The second stage of the battle royale known as the Sekirei Plan is underway. Tokyo has been closed off; no Sekirei or Ashikabi may leave. Minato Sahashi and his harem of Sekirei must now prepare to fight new battles as changes to the rules are put into place. However, not all groups will return to the battle: some Sekirei are loved very much by their Ashikabi partners, who would rather forfeit the prize than see them perish.
In the midst of the action, someone close to Minato may be more involved than he had ever imagined, and threats lurk around every corner. There are even rumors that the "Single Numbers," the most powerful type of Sekirei, have entered the fray. In the eyes of the "Game Master" Minaka Hiroto, everything is proceeding according to plan.
Fanboys rejoice as the second season of Sekirei(a.k.a Pimpamon) is now out and I must admit, the direction to which this series is headed can only get better as the "game" mentioned last season, is finally starting to unravel.
Story - 7
For those who had followed the series back in 2008, Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~ is a continuation as Sahashi Minato endeavors to 'catch' as many girls as he can to add to his harem collection. For those that haven't seen the first season, I strongly suggest watching the series or else SPE will not make any sense to you(nor this review).
Plot-wise; with the final Sekirei
being 'winged' in this season, SPE now delves into the Sekirei game which is the main focus to which Minato and others like him must compete in.
I must admit I've started to enjoy this series as the cast who had seemed like your average clichéd characters last season now seem to have some purpose for a plot to develop as a whole. Of course that doesn't mean the show has lost its other harem/ecchi clichés like your accidental 'oops, I tripped and fell on your breast' gag, but what it does mean is that this series no longer has to rely on its fan-service to keep us from seeing how good this show can be...and it is. Whilst the idea of collecting women as battle figures like you would Pokemon may not be to everyone's preference, it's a gimmick that's aimed at a certain crowd and being part of that crowd, I think it's just pure genius!
Art - 7
Art for Sekirei is always a crowd-pleaser specially in the male department. As a fan of ecchi and hentai material, the creator has made sure that all the leading ladies with D-cups and above, are captured in every angle possible for the service fans had anticipated since first season. In term's of animation I believe SPE has improved, and one episode of noteworthy is a particular Sekirei's 'winging', which I have to say was beautifully animated compared to the previous seasons Sekirei's.
Sound - 7
The OP "Hakuyoku no Seiyaku PE" sung by the leading ladies of the series gives a feeling of nostalgia of 2 years ago as it's in the same rhythm, as well as the ED "Onnaji Kimochi". Also as a guy who doesn't like change when it comes to sequels or spin-offs, I was pleased to find that Seven Arcs studio had kept the original seiyuus to lend their voices for the cast of its sequel(especially since I'm a big fan of Yukana).
Character - 5
Unfortunately not much has changed in regards to character development as Minato(uninspiring as he is), is still clueless to his actual surroundings. Whilst there are moments when you think he might actually shine when he stands up for one of his cast, it just doesn't outweigh how indecisive a male lead he can be.
Minato aside, the supporting cast is what saves the show as we're shown Minato's harem increased, who have likable personalities that correspond with the original girls, and which one of them pretty much provides the comedy and humor for the series.
One thing I did like about the sequel so far was the opening of episode one where we are shown a flashback of Miya(caretaker of Izumo Inn to which Minato boards) when she was part of the first Sekirei strike team. The two and a half minutes of pure demolition from her and her team, makes any Sekirei fan realize again just how "bad ass" she was. I can only assume that we will be seeing more of these flashbacks in future series as we discover how the Sekirei came to be.
Enjoyment - 7
As a guy who's not usually into harems(especially if it's an action where the male lead is useless), Sekirei is an anime I didn't mind watching and have found to be amusing since last season. Whilst it's not an FMA: Brotherhood or (insert your No.1 anime here), what it does deliver is pure fan-service with comedy and action. If anything, I believe this season may have raised my amusement up a notch opposed to the 6 I had given it back in 2008 and hopefully it get's better in future.(fingers crossed)
OverAll - 7
As I mentioned Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~ is not everyone's cup of tea, and for those looking for twists and/or a riveting story, this anime will not provide it. But if your into harems mixed with action an 'over the top' fan-service, and if you found the first season enjoyable, then Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~ is definitely an anime to pass your time with.
Sekirei: Pure Engagement--as the Second Season of Sekirei, this season seems to be the shift from just boobies to actual story line and theme.
Story - 9
The animators took the liberty to adjust some of the storyline to their own liking...fortunately and unfortunately, while it does not completely follow the manga's plot, I would say it actually brings out the theme of love and unity instead of just plain old boobies.
There are parts that even have you crying/tearing up/getting angry, as they also bring out the cruelties of life (not to a mature extreme) and lets just say, much sacrifice was made...(both on the part of
the manga, and of the sekirei).
Art - 8
The art actually improved from Season 1 and began to look more like the OG Author's actual drawings. Alot of the mistakes that were in Season one were Rectified. Good work! Still, obviously not the best, so only 8 points.
Sound - 7
The OP/ED themes are somewhat lacking, although cute.
If you're looking for an anime that will inspire you with breathtaking sound effects and soundtracks, this is not the anime for you. The soundtracks in Season 2 DO fit with the story and theme, but there could have been better choices in my opinion. (Although this could be me, as I am a musician who writes his own music...and plays 7 instruments...but back to the anime..)
Character - 9
Character development is EXCELLENT. By the end of this season, there is little chance for one not to have selected a favorite character...
I do dislike the fact that the animators seemed to favor Musubi (for example, in the main plot Tsukiumi had her own share of "kills," but in the second season Tsukiumi doesn't have kills, she gets "assists.") and thus it seems like Musubi and Minato become a "Predetermined" couple.
Which is annoying. I personally love Tsundere characters (my own view at any rate) and Tsukiumi was really well developed into that role.
At first sight, Kazehana appears as a typical drunk, but the animators did her a good turn by utilizing an episode entirely on her to better display the theme of love.
Pretty much all of Minato's Sekirei change by the end of the second season.
Maybe not Kusano and Matsu, but all of them tend to change and develop nicely.
Enjoyment - 9
Personally I enjoyed this season more than I enjoyed the first.
Again, personal preference so this should really not matter.I did like that this had a little less boobies and more story. (Although there was still plenty of boobies!)
Overall - 9
What can I say? The animators did the OG Author a good favor by doing it their own way.
If you are looking for some ecchi anime, and haven't watched the first season, watch the first season.
For those of you who prefer story, I would advise Shakugan no Shana instead, although this is not to bad overall.
Sekirei was rubbish. It was a vile, misogynistic series without a single interesting character to be found and a crap story. Pure Engagement will probably be more of the same. Really, the only way this could potentially be fixed would be if they a) replaced the entire cast or b)forgot about the stupid fighting and fan-service scenes and used the time to develop the characters and actually elevate them beyond a single dimension. Let's see if that happens.
I briefly considered just copying and pasting the first series review and making some minor changes, but I decided against it because it would be inexcusably lazy. Plus,
there are some differences. Pure Engagement picks up where the first series left off. The characters are twits, they're in a super-powered battle to be the last Sekirei standing. Pure Engagement lives up to its name, assuming you're using engagement in the "battle" sense. Any other usage of engagement would not be suitable. The first series mostly focused on the harem elements. This one focuses more on action sequences, although the harem elements are still there and they're still patently obnoxious and horribly misogynistic. The comedic elements mostly fail in this one, just as they did in the first series. It has two funny scenes and a lot that try but fail to be funny. This series does do better with the story aspects, however. And there's one reason for that. It has some scenes that border on decent. It doesn't have a lot, but there is some real effort put into the scenes with Chiho and Uzume. It's almost like taking time to explore the bonds between characters with some level of depth, small as it is in this series, leads to better scenes than cardboard stereotypes fighting over a typical protagonist to give the sexist twits in the audience some wish fulfillment. Still, these scenes make up a very small percentage of the series. The ending is a bit better, but it's still largely a pandering, typical happy ending. The treatment of the female characters remains largely abhorrent with them being heavily objectified. the plot remains replete with stupidity. Including the first season's "this is a secret, but we'll just do it in the open where anyone could easily see it" nonsense.
The characters remain one-dimensional stereotypes, most of which act nothing like real people since they're designed to pander to fetishes (or to fill a cliche role in the case of the male characters) rather than to actually be, well, characters. The closest you get to developed characters are Chiho and Uzume in those bordering on decent scenes and even then they're closer to the archetypal "hot lesbian couple" you see in some media, the type that uses sexuality as a fetish, than developed characters.
The artwork is a bit better than it was in the first series. Mainly because they do cut back on the absurd fan-service a bit. As a result you get more fight sequences that are actually decent and less that are thinly veiled excuses to strip the female characters. The fan-service is still at a ridiculously high level, however.
Like the first, this one doesn't have good voice acting. the closest you get are Nabatame Hitomi and Ishizuka Sayori in those few scenes that border on decent. Even then they're just average. The music is pretty sub-par.
The yuri factor is a 6/10. This one has more yuri moments than the first even moving from just having some homoerotic moments to a canonical relationship.
So, how was Pure Engagement? It's a slight improvement over the first series. Overall it has the same massive problems, but it does manage some almost decent scene and some of the problems are diminished. It's still largely typical harem nonsense. Just with a bit more mindless action. I really can't recommend sitting through the first or even just the second series for those few almost decent scenes. So, how could this have been done well? If the seven twits had just not been there, the focus had been on a small number of characters, their relationships and personalities had actually had time to develop, the fan-service had been eliminated or, at least, severely reduced and the objectifying aspect of the premise had been eliminated this might have been a good series. So, virtually everything would have to be different. Final rating, 3/10. And the next review request I have is... Isekai no Seikishi Monogatari. So, expect that review next week.
Wow. Color me impressed. After the first season of Sekirei, I didn't really have high hopes for Pure Engagement, in fact, I nearly skipped it all together. Thankfully, I decided against that. While the core elements that were featured in the first season are still present and in full force again, the vast improvements to just about every flaw the show had bring this series up from the forgetable, campy, and cliche harem show it was after season one to a thuroughly enjoyable show. And with that, let's get right into things.
Pure engagement basically picks up where the first season ended, and the plot remains
unchanged. Minato and his corp of buxom female warriors are still participating in the Sekirei Plan. Personally, I liked the whole idea to begin with so seeing things were unchanged was nice if you ask me. Despite that fact, Pure Engagement does a much better job with the plot by adding in three twists to it that do an unbelievably good job of keeping things fresh and interesting. The first addition is the introduction of two new Sekerei to Minato's posse. The new members are a bit obvious, but what is impressive about them is the amount of work was put into them as opposed to the other members of the group; I'll go into more detail in the characters section though.
The next twist is a sudden change in the rules of the game about a quarter way into the season. Basically, Minaka declares that any Ashikabi who doesn't have a win under their belt will be forcibly eliminated from the game and their Sekirei will cease to function. This was a brilliant alteration to the plot for two critical reasons; first of which is it's enabling battles to finally be pushed to the forefront. One of the few things that I actually liked about the first season were the battles between the Sekirei. They were surprisingly well done and the unique powers each of them posessed made them pretty interesting to watch, but there simply wasnt enough in the first season. Not the case this time around. Due to this new implementation, the many Ashikabi that have been trying to avoid participating in the game are now forced to play if they want to continue living with their partnered Sekirei. Thanks to this, not only do we see more fights in general, but we also get to see quite a few new Sekirei abilities. Admittedly, we only see most briefly, but it does a more than good job of keeping things new.
Secondly, the rule also brings about a little bit more of a focus on monogamous relationships as it seems the majority of other Ashikabi only have one Sekirei, and since the majority of these new players have been hiding in order to not lose their partners, it's obvious these newbies are in love with their Sekrei. Thankfully, the show actually embraces this fact, and it's stated more than a few times that this is the case. The result is Minato and the gang fighting for a much greater purpose; to protect the Ashikabi and Sekirei who have grown to love each other. In turn, fights have much more importance now that we know the sad truth to why they must battle. Thanks to all this, we also are given a reason to truly hate Minaka and finally see him as the villain he is meant to be. It's all done extremely well and gets quite emotional a few times; it's really some decently powerful stuff.
The third event I'm not going to go too far into since it's essentially the ending. Suffice to say, like the change in the games rules, this final event is extremely well done as well. My issue with the first seasons ending was that it really didnt feel like an ending event for the most part, it was more like a mid-season plot arc than anything else, and didn't even really have a whole lot to do with Minato and company. Not the case this season. This time, not only is it about the main group, their actually sort of turned into targets. Once again, it enables a greater focus on fighting, and some of the best battles of the entire series occur during this time.
Now let's talk about characters. Once again, this area has also been improved upon, though not as greatly as the story was. The problem is that the original members we met in season one aren't really touched up on enough, and generally remain about as generic as they were in the beginning. That's not to say there weren't any improvements on them at all. In fact, I'll even go so far as to say that "nerdy boobs" and "the loli" that I mentioned in my review of the first season will get promoted to finally being decent characters and grace them the privelage of being called their names, Matsu and Kusano, respectively. Where Matsu was little more than a creepy computer geek who bafflingly wanted to grope every other female in her proximity, this season she becomes a rather powerful, quite brilliant tech wiz. To get who she is in this season, think Oracle from Batman. We also learn a lot about her past in this season as well as her number in the Sekirei "ladder" which, I won't lie, actually took me by surprise.
As for Kusano, she has changed quite a bit more. First season she rarely talked at all, instead communicating with an anoying set of squeeks and chirps in tandem with equally annoying generic anime facial expressions. Now, all I can say is she's freaking adorable. That's largely due to her spot on vo work...well at least as far as the English dub's Tia Ballard is concerned; she seriously nailed it this time around. As per usual, I don't watch subs, so I have no clue how her Japanese vo is, sorry. Also, the show thankfully makes her relationship with Minato normal, making sure to point out that she sees him as a brother as opposed to a romantic interest. On top of all that, she plays a much greater role as a character towards the second half of the show, and actually turns out being instrumental during the final two major story arcs.
As for the two new members of the crew, I really don't want to reveal too much about them, as they are extremely interesting. Most who watched the first season likely know who the two are already, but for those who don't I'll keep it a surprise. I do want to say though, the work done in terms of their backstory and character development is extremely well done. Both of them we discover are very prominent figures in regards to MBI and the game in general and both are quite powerful for very special reasons.
As for the art, it's similar to last seasons, but I will admit that I felt it was improved upon at least a bit. Character designs are far more consistent this season with the girls looking to be somewhere between relatively normally proportioned (once again, aside from their rack) and "Barbie Doll" unnatural. So, yeah, they look like what you'd expect when you hear "hot anime girl". As far as the environments and such go, they too seem to have received some extra TLC this time around. Overall, it's still a pretty well animated show.
Oh. Yeah; their tits still look surprisingly good too.
Sound is once again a weak link, though this time I'd say its the weakest. For the most part music is forgettable, though once again, the op is very well done sounding even more epic than the original, which is nice as it mirrors my feelings for this season as a whole. For the most part, the vo is of the same quality as last season, with the sole exception of Kusano's Tia Ballard, who really stepped up her game this go around. The usual ending theme is kind of "meh", as are the unique ones that play after significant plot arcs conclude.
Now, before I end this review I want to touch briefly on the comedy this season. Anyone who read my review of the first season may realize I never once mentioned it. That was for a good reason; it was straight up awful. So much so that it was hardly worth mentioning. Filled with far to many recurrent ecchi humor gags and feeble attempts at generic harem jokes, it was just terrible. Thankfully a lesson was learned and this season is actually quite funny with more than a few laugh-out-loud moments. It does still have a few moments where it falls back on those over used gimmicks, but this time you'll only see them happen once or twice and their done for good.
So if you watched the first season and were trying to figure out if Pure Engagement is even worth your time, I'll say yes, it most certainly is. Give it a shot, and I can almost promise you you'll be surprised at how much better its gotten. The season ends with almost a promise that we'll be getting a third season (no idea if that's still really the case or not but...); and this time I'm actually pretty excited to see it. Very well done. Very well done, indeed.