Torn away from his quiet life together with his childhood friend Hijiri, Kasuga Arata finds himself pulled out from the collapsing world and enrolled in a school for magical users so he can fulfill his role as a candidate for the future demon lord.
And if you think that sounds like a teenager's wet power dreams, you are... absolutely right. Hell, the plot synopsis sounds like a smorgasboard of fantasy cliché's if there ever were any.
And yes, there are. A lot.
The core of the male power fantasy thing is definitely found in the harem setup, though; Arata is quickly introduced to his team of ladies, most of them also known as the Trinity Seven. (Hence the title, I guess?) The "seven" part is a reference to the seven sins, biblical style, and if you think that's the last biblical -- or mythological -- reference coming your way, you better get your ducking and dodging groove on, because there's more of that coming.
One of the biggest downsides to this show is that it kind of goes overboard with the labels and references. The magic isn't just "magic" in this show. The magic comes from an "archive", and you use it by choosing a "thema", which ties the whole thing into the "magic school" aspect of the show. And every time confrontations are happening, all combatants are whipping out their startup procedures. There's also a magus mode that magicians have to activate to raise their power levels because... well, you tell me. For all the explaining the series does, little of it makes any damn sense beyond the whole "because I said so" part.
The comedy is very much a mixed bag, leaning towards bad. While I appreciated the fact that the male lead and most of the girls weren't antsy and over the edge about the concept of sex, most of the jokes centered around this are either tediously overused or just plain bad. The show seems to take the shotgun approach to it, and for what it's worth; occasionally, it does pay off with a delivery that earned itself a chuckle.
I could have lived with that, though, if the battle sequences weren't so boring! Trinity Seven so much wants to be known as a smart show that it feels the need to explain every single setup it does, and that includes the magical battle scenes. Every. Single. Move. Has to be explained with strings of dialogue that explains either what just happened or what is about to happen. Even surprise attacks are preceeded with lines of dialogue, which just strikes me as a really weird thing to do. For being a battle heavy show, there's not a whole lot of actual fighting going on. And as an addition to wanting to appear smart, it also really lays on the 'tude part of the equation. When the characters are supposed to fight, they just won't shut up; the "tough guy/girl" dialogue comes out as an addition to the neverending explanations. There is more posturing in this movie than in Madonna's music video for he song "Vogue", and it's more than a bit unintentionally hilarious how the characters will imprint the danger of any situation while delaying their actions by talking and talking and talking. They didn't just drag story pacing out back and shoot it; I'm pretty sure Trinity Seven has got it imprisoned somewhere, hidden away from the general public, never to be spoken of again.
The show's not all bad, though. Because despite its harem-ish setup, the characters in the show are actually quite OK. Yes, even the male lead, which tends to be a bit of a crapshoot in harem anime. The show has wisely chosen to keep its perversions on a casual scale. Arata is a bit of a pervert, but he never willingly molests anyone directly. Though there is some verbal sexual harrassment, he never really acts on that, and we know this because some of the girls make it quite clear that they wouldn't mind it if he did. In fact, only two of the seven Trinity Seven members adapt the "easily embarrassed tsundere" personality, one of them being the very girl who brought him to the school in the first place. The others are either strangely casual about it, or quite willing and able. It's actually nice to see a male harem lead get along with his crew, cracking jokes about his casual pervertedness. Granted, he occasionally steps over the line with his suggestions -- mostly towards Lilith -- but he's usually made to pay for it. At least if the red hand-imprint on his cheek the next scene is any indication. The biggest headscratcher for me, comedywise, was when the show chose to put Arata and three of the girls locked in somewhere, and then proceeding to turn the situation into a "we have to get out of this somehow before the girls pee themselves" gag, as if people being humiliated is something we should laugh about.
The girls are a mixed bunch. Lilith is the one that probably gets the most screentime, as she's the one who brings Arata to the school and is the tsundere love interest to his prankfully frank way of settling things. While she later shares that personality trait with fellow Trinity Seven member Mira Yamana, she still remains the main target for Arata's prank questions and unwanted sexual attention. But then, she does have the biggest chest among the girls, and Arata does like his girls voluptuous, so I guess there is that. On the other end of the scale, the show eventually introduces Yui, another mage that lives in a dream world... sort of... and takes on the role as the part of his harem that is quite forward with her feelings, and the irony is that her personality is actually lessened by the fact that the other girls tends to go between "I don't care" to "sounds interesting".
In fact, if I had to choose an aspect about this series that I liked best, then that would be that Arata isn't everyone's savior. Yes, he's a demon lord candidate, which is apparently a big thing, but he still needs... and gets... help from his harem. As the show proceeds, there is a nice sense of trust growing between Arata and the girls, and they end up looking after each other more than him just solving all the girls' problems or rescuing them after they are done being useless, like in another show I reviewed some time ago that bears more than one striking resemblance to this.
I also kind of like the character designs. They aren't necessarily amazing, but they're distinct and easily recognisable, and the animation is fairly decent on its own. And for some reason, I remember this one standout scene where the ninja girl were allowed to showcase her combat skills, and it was very nicely executed, with barely any talking in it. It was a glorious couple of seconds, but the show remembered its roots and resumed talking our ears off.
The show also came to a pretty good season stop with a nice surprise twist, leading up to a potential second season. And, to be honest, after all this, I wouldn't mind that. It's a want with a caveat, though, because quite frankly, it's a bit frustrating to have to sit through explanation after explanation, especially when most of it is based around made-up stuff, and that includes the worlds this show takes place in. Seriously, the show itself points out that the world the show starts in were made by magic, as is all the other places our cast of characters find themselves in. The show is a little bland in that regard, showcasting various minor ruins or regular school buildings. It tries the class up the show with the school Arata attends, but does so rather poorly by CGing it up, giving the place a cheap, tacky feel to it.
All in all, Trinity Seven turned out to be a good deal better than what I gave it credit for, but honestly, when I read the plot synopsis, I didn't have much hopes for it. I'm still not sure whether I think it's actually good, but given the little twist near the end, I'm actually curious as to where they're going with this. But there are some things that needs to be fixed if you do get the chance to return, Trinity Seven. You need to know when to talk and when to let the action speak for itself for starters. And... well, I guess it's a little too late to warn it about the made-up terms that only confuscates matters, so that's another hurdle that will drag future seasons down. That said, I once said the same about Sekirei, so any future products still have the chance to improve matters, if given the chance. If you get that chance by doing a sequel, Trinity Seven, please do not disappoint.
Better than the synopsis would indicate, but the show's pacing issues -- particularly during fights, which there are a lot of.... technically -- kill it almost stone dead. However, if you're in it for the fanservice, the show definitely delivers, and the character designs are quite pleasant for the most part. And the ending even threw in a surprise I could actually appreciate. So feel free to throw in an extra star for that if you feel like it. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: This harem show rolls with the fanservice crowd; sexy outfits, some covered-up nudity -- in the public broadcast, at least -- and lots of saucy lines. It's like a milder -- and dumber -- version of High School DxD.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Trinity Seven © 2014 Seven Arcs Pictures, Trinity Seven Production Committee.
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