OP: 「Seven Doors」 by ZAQ
「魔王候補と第三の選択」 (Maou Kouho to Daisan no Sentaku)
“Administer and Third Selection”
Finally, a magical-fantasy-action-harem anime with a calm, confident protagonist. The quirky, funny, and occasionally flirty haremettes are a big bonus too.
The Calm, Confident, Honest Pervert
I hesitate to call Kasuga Arata (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) a pervert. Perversion isn’t his overriding trait, like it is with Issei. Mostly what he is, is honest. All guys (and girls!) are perverts to a certain degree, unless they’re repressed, in which case the perversion is just buried under neurosis. What makes Arata different is that he’s calm and confident enough to make jokes and flirt. It starts with him not freaking out or apologizing in a panic when he groped his cousin and childhood friend, Kasuga Hijiri (Suwa Ayaka), but it extended throughout the episode. Him bantering back and forth with the playful ninja Kazama Levi (Sakura Ayane) was the first sign that this trait was here to say, but the long, open, and obvious look he gave the naked Kannazuki Arin (Uchida Aya) was perhaps the best. Most anime males would run away screaming instantly at seeing a naked girl, and even the good ones would act more like Madan no Ou to Vanadis’ Tigre, who turned away to be polite. It took Arin’s lack of screaming and deadpan “kyaa” to chase Arata away, and that was only because her reaction confused him. I think Arata is the kind of guy who likes to tease, if his reaction to busty tsundere Asami Lilith (Hara Yumi) is any indication.
But as I said, perversion is not Arata’s overriding trait. It’s a strong component, and that’s fine, but he’s definitely driven by more. That’s corroborated by his quick thinking in taking a third option (trope! And he even called it out himself. Or you might say, hung a lampshade on it…trope!), and how his private thoughts are dominated by more than lusting over hot girls. I don’t know if he loves Hijiri as a girl, but he definitely loves her as a person, or perhaps a family member, and getting her back (without it feeling like an unhealthy obsession) drives him. He’s driven, but balanced. I like what I see from Arata so far.
Quirky Haremettes, Irreverent Tone
But the male lead is only one part of the magical-fantasy-action-harem genre. (One part, the action, I can’t really speak to yet, since there wasn’t much this time. That’s okay, I’m sure it will come.) There’s also the girls, and I like them a LOT so far. Levi is the one that first struck me as different, because she entered the scene and immediately began playing around. Arin’s deadpan delivery is something I’ve seen before, but I like the flavor she exhibits—it’s not Rei Ayanami-style I’m-emotionally-cold-inside, she just doesn’t appear to care, and a judicious lack of giving a fuck is something I can get behind. Lilith-sensei seems to be the most typical so far, but she comes alive when Arata is around and she gets to be a flustered tsundere instead of the ice princess we’re told she is. That informed gap moe gives a little extra flavor to her character.
Mostly though, the quirky haremettes illustrate something I’m enjoying about this show so far—it’s irreverent tone. It let itself get serious during the first part when Arata’s whole life was falling apart, but it didn’t dwell or slide into angst. Hijiri is still alive, according to the grimoire (Kugimiya Rie) Hijiri left with Arata, so moping time is over before it really began. The story is taking itself seriously, but it’s also saying “Shit, let’s have some fun!” If director Nishikiori Hiroshi and his team at Seven Arcs can balance the tone correctly, this is going to be a fun show.
The Tragedy, the Intrigue
They put the end of the episode in a good place, because the most interesting thing (to me) that’s happening right now—other than waiting to see how awesome Arata will get, and how he’ll win over all the girls—is what’s the relation (if any) between Hijiri and Arin. As much as the reason for the Breakdown Phenomenon that caused Hijiri’s not-death should be intriguing, it’s not, because we weren’t given enough time to connect with Hijiri, so I only care about her disappearance in proportion to how much I have come (and will come) to like Arata. Which isn’t a criticism! That wasn’t meant to be a big tearjerker, so spending much more time on it than they did would have been a waste. But the reason why Hijiri and Arin look alike has my curiosity piqued, because it could lead to so many interesting things. Hijiri shares Arata’s surname of Kasuga, so I assume they’re first cousins, but she had that grimoire, and she looks like Arin. Maybe they’re not related after all? Maybe Hijiri is really related to Arin? Or maybe it’s all a big red herring ? (trope!) Whatever the case, they were wise to end on that note, because that has me interested.
Actually, I take that back—they were wise to end on Arata having forgotten his pants. That snapped the tone right back to irreverent, and made me laugh! I like a protagonist who forgets his pants, and isn’t bothered by it. That’s the kind of man all men should aspire to be.
Looking Ahead – Demon Lord Candidate Action
It looks like next episode will give us more of a taste of the action, and hopefully introduce us (and familiarize us with) more of the Trinity Seven. I can’t wait!
I haven’t decided whether I’m going to blog this yet, but it’s at the top of my list. You can expect at least one more post on the series, and then I’ll make a decision on whether I’ll continue coverage.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – A calm, confident harem lead takes the third option & lands himself at school with the powerful (& beautiful) Trinity Seven #trinity7 01
- They were smart for casting Matsuoka Yoshitsugu as Arata. He’s been one of my favorite comedic male seiyuu ever since Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, but he can do badass as well. And Hara Yumi as Lilith, who also voices Mari-nee? Yay! I want to hear more of her.
- Those were some odd oppai squeezing noises. Did her breasts just squeak?
- Another series with a powerful KugiRie character. I am not complaining!
- At first I thought the casting choice for the Headmaster (Miki Shinichiro) was odd. When I read the manga to preview this series, I wasn’t sure whether he was a guy or a woman, so casting Roy Mustang’s seiyuu seemed odd. The more I think about it though, the smarter it seems. Not only is there no confusion for anime viewers, his performance was good.
- Lilith-sensei is so adorable when she’s embarrassed. Tease her Arata, tease her more! No, wait—send me in coach! I’ll do it!
- Adaptation faithfulness: Good so far, from what I can tell. This covered I think two manga chapters, and I’m pretty sure everything made its way in with minimal changes or cuts. That’s the limit of what I can say though, because I stopped at the Arata-forgot-his-pants part because I didn’t want to spoil any more of the story for myself. From here on out we’ll find out together.
Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Rape fiction, Five movies on a plane, Remarkably lost, and What comes first: world, narrative, or characters?. Comments have been re-enabled.
ED: 「BEAUTIFUL≒SENTENCE」 by Magus Two (Hara Yumi & Uchida Aya)