Review: "Sekirei" Double Seasons, Double Formats, Double-Ds
The Sekirei Plan is on! The Sekirei are 108 humanoid girls trained to fight and defeat each other using special powers that are unlocked when they kiss their Ashikabi, a regular guy or girl that they’ll work with to survive. What started as a game turns dark as Tokyo’s sealed off and fights get brutal. Can Minato thrive in this world he never desired, or will his adventures with Musubi just get in the way of college entrance exams? FUNimation has packaged both seasons, Sekirei and Sekirei: Pure Engagement, in a Blu-ray and DVD combo pack. This set includes twenty-five episodes over nine discs, offering up both Blu-ray and DVD options for fans. With the plot seamlessly flowing from one season to another, you’ve got a series that has its themes change mid-series, and leaves a bit left undone, much like the girls’ clothing in this show. It’s unfinished, but do you really want more or less?
The cast of the show fall to many traps of the harem genre. You’ve got the fighting-type lead girl who’s only interested in large amounts of food and victorious battle, the water-type royalty that throws “thees” and “thous” between declarations that her “husband” should enjoy a night with her, the fire-type gender-swapping warrior that’s too aloof and uninterested (for most of the series) to be a serious romantic threat, the grass-type loli that’s more interested in funny costumes than her “big brother”, the alcohol-type lush who just wants a good pour of sake, and the technology-type nerd girl who doesn’t leave the dark and keeps a Nintendo DS in her cleavage. Why the “-type” terminology? They’re basically Pokemon, with a few attacks, a few basic character traits that make them distinguishable from one another, and mainly one or two outfits that you’ll see them in. The whole show revolves around the their battles, the greater conspiracy behind their origins, and who will eventually wed the male lead.
There are other characters, but they rarely get the attention that the marketing gives to this show. The best friend with a dark secret? The guy who’s got two tough Sekireis of his own and a few tricks up his sleeves? The Kamen Rider fanboy that became the leader of a world-conquering organization? These guys are just a few of the many that populate the world, but either exist for moving the plot or causing conflict for the leads. If a simple look at the girls reveals that much of the show is on the surface, underdeveloped (in more ways than one) characters like this continue to show how weak the actual plot is.
There’s also the main character, Minato. Or, at least theoretically, he’s the main character. His “character” boils down to, “he’s a nice guy who tries to help people out and can’t get into college, despite being more than adequately smart.” He’s so generic, he’s only found on the packaging in three screen captures. If this box set understands target demographics, it knows that the people watching the gigantic jubilees have no interest in watching the main guy, but being him.
The plot is broken into two acts of the Sekirei Plan, with the first season being a general free-for-all and the second being a more sinister survival round. It’s a weird world where a major company in Japan can manage to shut Tokyo out from the rest of the world without much governmental opposition, but given that these super-powered babes fly through the air before lighting things on fire, don’t look too much into the plot. Still, the show thankfully avoids any episodic nature, and offers up a fair amount of surprises.
When it comes to visuals and designs, every single female character is, to put it bluntly, insanely stacked. The only exceptions are the four that have somewhat logical reasons not to have gigantic bosoms (child; gender-swapper; non-love-interest and older; and infirm). The cast of this show should wear back-braces, but they’d probably get in the way way of the show’s propensity for topless, and awkwardly detailed, nudity. Audio? The dub is fine, and you may find yourself humming the first theme song, but no roles or songs truly stand out.
The extras on this set include two different OVAs, “Kusano’s First Shopping Trip” and “Two Gossip Topics,” effectively a mini-episode and a side-story. Both of these tales are humorous but inconsequential: adventures featuring the cast ranging from encouraging a young girl to make her first shopping trip all by herself to comparing bust sizes during the physicals. Two commentaries with the English cast are found in the second season, and every disc features textless songs and trailers. Commentaries are especially nice, as they’re not even mentioned on the packaging, and while they don’t make any major revelations, commentaries on anime are both rare and worth a listen.
Both of these seasons have been released before on DVD and Blu-ray, so this set is just a combination of the two. If you haven’t gotten into the franchise before (and have a healthy appreciation for heaving chests), it can be fun, but much like Musubi’s personality, there’s not really much there. Just some nice fanservice may be enough for some, but you probably don’t want to put your hard-earned buck towards animated nipples.