Time for another review! What’s it going to be this time? Gundam robots? Ninjas? Maybe even a closer look at Ghost in the Shell! At least we got past the fanservice factor of Highschool of the OH MY GOODNESS.
… I’m sensing a pattern with the shows I review.
Yes, Sekirei, a show with possibly the bluntest back cover quote I’ve ever seen (the one above).
It’s one of those shows, heavy on the fanservice and lacking in the plot and acting departments. OR IS IT? Let’s find out!
So we start off the series with hopeless loser Minato Sahashi, who has just failed his college entrance exam for the second time. While walking home, a buxom girl named Musubi literally falls out of the sky and… well, she lands on him like this.
She’s being chased by two BDSM clad Sekirei named Jesse and James.
Sorry, I mean Hikari and Hibiki. They’re trying to defeat unwinged Sekirei – in this case, Musubi.
Turns out theres a secret ‘game’ run by the massive MBI corporation overseeing Tokyo (where else?), who are trying to pit these ‘Sekirei’ against each other until only one is left standing. The 108 Sekirei – made up of beautiful men and women) have unique abilities that are activated when they find and exchange salival fluids with their ‘Ashikabi’ (humans with unique genes that enable them to empower Sekirei, and who are instinctively drawn to their Sekirei) by kissing.
Got all that? Good.
So of course, Musubi and Minato kiss after their body chemistry reacts and she repels Team Rocket. Eventually they find themselves at an inn, the Maizon Isumo, where the harem fun begins.
Did I mention this was a harem anime? Cause it totally is.
Turns out Ashikabi can have more than one Sekirei, and the more they have, the more powerful they and their Sekirei are. This is where the series really hits its stride, because with more girls comes more comedy, and the comedy is very much driven by the characters, who are all-around excellent.
Clockwise in the picture above from the top, fawning over Minato we have:
Tsukiumi – Western, stormy, Minato’s ‘wife’ (on her insistence), has water powers.
Matsu – nerdy, perverted, computer whiz.
Kuno – cutesy, can control plants, is totally not pedo bait.
Musubi – cute, oblivious but with a heart of gold. Has the power of strength.
That’s the cast of season 1, but I know for a fact that Minato has five Sekireis by the end of the second season (they are also revealed at the end of the first season).
Now, most people would take a look at this character arrangement and write this series off as sleazy fanfiction. It’s not like that’s ever happened before, right?
I’m not most people, so I watched the whole damn series. And you know what? I was sad when it ended! Unlike most fanservice heavy anime, Sekirei has a lot of heart underneath its ample bosom. It’s relentlessly cheery and the air-headed Musubi is a legitimately charming and likeable leading lady.
C’mon, who could say no to that face?
There were several moments in the series that had me laughing out loud, and I was really wishing I could get at season 2 by the end, to see how the series continued.
This is due in no small part to the surprisingly fantastic English dub, which in my opinion actually surpasses the original Japanese version. Blasphemy, I know! Still, I feel the voices match their characters perfectly without going the way of the stereotype, especially with Kuno’s, who could have easily slipped into ‘princessy’ territory.
So, conclusions! While on the surface it looks like just another fanservice heavy harem anime, Sekirei is a series with a huge amount of warmth and heart, with likeable characters and themes of love and loyalty that are just too damn cheerful not to like.
The plot can get a bit hazy at times, and there’s certainly a lot of boobies (if that bothers you), but in my opinion the brilliant voice work, animation and characters are just too good to pass up.
Highly recommended. I’ll definitely try to watch the second season to get an opinion and just to satisfy my need to see the rest!