Sekirei, The Complete Series – DVD Review

Review by: Clive Owen

Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 300 minutes
Genre: Action
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now

The game begins and clothes will shred away to nothing. It must be the fabric softener over there.

If you’ve been watching anime as long as I have you will know there are series you just know what to expect and a few that follow the same formula that you will find yourself rolling your eyes. When it comes to harem shows, you can even know when to expect that hot springs or summer beach scene. At first glance, Sekirei is one of those harem anime series with fighting girls but you will quickly find out that there’s more to this The Complete Series set that makes this an utterly enjoyable series that is much more than just excessive fan service.

As I said, Sekirei comes off as a fan service-filled harem anime series of the Master of Martial Hearts and Ikki Tousen mold complete with girls whose outfits must be made of tissue paper and a likeable loser who is lucky enough to be surrounded by them. However, Sekirei is the kind of series that will – by the third episode – make you care about the main cast of characters that prove to be likeable enough to make you overlook the constant flashing of flesh.

The series introduces us to Minato Sahashi who is a high school student who has flunked the university entrance exam twice. He’s the perfect example of a loveable, kind-hearted loser who doesn’t have a girlfriend and not much of a social life … until a very beautiful and very bosomy girl literally drops from the sky and lands on top of him. She is Musubi, a girl who is bubbly, clueless and being chased by attractive twins who are out to get her. Musubi escapes with Minato and ends up staying with him in his cramped apartment where she reveals the truth about herself … as well as a single kiss that will change Minato’s life.

You see, Musubi is a Sekirei … a being with an incredible power that is fully unlocked by making a pact with a human who becomes her Ashikabi. A kiss seals the deal and since Minato was so sweet to her it becomes clear to Musubi that he was meant to be her Ashikabi. Unfortunately, all Sekirei are playing a very dangerous game called the Sekirei Plan that was conceived by the president of a major corporation that currently controls all of Japan. The game is simple … all Sekirei must do battle until only one of them is left standing and their reward is to ascend to a level that will allow them to live forever with their Ashikabi.

When Minato is kicked out of his apartment for having a girl living with him, the pair accidentally find a boarding house called Maison Izumo run by a lovely (yet occasionally scary) landlady named Miya. The house already has a girls living in it like the mysterious Kagari (who Minato and Musubi thinks is a guy) and the attractive and lively Uzume. There’s another girl who living there that doesn’t come out until she playfully falls for Minato who turns out to be a Sekirei named Matsu who is also a computer genius.

Somewhere along the way, we discover that there is something special about Minato as he becomes Ashikabi to not only Musubi but also Matsu and a little girl he kept seeing named Kusano. Much later he even forms a contract with a very buxom blonde named Tsukiumi who talks like a Shakespearian actor and considers herself Minato’s “real wife.” The truth is that these girls are drawn to Minato because he genuinely cares enough about them that he wants to save all Sekirei from this awful game they are forced to play.

Minato becomes a crusader against the Sekirei Plan but the President of the company, who Musubi called the Professor, is determined to carry out his plan to have all Sekirei fight each another. As the game goes into its second phase, the battle truly begins and Minato and his girls find themselves caught in the middle of it. Minato sees just how brutal this game can be as he witnesses what happens to a defeated Sekirei in battle and the threat it would impose on his friends.

Meanwhile, the young man meets another Ashikabi who happens to have formed a contract with the same twins that had been chasing Musubi as well as another Ashikabi who was trying to escape from the city with his weak Sekirei only to go up against the Punishment Squad the Professor sent out to make sure no Sekirei escape from their part in the game. This leads Minato to go up against the game in an effort to save the young pair as his Sekirei fight the Punishment Squad. Even Minato’s sister – who meets a pretty boy Sekirei – finds herself involved in the game as well.

The series also introduces us to some powerful Sekirei – one of which is connected to Musubi and an incident we see in the first episode of the series. There are also secrets aplenty, such as the President of the corporation who makes a discovery that is connected to the Sekirei. There’s a great finale and the story promises to continue. The disc also includes an OVA episode (“Kusano’s First Shopping Trip”) where little Kusano decides to go shopping to earn the right to sit next to Minato during dinner. It’s actually a cute and funny OVA.

As I mentioned, the series is filled with excessive fan service and there’s nudity aplenty that certainly earns this series it MA rating. We’re talking nudity in just about every episode so if you’re bothered by nipples and bare backsides then you will have a problem with this series. However, despite this, Sekirei does not neglect characterization or story. These characters easily could have been one-dimensional stereotypes but each one brings something unique to the episodes. You’ll even find yourself liking each girl as well as Minato who stops being a nobody and starts standing up for something. On top of that, the comedic moments are actually funny that you’ll laugh out loud at least twice in this series.

The Complete Series of Sekirie is an anime series that will take you by surprise and offer you an even better brawling babes series you won’t help but come to genuinely enjoy. Sure, it features more than enough fan service to choke a horse with but it doesn’t make it solely about fan service. This is not your typical harem series but rather one that strives to be something actually more meaningful without losing its playful nature and that alone makes this one good enough to be in your collection.

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A-
Likable loser, Minato, finds his life turn upside down when he meets a girl named Musubi who turns out to be a powerful fighter in a secret game that pits girls much like her against each another. Soon, Minato finds himself forming a contract with other Sekirei and likes them enough that he plans to go against the corporation to save these girls.

VIDEO QUALITY: B+
This series looks great on DVD and the animations is quite colorful and filled with plenty of excellent visual effects. It’s also filled with a lot of nudity so if you feel uncomfortable with it you should probably skip out on this one.

AUDIO QUALITY: A-
I found the original Japanese voice cast to be lively and excellent but the English dub cast is topnotch with Joel McDonald (Minato) and Alexis Tipton (Musubi) being especially good. The score is solid with a cutesy opening theme song and with two really good closing theme songs.

EXTRAS: B
There’s no audio commentary track but you definitely cannot go wrong with including an OVA episode that more than makes up for it. There’s also a clean opening and closing animation track and a few trailers as well to make this a good set.

OVERALL: A-
Put away your copies of Ikki Tousen and Master of Martial Hearts because The Complete Series of Sekirei packs a bigger and more meaningful punch in just about every way. Sure, it’s may appear like yet another super-powered-brawling-babes series with a harem twist but there’s a lot to this one that makes it a pleasant action series that will show you a really good time.

Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment

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