SEKIREI ~Pure Engagement~ – 03
「風ノ答エ」 (Kaze no Irae)
“The Wind’s Response”
After the “Kazehana GET!” from Minato in the preview last time, it’s no surprise that he adds the Wind Sekirei to his collection this episode. What was a bit of surprise was how he won her over, by doing whatever he could to try and protect her. Compared to the first season when Minato was a bit clueless about the whole Sekirei Project and let the girls protect him, I think he’s come a fair way in terms of manning up in any situation, even when it involves the likes of Benitsubasa and Haihane. It’s still hard to see his attempts to protect his Sekirei as anything more than reckless and suicidal, but I can understand where he’s coming from after witnessing Musubi get “killed” before his very eyes during the bridge escape. It’s pretty safe to say that Minato’s not trying to be a hero nor does he even think he can win. He just doesn’t want to see his Sekirei getting hurt like he has nightmares about and would rather suffer in their place after realizing how painful that is. When I look at things from that perspective, it’s hard to see Minato as some “wimpy male lead”. For any series that’s harem-esque in nature like this one, where Minato currently has five of the most powerful Sekirei and one more on the way, it’s always nice to see that he isn’t a completely useless guy that’s undeserving of their affection. At some level, this is intended to be a love story after all, so moments where Minato can act cool and win over his Sekirei that way is always welcome in my eyes.
Production-wise, this series continues to look pretty impressive even during the quick fight sequences. It doesn’t look like any major shortcuts were taken for the characters’ faces during any of them, as they tend to be what suffer the most in such cases. Super-deformed character designs look like they’re being used more frequently to bring out the humor in a lot of scenes too, which is something I always enjoy seeing in any series. As for the humor itself, I don’t recall Haihane ever being this funny in the first season, but she’s turning out to be a hilarious manzai partner for Benitsubasa. From everything to worrying about recording her TV shows to getting drunk in a pile of sake that Minato tackled her into, watching Haihane repeatedly stab herself in the head turned out to be one of the funniest moments. I don’t recall ever hearing Saiga Mitsuki voice a drunk character either, but she sure made Haihane a lot of fun to watch here. I wasn’t expecting Minato’s mother Takami (Itou Miki) to be so funny as well, teasing Tsukiumi about calling her “Okaa-sama”, but that proved to be a nice change-up from the somewhat serious turn the story took in that scene. Seeing Tsukiumi in tears with Minato trying to restrain her amused me to no end.
In general, the jokes seem to be much more abundant in this sequel and make the series a lot more fun to watch because of them. They don’t seem to take away from the plot either, as the mysterious appearance of Yume in Musubi after her Sekirei crest was erased is finally being looked into. It helps that Minato’s mother has finally told him that she works for M.B.I as a researcher and not a pharmaceutical company like he’s always believed, since Musubi didn’t seem quite like herself when talking to Karasuba about how Benitsubasa and Haihane have been spurred on to fight her. She didn’t seem quite like Yume either, leaving me wondering exactly what’s up with Musubi. Apparently, Karasuba’s goal in all this is to try and make Musubi awaken as an even stronger Sekirei than Yume was. Yume was the leader of the second generation Disciplinary Force, so I can’t help but wonder if there’s something Karasuba wants to prove by defeating her as the current leader of the third generation one. The way she’s going around and taking out Sekirei indiscriminately with extremely severe wounds (a Level 4 severity rating out of 5) seems like her way of coping with her restlessness in the meantime.
In any case, it’ll be interesting to see if she’s really after a fight with Yume later one, while Kazehana distracts everyone with her “hadaka apron” (naked apron) appearance for now. Uzume hasn’t gotten a lot of focus just yet, but it looks like that’s going to change soon since she continues to get blackmailed with Chiho’s well-being. Dealing with the northern Sekirei such as Minato’s seems to be part of her orders and she has Kazehana in a bit of a precarious position at the moment, making for a good cliffhanger. Unfortunately, the preview ruins the suspense of it by showing Kazehane no worse for wear.