OP: 「Over The Testament」 by Metamorphose featuring Ishida Yoko
「あなたの為にできる事を」 (Anatanotameni Dekiru Koto o)
“What I Can Do For You”
Earlier indications are that this magical-fantasy-action-harem-ecchi anime might not go the way of IS2. It’s looking bigger, better, more action-packed, and yes, filled with ecchi from the start. Shinmai Maou no Testament BURST hits the ground running.
Scary Jin-san is Cool
I enjoyed the intro scene, if only because we don’t get enough of Basara’s father, Toujou Jin (Fujiwara Keiji). I feel like they did a relatively good job of sliding into this scene without weighing it down with exposition, but the truth is, I remembered Jin well enough that realizing he was going to fight instantly had me pumped. They’ve done a good job of building up his combat prowess, so seeing him go toe-to-toe with the current Demon Lord Leohart (Okitsu Kazuyuki) and both kick ass as well as struggle a bit both cemented his strength and built up that of Leohart. All in all, a nice little intro, and a reminder that this series isn’t all about the ecchi—though let’s be serious, that’s definitely still there.
Hitting the Ground Running
They did some reintroduction of the characters, and they did it quickly. Naruse Mio (Asai Ayaka) is a tsundere; Nonaka Yuki (Sarah Emi Bridcutt) is blunt; Naruse Maria (Fukuhara Kaori) is always pushing the ecchi; and Toujou Basara (Nakamura Yuuichi) is the tsukkomi for all. But mostly they expected us to remember who everybody is and what’s going on, which I kind of like. Granted, if you don’t remember what’s going on, or worse yet, are (for some reason) watching this would having seen the first season, you’ll probably be bewildered. But I liked the absence of forced reintroductions.
Better than that, they hit the ground running as far as plot. It looks like we’re finally going to find out more about the mysterious Hasegawa Chisato-sensei (Asakawa Yuu), and no one should be surprised that the feminine-looking boy has some kind of special power (too much thought went into his character design for him to be a background character). And the attack on Basara plus the arrival of Nonaka Kurumi (Nomizu Iori) (she’s tsundere and a siscon. Yahtzee!) heralds the plot we’re going to be dealing with.
If I have any complaints, it’s that Shinmai Maou no Testament continues its habit of being a touch lazy in presenting plot points. It’s okay to explain things in dialogue when someone doesn’t know what’s going on, such as when Kurumi didn’t know what was going on with the Master-Servant Pact (to her subsequent regret/pleasure), but I-assume-he’s-a-regular-human-sensei warning Basara about Hasegawa-sensei was weeeeeird. Similarly, Takigawa Yahiro ( Tomokazu) warning Mio and Yuki to get stronger was abrupt. And that bully? Gimme a break. It screams, “Here’s a bad guy to make Basara look like a hero!” when the kid tries to punch a girl in front of a teacher. Stupid. (Whether I’m talking about the bully character or that part of the script is up for you to decide.)
Oh Yes, It’s Still Ecchi. But What About the Other Feels?
Make no mistake, the ecchi remains. Ho-boy, it remains! And the censorship too, but I like that they at least imbue a little personality into it, instead of the ubiquitous white lines and steam of other shows. But what struck me was the very real familial emotions on display between Basara and Maria. It’s … an odd situation, granted, this makeshift family, but it’s clear that Basara loves them, or at least is taking his vow to protect them seriously. I usually don’t expect to get the warm-fuzzies in an ecchi series. Not that I’m complaining.
Though I do have one complaint: How could they fade to black in the implied Kurumi ecchi scene!? Okay, I’m partially kidding. The pacing was decent this episode, and putting that in would have wrecked it. Plus, imagination is often better than reality, even if their realities are pretty envious. But c’moooooon! Who doesn’t want to see the tsundere siscon get felt up by her Onee? (And Basara too, I guess.) Monsters, that’s who. And monsters don’t watch Shinmai Maou no Testament. Though they may be featured.
Looking Ahead – Bring On The Action-Ecchi!
Sequels can be a fraught affair. If the first iteration is good, how does the story raise the stakes to make the second iteration even better? And some, like Infinite Stratos, collapse under the weight of their earlier follies. You have to go bigger, better, and more badass, and so far at least, it looks like Shinmai Maou no Testament is set to do exactly that. I have no current plans to blog this weekly (I just picked up Utawarerumono, so my schedule is pretty full), but it ended up being further up on my hype list than I anticipated. What can I say? This series is a lot of fun.
*notices everyone staring at him, nodding in agreement and silently judging*
W-what? I keep telling you, I’m not the ecchi blogger! *tsuuuun* *turns his back and drools*
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – We’re diving right into the plot, as well as the PLOT. #shinmaimaou puts the ecchi in “Holy heck, boobs!”
- Mundane-sensei lecturing Basara about the fight, even in passing, was silly. Basara stopped the dude from punching a classmate and then dodged. Maybe get off your ass and stop the bully earlier next time, sensei?
- I’m pumped for Zest to reappear. I’m all for imoutos and classmates, but we need more onee-san STAT!
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel novella. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: The best content is in email, My morning routine, True Ends, and Rejection, the secret place, & fundamentals
ED: 「Temperature」 by Dual Flare