Well, after a far too long hiatus, here I am again! Sorry for the wait – I think Manyuu Hikenchou broke me…
But I’m back and raring to go, with the second season of one of my favourite animes from a while back, Sekirei: Pure Engagement!
You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for the UK release of this anime, so let’s dive right in.
For the benefit of anyone who has forgotten or didn’t see my review of the first season of Sekirei, the show is basically about a two-time college failure named Minato who becomes involved in a massive tournament in Tokyo between a bunch of aliens with a similar genetic code to humans called Sekirei. He is an Ashikabi, someone who can ‘wing’ a Sekirei and unlock their powers with a kiss, and at the beginning of the season, he’s done this four times.
The Sekirei Plan, instigated by the leader of the massive MBI corporation, Hiroto Minaka, is essentially a tournament where all winged Sekirei must fight and defeat each other until only one remains. It’s kind of like Highlander 2: The Quickening, except not written by someone with an orange for a brain.
All caught up? Time for season 2 then!
Pure Engagement starts off where Sekirei left off, after Minato and his Sekirei helped two conscientious objectors escape the city and the second stage of the Sekirei Plan began. There are still a handful of unwinged Sekirei around the city, and the residents of Maison Izumo decide to play it safe. But, things being what they are, and a couple of plot points left unresolved since last season…
For those of you who weren’t paying attention last season, Minato gets his last two Sekirei, starting with the effortlessly cool Drunky McTitsenbutt…
Or Kazehana, if you’re being formal.
…and the equally cool Kagare/Homura, who moonlights as a guardian of unwinged Sekirei and is also turning into a woman.
Now hold on a second, I know what you’re about to say. “Ace, isn’t that just stupid and pandering?” And you might be right, if the gender bending wasn’t handled exceptionally well and in an interesting manner. You see, Homura was a highly unstable experimental Sekirei, whose gender changes depending on their Ashikabi’s tastes. And Minato, being surrounded by such bountiful… personalities, is of course inclined towards women.
This produces a not undue amount of hostility from Homura, but an Ashikabi is an Ashikabi…
And that makes six Sekirei in total! What can I say, the man gets busy.
After that point, the plot becomes much more focused – less about recruitment, more about beating the Sekirei Plan – and the season really comes into its own. I was especially glad to see more of Minato’s sister and her Sekirei, even if they still had a small part to play. But alas, more than that would be a spoiler, so let’s move on to technical stuff!
Visually, the series is still as stunning as it was in the first season, but perhaps a bit more consistent and cleaner than before.
However, what really impressed me about Pure Engagement was the audio. Every single voice actor fits and is in top form, and again, I believe the English dub to be superior to the original Japanese audio. Tsukiumi is still fantastic and hilarious, Musubi is still a loveable airhead, Minato is still hopeless and relative newcomer Kazehana is completely believable as a drunken romantic without a care in the world. Even the Discipline Squad (in particular Benitsubasa and Haihane), who have sort of become the Team Rocket to Minato’s Pokemon masters, are a laugh riot, if not exactly sympathetic.
Musically, Pure Engagement is even better than season one. The opening and ending themes are MP3 player quality and catchy as all hell, so there’s never any real incentive to skip over the credit sequences, and it gets you pumped up for the show to come.
All in all, Sekirei is still one of my favourite animes, and one that I recommend everyone should watch regardless of Funimation’s horrendous handling of the show’s advertising. Though not a huge revolution over season one, Pure Engagement still manages to retain the legitimate warmth and humour that made Sekirei such a hit for me in the first place. Is it better than Sekirei? Maybe not, but it’s pretty damn close.
I’ll leave you with one more picture of Tsukiumi before my final score, because favourite character.
Highly recommended. Great comedy, warmth and heart. Can’t wait till season three, because that’ll be a thing, RIGHT?