「 新学期と妖精の花」 (Shin Gakki to Yousei no Hana)
“The New Term and the Fairy Flower”
Kinsou no Vermeil’s second episode does well to double down on both its cheeky tone and tasteful eroticism. At the same time, it gives us a better glimpse of the kind of school life we can expect for Alto as he tries to reach the highest pinnacle he can as a mage while familiarizing himself with his new familiar.
What I appreciate about Kinsou no Vermeil at the moment is that it doesn’t aim to take itself seriously. Because of this, it isn’t nearly as concerned with trying to push boundaries or take its plot points too seriously; It just wants to show you a good time and give you a few chuckles as it glares over at Vermeil’s chest.
It’s a sensible kind of ecchi that knows that its biggest strength is how wacky and carefree its current tone is. There are small hints of danger with Alto brokering a strange contract with a demon, but aside from that, its aim is to be fluffy, airy cheesecake for the anime crowd. It might seem like a shallow experience as a result, but it’s the ideal ecchi if you want more conventional comedy that doesn’t stem entirely from the fanservice.
I find myself to be regularly surprised with how much I laughed at this show, and Episode 02 continues this trend. For example, the fight in the episode’s first half ended up being very funny because of how easy it was for Alto and Vermeil to get the upper hand.
All Alto had to do to put Rex and his friend at a disadvantage was sneak up on them mid-conversation and throw ice spikes at them. There’s also Rex’s unaddressed hacky predictability as he threatens to be creepy towards Vermeil minutes after she already joked about him wanting to get creepy with her. As if the defeat they faced against Alto wasn’t comically short, the last cherry on top was Lilia gloating as if she had done all the work. It gives you a good sense of the character dynamic that the trio has as they seem like the only three students that have a good grasp of what they should be working towards at the academy.
The introduction of Marx and Cheryl was also greatly appreciated because of how they wind up playing off of each other. Cheryl maintains as much supervision as she can on Marx because he revels in being the wild card who manages to keep some pep in his step no matter how many mistakes he makes.
I’m also loving the efforts that the show is making to give Alto more of a personality this time around. I was worried that he’d be a deadpan killjoy, but with how he behaves in this episode, he comes off as far more curious, if not a little more mischievous, than some of the flavorless protags that tend to pop up in ecchi.
Alto wound up being unintentionally hilarious with how he acts around Vermeil, how he’ll quickly drop all pretenses of looking or acting cool by fawning over her power, or cheekily asking her if she could give him the same boost he got from the Rex fight. I think the number of facial expressions he has does most of the heavy-lifting with how many times he tests the waters with what he could get away with before somebody notices. The lower-budget nature of the artwork makes it a little funnier to see Alto give Vermeil an off-model glare, smile, or cat grin.
I’m still waiting on the show to give Alto and Lilia more to work with since they’ve only been given split-second moments where they pull off something really funny out of nowhere. But I appreciate that they also gave Alto some grander motives as he ultimately wants to achieve a level of mastery of a Platinum Square mage. It keeps Vermeil heated and excited about having Alto as a partner. Still, it also does plenty of justice for Alto as he comes off like an odder, quirkier dude than he’d ordinarily get credit for.