Sekirei: Pure Engagement: Season 2
As a reviewer, I love talking about my expectations in every intro I do, but for Sekirei they were very slim, and basically I thought this was going to be a forgettable fan service anime. However the first season showed some pretty decent character development and good comedy that I was actually quite impressed with and its action scenes were decent as well. Now arrives the second season of Sekirei; do I continue to be impressed or has it lost its charm?
The sequel takes place not long after the first season ended. The MBI and its leader Hiroto continue with the second stage of the Sekirei plan, which continues to build up steam, since almost all of the Sekirei girls have emerged at this point. Still, Minato and his Sekirei have all recovered after the events of season one and continue to live normally at Izumo Inn. The first episode gives us a quick re-cap on the characters but it’s not long before trouble starts to build again for our main protagonists.
Sekirei – Pure Engagement is split into two major parts: the first is focused on the non-emerged Sekirei that Minato has a link to; this includes wind user No.3 Kazehana and the mysterious fire user No.6 Homura. Both are given a decent number of episodes to develop their characters and you learn more about them; of course, I’m thankful that this continues to be one of the big strengths of the series.
In the second part we get some much needed back-story about the Sekirei themselves and what Hiroto’s Sekirei plan is all about. We also see some rule changes to the game, which bring more Ashikabi and their Sekirei out to fight each other, resulting in some pain and consequences to the Ashikabi who lose.
Even in its sequel, Sekirei still sets itself apart from other harem romantic comedies by having some decent world-building, good action scenes, and drama that doesn’t feel forced. Sure, the fan service is turned up a notch with even more uncovered melons and undergarment shots in its more slice-of-life moments but when I hear the English dub point this out and take the mick in some of the more outrageous fan service moments, I appreciate that and it reminds me that I’m not supposed to take these parts too seriously.
When Sekirei does take itself seriously, it doesn’t feel forced at all; there is a small arc involving Uzume and Chiho that is very well done and almost heartfelt.
It still feels like a guilty pleasure show, which makes it hard for me to hate any of it. Nevertheless, the second season brings out some of the underlying flaws. Even with all the Sekirei getting ready to fight each other, the action scenes can be very underwhelming but it’s not because of the animation nor the drama.
Thus I bring up one of my problems with the second season: there is a lot of battle ‘retreating’ going on. When a three-minute fight occurs, all of a sudden they say that there’s a retreat order from other Ashikabi or they decide to leave on their own. This becomes a huge pain and it becomes a massive one in the last episode, which, frankly, leaves me disappointed.
Other Ashikabi (apart from Minato) are seen in one episode but do nothing but talk to their Sekirei. It’s not until a certain part of the story that they are needed, and once that’s done, it returns to them appearing in an episode in which they do nothing… but talk. It feels like unnecessary filler and I don’t really like it.
Which brings up my concern with Sekirei – Pure Engagement’s conclusion. It might be running out of steam at this point and while I did like this second season, any future ones might disappoint me more; I hope I’m proved wrong.
English and Japanese voice actors do a good job with their performances, both having their share of comedic moments.
The extras include an OVA called Two Gossip Topics, which is a prequel to the second season. The first half is called ‘Sekirei Diagnosis’ which is a shallow reason to show all the Sekirei in their underwear and the second part is ‘Sekirei Resort’ which gives another shallow reason to see our main characters in their swimsuits when they go to a hot spring. Very basic and boring OVAs in my view.
However there is an episode five and ten commentary that you can listen to, plus some Textless OP & ED if that interests you.
Sekirei – Pure Engagement disappointed me a bit but has enough positives that I would again recommend this – as long as you can stand the fan-service.