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AKA: セキレイ~Pure Engagement~ (Japanese)
Genre: T&A harem chopsocky
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 24 minutes each
Distributor: R1 DVD and Blu-ray from FUNimation
Content Rating: 17+ (fanservice, nudity, violence, mature situations)
Related Series: Sekirei (season 1)
Also Recommended: My-Hime, Ikkitousen, Koihime Musou
Notes: Based on the manga by Sakurako Gokurakuin, currently running in Square Enix's seinen Young Gangan magazine.
Rating: Three StarsThree StarsThree Stars
 

Sekirei: Pure Engagement

Synopsis

After the ruckus centered around the escapees, the game moves into high gear... after a while. But our hero, Minato, still has the time to... *cough* ...bond with his girls, and maybe add a few more members to his harem.


Review

And so, despite my initial bluster about not listening to this show anymore, I went ahead and watched the second season anyway. To my defense, I picked up somewhere that the show was supposed to end with this season, but having completed it, I found this not to be the case. I guess it was presumptuous of me to expect an unfinished manga to have a finished anime.

This was not a total loss on my part, though, since this show at least had the decency to address a few of the issues I had with the first season. But even then, you'll be needing to suffer through a couple of episodes where the art and animation seems strangely crappy, particularly with the characters adapting this odd, slack-jawed expression that makes them seem doped up and kind of dumb.

"What? Dumb girls in Sekirei?", you might be tempted to snark back, "Surely you jest?" And yeah, I'll give you that: quite a few of the girls in this show didn't exactly stand front and center when God handed out the sharp knives, but for the most part, the first season had them portray the happy-go-lucky kind of dumb. The cheerful, ditzy kind. Not the one that tends to have the audience go "DUUUUUUUH". Funnily enough, the show seems to do a complete 180 on Minato, trying to portray him as some kind of genius that just performs poorly under pressure (like, you know... a test!.) I don't necessarily think he's a complete idiot -- I mean... just wait until you find out who his parents are -- but I do think they're pulling my chain with this sudden revelation, never mind that it gets brought up once, and then not again.

On that note, you could also probably not accuse Sekirei of being particularly clever. Then again, I'm sure most of the intended viewership realized that before they got started on it. I mean, really... the only thing shows like this needs to do is be fun. Or exciting. And while you could argue the original succeeded with the first to some extent, it didn't have much else to offer. Oddly enough, in what brings the Tower of Druaga series to mind, the creators of Sekirei must have realized this -- or they got complaints -- because Pure Engagement finally got around to showing some backstories, and, even more mindblowing, had the characters take part in fights that actually reached a conclusion. Yes, that's "fights". In Plural. You know, more than just at the very end of the show. On the downside, a lot of those fights are between complete strangers -- aka the redskirts.

And not only that, but there's actual character backstories to be had, including a few who might surprise you. (Would you be surprised if I told you we'd meet Minato's MOM in this season? I bet you thought she died in an accident, didn't you? Unless, of course, you are one of those insufferably clever one who remember that she was the one who took away Minato's allowance at the start of the first season.) Hell, during the first half, we learn a little about the landlady, the mysterious androgynous fire-type, and also some of the actual factions in the city where the fights are taking place. Nothing too complicated, but it's more than enough to make you curious about the characters and the stake they have in all this. It's actually mildly intriguing, and it begs the question: why didn't they do this in the FIRST season?! I mean, seriously....


The comedy is, like with the first season, a bit of a mixed bag. The most tiresome aspect is the continuous back-and-forth between Tsukiumi and one or more of the other girls about who is Minato's first wife. The dub saw fit to give her this really archaic accent (lots of usage of the word "thou" and "hast"), which doesn't necessarily detract from an otherwise serviceable dub, but it makes her a bit annoying to listen to when she gets high-strung. The scenes with Kusano are amusing, though; in particular one where our two-bit villains calls the Asama household and wants to talk to "number 88", and her rising irritation does nothing to help the little girl understand what the hell is going on. Not as much fun is the running jokes about chest sizes, especially the one where our pink-haired discipline committee member gets made fun of for having a "small" chest, or for having a crush on her gay boss.

And on that note (for the second time) there's fanservice. Oodles and oodles of it. I mentioned the mass amount of boobies in the review for the first season, and the trend continues here, if toned down slightly.... until you get to the OAV/special episode, where it gets cranked to maximum levels. Much as I like the character designs in general, it tends to get a little ridiculous at times.

It might sound a little crazy coming from me, but I rather enjoyed this season.... well, for the most part, anyway. Like I said, Sekirei: Pure Engagement finally got off its ass and did what it should have done in the first season. Here's the thing, though; I shouldn't have to use the bare minimum of plot and characterisation as a selling point for any show, even if they could get away with exchanging it for T&A rather than using T&A itself as an extra bonus. This means that I'm not entirely sure whether I enjoyed this season because it's actually entertaining or whether it's just because the first season was so dull by comparison.


I guess I'm also kind of annoyed that the show didn't end after all. Granted, the final assault story arc was fairly entertaining, if heavy on the RPGish cliches. So, if you actually LIKED the first season -- meaning if you're a fan of huge breasts and macho posturing without the action to go with it -- I'm pretty sure you'll love this. For those who didn't like it, or haven't seen the first season... well, you might enjoy this one, but it's probably not worth going through the first season for this. But I want to be fair, so here's the rating for the second season.

A better followup to a mediocre first season. Add one star if you're in it for the service. Detract one if you're tired of that sort of thing.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: Things does get somewhat violent from time to time, and the game itself is portrayed as a cruel joke played on the Sekirei and their ashikabi, so that's a whole sliver of mature situations about.

And, as if I haven't mentioned it often enough; the boobies. Mountains and mountains of boobies, all uncovered for you to see.



Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Sekirei: Pure Engagement © 2010 Sakurako Gokurakuin / Square Enix / SEKIREI Project
 
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