Title: Sekirei: Pure Engagement
Genre: Ecchi, Action, Harem
Publisher: Seven Arcs
Original Creator: Sakurako Gokurakuin
Director: Keizou Kusakawa
Script: Takao Yoshioka
Music Composer: Hiroaki Sano
For those of us who made it through season one, Sekirei: Pure Engagement serves as a pleasant follow up to a decent series and does what every sequel should: improve on the first season. The series makes a much appreciated shift towards a more action and plot oriented story line that, despite the usual fanservice, manages to serve it well in terms of enjoyment.
Continuing where last season left off, our Dashing Hero, Minato, and his team of Sekirei continue with their participation in the Sekirei Plan which has finally become a major focus of the show. Last season, the Plan took a backseat with the focus was mainly placed on setting up Minato’s harem as well as the basics of the game. This season sees a definite shift in relation to that as the Plan quickly escalates with the Game Master, Minaka, continually pushing Ashikabe and Sekirei alike into action. From alerting Ashikabe around the capital to the location of the last unemerged Sekirei to presenting pairs with an ultimatum of defeat a Sekirei or be separated, Minaka gleefully toys with the rules of this increasing cruel and frustrating game. Though he is an unlikable and annoying character, Minaka is responsible for much of what made this season more fun to watch. Not only do we finally learn more about the perpetually ambiguous Plan, but more Sekirei battles and defeats take place, creating a more exciting, or, at least, eventful atmosphere.
Increased emphasis on the Sekirei Plan also results in a wider view of the the game. We see more questioning of the Plan, specifically how it toys with the Ashikabe-Sekirei bond and the dilemma of being forced to take out people one once considered her friends. One of the things that struck me in particular is that we eew a greater variety of Ashikabe-Sekirei teams; not everyone is living as harmoniously as Minato and his group. Though it’s logical to assume that not every Ashikabe and Sekirei pair are the picture of happiness, I was still shocked when one Ashikabe was shown to repeatedly beat and belittle his Sekirei. In a way, this season showed a bit of the hidden ugliness that has come about as a result of the Plan and the desperation that arises from it, from abuse to the way people will destroy each other in hopes of saving themselves.
In terms of characters, I’m pleased to say that Minato and Co. have managed to win me over more than the side cast this time around. Though the side cast still has many of the same mildly interesting people, aside from a couple of people (mostly Uzume), I wasn’t nearly as smitten with them. Minato and his harem didn’t see any major personality changes, but having become accustomed to their quirks, I enjoyed watching them more than I did before. Part of this is probably because the first few episodes pretty much exclusively focus on two of the more interesting additions to Minato’s harem, Kazehana and Homura, though more so the latter. Even if I am a bit upset over him growing a pair of boobs, in general, Homura is an interesting guy for all his angst and anger. He’s one of the only people to openly proclaim a desire to kill Minaka and, personally, I also found him to be a bit sweet in his role as a Guardian of unemerged Sekirei. I also liked that he did experience some conflict over reacting to Minato. Despite only becoming a part of the main cast this season, Homura quickly rose to one of my favorites among Minato’s harem because of his more complex personality.
As for everyone else, they simply became more likable as time passed. Though they still aren’t going to win any awards for being multi-dimensional, they’re a neat bunch with colorful, albeit slightly stereotypical, personalities. As for Minato, he actually improves a bit. Though he’s still a bit of a wimp, he is surprisingly reliable when he has to be, especially when it comes to protecting his Sekirei. Though he can be a bit cheesy at times and is still much of the same person as he was last season, I liked his brand of cheese and found myself increasingly won over by his kindness.
Animation-wise, this season also saw an improvement. I’m glad to say that much of the character design awkwardness that had bothered me in season one was dealt with for the most part. I also want to say that some breast sizes were reduced a bit in some scenes, but I’m not completely sure about that. Special effects are still a bit iffy, but the fights retain much of what made them fun to watch last season.
As for fanservice, there’s still a significant amount of it, but that’s to be expected at this point. I am happy to say that there wasn’t as much nudity when it came to fight scenes, though, I suspect the show compensated for that by adding in more bath scenes. The DVDs/Blu-rays are still uncensored so, again, beware of wandering children and mothers.
I genuinely enjoyed Pure Engagement and its predecessor. Neither are particularly great and they won’t be showing up on my favorites list anytime soon, but I don’t regret the time I spent watching them. They’re shameless in their fanservice, but also know when to reign it in a little for the sake of things like a plot. The characters aren’t the most creative or complex, but their interactions and bonds often show how much they care for each other. I want to say that everyone should give this show a chance, but I know that there are those who’d rather spend their time on something more worthwhile which is fine too. For those who don’t mind a lot of fanservice and want something to burn time with, I’d say give Sekirei and Pure Engagement a chance, and I hope you have as much fun as I did with this unexpectedly entertaining show that goes beyond it’s breasts and panty shots.
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