SEKIREI ~Pure Engagement~ – 01
「静ナル予兆」 (Shizu Naru Yochou)
“A Quiet Omen”
Today marks the start of the normal broadcast of the SEKIREI sequel, which had an early broadcast premiere almost three weeks ago like I mentioned before. As I was busy working on the Summer 2010 Preview at the time, I purposely held off for the cleaner screen captures that you see here. For the most part, this episode was a quick reintroduction to the series to help establish where things left off in the original adaptation two years ago. Those who need a quick refresher on top of what was covered in the episode can refer to my post about the original’s finale (…with detailed summary and all back when I used to write those). While helping us get re-accustomed to the Minato (Tachibana Shinnosuke) and his harem of Sekirei, this episode proved to be a fan-serviced-filled jump start to the series too. Oddly enough, the shower scene with Benitsubasa (Itou Shizuka) was censored in this normal broadcast (hence the screen capture from the pre-airing), whereas the bath scene with Musubi (Hayami Saori) was left untouched.
If I had to censor one of those two scenes, the latter would’ve made more sense given how much more revealing it is, but I was surprised that any scene went uncensored in either premiere. This is Tokyo MX after all, so I’m inclined to believe that this was only a bit of extra service left in for the premiere episode. As some people may recall, the same was done back in episode nine of the original run to give a taste of what the uncensored DVD releases had to offer, after which everything went back to being censored. Still, I’m not complaining when we get an early preview right off the bat, particularly with all the Benitsubasa fan-service involved. Despite being a Disciplinary Force Sekirei who’s kind of psychotic, she happens to be one of my favorite characters design-wise, simply because she’s a lot more proportional than the other big-busted girls.
Anyway, the start of the sequel caught my attention right away with the flashback scenes of the original Disciplinary Force, led by Miya (Oohara Sayaka). I was well aware that she’s Sekirei No.01, but seeing her as the leader of that group was a stark contrast to her landlord position at the Izumo guest house. What’s more, alongside her were No.02 Matsu (Endou Aya), No.03 Kazehana (Yukana), No.04 Karasuba (Paku Romi), and No.05 Mutsu (Matsubara Daisuke). Karasuba didn’t come as any surprise since she’s the leader of the third Disciplinary Force currently in deployment, but I wasn’t expecting several of the Sekirei hanging around Minato to be original members. Their single digit numbers indicate that they’re the cream of the crop Sekirei, but I wouldn’t have made the connection that they were in charge of disposing of runaway Sekirei. Their carefree personalities aren’t anything like Kurasaba’s nor Benitsubasa’s, though I guess the same could be said about Yume, who was the leader of the second Disciplinary Force. In any case, I’m curious as to what will come from Benitsubasa snooping around Izumo and checking up on Minato and the others. As we know now, he has pretty damn capable Sekirei around to deal with her.
When I watched this episode three weeks ago, what I enjoyed the most was just seeing all the characters together again. Kusano in particular proved to be adorable as ever, and I was pretty amused by how Hanazawa Kana brought out her jealousy in one scene. Then there’s Tsukiumi and her tsundere ways, who’s always fun to watch since she’s played by Inoue Marina. Aside from Minato’s Sekirei, I’m looking forward to seeing more of his sister Yukari (Asumi Kana) and her male Sekirei, Shiina (Ishizuka Sayori). However, amidst the fan-service that’s surely abound, what I’m most looking forward to in this sequel is some closure this “love story” as M.B.I. president Manaka Hiroto (Seki Toshihiko) likes to refer to it as. Seven Arcs look like they’ve upped the bar on the production of this sequel too, so it should be quite a treat visually (in more ways than one).
* Note: A Blu-ray box set of the original series was just released on June 30th, which Seven Arcs has been feverishly promoting.