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Maken-Ki! Battle Venus Episode #02 Anime Review

4 min read

As if the first day of school wasn’t bad enough…

What They Say:
Girls Are Amazing

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Against my better judgment, I rather enjoyed the first episode of Maken-Ki as it essentially did what many shows do but felt like it had a flavor of something from the 90’s. Part of it comes from the animation studio AIC in how they handle things, but it hit traditional harem style material with a bit of charm that was ultimately fun. Mixing in the whole battle aspect isn’t a surprise but bringing in the magic made for some fun, especially as our lead character of Takeru had no clue what Tenbi Academy was all about. The shock of it all certainly got to him and we got to enjoy it from his point of view. Of course, the guy is the type of lead that will invariably get himself into trouble and that happens right from the start of the second episode after he catches Kodama in just her panties in the bathroom. If there’s one thing to be said about the evolution of anime, it’s that we get very detailed and pretty panties these days.

With the opening ceremony and basic introductions out of the way, Maken-Ki gets to doing moer within the school, such as getting us to know the teachers a bit, which includes the phys ed teacher who doesn’t know how to zip up her overly bountiful track suit. The school has a very good look to it, very well detailed in places and the teachers are basic at the moment but could be fun stereotypes, especially as one of the first things that the kids have to do at school is to have a physical. It’s almost Urusei Yatsura reminiscent as Takeru and a new friend move quickly to a location to give them a great view, but it also goes in scary directions with some of the girls (some, not all thankfully) having chests that make you blink. It’s a huge fanservice fest and try as I might to not enjoy it, it can’t be helped.

One the plus side, you know the guys are going to get beaten senseless because of what they’re doing and that Kodama is going to be involved. It does lead to more of a clearer picture when it comes to Takeru though as she brings up the mark she saw on him, which in turn leads to a discussion elsewhere amongst the teachers about the fact that he has no Maken of his own, which makes his admission in the school more difficult. When the bring Takeru into the conversation with the other girls about the inability to get a read on him, it shows just how dangerous it can be for him at the school because of the way battles can break out. It also highlights the utter lack of research he did, but that feels misplaced since he got in without having any abilities at all (at least that we know of yet). He does have a reason for being there though which does explain it, but it’s part of that whole larger mystery angle that while may be obvious to some degree, is played in a traditional manner here.

In Summary:
The vibe that I was getting in the first episode, reminiscent of a number of 90’s AIC series, is still prevalent here as it introduces a few more characters of the adult persuasion and hints more at the background to everything. I like the ideas behind the series so far and even though I’m frustrated with the way shows across the board are so heavily built on overdone fanservice and awkward panty shots, this show holds a special place already. While it’s annoying when it’s done when it’s not needed or appropriate in a show, Maken-Ki! is the kind of show where it’s simply an instrumental part of it in a way so it doesn’t bother me much. I’m not against fanservice, I actually heartily approve of it, but it’s just in so many series that it kills it when a show does it well. Maken-Ki continues to be a heck of a lot of fun and is layering serious with silly well and giving me a mix of an old school and modern take on things that’s keeping me happy.

Grade: B

Readers Rating: [ratings]

Streamed By: Nico Nico

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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