As the first stage of the Sekirei Plan, Minato Sahashi and his team of buxom beauties enjoy a small respite from the insane machinations of the MBI, but all good things must come to an end. At the whim of the crazed President Minaka, Musubi, Tsukiumi, Matsu, and Kusano find themselves drawn into the search for the final unwinged sekirei, a battle royale, and the scheming of other ashikabis. At the center of it all, Minato still tries desperately to keep all sekirei - both his and others - from harm, but how long can his ideals stand up to the realities of this cruel game?
Story THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE SECOND SEASON. AS SUCH, IT WILL CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS FOR SEASON ONE. You have been warned. Awhile ago, I reviewed Sekirei's first season as mediocre but entertaining. Its cocktail of boobs, action, foreshadowing, and boobs failed to live up to its potential, but I could see a strong possibility for improvement on the horizon. Luckily, the 2010 sequel, Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~ seems to have delivered on its predecessor's promise, at least in part. It acquits itself well even if it doesn't quite stand up to its contemporaries within the genre--it is not quite as funny as Ichiban Ushiro no Daimao or as pretty as Hyakka Ryouran: Samurai Girls. This series still manages to pull at heartstrings or elicit laughs when it needs to, mainly by sticking to its interesting story to help smooth over its weaker technical aspects and characterization. Picking up in the wake of the first season's events, Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~ once again focuses on the plight of the beautiful alien sekirei and their human masters called ashikabi. At the center of it all Minato Sahashi and his gaggle of girlies find themselves drawn into increasingly violent situations as the head of the MBI (the powerful corporation behind the whole mess) finds ever more innovative ways to escalate the battle royale. Along the way, this season pauses to highlight some of the secondary characters, reveal the history of the Sekirei Plan and develop some good, old-fashioned rivalries. The end result is a much more satisfying series than the one that came before. This time around, the writers know how to keep viewers interested, and the three main arcs feature more combat and more tension. Minato's limp optimism fares better when pitted against real villains like Minaka (the MBI chairman) and Higa (a rival ashikabi with an equally powerful harem of sekirei) and their genuine threats give the proceedings some needed urgency and weight. Most importantly, this season makes a concerted effort to drive home a loose timeline for the Sekirei Plan, and the chairman's more active hand pays off in spades during the final, breathless arc. Of course, the focus on suspense and action drains some of the ecchi from the series, but this tradeoff improves the narrative by enhancing the flow of the story. All that said, Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~ takes few risks and offers few surprises. Moreover, Minaka's begins to irritate as a villain in the later episodes due to the fact that he holds all the keys to moving the plot forward and chooses only to apply them according to completely opaque motivations, causing the show to drag at times. And the passive nature of the main cast makes it hard for the series to sell itself as anything more than an enjoyable action snack with a tasty ecchi glaze, as the proceedings carry little moralistic weight or character development. Animation Unfortunately, the show doesn't sport improved visuals to go with its better story. If anything, the animation appears to have taken a step backward between seasons. The heavy use of chibi form carries over from the previous series, but Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~ suffers from shoddier execution--the characters frequently deform unattractively for extended periods and in an inconsistent manner. In addition, the show seems less kinetic than its predecessor, relying heavily on techniques that plague long-running shounen shows to help rush through the fight sequences and is therefore rife with still action shots with speed lines or animating only the super powers, along with a lot of background-less attack sequences. Coupled with the plot's significantly diminished opportunities for cheesecake (ecchi fanservice for those not familiar with the comic book term), there's almost no reason to watch this one on mute without the subtitles. Sound Yuki Kaida takes advantage of Homura's more prominent role to rise above the rest of the cast who busy themselves reprising their delivery from season one. As Homura transitions from male to female, his (her?) seiyuu allows a feminine timbre to creep into her (his?) voice that drives home the sekirei's growing acceptance of his transforming gender. Of the remaining cast, only Karasuba strokes the aural pleasure zones. Romi Park communicates the disciplinary squad captain's aura of controlled violence by mixing malice and nonchalance equally to create a villain who can strike fear into her opponents with her speech alone. As the perfect foil to demure and gentle Miya's mannerisms, this performance comes across as particularly effective. A good deal of the in-episode music should remind viewers of a decent RPG soundtrack, with the main "action" theme echoing some of the less able Final Fantasy fight music (yes, Mystic Quest was a Final Fantasy. No, it didn't sound as awesome as VI or VII). As the lone bright spot in the score, the new OP, "Onnaji Kimochi", stands head and shoulders above the previous season's. While it might not find its way into many viewers' playlists, it holds up on repeated listens and manages to embody the series' combination of warm fuzzies, voluptuous vixens, and high-stakes action. Sadly, neither of the ending themes offer much more than saccharine melodies meant to reiterate the show's themes of love and friendship but which only manage to accomplish forgettable mediocrity. Characters Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~ does slightly better at characterization than its prequel by spending as little of its time on the banal main cast as it can manage. The back story interludes provide some much-needed insight into Miya and the previous incarnations of the disciplinary squad and these characters prove more interesting than the blandly archetypal ladies who accompany Minato. In the present, Homura, saddled as he is with some major changes, offers welcome respite from the fawning sekirei that dominate the show's roster, but he shrinks from the limelight in the series' second half and we're left with the more cookie-cutter members to carry the show to its conclusion. Overall This show delivers on the promises laid out in the original Sekirei, but remains hamstrung by weak execution. Like the buxom Musubi, Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~ plows forward oblivious to its shortcomings, offering rushes of excitement and fanservice that distract, but never rises to the level of enthralling. As a sequel to the first season, this anime more than passes muster, but the meager production values and hesitant plotting hold it back. Let's hope that the third installment proves better still.
Sekirei is a dumb show, like really dumb. I'll preface this by saying I don't really like harem shows very much. But for my own personal anime watching they can hold a purpose. The fact they are so mindless and dumb is why i watch them because after a more serious show sometimes I need dumb and eye candy. Something to switch the brain off too and laugh once awhile. While Sekirei provided this for me. While I didn't like the first season of Sekirei very much (It seemed even more shallow than most Harem's) the second season was much more enjoyable. If only for the fact that it contained way more Tsukiumi. Without her i'm not sure I would have liked this show even half as much as I did. Admittedly though its the English dub where that enjoyment mostly stems from, Her use of Olde English made laugh far more than it should. She literally made me laugh out loud. But I need to address something here and that is that its not the endless Fan Service and Average plot that makes this show subpar. It's actually our protaginist Minato himself. He is such an empty shell of a character. There is literally nothing interesting about him at all. Any personality he does have is just cliche ridden statements about justice and the like. He is in fact the worst character in the entire show. Because there is nothing to him. He's like a faceless pillar for the series to hang its trappings on, completely devoid of character and purpose. He could actually not be there at all and little to the plot would have to change frankly. Thats how worthless he is. So the illogical flocking of yet more Sekirei's to hapless Minato's Harem continues and is ,as in all Harem shows, baffling. The two ladies are both good characters for the most part and both equal measure bring more laughs and drama to the series. So i will let it pass. The second season does finally get further into the meat of its plot this time around , or at least it kinda does. I couldn't help feeling that this season is beginning to face the main point of its plot its still none the closer to bringing in the real tension I presume it'll inevitably get to at somepoint, That being the inner Harem Battles. Although after this season I'm fearing it might skip that altogether for a big harem love in and a happily ever after. I haven't read the manga so I'm not sure. I just hope it doesn't go down that route as it would feel like a total cop out. Sekirei also fails on occasion at trying to be more than the sum of its parts and act serious. This is always dragged down by the fact that no matter how serious the moment is, its always being portrayed by Minato and his Boob Crew. Losing all plausiblity for me to take it seriously in an instant. This causes problems as it means Sekirei has little drama. In fact its normally before a Sekirei joins the cliche riddled Minato and his Harem where the droplets of drama the series does have can be found. Although they aren't exactly much to savor but they are there regardless. So yeah In the end Its dumb and shallow but as the credits rolled i couldnt help feeling i had had Fun. Which is what I wanted from the show and it delivered it. So If Fan Service is your thing then you should watch this. Theres more Boobs than you can shake a stick at so to speak. If you are like me and need to switch your brain and emotions off then I'd recommend Sekirei's second season for this too. It is what it is, accept it and you might find some value and fun to be had, maybe... 5/10 'Mediocre'
Act II I must say that I'm quite nervous posting the first review for Pure Engagement. I'm sure that all of us who watched the first season of Sekirei were really looking forward to this. Pure Engagement does a tremendous job of building the Sekirei franchise. I mean, I really enjoyed the first season of Sekirei, but Pure Engagement has got me addicted. Be forewarned, the Sekirei Project does not end in Pure Engagement (or at least this better not be the end). It seems to me that Sekirei will be a trilogy. This was a little disheartening at first, but where the original Sekirei fell flat, Pure Engagement exceeded expectations. Though the story is not yet over, Pure Engagement is a great series in its own right. For one, there is far more action than in the first season. Secondly, pretty much all the characters become dynamic in this series. Outside of Minato, I didn't really care much for the other characters in the first season. However, Pure Engagement changes that perception for sure. This series is so dynamic as compared to the first season that in retrospect it makes the first season look like no more than exposition. It is that much of a step forward. And in the end, this series takes a moment of tremendous sadness and turns it into a brief moment of light-heartedness. There's your hook and that's as specific as I'm willing to get. Not true brilliance, but none too shabby. All in all, Pure Engagement is a tremendously entertaining series that will get you hooked on Sekirei. Honestly, if the ending were altered as though this were the last act of Sekirei, I may well have rated this in the elite range. That may be exaggerated, as it is 8 out of 10 is what I can give. My personal enjoyment is definitely greater and I would give that extra half a point, but not until a 3rd season is officially announced.
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