The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Sekirei

Title: Sekirei
Genre: Romance/Action
Company: Seven Arcs
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 7 Jul 2008 – 17 Sep 2008

Synopsis: Sahashi Minato is depressed to find he’ll be studying as a ronin for a second year in a row. Returning home from his failure, he runs into a beautiful woman in strange clothing running from being attacked. He soon discovers the girl Musubi is actually a Sekirei, one of 108 fighters genetically enhanced with special powers. Under the “Sekirei Plan” these fighters, along with their masters or “Ashikabi,” must fight until only one remains. Marked with a kiss, Minato soon becomes the ashikabi of Musubi, acquiring other sekirei along the way and finding himself in awkward situations.

The Highlights
Concept: Seemed entertaining, but failed to deliver its potential.
Characters: Provides an array of unique characters, yet they remain shallow.
Cliffhanger: To be continued… what kind of crap is that?

What intrigued me most about Sekirei was the mere concept. Having a horde of beautiful, magical women fighting each other to the death?! And of course there’s the sekirei-ashikabi relationship, where these women are in love with their masters, but the ashikabi can have multiple sekirei. This leads to the development of a harem, with an almost Pokemon twist to it – gotta catch ’em all! While the RPG-esque premise seemed captivating, as the series unraveled it would reveal its shortcomings.

As compelling as the notion seemed, the substance of the story was inadequate. Spanning a meager twelve episodes, based on the premise I was sceptical as to whether there would be sufficient time to develop the characters. Granted, I also assumed that we wouldn’t be introduced to all 108 of the Sekirei. However, at most we are introduced to twenty, and even the ones that are apparent in the story are vulgarly shallow. The entire premise has too many plot holes. With minimal background information, we know that our main character is a ronin, he has a sister… and that’s pretty much it. What caused him to become Musubi’s ashikabi? What are the details of the origin of the Sekirei? How did Minaka Hiroto coincidentally discover the sekirei in the first place? Or rise to such power and prominence capable of controlling the entire city? And why do the sekirei have to fight in the first place? All of these are key issues, none of which are directly addressed.

Aside from the lack of relationship development, character development, the need for more explanation… what little substance is left is inconsistent and jarring. Furthermore, nearly all the characters have irresolute personalities. One episode Musubi may be active and perky, fighting bad guys and loving on Minato, then all of a sudden she fades into the shadows and is quiet, self-contained and does nothing. Which one is it!? The story also tends to intensify and decrease its focus, with one episode veering off into a pointless side plot, and another that actually develops the main story. The first half was certainly better, as new characters were being added and slivers of story seeped through the cracks. Then, just as I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, the story drops off a cliff and leaves us with a “To Be Continued,” aka Season Two.

Perhaps this is only the beginning – now that all the pieces have been put into place, maybe we can have things like, you know, development. Music and art were nothing worth mentioning, especially when you add in the boob complex. There’s a limit to how big you can make them, and when an animator crosses that line for every character it makes the ecchi that less special. I was on the fence at the end of the day on this one, but I will eagerly await the subtly implied sequel to see if Sekirei can be redeemed.

The Rating: 4
4/10

Reviewed by: Godai

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