Sekirei: Pure Engagement Review

Anime


Sekirei: Pure Engagement

Studio: Seven Arcs
Publisher: FUNimation
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Price: $64.98 – Available Here

Overview:
Many anime can claim that they are action packed, but when too many series are action-oriented the genre can become muddled and seen as something to easily ignore. How does an anime series stand out above the rest? By having certain characteristics that make it unique from everything else out there, such is the case with Sekirei.

Sekirei originally began as a Japanese manga series created by Sakurako Gokurakuin and has been published monthly since 2004 and is still continuing today. If the running length of the manga doesn’t peak your interest already, then perhaps the knowledge that Sekirei has already seen one anime season and now FUNimation has brought Sekirei: Pure Engagement to North America to bring American fans. The first season can be picked up here, but does Sekirei: Pure Engagement bring with it the same titillating action of the first season?

Story:
Sekirei is a story that takes place in an future version of Japan where the powerful and mysterious MBI Corporation has begun something they are calling the Sekirei Plan. To commence with this plan, 108 Sekirei (beings with superhuman abilities) have been released in the city of Tokyo and these strange men and women must fight with one another and defeat each other until there is only one left standing.

To do this however, they must find their Ashikabi to unleash their true potential through a contract made with their Sekirei. Of course, this contract must be sealed with a kiss. The story follows Minato Sahashi, a man who now has entered into “contract” with four different Sekirei, two of which are deeply in love with him and even one that calls herself his “True Wife.”

The story of Sekirei: Pure Engagement is a straight continuation from the last season. After Minato and his Sekirei assisted another Ashikabi in escaping the locked city, MBI has increased security and the Disciplinary Squad is out for blood. However as Minato continues his daily life with his Sekirei at his home at the Izumo Inn, only a couple Sekirei remain unfeathered. The last of which are sitting right under his nose.

With only two Sekirei remaining to be obtained by the many Ashikabi taking part in the Sekirei Plan and the completion of Stage 2 nearly finished, MBI begins to move towards Stage 3. What could this possibly mean for Minato and his Sekirei? How can he fight to not only protect the ones that he loves, but also try to save those near him as well?

Now Sekirei Pure Engagement really isn’t the best part of the series to jump in on. The series is partially open to newcomers, however not watching the first season may cause a lot of confusion about the events occurring at any given time and only a few of the main characters are reintroduced. As such, Sekirei Pure Engagement does surpass the first season as far as story development goes. This includes a very interesting twist that, although some viewers may see it coming, should catch most by surprise with a well thought out and planned plot twist.

While there seems to be less action than in the first season, there still is plenty of action happening throughout the series. Now with the final Sekirei being feathered in this season, the action is taken to another level as far as intensity goes. Each of the Sekirei have their own unique abilities and powers, and most of Minato’s Sekirei see a boost in power and learn new abilities. Especially when the final Sekirei is feathered. Some of the Sekirei in Minato’s “harem”  also see some character development as well, however this mostly applies to newly feathered Sekirei and only a few who return from the first season.

Those who are looking for action will find plenty in Sekirei, but they will also be treated to plenty of comedy and of course tons of breasts. Those watching should be laughing quite often, as long as they enjoy your standard ecchi comedy, usually involving Tsukiumi becoming angry with Minato over his actions with other Sekirei or the owner of Izumo Inn, Miya Asama, with her demonic presence.

That being said, there are so many breasts that you will lose count of how many will be appearing at a time. The series seems to almost flaunt the amount of breasts that exist in the series, especially with a heavily female oriented main cast. While Sekirei Pure Engagement may contain plenty of fan service and more boobs than you can shake a stick at, at its heart there is a great story to be had… also plenty of panty shots and full breasted action.

Visuals:
It’s a bit obvious that the main focus of Sekirei’s design department was created to make sure that the male viewer is pleased with what they are seeing. Most male characters in the series have very little special character design or unique appearances, while all of the female characters, even minor ones, receive a rather high amount of detail… also very large breasts.

When Seven Arcs created this anime, they obviously were focusing on creating girls with breasts larger than double Ds with only a few characters having either normal sized breasts or small breasts. Those who do end up having inferiority complexes due to their lack of breast size. Now, besides all the breasts that will be seen, the animation quality is quite high for Sekirei Pure Engagement with the battle animation seemingly always top notch. This is a major accomplishment considering the fact that all of the Sekirei possess specific superhuman abilities that are used as their primary offense.

That being said, the series does tend to use chibi-like art effects a bit too much where the character details drop significantly and used mostly for comedy. While it does help make a situation funnier in most occasions it feels overused and tends to hurt the series when a joke falls flat.

Audio:
Those hoping to hear the same voices from the first season will be glad to hear that the same voice actors are reprising their roles. This also means that FUNimation’s English voice track is as spectacular as usual with all of the characters providing an amazing performance. The Japanese voice track is also included with English subs so purists can enjoy that version as well. One voice actress who deserves special mention is Lydia Mackay and her performance of Tsukiumi. Tsukiumi’s vocabulary uses lots of old world English such as thou, doth and more which certainly increased the difficulty of providing quality voice work for the character but Lydia has done so admirably.

The opening song for the series is called “Hakuyoku no Seiyaku ~Pure Engagement~” while the ending song is “Onnaji Kimochi”. Both of these songs are sung by the Japanese voice actors for the first four Sekirei that were feathered by Minato. This includes Saori Hayami, Marina Inoue, Kana Hanazawa and Aya Endo who all do an interesting performance with the song. The opening song has a touching simple feeling to it while the ending is quite fitting.

Extras:
As standard with a FUNimation release, Sekirei Pure Engagement contains both a clean, creditless version of the opening and ending song but a nice little addition is also the inclusion of the episode 10 ending song “Oboeteiru kara.” Each song has also been given the English name, with the opening named “White Winged Vow Pure Engagement” the main ending song named “The Same Feelings” and the final special ending song is “I Remember, After All.”

Besides these inclusions, Episode 5 and Episode  10 both have received commentary from the ADR director as well as a few of the voice cast. Episode 5 contains commentary from Scott Sager, the ADR Director, Joel McDonald, the voice actor for Minato and Leah Clark the voice actress for Kagari. Episode 10 is provided commentary by Scott Sager again, Alexis Tipton the voice actress of Musubi and Jamie Marchi the voice actress for Uzume. As usual the commentaries are a mix of informative and hilarious with plenty of jokes and discussions that give us a look behind the scenes.

The most interesting extra however is the inclusion of an OVA which is labeled as Episode 0. The OVA takes place before the first episode of Sekirei Pure Engagement. This episode is pretty much a standalone one that contains nearly as much fan service and breasts than three of the normal series’ episodes combined. The episode is also full of various jokes, though most of them are focused on a particular Sekirei’s lacking bust.

Overall:
While Sekirei may not be everyone’s favorite anime and some may be put off by the amount of breasts and nipples that are visible on screen at any given moment, simply passing over it for these reasons would be a horrible shame. There are a few problems, such as some slow story development and a drop in the action, but Sekirei Pure Engagement surpasses the first season by providing an interesting story twist, a number of character defining moments and literally busts through its top with the amount of fan service on screen. While some may see it as a standard harem comedy, Sekirei has so much more to offer than fan service and should not be passed over.

8-5-capsules-out-of-10

As a big fan of anime and games I'll be quick to cover anything that happens to be of interest.

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