「数多ノ絆」 (Amata no Kizuna)
“Multitude of Bonds”
Now that Minaka’s new two-week rule is in effect, battles between the lesser known Sekirei and Ashikabi have become a nightly occurrence. What this translates to is new Sekirei being defeated just as quickly as they are introduced, just to advance the overall plot. While that probably comes off as a bit of disappointment in the predictability of the story, I honestly can’t say it’s a bad direction since it finally gives off a sense that there’s a twisted free-for-all battle royal involving 108 Sekirei going on. After all the talk about the Sekirei Project entering the next phase, it’s about time the battles became more of a regular thing. This of course includes Yukari and Shiina, who have spent god knows how many episodes wandering the streets in search of Kusano with nothing ever happening except a lot of groin stomping on Yukari’s part. I still remember eagerly waiting for the moment that Minato and Yukari will finally learn that they’re both Ashikabi back in season one, so throwing Yukari and Shiina in the mix is definitely a welcomed turn of events if it means there’s a chance they’ll be picked up by Matsu’s radar.
Incidentally, this marks the first time we’ve seen Shiina’s Death Garden ability in action on another Sekirei, which quite frankly seem overpowered since it’s more like a death touch that destroys living and nonliving matter alike. The victim of his demonstration was the giant hammer wielding No.84 Yashima (Hikasa Youko), who I’m actually relieved to see parted from her abusive Ashikabi, Tanigawa Junichi (Miyasaka Shunzou). Yashima may have been a masochist that enjoyed the mistreatment she was getting, but I for one didn’t enjoy watching her take it. Their relationship was definitely verging on spousal abuse levels, which Youko’s role in Seikon no Qwaser undoubtedly made her an easy candidate to play Yashima. Admittedly, I failed to recognize her voice during it all, suggesting that she’s still got some range she hasn’t used in any major roles just yet. It was noticeably different from the Akiyama Mio, Amakusa Shino, and Kumashiro Maya voices that she’s using in her other starring roles this season.
In any case, we also saw No.73 Namiji (Fujimura Ayumi) and her Ashikabi, Takano Kouji (Abe Atsushi), the first of which was another example of my ears not picking up a voice I normally would. After learning that it’s actually Ayumi, part of me couldn’t help but think that both her and Youko are pushing the innocent, soft-spoken voices to help contrast their often defiled ones in Seikon no Qwaser. For those watching Kaichou no Maid-sama, you can also think of Namiji and Kouji as Misaki and Hinata hitting it off, even though it’s unlikely that they’ll see too much more screen time. It’s been a long time coming, but Uzume’s subplot is finally being brought to the forefront in this sequel, overshadowing anything that may come from the lesser Sekirei. With Higa forcing her hand and her willing to try and take out Musubi and Tsukiumi for Chiho’s sake, Uzume looks almost sickeningly deranged at this point. I can’t really say there’s a lot of suspense regarding their upcoming battle next time, but I am curious to see what happens once Kazehana shows up as the one intent on stopping Uzume. Higa also contacted Seo for some reason, so there’s that aspect to look forward to as well.
On a character-related note, it was nice to see Tsukiumi relieved about Minato being her Ashikabi, after seeing the strange relationships between Junichi/Yashima and Yukari/Shiina. It probably gave her the motivation to win the mud wresting game for Minato’s affection like she did. Plot-wise, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a Norito used (kiss that powers up a Sekirei), so I’m left wondering what Minato can do if he locks lips with all six of his Sekirei one after another. At this point, he has twice the number of Sekirei as Natsuo’s Disciplinary Force, making him the undisputed powerhouse of Shintou Teito as far as I’m concerned.
Note: I will be covering the uncensored fan-service-filled episode zero that was included with the recently released first BD/DVD volume. Screen caps have already been taken, but I didn’t get around to writing a post for it last weekend.