OP: 「Sacred world」by RAISE A SUILEN
Ahh fall: new season, new shows, and lots of surprises. Case in point is one of fall’s first contenders in Assault Lily: Bouquet, because while this one seemed fully understood from the beginning, appearances have definitely proved deceiving once the real thing finally graced our screens. I’m not about to make any major predictions here, but this one has me firmly interested.
As the handy-dandy RC Preview highlights, Assault Lily is pretty much your textbook all-girl battle academy setting with an alien invasion flair. While notably an anime original (at least in terms of story), you’d be hard-pressed really differentiating Assault Lily from the likes of Battle Girl High School, Symphogear, or hell even a mecha musume-less Strike Witches. Our main girl Hitotsuyanagi Riri (Akao Hikaru) is about as vanilla as this story type’s leads go for example, bouncing between idealistic visions of saving the world and letting friendship win the day, while immediate friends Kaede (Izawa Mikako) and Shirai Yuyu (Natsuyoshi Yuuko) are effectively Riri’s yin and yang; while Kaede goes overly aggressive on relationship building, Yuyu is the reserved one who’ll wind up being a major focus of story events. As for everyone else, well, pretty much nameless faces for the moment, because you damn well know by now appearance and personality archetype are how you wind up remembering who’s who in these sorts of tales—although shout out to Futagawa Fumi (Nishimoto Rimi), because nothing says fun like enthusiastic geeky fun.
While derivative on the surface, the thing helping set Assault Lily apart from its compatriots is the meat on its bones. Take the animation for example; first episode or not, there’s some serious coin being flung at this series given how those battle scenes are looking, and that’s before noting how decent the panning shots and transitory scenes are in practice. Also is the choice of aesthetics. I doubt few have missed the aesthetic similarities between this and Madoka, with everything from environment to dress and even weapon style more or less emulating that franchise. Although easy to think this is just Shaft being Shaft and falling back on previous experience, I wouldn’t think that’s all there is to it in this case. Between the heavy teasing of girls’ love going on and the symbolism of lilies and likely deflowering there is bound to be plenty of psychological shenanigans going forward (remember Yuri Kuma Arashi anyone?), and when you factor in the formation of so-called Schutzengel—i.e. guardian angel—pacts as well it’s not difficult seeing this one head straight down into the rabbit hole.
Mind you it might not play out exactly this way (god knows we’ve been burned before), but I’m fairly confident Assault Lily has quite a bit under the hood still left to reveal. After all, it just wouldn’t be a show about magical girls without some significant suffering for spice now, would it?
ED: 「Edel Lilie」by Hitotsuyanagi Team