OP: 「Abracada-Boo」by Ishihara Kaori
「 崖っぷち魔術師と封印されし厄災」 (Gakeppuchi Majutsushi to Fūin Sareshi Yakusai)
“The Desperate Magician and the Imprisoned Disaster”
Kinsou no Vermeil is a highly cultured anime that begs to question of what would happen if Waver Velvet accidentally summoned an erotic demon instead of Rider, and lived out a relatively chill academy life full of kisses and cuddles. It might not be for everyone, especially if you’re not big into ecchi or the relationship between the academy student Alto and the demon Vermeil. But if you’re going into this with ecchi comedy in mind, you will be more than pleased by what Kinsou no Vermeil has to offer.
IF I ONLY COULD MAKE A DEAL WITH VERMIL
It might not be the best show to watch in front of others, but it’s a fun show that understands that keeping the atmosphere light means not taking itself too seriously. It knows not to push itself into uncomfortable territory, which is quite impressive given that one of the concerns people had for the show was that it presents a younger boy being put upon by an older demon woman. Vermeil is very forward with her teasing of Alto, but in this first episode, there isn’t a point where you feel that either Vermeil is going too far or Alto is being victimized by the demon.
Alto’s never truly comfy with her forwardness, but he’s also a full-fledged character in that he is more willing to summon a demon as his familiar to get far in the academy than try to act like he’s above that level of desperation to make it ahead. I suppose it helps make Alto more relatable for him to be willing to work past his initial discomfort with Vermeil being flirty if it means not having to flush all of the studying and work he’s done down the toilet.
He also winds up getting adjusted to his new familiar’s eccentricities given that all it takes for him to get Vermeil to stop flirting is by transferring mana through kissing. Yes, unlike the Fate franchise (aside from some of the Kaleid Liner or Extra anime) where sex or drinking blood are the only efficient ways to regain mana, Kinsou no Vermeil is far kinder to Alto by allowing him the option of just leaving it at a kiss.
I think what saves the show is how its tone never leaves campy territory even when it’s putting in the effort to titillate viewers. Compared to ecchi anime where the world being perverted has creepy, unsettling implications on how women in that universe are valued, Kinsou no Vermeil knows full well that it’s diving into silly territory even at its most perverse.
The scene where Vermeil is given approval by Alto’s professor wound up being oddly funny, given that he not only initially thought Alto was trying to pass off a grown adult woman as his familiar, but he also discarding all of his shame by taking a little too long to verify Vermeil’s curse mark. The same laughs came when Vermeil successfully argued for her right to sit on Alto’s lap in class since all of the other familiars in class can sit on their masters’ laps, and the professor just quickly bends to her logic instead of telling her not to flirt with Alto in the middle of class.
It lends itself to how ridiculous the world of the show is, especially after having watched Jujutsu Kaisen and how compared to that universe turning Itadori into a failed experiment for having a demon familiar, Alto’s pact with a dangerous ancient demon like Vermeil is flippantly hand-waved as one possible outcome to summoning a familiar.
FIGHTING FIRE WITH WIND
One character who absolutely deserves a mountain of praise is Lilia, for being one of the only jealous childhood friends to be pretty hilarious on their own merits. Lilia’s first few minutes on-screen have her contemplating throwing a large rock at their professor if they kick Alto out of the academy. From that point forward, many of Lilia’s acts of rage or intense jealousy have a far humorous slant to them.
As much as she seethes over Vermeil for being allowed to flaunt her bond with Alto in the middle of class, there’s a part of her that has questionable motives of her own for precisely what she expects of him. The moment Vermeil opens the floor for Lilia to be rewarded with anything from Alto if she wins their fight, Lilia automatically gets caught up in her own lustful fantasies of the guy.
I think if there were going to be a suitable rival for Vermeil, it would’ve been mean-spirited if Lilia was a squeaky clean pushover, and didn’t share Vermeil’s equally perverse motives. It helps to make things less one-sided when Lilia is shown to be more than able to hold her own against Vermeil and allows her to do more than sulk or impotently lash out as other childhood friends have done before.
KISSING: THE ONLY THING FILTHIER THAN HAND-HOLDING
For me, the secret ingredient behind what made Kinsou no Vermeil resonate with me is how it manages to keep the tone fun and campy while presenting a very erotic story about a voluptuous demon woman who strips for the camera and playfully flirts with her less-than-enthused master.
While a lot of ecchi anime sometimes suck the joy out of their story by leaning too hard on more unsettling ways to deliver said ecchi, Kinsou no Vermeil never feels like it has to overstep any boundaries to give ecchi audiences what they’re looking for while also presenting a genuinely funny story that casually accepts the boldness that both Vermeil and Lilia bring to the table. I’m curious about where the story will go from here, what kinds of obstacles Alto will face while he has to micromanage both his overbearing familiar and his over-the-top friend, and what the full extent of Vermeil’s past might be.
ED: 「Mortal With You」by Mili