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Sekirei Vol. #01 Manga Review

5 min read

Sekirei Volume 1 CoverMysterious women with super-strength are embroiled in a winner take all competition that will decide the fate of mankind!

Creative Staff
Story & Art: Sakurako Gokurakuin
Translation: Caleb D. Cook

What They Say
Minato Sahashi is a loser who’s failed his college placement exams two years running. But just as he’s contemplating giving up and moving back in with his mom, a chance encounter changes his life forever! Enter Musubi, a girl who literally falls into Minato’s life! Musubi is a Sekirei, a mysterious being caught up in a game in which only one of her kind can be left standing. But in order to be victorious in this contest, she needs to find her fated partner…and guess who fits the bill??

Caught up in a battle he barely understands, can Minato survive the “Sekirei Project” and emerge victorious? Either way, with his buxom new cohort by his side, his life will certainly never be the same!

Together forever. I’ll be by your side!

The Review! (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This is both a large format and an double-volume release from Yen Press, so it is a big book at 448 pages. The art on the front cover seems a little “soft” in resolution, but I would think that is a by-product of this books original Japanese release being from 2005. This new release has clean printing throughout with extras including translator notes and four color pages. However, there are a few pages where the panel alignment was off a little, adding some “blank” strips here and there. But that is better than if the alignment had been cut short and art or dialogue was lost.

This artists style reminds me a lot of an young artist struggling with consistency. The characters are attractive and plentiful, and panel layout has good variety, but sometimes the characters look oddly different from page to page. Thus, for those familiar with the anime adaptation, those character designs were a little “cleaner” than Gokurakuin’s original depictions in this manga. There is also a lot of SD used for comedic effect, but I can’t remember if this gag was utilized in the anime.

Minato is a typical loser-type male protagonist in Sekirei. However, he is out of high school, so that is a nice change from most of these harem-style series. But, even with that, Minato still hasn’t been able to pass his college entrance exams for the last two years and he lives alone and doesn’t have a job. Although, to be fair, he has been applying to the most difficult university in the country. Regardless, he has still just failed again and has to figure out what to do next. He also has to determine what to tell his mother, who has been paying all his expenses for the last two years.

As Minato is trying to sort out his bleak future, a girl flies out of nowhere and bowls him over. This is almost the most common first meeting in shonen stories, only this girl isn’t eating toast and late to school. Instead, this girl is being chased by two other women dressed in S&M style outfits and they are intent on beating the first girl to a pulp. Ever the chivalrous kind of guy, Minato grabs the girl’s hand and they beat a hasty retreat and even manage to escape back to Minato’s apartment. This fateful encounter throws Minato into the world of the Sekirei and the competition known as the Sekirei Project.

The story stays the expected course from here as Minato and his new partner, Musubi, bounce from good conditions to worse. With the usual things like losing his living allowance to getting his apartment lease terminated. But don’t fret for this nice loser, Minato quickly stumbles into an almost Love Hina type living arrangement in a new apartment complex just full of beautiful women! Plus, his new landlord is also a beautiful, albeit strict woman.

This all moves along at a fast pace, but once Minato an Musubi settle into their new living arrangement, they have some time to learn more about the Sekirei Project. Basically, a mad scientist discovered the seemingly extraterrestrial Sekirei and he initiated the competition they seemed to have been created for. In this competition, each of the 108 girls has to go into the city and find the male or female that has the correct genetic code to activate the girls powers and complete their transformation into a Sekirei. Once activated, the Sekirei must fight each other with the loser being stripped of her powers and taken away from the human partner she has. This is where the characters diverge strongly with some like Minato caring deeply for his Sekirei, some seeing their Sekirei as merely a tool to win the competition, and still others falling somewhere in-between. As the reader, I hope to see some character building between human and Sekirei where they share in triumphs or shatter under failure. For in the Sekirei Project, failure is final and the girl not only loses her powers but disappear forever. It is definitely a high stakes game.

In Summary:
This Sekirei manga was originally released in Japan in 2005, and then in English by Yen Press in 2015 as an ebook. This 2017 physical copy marks its first physical English-language release. I can only assume it sold well enough as an ebook to warrant a full book release in paper form. The timing is actually not bad, considering it has been a long time since most of us watched the anime release 5 to 7 years ago and Funimation’s licensing rights having expired earlier this year. In fact, reading this first volume makes me want to revisit the anime.

For those new to the Sekirei franchise, this series is about the typical loser male protagonist that stumbles into good luck in the form of lots of beautiful ladies interested in him. They obviously aren’t interested in his success in society (he’s failed college entrance exams twice), but he is a nice guy that puts the needs of others before his own. He also has the ability to activate these girls super powers, or give them “wings”. All of this boils down to the fact that the girls are not humans, and they are destined to fight until only one of them is left standing. Then, she will lead her human partner that activated her powers to some sort of special world or future that is unclear as of now. Thus, there are actually 108 of these super humans, or Sekirei, fighting to be the final victor.

But who will win and will that Sekirei’s human partner be a good person or evil? Will there be any character development or sacrifices, or will it be one long harem joyride?

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: A-
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: Mature
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: July 25, 2017
MSRP: $24.00