Anime, Series

Zodiac War: A Morbid Fascination

I don’t even remember why or how I landed on Juni Taisen: Zodiac War on Netflix, but I somehow managed to watch all 12 episodes of this trainwreck over 2 days.


The twist is that each combatant represents an animal from the Chinese Zodiac. Some, like the Boar, are from prominent “zodiac families” who’vmade a career out of the Zodiac Wars that occur every 12 years. Others voluntarily joined for more personal reasons – like the Monkey, who wishes for a peaceful end to the violent tradition.


The series doesn’t really offer a lot of detail or insight into the hows and whys of the Zodiac War itself. Sure, it tells us that the Zodiac War was created to replace all other wars. For the most part, I found myself asking “WHY” a lot. Why is THIS city the venue? Why does the war occur every 12 years? Why the zodiac theme? Why is the effing Rabbit so cray and so OP?

Rabbit character design from Juni Taisen: Zodiac War
How do you even fight in those heels?!

Death is Inevitable

Since I’m already familiar with the Chinese zodiac cycle, I found the order of deaths predictable and I already knew who the winner would be. Interestingly enough, the series managed to surprise me here and there.

Dragon vs Rabbit in Juni Taisen: Zodiac War


Each character has their own special fighting techniques/equipment, and they also have their own intros based on that unique fighting style.

Dog vs Rooster intro in Juni Taisen: Zodiac War

Every time the characters formally introduced themselves, I felt like the series was hinting at a spin-off fighting game. Honestly, if they made one, I’d probably pick it up for the lulz.

(Flash)back Stories Everywhere

And while the series doesn’t really offer a lot of detail on the world and the history of the Zodiac War, it does attempt to provide interesting stories for each of the characters. Like the Tiger, for example. As someone actually born in the year of the Tiger, I was mildly offended that my animal was being represented by a drunkard in a bikini – but her backstory sort of made up for it.

And I say sort of because most of these stories, even the Tiger’s, were told poorly. The formulaic, long-winded flashback sequences got pretty old really fast.

While I get that the backstory sequences were included to add more meat to the series and to break up the rapid pace of the combat sequences, some of them were just so long and cliche that you the momentum and tension the fight scenes attempt to build up.

Sleeping Rat in Juni Taisen: Zodiac War

A Quick, Bloody Watch

All-in-all, Juni Taisen: Zodiac War isn’t really something I would normally enjoy. But I somehow became morbidly fascinated by it. I knew this was going to be a shallow watch, and that that the chronology of the characters’ deaths were sooo predictable…but I was still curious to see how exactly each warrior would die.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War all fighters (except Dragon and Boar)
Who’s next?

This is definitely not something worth watching if you’re looking for a well-developed storyline and cast of characters. But if you’re looking to kill some time with a short series that’s full of fun, crazy-violent fight scenes, then Zodiac War is right up your alley.

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