Dream (Level 21)

Pupa will be the title of choice I'm covering for my second edition of Year End Garbage for Ani-Crap Review. I will plow through the short stinker tomorrow.
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Maken-Ki was a 12-episode harem comedy anime animated by AIC and aired on the Japanese AT-X network from October 5 to December 21 of 2011. The televised airing applied censorship to cover up the anime's more gratuitous fan service shots and nudity, which was later left uncensored for video release. The series is based on the ongoing shonen manga series written by Hiromitsu Takeda since April 20, 2007. The series was licensed for home video distribution by Funimation in 2012, who released the series in a Blu-Ray/ DVD combo set in November of last year. A second season of the series called Maken-Ki Two is currently airing this season on Japanese TV.

The Plot

She's wearing an itsy bitsy, teenie weenie, blue and white-striped bikini (that is way too small for her huge rack).
She's wearing an itsy bitsy, teenie weenie, blue and white-striped bikini (that is way too small for her huge rack).

Takeru Ohyama is enrolled at Tenbi Academy, a high school that recently converted into a co-ed school. Happy at the thought of being able to see plenty of pretty girls, Takeru is surprised to learn that Tenbi is a school for students possessing magical energy called Elements and wield weapons called Maken. He joins up with the school's Security Committee, where he becomes acquainted with several girls who become drawn to him for varying reasons.

Notable Characters (from left to right)

  • Takeru Ohyama- The male lead of the series. A first-year student at Tenbi Academy who is often at the center of predicaments with the school's female student body. He is fiercely protective of girls as he bared witness to the murder of his mother at his family's martial arts dojo when he was younger.
  • Haruko Amaya- A second-year student and childhood friend of Takeru. She harbors romantic feelings for the boy, yet gets jealous of the amount of attention he gets from other female members of the Security Committee. She wields a Maken called Murakumo, a sword that Haruko is incapable of completely unsheathing unless she is facing a powerful threat.
  • Kodama Himegami- A blonde second-year student who controls shikigami capable of using fire and lightning attacks. She initially thought that Takeru was an enemy, yet develops an interest in him and moves into his room.
  • Inaho Kushiya- A ditzy girl claiming to be Takeru's fiancee and made a childhood promise with, despite Takeru being forgetful of it.

Why It Sucks

Maken Ki is yet another recent anime offering in Japan whose sole purpose of existence is to objectify its female characters to its otaku fanbase with ample amounts of huge boobs, gratuitous panty shots, nudity and other perverted hijinks involving its female cast.

This series sure loves its gratuitous panty shots.
This series sure loves its gratuitous panty shots.

The typical character archetypes and tiresome cliches you can expect of anime like this are played up enough here with Takeru being your lecherous doormat of a male lead, Haruko his busty upperclassman/ childhood friend, Kodama the tsundere and Inaho the ditz. Also expect a good number of the typical situations that are played out in titles like this that are a cheap excuse to show off female skin like bath scenes, pool episodes, undressing and Takeru getting in enough compromising predicaments with members of the female student body.

The series also appeared to be following in the vein of erotic battle action titles like Ikki Tousen and Queen's Blade in that much of the cast are capable fighters with some type of superpower, as well as making an attempt at some kind of plot when an enemy group of Maken users make their presence felt in the second half of the series. The former failed to impress due to Maken-Ki's subpar animation. The latter is a mix of cliched and poorly written, being more focused on the antics involving Takeru and the female student body and ignorant of properly developing its plot and characters beyond shallow cliches and archetypes.

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