If you’re looking for an anime that’s easy to binge and packed with non-stop action, look no further than Juni Taisen: Zodiac War.
Every twelve years on the twelfth day of December, the great houses send warriors to compete in the Juni Taisen. The winner walks away with the power to have any single wish granted. And all the while, shadowy figures use the battle to determine global control, the outcome of wars, and other shady business.
In the Juni Taisen: Zodiac War anime, based on a light novel by NisiOisiN, we follow the events of one of these spectacular battles. It begins with the Boar Warrior strolling into the meeting room only to find one of the participants already dead, and the mysterious proctor instructing the group to swallow poisonous gems. This year, he explains, the participants need to collect the other eleven gems in order to be the victor. Within moments of everyone consuming the poisoned jewels, the battle begins.
From here out every episode offers us a wonderful blend of the past and present, highlighting the background of one of the focal characters in addition to the high-paced action we’re here to watch. We learn of each warrior’s unique ability and personal code. We see how Saru (Monkey) uses her gift to broker peace. There’s the way Tori (Bird) can connect with the local fowl and use them as extra sets of eyes. And since most of the warriors are well-versed in the abilities of their foes, we have the pleasure of seeing if and how each one attempts to manipulate their opponents and find the upper hand in battle.
If you are ready to dive into this highly intense and graphic story, you’ve got a few different options. You can check out the light novel or read the manga chapters for free on Viz’s Juni Taisen portal (which will be in print sometime this fall). My personal choice was to binge the hell out of the anime on Crunchyroll. Once I started I found it extremely hard to pry myself away from the series, but everyone needs to do things like eat and buy more anime, right? And with twelve episodes, that’s just a rainy weekend afternoon you were going to spend inside anyway.