The main title male protagonist, one of the two best characters in this anime, fully laden with cuteness from outside. But he has a dark pastime…
The last review for this year before I hightailed my way to Christmas and New Year celebrations would be for the partially censored version of Seikon no Qwaser (read: Blu-ray version). For obvious reasons that I will state below, I intentionally waited for the Blu-ray version of this high-priority title instead of watching the OTA version. Befitting the status of this post as the last review of the year 2010, this 2010 title will then compete with the current ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title holder K-On!!
And here he is, the enemy of women, violating any ample-breasted female whenever he can. Well, actually he won't spare flat-chested ones either. And probably old ones too. As long as you are a female, STAY AWAY FROM THIS TRAP!
The unnamed local Japanese town (doesn’t seem to be Tokyo though) was terrorized by a mysterious serial killer whose targets belong to the ‘young and nubile girls’ demographic. Our main female protagonist, who incidentally belong to the said demographic, predictably was kidnapped by the said serial killer. But just as she was being violated by her kidnapper, the main title protagonist makes his grand entrance, procured some breast milks as a power up source and starts kicking ass.
The story in this anime is not the bestest you will ever see coming out from Japan, but at least it is not that blatantly obvious unlike the previous title reviewed in this blog. In fact, for the first half of this 24-episode title, the storyline developed nicely in a fast pacing as the main male protagonist defeats more enemies that are coming for his head. But after he lost his memories after winning a particularly difficult battle, the first weakness of this title was exposed as the anime suddenly take a turn for the worse, storywise.
The first thing that happened right after the memory loss is a filler episode, taking place in a hot spring bath inn (very original) which is used as a pretext to cure the said amnesia that turned the moody main male protagonist into a girly character. As expected, the said filler episode (episode 13) doesn’t do anything worthwhile in terms of story and characters developments whatsoever. So, what is worse than a filler episode that is basically not useful at all? That would be TWO OF THEM, and that what happened here in episode 14 too. Episode 14 is even worse than the preceding episode, and focused on a side character playing superheroes while the forgetful main protagonist still prances around with his girly self. But these two filler episodes are merely the signs of what to come next.
After the two filler episodes runs their course, the storyline doesn’t go back on track to normal as you can see it in the first half. Some weird character developments, such as for the natrium user for his fight with the (now recovering) main protagonist. His (the natrium user) relationship with his student, and the ambiguous battle with the main male protagonist are some elements of the arc that happened after the filler episodes that caused the plot to become murky. I have no definite idea of what happened in that battle; whether he intentionally loses to the main male protagonist, or the main protagonist has evolved so much that he can defeat an opponent two levels above him. Or both.
But the anime recovered somewhat after that below-par arc, and the finale of this anime is very well executed. Unlike The Sacred Blacksmith, the antagonist is merely unlucky instead of being stupid. An extra episode is also dedicated to finish off the ending on a high, tying up whatever necessary loose ends that should be tied up. But the ending is also structured to accommodate a second season, which incidentally has been confirmed in the course of watching this anime. There are still more materials in the first season (mostly revealed in the second half of this anime) and also some unanswered questions, that will make the viewers pining for a new season, myself included. The final scene in the final episode is a very good teaser, because it shows an unexpected character that shouldn’t be there alongside the main male protagonist in his new mission.
While the story of this anime revolves around a plot device that takes its form as a certain holy relic, the usage of another unrelated plot device (warning: an NSFW locked Wikipedia link) is definitely the biggest mainstay of this title. The usage of this particular plot device is the main reason why I waited for Blu-ray version of this anime, instead of watching the OTA version. I will definitely do the same too with the second season. This plot device served as of source of various toilet humor scenes, awkward moments and inappropriate scenes too that would not be seen in the OTA version. But after watching the Blu-ray version, the second weakness of this anime suddenly becomes more apparent, which I personally think shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
At the start of this review, I mentioned that I am reviewing the partially-censored version of this anime, sourced from the Blu-ray version itself. It is true that the usage of the aforementioned plot device above then allowed for excessive amount of frontal nudity and very suggestive scenes, made more apparent in the Blu-ray version. But my biggest beef with this Blu-ray version of this anime is, while the ecchi scenes are now basically shown in its final glory, the violence scenes was instead still heavily watered down. So watered down the violence in this anime; the shounen anime The Sacred Blacksmith is probably more gory than this anime. Why is that, in the Blu-ray version for God’s sake, the blood’s tints were discolored (except when the main male protagonist made his 4th level sword), the final blows of any given battle scenes was only illustrated in silhouettes and gory scenes are shrouded in excessive grains?
If this is Higurashi, we will see no silhouettes, plenty of gallons of red blood, distorted faces in pain, dismembered limbs and some spilled out intestines too.
This anime should try and learn a lesson or two from the playbook of High School of the Dead, where ecchi scenes and gory violence comes hand-in-hand very nicely. This anime already got the ecchi scenes right (at least in Blu-ray version – no way I will watch the OTA version of this title), the violence should be improved, at least in the Blu-ray version. I am not going to watch the OTA version of the second season anyway…
Character developments in this anime are uneven all around. The main title male protagonist has the best, if maybe to-the-book, character development strategies in this anime, and to a lesser extent, his puppet-manipulating colleague too. The aforementioned natrium user above is understandably doesn’t do very well here, while the main female protagonist fared only a little bit better. Some references to other anime titles are made too, the most blatant ones is where the main protagonist is cosplaying, of all people, the main female protagonist of the anime Kurogane no Linebarrels. And he is doing it very well too.
The main male protagonist colleague, also one of the best characters in this anime. That's understandable because these two characters are equally perverse and batshit crazy too.
Character designs in this anime are excellent all around, and this is definitely necessary for female characters because of the extensive usage of that ‘plot device’. Black hairs are rare though in this anime taking place in modern Japan. A positive aspect for this anime.
Unlike the solid characters designs, the voice acting gigs in this anime is pretty much uneven. The main male protagonist (whose manner of brusque speaking is eerily similar to a certain Excalibur character in Soul Eater) is one of the best characters in this regard, alongside his Maria and also the clumsy big-breasted friend of the main female protagonist. Meanwhile the main female protagonist is noted for being one of the worst offenders in this category inside this anime series.
The music section of this anime is another part of this anime where it largely fails. Only the second OP theme is any good, while the OST and the rest of the OP/ED themes are below average.
Some nice camera angle deployed by the director there.
The animation quality in this anime is very good, even in fast-paced scenes. Choreography of action scenes is below average though, with simplistic battle techniques with absolutely no nuances at all. The director can be faulted for that two filler episodes and the writing of the arc after it, but is flawless for the rest of the anime.
7 out of 10. This anime still has plenty of room for improvements for the upcoming second season. Although I will definitely wait for the Blu-ray version instead of the OTA one. This entry marks the final post for this year, and I wish you all Happy Holidays in Christmas and New Year. The next review will be either for Katanagatari or Legend of Legendary Heroes, but that will have to wait until next year!
The usage of that 'plot device' allows for crazy scenes like this one. Oh BTW, the character at the right is not a mecha!