We're sampling all the new pilots this Winter. Check out our thoughts on...
- JOJO'S - BATTLE IN EGYPT ** ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM ** DEATH PARADE
- MARIA THE VIRGIN WITCH ** YATTERMAN NIGHT ** THE ROLLING GIRLS
- THE TESTAMENT OF SISTER NEW DEVIL ** THE IDOLM@STER ** KANTAI COLLECTION
Absolute Duo is a show about a high-school student named Kokonoe Tooru who is looking forward to his first day at a special school called Kouryou Academy. What’s so special about this school? It’s a training ground for students who have been injected with a drug called “Luciful” which allows them to harness the power of their souls and transform the spiritual energy into weapons (called “Blazes”) that can be used to fight opponents, defeat enemies, and protect the realm.
Tooru becomes distressed however when the chairman of the school board, Tsukumo Sakuya (who appears to be a 10 year old goth-girl…because it’s one of those kinds of anime) announces that Kouryou Academy has decided to welcome the incoming class by throwing a glorious Battle Royale and forcing all the students to divide into teams of two and fight each other, with the losers being permanently expelled from the school.
Tooru manages to emerge as one of the victors of this (extremely pointless, school-property destroying, human-resource-wasting) fight, and because of this he is deemed worthy to advance to one of the school’s regular classes. There, his homeroom teacher (who wears a French-maid outfit, high-heels, and rabbit ears like a playboy bunny…because it’s one of those kinds of anime) tells the students that in order to prepare them for the work they’ll be doing when they graduate (fighting enemies in two-man teams) each member of the class will now be assigned a partner whom they must learn to work with as part of a Duo. (Get it?)
Tooru is assigned to work with, and sleep in the same room with, the most beautiful girl in the school: A quiet and mysterious silver-haired girl named Julie Sigtuna. At first, Tooru interprets Julie’s silence as a sign that she dislikes him.
But later that evening, when Julie reveals that she feels comfortable enough around Tooru to have a warm heart-to-heart talk with him about…the fact that his name sounds kind of like “Thor” the god of thunder, and then fall asleep in his lap (wearing a loose button-down shirt and no pants…because it’s one of those kind of anime) a deep and powerful truth comes to light: 22 minutes have elapsed, which means the episode is over and it’s time to roll credits.
What can I say about “Absolute Duo” episode 1? As shameless fanservice anime go, I wouldn’t say this is the worst one I’ve seen. I don’t know if I’d necessarily even rank it in my bottom 10. There was nothing in this show that really…offended me or upset me on a visceral level or anything. In fact, there wasn’t anything here that really provoked a strong emotional reaction (positive or negative) of any kind in me. Everything here just felt very…average. The story felt like the kind of story I’d seen countless times before. The characters felt like characters I’d seen countless times before. Nothing really leapt out at me, or struck me as particularly gripping or fun or original. For that reason, if you’re looking for new anime to watch this season, Absolute Duo is far from the worst thing out there, but it’s also far from the best. And it is my personal opinion that there are several series out there which are far more worthy of your time.
Watch this pilot and decide for yourself.
Kaita Mpambara works every day to try and create shows, stories, and characters that are as exciting, energizing, and entertaining as the very best works that have been given to the world by both the western and eastern animation industries. Keep up with his musings on life, the universe and everything by following him on Facebook.