Title: Sekirei: Pure Engagement
Encompasses: Second Season of Sekirei
Published by: Madman Entertainment (Australia/New Zealand), Funimation Entertainment (North America)
Based on: Manga series under the same name by Sakurako Gokurakuin
Genre: Action, Harem, Romantic Comedy
Audio: English and Japanese Dubs
Aspect Ratio: 1080p High Definition (16:9)
Runtime: 350 Minutes
Classification: M for Animated Violence, Sexual References and Nudity
Cost: $59.95 on either DVD or Blu-ray
Special Thanks: Madman Entertainment for kindly providing me with a copy of this title for review
A clandestine organization known as the MBI has issued an edict that threatens to end the lives of Minato and his luscious companions once and for all! The cutthroat organization’s Sekirei Plan will force all busty brawlers and their masters to engage in a flesh-baring fight to the finish. Only one amazing pair will be left standing when this curvaceous cavalcade of carnage has come to a conclusion. Does Minato have what it takes to survive the bombastic barrage of breast-jiggling blows coming his way?
About a year and a half ago when I revived my anime reviewing program one of the first series I reviewed was Sekirei, and despite its sometimes over-use of fanservice to put across action proved to be a reasonably enjoyable watch. Released recently by Madman Entertainment and Funimation depending on your region, the second season of the show “Sekirei: Pure Engagement” has been released on both DVD and Blu-ray media. Once again, when you pick up this release from the store shelf you should be expecting your fair share of boobs (With a full uncensored view), near-full body nudity and all these shown while the female characters hurl water, cloth, hack into databases and perform many other abilities granted to individual Sekirei along with finding their goods in very convenient close contact with the main characters face.
Now you may dismiss this instantly as one way to win over viewers with boobs ‘n’ nipples appeals, but the first season would not have gotten as high a grade if this was the case. The storyline continues the story of Minato, an Ashikabi who has now formed a contract with four of the 108 Sekirei wandering around Shinto Teito. Through the power of the MBI, these 108 Sekirei and their Ashikabi are all part of the “Sekirei Plan”, which within the city each of them must fight each other in a very Pokemon-esque way until only one remains, for which both will then supposedly be granted a special reward. The first season was spent introducing the whole concept of the series and introducing the important main characters, and by the end of this season still has much more to deliver in terms of storyline which is still being written.
The second season is split up into two defined arcs. The first involves Minato trying to convince and win over two remaining “unwinged” Sekirei who he knows - Kazehana and Kagari to form contacts with him in order to increase his harem numbers and protect them from falling into the hands of other Ashikabis. The first arc is less action oriented and focuses more on dialogue and semi-interesting backstory behind the featured characters while leaving much to the casual fanservice inspired lifestyle Minato lives everyday. The second arc focuses more-so on the overall plotline and secondary character Uzume. This left plenty of time to explain the backstory and purpose of the Sekirei project but with the exception of that, it had a similar lackluster albeit action-oriented plotline from the first where at the request of MBI CEO Minaka, Minato and his Sekirei must scale the MBI Tower in order to acquire an important cure.
Alongside this there are a few interesting viewpoints from other characters that are not of such importance in this season – for example Minato’s sister who has acquired her own Sekirei and other Ashikabi who have varying roles and personalities, but these seem to be more-so to set up for future seasons rather than to deliver a full storyline now – which is fair enough as the manga series is still ongoing. While I do enjoy a slightly insane antagonist laughing from the top of his skyscraper, don’t object to the use of sometimes over-the-top fanservice in battles and think the underlying concept is rather well sorted out, I can’t say it was as enjoyable as the first. It seemed like they hovered over less important plot elements, for which screen time could have been put into elsewhere. But provided they continue on with the storyline into future seasons and don’t pull a “Rozen Maiden” on us, I think they have set up the rest of the series quite well. Additionally, I won’t deny I quite enjoy the little squabbles between the female Sekirei, having them in more moderate doses than in season one was beneificial to enjoyability.
While I don’t think I enjoyed the storyline as much in this season as in the last, the slight toning down on the fanservice and focus on something other than Ashikabi’s in the final few episodes helped bring another solid season to the Sekirei anime series.
Aside from a couple of things, many of the comments made in my preview review of Sekirei’s first season can be made about this one. This review was done on a blu-ray copy of this season while my original review was of a DVD release, so while taking into account the ~two year difference in release dates the blu-ray made considerable improvements in my opinion but is still nothing to purchase a blu-ray player over. Character designs suit the individual character personalities and skills and while there is nothing unique about it the world building is solid. Where this series does shine however is with the action scenes and both fanservice and non-fanservice battles between girls are well animated and provide fast-paced and energetic action alongside good use of the characters individual skills for added effect.
In terms of music there is nothing all too special about it but comes with a moderate assortment of tracks and the occasional lyrical insert-song during battles, which may or may not be too your taste. The series opening sequence Hakuyoku no Seiyaku – Pure Engagement by Saori Hayami, Marina Inoue, Kana Hanazawa and Aya Endo is comparable to the upbeat tunes of the first season while the ending sequence Onnaji Kimochi by Saori Hayami, Marina Inoue, Kana Hanazawa and Aya Endo follows my rules about not delivering a bland ending sequence but features a very “swimwear” theme.
Funimation Entertainment provided a very solid English dub for the series, with Lydia Mackay and Colleen Clinkenbeard as Tsukiumi and Matsu once again providing the best roles – especially Mackay who provided vocals most suited to her character role and my own personal tastes in voice acting. Otherwise the quality was of a standard I was hoping for, so no complaints from me on this aspect.
The extra content included in this release have slightly improved over the previous season. As perhaps one of the biggest differences between the releases, they have chosen to include commentary tracks for the fifth and tenth episodes and provides interesting discussion between ADR manager Scott Safer, Joel McDonald, Leah Clark (Ep 5), Alexis Tipton and Jamie Marchi (Ep 10). This is of course recommended watching for only those who have watched the first two series completely. Additionally, they have included the usual assortment of extras including:
- The clean opening sequence
- Clean Ending Sequence
- Trailers for Funimation titles (I assume Madman titles in the DVD release)
Overall, I think it is of comparable quality to the first season although my own personal tastes may have shifted slightly from when I reviewed the first season. If you have watched season one or even enjoyed the manga series I think this might prove to be a worthwhile watch which will hopefully lead into further seasons down the track. A satisfactory although sometimes exaggerated mix of action and romance that makes for more casual watching.
Storyline / Character Development: B
Music/Voice Acting: B-
Extra Content: B
Personal Preference: B
Overall Score: B