’s the narrator, voiced by Ryusei Nakao (aka Frieza), who manages to punctuate things with a healthy amount of flair. The music makes great moments grander, especially during delicious background shots. And the calligraphy. You know that something badass is happening when it shows up.
If you like war, politics and a mature flavor in your dosage of manliness, pick this show up. Hell, if you’re aching for a decent 3 Kingdoms anime that doesn’t involve turning the cast into girls, it’s this or Yokoyama Mitsuteru Sangokushi.