Returning home from school, Daichi Kakeru picks up a can of Melon soda on his way back. Much to his surprise, he suddenly finds himself liplocked to a blonde girl after trying to drink the juice he purchased, which eventually leads to him becoming involved in the Akikan Select; a duel between tin and steel cans for monopoly rights.
And speaking of needing a drink...
When it comes to anime that centers around some hapless male suddenly and very unexpectedly finding himself with female company after a lengthy time of being single, you generally don't set your expectations high. The "run of the mill" ratio tends to overwhelm whichever titles out there that actually holds some merit, so I guess it's no real secret that shows like these are generally about male wish fulfillment. Nevertheless, while I might be in the habit of heaping large helpings of scorn upon shows like these, it's not like I don't understand or have forgotten how it is to be young. Nor am I in any way trying to be judgemental if someone confesses to enjoy shows like Rosario + Vampire or To Love-Ru.
Regardless of this -- when I read the synopsis for Akikan -- I rolled my eyes and assumed I had another synchro winner on my hands. Indeed, when we watched the first episode and found ourselves observing the main character reacting to this sudden female prescence, I rolled my eyes some more and steeled myself for having to watch a lot more for the sake of the review. But about halfway into Akikan, I came to the conclusion that I've had enough of this.
And the kicker? It's not the ludicrous concept that turned me off the show. Nor is it the repeated attempts -- and failures -- at being funny. It's not even the creepy gay scheming molester who's the mastermind behind the whole Akikan Select thing, or even any of the other characters -- neither of which I really hated. No, the reason I really can't stand to watch this show is far worse than any of those. It's because the creators are throwing all this in our faces to try to distract us from figuring out that they couldn't write a coherent scene to save their lives, much less an entire show. There are no words in Elvish, Entish or the tongues of men that can properly convey the sheer magnitude of stupidity and ineptitude found in Akikan.
In a way, this show reminds me of Sekirei. Our main lead just happens to meet a girl who is being set up to fight in some sort of tournament. So far so average. We then cut to a closeup of a butt walking down a hallway. As the owner of the butt approaches an office door, a teenage boy runs past, crying and clutching the shirt he isn't wearing anymore. Thinking little to nothing of it, the woman whom the butt belongs to enters the office and faces the grand master of the Akikan Select. To make sure we understand the guy is homosexual, the first thing we see is a clock with "I like men" written on the surface. As the girl -- his secretary, I assume -- reports on the appearance of an Akikan, he licks his lips seductively and laughs evilly, just to make sure we remember that he's gay and evil. Later in the show, he will, of course, spend time looking at several pictures of men with no shirts.
So, after meeting with Daichi Kakeru and trying to molest him, he puts his plans on the table; the two of them are chosen to take part in a tournament which is held to decide whether soft drinks should be sold in steel cans or tin cans, because I'm sure there's a lot of people out there who care which kind of metal their cans consist of. The way the show is set up, it makes a huge deal over how bad it is that people simply don't care enough about the CANS. Melon will later lament that nobody likes them at all, but just throws them away once the contents have been consumed. Here's a newsflash, Akikan; the money we spend on a can of juice, mineral water or what have you is, in almost all cases, basically spent for the benefit of the liquid, not the can. The "throwing away the can" thing might have made a viable reason if said cans were thrown on the ground just about anywhere, but the show basically states that even throwing them in a trash receptible is also wrong. In fact, throwing them away -- period -- is wrong. (Seeing as I recycle mine, I guess that basically makes me a bad person too.)
At first ignoring the idiots who chainsaw themselves into his own home (which was, admittedly, a part that actually made me laugh), Kakeru tries to stop Melon (as he names her) from spending all her time in front of the TV. This he does by bringing her to school and introducing her as an exchange student from Denmark, which raises the curiosity of his love interest; Najimi Tenkūji. Yes, they're childhood friends, and yes, there's a reason why she's in love with him, which we learn about in a flashback. In fact, that very part is the first sign I got that made me realize this show had huge problems. See, two years ago, Kakeru saved Najimi from three men who had taken her hostage at gunpoint. And how? Take a look at these pictures.
Yes, what you see here is a 14 year old kid wrestling a gun out of the hands of three grown men and then somehow shooting them all. Go on; digest that scene for a while, and then ask yourselves "Gee, I wonder what the odds for success in this situation would be?" On a generous day, I might be able to believe that the kid would be able to sneak up on the three, but to believe that he was able to wrestle the gun out of their hands while the other two just stood there and watched like a bunch of complete idiots? And even if they did, the guy with the gun should still be able to just yank his arm out of the teen's grasp and pistol-whip him to the ground or something. In short, during the several seconds this struggle took place, there is simply no believable way that kid would end up with the gun, much less needing to shoot someone. It would have been the best show ever, though, if it had focused on the three criminal stooges after this scene. Just imagine it: "Three men take girl hostage, but are foiled and then shot by a 14 year old boy. Is now laughing stock of local penitentiary. Film at 11."
And to make matters worse; after this ludicrous scene took place, we learn that Kakeru and Najimi had to move to another town due to the gossip that was born out of this. All of it centered around Kakeru, of course, even though they were all in the middle of a HOSTAGE SITUATION! Argh!
Well, anyway, later on, they end up having a small gathering at Kakeru's flat, where we learn that Najimi gets drunk on carbonated soda. Naturally, in her drunken haze, she goes out to buy some more, thus finding herself with an Akikan of her own. The girl is eventually named "Yell", because that's what the drink was called. Hmmm. Melon and Yell. Anyway, through circumstance and Najimi's broken heart coupled with the brilliant idea of having Yell "teach Kakeru a lesson", Yell attacks Kakeru by slicing his abdomen with an energy sword of sorts, which causes all kinds of bloodletting. No, really. His side practically shoots out blood like a geysir from the cut the somewhat psychotic Akikan girl gave him. And do they eventually take him to the hospital? Nah, just wrap him up with bandages and let him rest at home. He'll be fine.
So, coming to the realisation that this had to be her fault somehow, Melon runs off. And instead of dying like any normal person would do from a severe bloodloss like that, Kakeru eventually wakes up and runs outside his apartment where he meets up with Najimi. The two of them chase after Melon all over town, with Kakeru running and shouting like a complete loon. Eventually, he figures out where they went, so they head out of town by car, but get stuck in rush traffic in the middle of the night. Naturally, they have to call their friend with the motorcycle to come bail them out. Kakeru almost messes up their chase too, from reasons of being wounded, but they're saved by their witch friend, Yurika Kochikaze -- who throws tarot cards as a way of attacking and experiments on whether a human being can live on food supplements (of the pill variety.) She's also a lesbian, of course, and nearly as creepy as our favorite creepy gay molester Akikan mastermind. Kakeru also has a male best friend called "Gigolo" who noone cares about. Oh, and before Yell enters the scene, we are introduced to another Akikan girl named Budoko; who is basically a little kid with a speech impediment of the "cute" variety that puts the ughuu's and auu's in Kanon completely to shame.
To add insult to injury, the show actually has the nerve to impart a few grains of common sense every now and then; like Kakeru telling Melon that there's no reason why they should even listen to the Akikan mastermind molester, much less do what he says. Which doesn't really do a whole lot of good, since the show apparently doesn't intend to follow its own advice. On a somewhat unrelated note; for all the ironic similarities it has to Sekirei, this show already puts the total time spent on battles way past what Sekirei had in its entire runtime. Although calling them "battles" would be just a wee bit generous, I think.
I'm sure there were a few more grains of wisdom in Akikan, so you'll just have to excuse me for missing them. It's kind of hard to pay attention to a show when your face spends most of its time in your palm. I don't think I've seen a more incoherent and rambling show of this level since Soul Link, except Soul Link didn't have its characters running around and shouting nonsense in an attempt to hide that it doesn't have anything remotely legible to say.
Really hitting the bottom of the barrel here. I'm tempted to ask for this show to be recycled, but I'm honestly afraid what that would result in. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: If you're in this for the violence, then forget it. All they do is basically throw energy bombs at each other. There was that one scene with Kakeru getting all sliced and diced, but I don't think we'll be seeing much more of that, if any at all.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source.
Review Status: Partial (6/12)
Akikan © 2009 Ranjo Riku, Suzuhira Hiro / SHUEISHA / AKIKAN Project
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