Off at some desert base, a group of covert operatives is unable to stop a girl with a katana. After killing most of the soldiers, the girl stops her massacre when she notices another girl named Yume arrive with a small child in her arms.
In Japan, Sahashi Minato is a guy who’s failed his university exams twice, and with his most recent failure, is considering returning home from Tokyo. On his way home after seeing the exam results however, a girl suddenly falls out of the sky on top of him. Minato is immediately attracted to her, but he’s barely able to say anything to her before she pushes him out of the way of an electrical blast. It turns out the girl is being targeted by two other girls in skimpy outfits, but instead of fighting, she runs away with Minato in tow. Minato later wakes up in his apartment and finds the girl sleeping next to him. Minato rushes outside in a hurry to let her change, where he’s reminded of how the girl apologized early for getting him involved and introduced herself as Musubi. She fainted soon after because she was hungry, so Minato had bought her some hamburgers and brought her home. Without a place to stay, Musubi had asked Minato if she can stay with him, to which he agreed, even though his landlord only allows single men to live there. Grateful to him, Musubi wished that someone like him could be her Ashikabi (葦牙) – someone she was born to guide to ascension.
After getting changed, Musubi is starving again, so Minato takes her out to eat and she single-handedly empties his wallet. While on the way to the bank, Minato runs into the two girls from earlier, Hikari and Hibiki, who start attacking Musubi again. Trying to protect her, Minato ends up carrying Musubi and running off, dodging electrical blasts all the way. Shortly afterwards, Musubi starts feeling hot and bothered after having Minato saved her, and eventually surprises him with a kiss. Doing so causes the symbol on Musubi’s back to light up, and she briefly sprouts wings of light. All of this convinces her that Minato is her Ashikabi, but Minato himself still has no idea what’s going on. Still under the attack of Hikari and Hibiki, Musubi now has the strength to chase them off and does just that. As the two attackers leave, they run into Homura, who questions why they’re fighting when they don’t have a master. Unappreciative of the guidance Homura is giving, the two girls express their disgust towards the guardian, before running off in fear of his attack. Shrugging off Musubi as a rookie, Hikari and Hibiki then decide that they can leave her be for now. As for Minato, he gives his jacket to Musubi to cover her up, after which she tells him that they’re Sekirei.
Back at his apartment, Minato calls his younger sister to see if she has some old clothes she doesn’t want, then lets Musubi cook dinner for him. Suddenly, the television turns on on its own and a man starts congratulating Minato for being chosen as Sekirei #88’s partner. This man, who Musubi recognizes as the professor, knows who Minato is and explains that he will be participating in a game called the Sekirei Project. Unable to refuse, they have to keep it a secret as well, because if word gets out, the person who leaked the information will get targeted by the forces of the MBI. Recalling that the MBI is a huge corporation, Minato realizes who he’s talking to, but doesn’t get any answers to his questions because the professor suddenly hangs up. A man in a black suit with a MBI pin then arrives at the door and freaks Minato out, but he simply drops off a box with more clothes for Musubi. With Minato distressed over what he’s just been burdened with, Musubi expresses her willingness to fight for him and to work with him to achieve their goal, which puts some of his worries to rest.
Minato’s landlord then shows up and sees Musubi there, so he kicks Minato out of the apartment. After failing to find another place at thirty different realtors, Minato gets depressed in the rain and questions Musubi why she chose a worthless person such as him to be her Ashikabi. While admiring the full moon, Musubi explains that it’s because she likes him for who he is and that he’s her special person. After kissing him again, she says that she can do anything he wishes for, and then drags him into the sky to bring him closer to the heavens. Meanwhile, professor Minaka Hiroto recites an old story to himself, but says how a legend has just begun, how being the single remaining Sekirei out of 108 will guide one to the heavens, and how this begins a miraculous love story.
「新屋の扉」 (Shin Oku no Tobira)
“Door to a New House”
So for the premiere episode, the fan-service basically pertained to Musubi’s oversized breasts and her being comfortable in the nude. While I’m not sure how much ecchi-er things will become later on, if it’s only going to be some ripped up clothes, censored panty shots, semi-bare breasts, and a Ashikaba-induced orgasm, I would say the level of ecchiness is akin to the anime adaptation of Tenjou Tenge. In other words, not that “bad” (read “inappropriate”) at all. Given how there’s a battle royale with a bunch of Sekirei fighters, I guess the comparison to Tenjou Tenge is also somewhat appropriate. The big distinguishing premise though are the Ashikiba (葦牙), which makes the Sekirei battle royale more along the lines of Fate/stay night‘s Holy Grail War (including the reward). With that said, I enjoyed Fate/stay night, but Tenjou Tenge, not so much. In the latter case, it was pretty much because it followed the manga almost completely and concluded absolutely nothing at all (even after two OVAs). As for which route the anime adaptation of Sekirei will follow (e.g. the manga to no concrete end or an anime original conclusion), I would say that having some sort of closure is definitely better than none at all.
As evident by the screenshots, the anime wasn’t produced in high definition, but looks good enough for the most part. (I’m not sure if another station will be airing an HD version later on though, but there appears to be upscale
HD releases now.) Animation production is done by Seven Arcs, whose work includes the Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha franchise and Inukami!. While I can’t speak much about Nanoha as I’ve yet to watch that series in its entirety, it seems like Seven Arcs has experience in the ecchi department with Inukami under their belt.
As for the biggest appeal of this series (for those unfamiliar with the manga), it’s definitely the ridiculously talented group of seiyuus they’ve casted. Tachibana Shinnosuke plays our male protagonist, who’s relatively new, but made his mark last fall starring in Myself; Yourself as Hidaka Sana. In fact, Minato sounds exactly like Sana, which gave me flashbacks of troubled kids slitting their own wrists and spousal arguments over bastard children, which lead to murder and suicide. *Shudder* As for Musubi, she’s played by the up and coming Hayami Saori, who’s somewhat made a name for herself playing Kou in Wagaya no Oinari-sama and singing the ending song for that series as well. Musubi is very unlike the quiet, naive Kou though, so this was actually the first time I heard her use a noticeably different voice, which (I find) works well for the leading heroine in SEKIREI. Aside from those two, we also saw the likes of Paku Romi (Edward Elric in Full Metal Alchemist), Seki Toshihiko (Rau Le Creuset in Gundam SEED), Neya Michiko (Melissa Mao in Full Metal Panic!), and Itou Miki (Shigure Asa in SHUFFLE!) this episode, but Inoue Marina (Yoko in Gurren Lagann), Hanazawa Kana (Kajiwara Sora in Sketchbook ~full color’S~), and Endou Aya (Sheryl Nome in Macross Frontier) are just around the corner as the other main female leads.
A quick check on the Sekirei Japanese Wikipedia page also revealed that Fukuyama Jun (Lelouch Lamperouge in CODE GEASS), Yukana (C.C. in CODE GEASS), Oohara Sayaka (Milly Ashford in CODE GEASS), Nabatame Hitomi (Suou Mikoto in School Rumble), Konishi Katsuyuki (Kamina in Gurren Lagann), and Kobayashi Yuu (Kimura Kaere in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei) have also been cast. In a sense, it’s like a seiyuu otaku’s fantasy come true to have this much talent in one show. The anime universe might implode at this rate… >_>
As for the opening song, it’s sung by the four main girls and sounds pretty good. I know Hayami Saori and Inoue Marina can sing from their current/recent performances in Wagaya no Oinari-sama and Minami-ke respectively, plus Hanazawa Kana and Endou Aya just have pleasant voices to listen to, so you can’t really go wrong with these four. There was no ending sequence this week though, as the episode ran right through the credits.
Given the above (plus my empty Wednesdays), Sekirei is a series I plan to follow unless something horrid turns me away (which is very unlikely). For now though, I just hope that it turns out less like Tenjou Tenge did and more like how Fate/stay night did.
– Sahashi Minato (佐橋 皆人) / Tachibana Shinnosuke (立花 慎之介)
– Musubi (結) / Hayami Saori (早見 沙織)
– Karasuba (鴉羽) / Paku Romi (朴 璐美)
– Homura (焔) / Kaida Yuki (甲斐田 ゆき)
– Hikari (光) / Kaida Yuuko (甲斐田 裕子)
– Hibiki (響) / Neya Michiko (根谷 美智子)
– Sahashi Yukari (佐橋 ユカリ) / Asumi Kana (阿澄 佳奈)
– Minaka Hiroto (御中 広人) / Seki Toshihiko (関 俊彦)
– Minato’s mother (皆人の母) / Itou Miki (伊藤 美紀)
– Landlord (大家) / Misono Yukihiro (御園 行洋)
– Real estate agent (不動産屋) / Shinomiya Gou (四宮 豪)
– Covert Op A (工作員A) /
– Covert Op B (工作員B) / Oohara Takashi (大原 崇)
– Covert Op C (工作員C) / Densaka Tsutomu (伝坂 勉)