Reviews of yesteryear- Sekirei: Pure Engagement

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 that actually need addressed. 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. 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 hormonal straight dudes 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 and the first season’s “there can be only one, but this entire group will work together.”

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 semi-decent and less that are thinly veiled excuses to strip the female characters. The fan-service is still at a ridiculously high level, however, and the fight scenes still aren’t good.

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. Unfortunately, it seems to be largely there for the “lesbians are hot” crowd.

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 scenes 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 and it wouldn’t even be recognisable as the same series. Final rating, 3/10. There’s the last review of yesteryear. I’ll do something else next weekend. 

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