Genre: Ecchi, Action, Harem
Publisher: Seven Arcs
Original Creator: Sakurako Gokurakuin
Director: Keizou Kusakawa
Script: Takao Yoshioka
Music Composer: Hiroaki Sano
A review copy was provided by Funimation.
For all its semi-trashy fanservice, Sekirei actually wasn’t too terrible of an anime; I’d even go as far as to say that I was mildly impressed with what I ended up watching. It attempts to tell a story that’s not too shabby and doesn’t fall flat on its face. Though not a great or even a really good series, Sekirei isn’t quite the pile of crap you may be tempted to write it off as.
The story mainly revolves around our Average Joe main character, Minato Sahashi, who finds himself involved with an increasing number of big-breasted women (plus a loli) and competing in the Sekirei Plan, a battle royal type game where 108 Sekirei and their chosen Ashikabi fight each other in order to try and be the lucky couple allowed to blissfully spend the rest of their lives together. Admittedly, I quite liked the romantic aspect of the series and found the majority of those moments to be rather sweet since it’s obvious that most Sekirei-Ashikabi teams really do care about each other. On the flip side, though, the story is conveniently geared toward a harem set-up with multiple Sekirei able to emerge with the same Ashikabi which diminishes the charm of the romantic aspect a bit. I will give Sekirei credit, though, for having male and female Sekirei as well as same sex Ashikabi-Sekirei pairs, if only because it means not every Sekirei has a pair of boobs.
My main problem with the Sekirei Plan is that it leaves a lot to be desired both in terms of execution and explanation. The Plan essentially takes a backseat for the majority of Season 1 with most of the focus on Minato building up his harem. We rarely see the promised fights and even fewer losing Sekirei. The Plan is never really fully explained either when it comes to the winner which leads me to believe that Minato and his group will eventually team up with other Sekirei groups and put a stop to it. I mean, if a person like Minato with several Sekirei wins, what happens then? Does he pit them against each other to see which one comes out on top? Is it assumed that the winners will only be a pair? Do they all get to go?
That aside, the suspense that arises from not knowing whether or not someone’s going to be kicked out of the game is part of what makes the series more entertaining to watch than it normally would be without the game in place. Interestingly enough, this aspect of the story also ends up taking away from the main characters. It’s pretty safe to assume that Minato won’t be permanently losing any of his Sekirei any time soon, but the side characters, on the other hand, are pretty much fair game. As the series progressed, I found myself worrying more about characters outside of Minato and his harem.
Though Minato’s harem is filled with likable girls who each have aspects that I enjoyed, they’re a bit boring to watch. Putting aside their given invincibility for being attached to Minato, their personalities are pretty stereotypical and don’t develop much beyond the quirks that define them: Kusano is cute; Tsukiumi is the noble tsundere; Matsu is the quirky genius; Musubi is the strong moron. Minato himself, despite his occasional moments of bravado and his sweet nature, is nothing special. He’s pretty much the usual failure-at-life nice guy who doesn’t quite deserve to have all these women running after him. The side cast has a wider variety of personalities, and, in a few select cases, people with more dire circumstances. As sweet as Musubi’s undying love for Minato is, I’m more interested in Homura’s deteriorating physical health, Minato’s sister and Shiina, or even the mysterious Landlady. They inject a life into the series that Musubi and Tsukiumi’s enthusiastic boobs can’t.
Speaking of boobs, it’s hard to talk about Sekirei without spending some time talking about its most prominent aspect. To be honest, the fanservice can be somewhat uncomfortable to watch, but is mostly tolerable when people have their clothes on. I was pleasantly surprised that most fights didn’t see exploding garments and that boob and panty shots weren’t always the main focus of the show. That said, this show does have quite a few uncensored nude shots in the DVDs/Blu-ray so I wouldn’t advise popping this in for Family Movie Night.
Though nothing overly interesting happens until the last couple of episodes, Sekirei tries to strike a balance between the boring day to day nonsense and fights which works to an extent. The fights that do pop up are relatively entertaining to watch and well done in terms of movement (special effects, not so much). The animation does suffer a bit from having to deal with the jugs that are attached to most of the cast. Also, some characters have a tendency of looking perpetually awkward, especially when it comes to the male cast (Looking at you, Shiina).
In an unexpected turn of events, Sekirei left me pleasantly surprised. Going into it, I was expecting nothing except jiggling breasts and a harem I couldn’t care less about. Though the former is certainly present, the cast is strangely interesting to watch and I cared about most of them, even useless Minato. If you’re an ecchi fan and you haven’t seen Sekirei, then shame on you and hop to it because chances are you’ll enjoy yourself quite a bit. As for the rest of us, it depends on your tolerance for mediocrity and fanservice. If you don’t mind a so-so series with healthy doses of fanservice then, by all means, you should give Sekirei a chance because it’s not as bad as it looks. If you hate fanservice with a passion and are looking for lots of originality or great execution, this is not your cup of tea.