Maken-Ki! Episodes 1 and 2 – Worst of All Possible Worlds
When I got down to looking over the offerings for this fall season, there were three works in particular that I singled out as pathetic pieces of trash that wouldn’t even be worth one episode to watch through. Those series were C3, Mashiroiro Symphony, and Maken-Ki! As it happens, I was wrong about the first two; neither would qualify as high art, but C3 is far more effective in its drama and Mashiroiro Symphony is far less offensive in content than I was expecting.
By contrast, Maken-ki! was exactly what I was expecting: non-stop, unmitigated perversion. It’s pretty upfront about being as trashy as possible, such that I don’t even know if this review will do justice to how disgusting it is. To do that, I’d need to break my own personal rules about what was acceptable to include as a screen cap.
Takeru Ooyama, the show’s excuse for a protagonist, is transferring from an all boys’ middle school to a newly coed high school that was recently all female. He’s so eager to get into a female-heavy environment (and, also, generally stupid) that he fails to notice that the school is also a battle academy where all students regularly fight duels using “Maken,” which appear to be mystical weapons tied to the various elements.
If you’ve been following the other offerings this season, you’ll know that battle academies, a formerly all girls school becoming co-ed, and magical weapons have all been done before, and in fact are common tropes. What separates Maken-ki! from the other shows this season is that it’s fairly open that all these plot elements are just window-dressing, excuses for what the series really cares about: tits and ass.
Absurdly large breasted girls are hardly a rare thing in anime (again, there’s plenty of examples this season)—although few shows will show nipples poking through shirts, and this show is one of them. What Maken-ki! really values, however, are panties. This is a world where there is no magic skirt to be found, so undies will show during any battle. Or any gust of wind. Or anytime the “camera” is placed at knee height, which is pretty much always the case.
The oddest part to this is that the girls are not oblivious to this; at least two girls get seriously embarrassed and angry when Takeru obviously spots their panties. There’s not a Strike Witches-style excuse that everyone is unaware that all the women under the age of eighteen are prancing about with underwear showing; everyone here thinks it’s humiliating to be spotted exposed like that. Yet that cast is constantly maximizing the opportunities for exposure; I can’t think of a single scene in the show that doesn’t lead to someone flashing the camera.
In this, Takeru is right at home. It’s rare to find an anime protagonist as openly perverted as Takeru, and while he regularly gets beaten up for accidentally violating a girl with his eyes, he’s also quite willing to violate them deliberately. He happily sneaks out of class to peek on the girls having medical examinations (grading the girls rather ruthlessly with a fellow peeper) and regularly indulges in completely unrealistic fantasies about the joys of attending a school with girls.
I shouldn’t even need to explain how Takeru promptly finds himself sharing his dorm apartment with three ladies: jealous childhood friend-who-wishes-she-was-more Haruko Amaya, suddenly-appearing-childish-girl-who-claims-to-be-Takeru’s-fiancee Inaho Kushiya, and violent forced-by-destiny-to-be-a-rival Kodama Himegami. I also shouldn’t need to explain that none of those girls exceed their stereotypical roles in the slightest.
Exceeding anything is not very high on this show’s list of priorities. I should note that the animation is very well done, with what few battle sequences we’ve had so far offering plenty of eye candy … besides the obvious sort. But much of that skill in animation is just devoted to properly capturing bouncing bosoms and decking out the underwear with detailed lace patterns.
Look, if you want to watch an action heavy show with some panty shots and occasional nudity tossed in, there’s an option for you this season, called C3. At least there you’ll get some real hints of drama and genuinely innovative animation. If you want to see a show about a guy adjusting to life at a former all girl school, watch Mashiroiro Symphony. It’s not great, but at least it is willing to use that setting for more than a throwaway excuse to make sure the female cast is sufficiently oversized.
There is one reason, and one reason alone, to watch Maken-ki!, and that is to leer at 2D girls. If you are not a pervert, there is nothing this show offers that is not being done by some other show this season, and done better. In fact, Maken-ki! manages to take the worst elements of the other shows I thought I’d be trashing this season, and makes a finished product that is even more disgusting. How is that even possible?