|Genre(s)||Online web browser game|
Touken Ranbu (刀剣乱舞, Tōken Ranbu, lit. "Wild Dance of Swords") is a free-to-play collectible card browser video game developed by Nitroplus and DMM Games. It is only available in Japan and was released on January 14, 2015. It has been adapted as three anime series, stage musicals, stage plays, and a feature film.
Players assume the role of a sage (審神者, saniwa) who travels into the past to defeat evil forces, and has the ability to animate legendary swords, which are depicted as attractive young men. Touken Ranbu is essentially a gender-swapped clone of Kantai Collection, another game by DMM, which anthropomorphizes historical warships as young girls. Combat is largely automated, with progress mainly dependent on resource management and grinding.
Touken Ranbu quickly became very popular in Japan, particularly with young women, and had over 1.5 million registered players by 2016. The game has been credited with accelerating the Japanese cultural trend of "katana women" (カタナ女子, katana joshi) – women who are interested in, and who pose with, historical Japanese swords. That trend had been started a few years previously with the Sengoku Basara video games, which made katana fans a distinct part of the Japanese subculture of female history aficionados (reki-jo). The popularity of Touken Ranbu was such that a Japanese women's interest magazine published an article about exercise routines based on sword fighting techniques from the game, and the 2015 Tokyo Wonder Festival's figure exhibition was reportedly "completely dominated by hot male swordsmen".
The game has received three anime adaptations. The first is Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru (2016) by Doga Kobo, the second is Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu (2017) by Ufotable, and the third is Zoku Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru (2018).
Touken Ranbu has inspired a series of 2.5D stage plays and musicals since 2016. The stage plays and musicals were both announced simultaneously in 2015 with different companies and cast members behind the two separate productions. Musical: Touken Ranbu, produced with Nelke Planning, first ran in October 30, 2015. Stage: Touken Ranbu, produced by Marvelous and Dentsu, began running on May 3, 2016.
A live-action film adaptation was released on January 18, 2019. The cast from Stage: Touken Ranbu reprised their roles. The film was distributed by Toho and Universal Pictures, directed by Saiji Yakumo, and written by Yasuko Kobayashi.
- Ashcraft, Brian (10 June 2015). "Japan's Newest Trend: Katana Women". Kotaku. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "2周年記念『刀剣乱舞』初の公式複合イベント 来年1月に池袋で". Oricon (in Japanese). 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
- Lynzee Loveridge (2015-03-16). "Female History Fans Cited for Sales Spike in Japanese Sword Book Series". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
- Green, Scott (8 July 2015). "Women's Interest Magazine Offers Fitness Routine Inspired by Anthropomorphic Sword Boys of "Touken Ranbu -ONLINE-"". Crunchyroll. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- Wilson, Scott (30 July 2015). "Wonder Festival Summer 2015 figure exhibition completely dominated by hot male swordsmen". Rocket News 24. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
- "Tōken Ranbu Browser Game Gets 2 Anime Adaptations". Anime News Network. 26 March 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
- Rafael Antonio Pineda (2015-06-22). "Tōken Ranbu Game Gets Stage Play, Musical Adaptations". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
- Rafael Antonio Pineda (2018-03-07). "Touken Ranbu Franchise Gets 1st Live-Action Film in 2019". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
- Crystalyn Hodgkins (2018-05-31). "Live-Action Touken Ranbu Film Reveals 1st Visual". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2018-10-15.