Sekirei - Reviews

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ThePatches's avatar
Sep 28, 2009

Story

If I had to choose a moniker for Sekirei, it would probably be, "The Little Anime that Couldn't". It offers ecchi fan-service without being racy, peddles action while failing to be engaging, and sports an interesting setup that the show never puts to effective use. While it's possible to read the series as making fun of itself, the harem genre, and tournament-focused shounen shows, a second look reveals that the show means everything it says--much to my dismay.

A quick summary of the series reads like Pokemon, but with tits. The first installment follows the hapless protagonist as he bumbles and sweet talks his way into acquiring of an increasingly powerful and scantily-clad team of humanoid aliens called Sekirei in preparation for a tournament sometime in the near future (read: second season). Thankfully, the parade of buxom woman in various states of undress meshes well with the show's simplistic focus on escalating confrontations. When two Sekirei meet for the first time, they fight. When Minato encounters new potential teammate, there's a fight. When MBI (the evil corporation behind the whole thing) seals off Neo Tokyo, the gang finds an excuse to fight. These high-energy smackdowns, which increase in frequency, participants, and outrageous displays of power as the story progresses, take a good deal of the pressure off the flagging narrative.

The show does demonstrate on occasion that there might be a decent yarn hiding behind all the cheesecake, but then refuses to follow up on any of these more interesting tidbits. For example, the first episode introduces the Sekireis' extra-terrestrial origins, but the subject gets dropped once MBI enters the picture. The dealings between Ashikabis (this world's trainers) also receive cursory treatment due to the series' singular focus on Minato, squandering an opportunity to provide him some character depth by comparison; and glossing over subplots that could have held the viewers' interest between battles. In the Kuu-chan mini-arc, the presence of another girl-wrangler and his cohort add tension and conflict to what would have been a boring meet-and-greet. But where the anime could have used the greedy antagonist to draw out the hero's underlying character traits, the remainder of the series chooses to leave this antagonist as a shadowy figure.


Animation

Sekirei's visuals sport modern coloring and finishing techniques, but lack the consistency of more polished anime. For every excellent water, fire, or lightning effect associated with the fighters' powers, there's a scene where the animation turns blocky or the characters look odd. Additionally, combat sequences cut a lot of corners; the chase scenes or jumping receive the lion's share of screen time that should have gone to the use of the Sekireis' impressive powers or dramatic hand-to-hand fighting. The show also hamstrings its own dramatic buildups by dropping into an unattractive deformed style during important interpersonal moments in a weak attempt to add levity where none is needed.

Additionally, the artists spent their limited imaginations early in the design process, leading to a plethora of derivative cuties. The lead's harem consists of four over-developed beauties in each of the four normal hair colors (blonde, brunette, redhead, raven-haired) and an adorable loli-girl who barely talks. While one character's interesting kimono and another's attractive black dress certainly provide some good eye-candy, two of Minato's girlies basically wear bedsheets, and a third wears an equally-unimaginative purple frock. The remaining cast coughs up such original creations as an outfit cribbed from Kill Bill, a guy dressed up like Neo from The Matrix Reloaded, and a set of twins in matching two-piece zippered cat suits (use the non-furry definition of cat-suit). Since the characters' costumes don't reflect their powers, each design merely allows the viewer to tell Sekirei apart at a glance and nothing more.


Sound

Starting with the bland OP, the series' soundtrack does not disappoint, but also never surprises. Most of the incidental music follows in the grand synth tradition of middling anime, sounding familiar and hitting all of the "right" notes at the expected times. Accompanying an unapologetic fan-service slide show, the bubbly ED ends each episode on a sonic high note--assuming listeners ignore the coyly submissive lyrics ("The truth is I want you to hold only me / I'm feeling turned on / Is it ok to show signs?"). Sadly, the voice acting doesn't deviate from the standard set by the score. None of the characters miss their cues or offend the ears, but the readings add no nuance to the broadly drawn character stereotypes. The only memorable performance comes from Seki Toshihiko as the MBI Chairman; his over the top mannerisms and showman's shouts add much needed camp, but receive tragically little time in the limelight. Be warned, this series also includes a mewling youngster in the form of Kuu-chan. The little girl's cooing would have rapidly gotten annoying save for the fact that her seiyuu makes some entertaining non-speaking sounds.


Characters

Sekirei combines a stereotypical cast with pathetic characterization to fall flat on its face where it could have shined. Given the show's ecchi pedigree, a hollow male lead comes as no surprise, but where other shows provide an interesting harem to make up for a lackluster main protagonist, this series coughs up a laughably generic group for Minato. As the female lead, Musubi's naivete brings in a few good chuckles as she wrestles with modesty, but her eagerness to please and penchant for violence quickly grow stale when she does not develop at all during the first season. The rest of his Sekirei come straight out of central casting: Tsukiumi fell of the truck on the way from the tsundere factory, Kusano follows the textbook definition of imouto to a "T", and Kazehana presents like Shakugan no Shana's Margery Daw with all of the interesting parts removed (but all of her lady-parts intact). Furthermore, the series substitutes mystery in the place of complexity at every opportunity, purposefully obscuring characters' histories so that they can act in unpredictable ways. Luckily, the low episode count both provides a convenient excuse and mitigates the characters' lack of development and unoriginality.


Overall

Far from being painfully average, Sekirei entertains so long as it remains on the screen, but doesn't rise above the low bar it sets for itself. Watching the show for the first time, the viewer can applaud himself on recognizing moe archetypes and marvel at the nifty super powers on display, but the unoriginal premise and middling execution means the show hardly warrants a second viewing. Bouncing along like the chests of its female leads, this anime shoves to the side any and all plot threads that don't directly concern Minato and his coven of comely combatants. Straightjacketed by the supposed demands of its target demographic, the series remains unfailingly true to its setup and modest goals, and in so doing loses a shot at being something memorable.

4.5/10 story
6/10 animation
5/10 sound
4/10 characters
5/10 overall
quamp's avatar
Nov 7, 2014

One thing I think I should point out before I start my review of this anime is that the manga's creator, Gokurakuin Sakurako, is actually a woman. Her name is really Ashika Sakura and she has done yaoi manga with titles like Sensative Pornograph.

That being said, what's really going on here is her trying to point out some of the absurdities and lack of reality in harem animes/manga. How many women really would move in with a guy just after meeting him? In reality, this is actually a bit of satire on the harem anime genre in general. We have the usual wimpy hero Minato being pushed around by women who are stronger in character than him. Just when things really are about to get out of hand, Miya the landlady comes in and brings things back to reality (using that term very loosely.) 

9/10 story
10/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
8/10 characters
9/10 overall
Epimondas's avatar
May 4, 2015

Sekirei is fairly original.  Though, I suppose the plot somewhat resembles other anime like, "East of Eden", in that several participants are forced to play in a life or death type of game.  The overly offensive use of girl bit flashes and situations aside, it is not to bad a show.  There are plenty of action scenes and each of the players' attatched alien-esque mostly female warriors have different types of skills and at different levels.  it should be no surprise that many participants actually want no part in such a farce of a game.  That is a rather nice realistic approach slightly different from your usual anime framework.  Of course this sort of sets a kind of tone and pace among at least the major protagonists where they either reveal some guilt or reluctance or avoid violence or at least deeply struggly internally  over the question of "is playing this game even right".  True maybe alot of animes love to dance on the edge of the grey areas of many questions such as those of morality and often cross them into oddball areas, but this one at least raises the issue of morality and rightly shows that not everyone is a willing pawn to so called destinies albiet very violent at that in this case.  Often however, I have to wonder, what use or purpose do so called controllers really have in this game?  In this sense it somewhat mimics other animes with simllar character inter-relations such as "Rozen Maiden" and "Fate/Zero".  The interactions between the girl warriors is often quite amusing which may help organize the shows characters so that even if they fade at times a bit here and there they are not at times forgotten like well the X-Men movies.  It also often either brings up or aids new story arcs or plots or contributes to the outcome of others started elsewhere.  You see a few rivals of sorts make repeat appearances.  Now and then there are even a few plot surprises which are usually welcome if not thrown at us viewers completely out of the blue with nothing to suggest it's possibility even.  

Perhaps a slight downer in a minor way is that one of the plot devices is well hmm sort of seen a bit too often, aka the pseudo blackmail approach to force a non violent or other wise good character to aid a bad guy character and that usually comes in the form of someone's life on the line but not always.  Not that I complain per say that it is not a genuine plot element, however it's frequency so many animes make it a bit tedious, tiresome, and unimaginative to see.  Perhaps in one sense the most humorous part of the series is the guy with the two twins as girl warriiors because amusingly it is often hard to tell who bosses who around.  And their source of contention and debate over that title is quite fun to watch.  

I am uncertain whether it is a pro or con as to how slowly the underlying subplot, back story, cause, and main plot elements are to reveal themselves.  At times it is as if things are dragging on a bit to long or slowly with regard to them and at others I feel rewarded to be let in.  This might be because, the series may or may not have reached it's intended ending or number of seasons before closure.  If so, that is sadly the case with many many anime series that do not get a fair chance or at least not enough time to tell the story or at least not enough story to draw enough viewers into them.  This at least starts out fairly quick but I am not so sure the pacing of revealing story and plot secrets after this is up to par.  Apart from a few exceptions, characters are pretty well fleshed out though a few such as the boxer girl, are a bit one dimensional in their depth like she is a melee fighter.  Aside from her immaturity freshmen type newness and her slightly airheaded personality, melee fighting is the only thing she is about.  Despite the fact she spends quite a lot of time on screen and is the first warrior girl for the game introduced, she is sadly also the character least revealed and shallowest of depth compared to every other major character and even the twins.  

There are some characters that could use some work or appear a bit too shallow or one dimensional.

7.5/10 story
7/10 animation
7.5/10 sound
6.5/10 characters
7/10 overall
OddJobProdigy's avatar
May 3, 2015

Sekirei is a really stupid anime to most people. It is an ecchi, harem, romance, with allot of action. However out of every harem i have ever seen this one by far has the best characters. This anime was one of the first i have ever watched so even though there are many who would not like this show, i love it. I feel like this is one of those hidden gem shows that gets way to covered in tits and ass. Does it have that yes, but it isn't the only point of the show. So check it out you may like it. The story is about a young man named....

Minato Sahashi

He has just failed his entarnce exam and the story begins when a strange girl named... 

Musubi 

falls from the sky :)

9/10 story
8/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
tayinoop's avatar
Mar 24, 2014

STORY (7)
Okay. I literally just finished watching Sekirei, and the story is about the only thing I really enjoyed about it. Basically, "Sekirei" are girls who have an "Ashikabi." The Ashikabi are somewhat like the Sekirei's "master" and they must fulfill the wishes of their Ashikabi at all times. The rules of Sekirei is that they have to fight every other Sekirei they come in contact with.

Minato Sahashi is an intelligent boy living in Tokyo. However, Minato crumbles under pressure which has resulted in two failed college entrance exams.

One day, Minato is walking somewhere when suddenly a girl literally falls from the sky. Minato learns that the girl's name is Misubu, but doesn't have time to learn much else because Misubu is being chased by two other women, Minato later finds out are Sekirei.

The plot then progresses when Misubu has to stay with Minato, and announces that he is her Ashikabi, sealing the deal with a kiss. As the story goes on, Minato accidentally gathers a harem of Sekirei at his command, which almost brings more trouble than it's worth.

Interesting, right? Wrong. The story would have been all it could have been if there WASN'T SO MUCH DAMN FANSERVICE. A bit of ecchi, I don't mind. THIS, however, I can barely deal with. It wasn't as bad as HOTD or Highschool DxD, becayse this I actually managed to finish, but wow. Do you know how much time they wasted with panty shots? Unbelievable.

ANIMATION (6)
The art, well.. meh. It was meh and I don't know how else to describe it. There wasn't anything particularly 'wow' about it, but nothing that bad either.

SOUND (5)
I watched the dubbed version, and let me just say I didn't enjoy it. The supporting characters were alright, but DON'T GET THE VOICE OF THE MAIN CHARACTER WRONG OR THE WHOLE THING GOES DOWN IN SMOKE. Jeez.

CHARACTERS (5)
There wasn't much time for character development when all that was focused on was boobs and ass. In fact, the most character development was in the last episode, which is no good to anybody because it's a bit late to show the characters in a relatable way then. You mainly only get to see the characters bickering and fighting over Minato, which is amusing at times, but when it's half of every single episode, it's not so much fun to watch. It gets pretty boring.

OVERALL (5.5)
The story was good, but everything else was either average or just plain bad. So unfortunately, I can't score any higher than 5.5.. Although it was a good anime with some interesting ideas, there was too much time spent on fanservice for them to actually develop anything interesting.
I guess it just isn't my type of anime.

7/10 story
6/10 animation
5/10 sound
5/10 characters
5.5/10 overall