Sekirei S2 (and a bit of manga)

Apparently, several weeks ago, I started a post on Sekirei’s second season, and never finished it. Given that we’re now past the third episode, and this is turning out to be one of the surprise quality shows of the season, I decided to resurrect it and complete the post.

First though, what I originally wrote, from the viewpoint of having watched only the first episode and catching up on the manga.

I caught the 2nd season preview for Seikirei the other day. I expected a recap episode, and while there was some of that, it was more stage-setting for the next series than anything else. [edit: turned out the “preview/recap” was the first episode] It’s made evident that Honmura is starting to react to Minato, and that Kazehana is also. Of course, in Honmura’s case, that reaction is a bit icky, given that he’s nominally a guy…for now.

More of the background behind the disciplinary squad is shown; especially how they took down the army that invaded MBI’s island base. Also, “the capital” is given an explicit name, and it’s not Tokyo. One thing they did a good thing in establishing was that certain sekirei powers are reactive with each other; for instance if Tsku combines her water powers with Kuu’s plant-growth, the result is an even greater acceleration. Given that she’s covered city blocks from a single potted plant, that’s a boost she probably doesn’t need, but establishing the principle now means it’s less of a “pulled out of thin air” bit later when it gets used in combat.

I’m moderately optimistic about this series; the anime preview makes it clear that he’s highly motivated by fear of what will happen to the women if they lose. Minato, the guy in the middle, has gotten a grip in the manga and may be the only one of the Ashikabi who is actually planning on both the tactical and strategic scales. The rest are all, “Oh, i’ve got my Pokegirls, and if I’m sneakier or less scrupulous than anyone else, I’ll win.” If this positive trait of the protagonist carries over into the anime (unlike in the disappointment that was Omimori Himari), we could have a surprise winner. Or at least something worth watching on a slow day, without cursing the computer monitor.

Well, as it happens, the show is exceeding even those modest expectations. While the first two episodes were a bit off the manga, it appears that their main use was to “re-rail” it back onto track. In the manga; Minato ends up in the hospital for a few days due to the battle at the bridge; in the anime, a kidnapping attempt by the broken sekirei and Benitsubana (or “Bennihana” as I think of her) resulted in the injuries. As a result, Minato ends up in the hospital and the same discoveries proceed from there. Said discovery being that his mother doesn’t work for a pharmaceutical company, she is professor Takihashi’s Chief of the Sekirei Project. Yep, that female assistant who discovered the spaceship with him, is Minato’s mom. Something Minato does not discover at this time (or for quite a while, per the manga) is the identity of his dad, but per the latest episodes of the manga, his sister Yukari has figured out who it is. My money’s on the obvious candidate, Professor Takihashi, as their father.

Now aside from all the jiggle and family issues, the show is pretty entertaining. The comedy is reasonably intelligent, although Kazehana goes a bit overboard after Minato wings her. Even the action scenes aren’t half bad; although the major battle in episode 3 had the bad guys standing around anytime Kazehana or Minato had excessive lines.

The often comedic violence during that fight was ok, but a later scene involving another member of the Disciplinary Squad running a sword through the chest of an opponent was a jarring contrast. It’s bloody, it’s violent, and it’s deadly serious. Note however, that the target isn’t killed even then; it’s explained later that when sekirei are defeated, the wounds they’ve taken are reported to the pickup team; level five isn’t explained but I presume fatal. The girl in question was level four, critically injured. Minato’s mother had to be dispatched for that one.

Musubi’s simple-mindedness is a bit annoying at times, but what makes the show work is the guy in the middle. Minato genuinely cares for all the sekirei, and is willing to risk life and limb for them. He’s not a wuss, not a coward, not indecisive. He’s coming across as a nice guy, but not an idealistic milksop. He’s not the only one to care for his sekirei, but he is rising to the challenge, and not shirking the danger. Especially in the manga, as I’ve pointed out, he is taking the initiative and working to improve his position off the battlefield as well as on it.

All in all, I came for the fanservice and I got a decent action/adventure comedy.

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