Ahh, all is well that ends well – because who doesn’t love a happy ending? While I’m kicking myself fiercely for predicting how Assault Lily would end (no Yuri being possessed by a Misuzu-corrupted enemy? What heresy is this?), damn do I love being wrong in this case. The Huge was, well, just a Huge, it let Yuyu and Riri and all the rest strut their stuff, and the final boss who wasn’t much of a boss helped fill in the remaining forbidden love blanks. All in all not that bad a conclusion for a relatively straightforward story, even if the only thing I can strongly recall is wholly unrelated to the actual episode events. No, no remorse at all – now onto those impressions!
I’ll be blunt: Assault Lily sucked. Maybe not the absolute garbage fire wish you never seen it sort of sucked, but the adjective is certainly appropriate. This was a show much like fellow season mate Sigururi which went in with a fairly interesting anime-original premise and the tools to build on it, yet gradually fell apart as it failed to capitalize on its strengths at time went by. In short, Assault Lily just didn’t delve deep enough.
Arguably the biggest hurdle which affected Assault Lily was its story and its narration. At its core this was a show emulating the deconstruction atmosphere of Madoka and its brethren, but without the follow through needed to actually sustain the concept. Key details like Yuyu’s dark past and present conflictions, the implicit sinister nature of Riri’s special ability, even what happens to wounded Lilies, all were (at best) superficially introduced and rarely elaborated on outside of their specific plot-relevant moments. Not helping either was Assault Lily’s inclination towards quickly forgetting about this information right after introducing it, leading to a sense of listlessness where one quickly came to the conclusion nothing was really important until the show later said it was. Case in point of this was Yuri, who in any other show would’ve been a major facet of development (in this instance for Riri), yet was barely elaborated on before (spoiler alert) meeting her demise. Assault Lily had plenty of great ideas resting under the hood, but whether from lack of time or failure to cut down on unnecessary material, it never succeeded in really giving any of them the proper time to shine.
What arguably impacted Assault Lily the most in this aspect too was its character quantity. This was a show which showcased a ridiculous number of girls, each being given screen time and introductions. Sure, most of these introductions were barely seconds long, but those seconds do add up, and when the main cast was anywhere from two to nine girls strong (depending on personal classification), names soon start blending together and all one remembers is specific character details – if that. In hindsight I strongly believe Assault Lily would’ve been better off slashing its cast immensely, featuring only a select number of girls and using its time to flesh them out further and keep them front and centre. This strategy may not have transformed Assault Lily into chart topping material, but it likely would’ve helped its story through focusing on the parts worth emphasizing and developing. Honestly anyone’s guess at such a change’s effectiveness, however there’s no denying Assault Lily needed to focus less on the horizon and more on the seafloor.
Overall while I’m unlikely to return to Assault Lily (outside of any sequel), the show does indicate that dark-tinged magical girl shows aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Assault Lily might not be the deconstruction (or even Nanoha-esque show) we’re looking for and I may be disappointed with how it turned turned out, but I did find Assault Lily fun for what it was. As the magical girl sendoff for a year full of chaotic carnage for everyone, I don’t think you can ask for more than that.