I was first exposed to the fantasy/mystery anime Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers by a Crunchyroll standee showcasing its seven Mesoamerican-inspired characters at a con.
I remember being struck by the different designs at play, styles that managed to click in a weird sort of way… and not at all at the same time.
Ishio Yamagata’s light novel-turned-anime (2011-ongoing) was overseen by Passione of Higurashi When They Cry fame in 2015.
Though Rokka’s twelve episodes only skim the surface of the light novel’s insane plot, I still think they’re worth watching on aesthetic and premise alone.
What makes Rokka unique aside from its pseudo-Mesoamerican look is how contained the conflict is. In other words, there aren’t traditional enemies being dealt with; there are demonic fiends threatening humankind, but the show instead focuses on the build-up to our heroes’ inevitable showdown with them.
The plot hinges on six heroes, six ‘Braves,’ being brought together by divine right so as to save the world. Unfortunately for the group, seven Braves decide to show, the rest of the series spiraling into betrayal, intrigue, and supernatural powers.
7) Chamo Rosso
Chamo’s last on this list as child characters are very hit-or-miss for me.
Known as the Saint of Swamps, Chamo has the ability to swallow creatures and house them in her stomach until the next time she requires a minion or two.
While I find it interesting that Ishio Yamagata made his youngest character the strongest of the Braves, Chamo’s design and personality leave a lot to be desired. The character being cute isn’t a problem, per se, but her clothing is the most jarring of her peers with its heavy use of frills and frog-themed, puffy material.
The fourteen-year-old’s strength is also overshadowed by her selfish, violent nature. I’m sorry, but this writer cannot handle brats, fictional or otherwise.
6) Goldof Auora
I like Goldof quite a bit. In fact, he’s probably my favorite of the three male Braves.
Though, even I can’t deny that Nashetania’s knight is clunky in terms of design.
Goldof’s loyal and serious, but neither of these qualities is reflected in his more ‘mecha’ armor (or better yet, there lack of). He has a gentle face despite his imposing stature, so perhaps his exposed torso is meant to double down on this theme of vulnerability.
5) Adlet Mayer
Our protagonist and self-proclaimed ‘strongest man in the world,’ Adlet Mayer managed to become one of the few shounen types whose characterization I genuinely like.
Adlet may come off as full of himself, but his confidence comes from losing his village to demons. Despite possessing no inborn magic (as only women can become Saints with powers) or talents of his own, the guy still puts his all into practical skills (i.e. explosives and stealth).
However, like Goldof, Adlet’s a bit overdesigned.
I get that the belts upon belts that make up most of his outfit are supposed to hint at his particular style of fighting, but I think they’re distracting. If anything, Adlet’s fiery hair is enough to make him stand out.
4) Hans Humpty
The stray cat-themed assassin Hans lies on the opposite end of the design spectrum to Goldof and Adlet. With that said, I’d take a simple ensemble open to interpretation over a flashy one any day.
From his messy haircut to his rags, everything about Hans screams sneaky, suspicious.
I love how Hans alternates between laid-back and threatening as every group needs a ‘wildcard.’
3) Mora Chester
Mora strikes a good balance of practical and stylish as is to be expected from the Saint of Mountains. Not only is Mora physically capable and gifted with long-range vision and voice projection, but her resolve clenched her the role of Saint Leader.
Mora’s relatively simple robe is 100% elevated by its armor and religious imagery.
In terms of personality, the resolute woman provides the group with much needed order even if her instincts prove off from time to time.
2) Fremy Speeddraw
Now onto the good stuff.
Fremy’s my favorite of the female Braves as well as my favorite Brave in general. She’s cold, guarded, and tied to both demons and humans in a tragic way.
Known as the Saint of Gunpowder, Fremy can summon fodder and weapons out of thin air, her eye patch evoking other morally gray characters in anime. I can’t say I care for how exposed Fremy is (as her near-nudity doesn’t click as a ‘sniper’ trait), but I think it’s reasonable to ‘read’ her design as inhuman, something untamed.
The blue flower she dons hints at her hidden benevolence and provides a nice contrast to Adlet’s red hair too.
1) Nashetania Loei Piena Augustra
As much as it pains me to have denied Fremy this spot, Princess Nashetania of Piena is undoubtedly Rokka’s ‘cover girl’ with her cute and somewhat sexualized outfit.
Known as the Saint of Blades, Nashetania can summon her signature set of projectiles in a similar vein to Fremy. She enters the fray not too long after Adlet is introduced, her ditzy, friendly nature quickly endearing her to the ‘strongest man.’
Needless to say, there turns out to be more to her and a couple of the other Braves the moment push comes to shove.