In my quest to find the best in weird and obscure anime, I fear I may have searched too deeply. I may never be able to return from this journey. If I do not make it back, let this stand as a final record of the experiences I have felt, the true representation of my efforts into-
Ah hell, enough of this fruity crap. This is Seikon no Qwaser.
Seikon no Qwaser (or The Qwaser of Stigmata, for all you gaijins out there) is an… interesting tale about… interesting subject matter.
The series revolves around a mysterious young Russian, Aleksandr Nikolaevich Hell, who travels to attend the Japanese Eastern Orthodox school St. Mihailov Academy. Little do the other students know, Aleksandr (Sasha to his friends) is a Qwaser, a superhuman with the ability to manipulate the element of iron. However, there’s a catch – Qwasers like him need fuel to do their thing. That fuel is ‘soma’, a concentrated form of a female’s life force.
Yes, female. You see, ‘soma’ is essentially a polite term for breast milk.
Which they need to drink.
Oh yeah, it’s one of those shows.
Anyway, lucky for Sasha, we have our two secondary (and busty) main characters, Mafuyu and Tomo, two BFFs who go to the academy. Tomo is a fragile airhead with ginormous… assets, whose father, the previous dean of the academy, has disappeared. Mafuyu is Tomo’s adopted sister – her parents were killed in a fire before the events of the series. She also happens to be pretty handy with a kendo stick.
Despite this, the two are relentlessly bullied by the two most adorable bitches since Team Rocket – at least, until Sasha steps onto the scene.
And then he says hello, the only way he knows how.
You see, Qwaser can estimate the quality of a maiden (or ‘Maria’)’s soma by techniques such as the above. Tomo – being the largest chested cast member – of course has the best soma, which will make her a target for other Qwaser, lecherous side characers and ridiculous amounts of fanservice.
The plot mainly concerns good Qwasers (The Athos Organisation) fighting bad Qwasers (Adepts) to find a faberge egg containing the Sword of Maria, a powerful artifact capable of opening the doorway to God when absorbed by a Maria.
The question is, does the fanservice dilute the overall experience? Well, the inclusion of breastfeeding as a plot device means it’s difficult to ignore. At times, it gets downright ludicrous (breasts shooting soma like firehoses into other peoples mouths is definitely NSFW) or even slightly questionable. The secondary Qwaser in the series, Ekaterina Kurae – or Katja – is a ten year old who seduces one of the two adora-bitches, who just so happens to be a bit of a pedo. Oh, and Katja is probably the reincarnation of the last Russian tsarina. And is into BDSM. And at one point recieves cunnilingus. Erm.
Anyway… the plot itself is fairly standard, but the addition of an underlying theme of chemistry – one Qwaser’s element may react against another’s making them more effective in combat, etc. I can’t verify how accurate any of it is, but it makes a series that relies heavily on shoehorning in tit shots a little more tasteful.
The series hits its stride around episode 5, when the plot starts to take shape, and the larger scheme of things becomes more apparent. I’d say it’s worth sticking around for, but that’s dependant on actually watching the show in the first place.
Other positives? The character design in the series is surprisingly good – Sasha looks like a proper badass with his scar, red eye and massive iron scythe, and his Maria, the nun Teresa, has two delightful locks of hair that act like puppy ears, perking up and flopping down accordingly.
Musically, the series is unremarkable. The same tracks tend to be used in every episode, but they just manage to avoid being irritatingly repetitive.
The voice cast (only in Japanese, for now) suit their characters well, and you can tell they’re having a little fun with their parts. These aren’t lightweights, either – the main cast are fairly big in the VA world over in Japan.
So, on to my overall impressions before my brain melts down.
Seikon no Qwaser is a very difficult anime to assess. Parts of me love it, and parts of me hate it. It’s got a solid plotline with interesting characters and an insane plot device… but it also carries a rapey attitude at times, and I may never get used to the breastfeeding scenes. The lolicon aspect of Katja’s character are also concerning, but ultimately a minor issue.
Still, the series ends with a bang, not a whimper. The finale episode particularly impressed me, tying off loose ends and leaving on a cliffhanger. It was also probably the one episode that didn’t have a single moment that left me feeling uncomfortable (though maybe I was just used to it by then).
Rather, it felt like watching the series was a worthwhile experience – the series does have its shining moments of awesome through the sizable shade projected by its… other aspects.
If you want an anime that will make you go “WTF?” at least once an episode and have the drive to wade through (or enjoy) the blatant fanservice to find an anime with a decent plot and likeable characters, this may be your bag.
It’s by no means perfect, and I’m not suggesting my rating is the one true word, but I can’t help but like it for its bizarre charm – and what can I say, I’m a sucker for an ending that makes me want to punch the air and whoop!
Largely subjective. Give it a shot if the concept sounds interesting, though I can’t completely recommend it due to its sheer insanity.
So that’s it. Shame I won’t be able to follow up on that cliffhanger, it seemed intersTHERE’S A SECOND SEASON?
This requires further investigation…