I Ain’t “Maken” It
This is what I consider to be part of the ‘new wave’ of anime. Now, I haven’t been watching anime as long or as intently as others, but I can still spot a trend and I do not really like things as they are going down. I gave a kind of partial comment of this show a while back, but I wanted to give this series a full opportunity to prove itself. It did, but not how I wanted it to go down.
The full title is “Maken-Ki – Battling Venus” (Pronounce that word ‘mockin’, as you feel that that you are being mocked).
Takeru Ohyama (the dweeb in the lower right corner) has been accepted into TenbiAcademy, which recently went co-ed. He knows absolutely nothing of the school, save that it would accept him. He meets Haruko Amaya (the one with the kendo staff in the center), who is an old childhood friend, but circumstances have kept them apart for at least three years. When he meets her, he is surprised that she has a massive pair of breasts on her…grown into a beautiful and mature woman.
This academy, however, is a magic and fighting academy. Everyone has to have a “maken”, which is a weapon or ability that channels your power. Woe is me; our poor Takeru has no maken, which makes life at the academy very tough. He runs afoul of Kodama Himegami (the blonde in the upper right), a woman who considers Takeru a mortal enemy and tries to kill him during the School Opening Session. Takeru is saved by Inaho Kushiya (the one in the middle on the right), a neko girl who claims to be Takeru’s fiancée (much to everyone’s surprise). In order to keep a degree of peace on campus, our three maidens all move into the same dorm room with Takeru, much to his detriment.
A lot of the show’s energies is spent with upskirt shots and bobbling breasts (one of the teachers appears to have basketballs under her skimpy outfits) to where it, again, distracts from the shows focus of learning what Takeru’s secret really is (what is that mark on him that Kodoma found?) and sorting out feelings of love and romance they all have for his. What DID Takeru promise? Why can’t he remember? What really happened to Takeru’s father? Why are those skirts for the school uniforms always cut far too short?
Adding to the mix is the arrival of the Venus Mercenary Unit (the quintet on the left with the bizarre angle shot). Composed of very experienced, very determined, very busty ladies, they have come to Tenbi for some mysterious purpose. Since there is a rivalry between these maidens and out current ones in regards to whom is best, it is settled with a volleyball match (and flirty outfits). Then, there is the chance to use the pool together, but not co-ed, so a grudge match is held (in flirty bathing suits). Then, in order to raise money for a summer camp trip, we all work at a maid café (if flirty uniforms).
This is basically no different than any other school romantic comedy ecchi anime out there. In fact, if you want to take it apart, you can see in this Frankenstein monster bits and pieces from other shows. I spent a lot of my time trying to piece together from whence they had appropriated parts. The current list includes “Freezing”, “Rosario+ Vampire”, “Negima!”, “Nabari No Ou” and…well, you can play along as well.
Then we finally get to the real meat of the show, as we learn of the evil machinations of this mercenary group, who force out of Takeru that which they have been seeking, which I am not going to tell you, as it is a plot point. A great fight is ready to ensue, Tenbi vs. Venus and….we run away. What? It was more than you were ready for? What kind of mercenaries are you? When the going gets tough, we go shopping? Oh, last episode of this season.
It smells heavily of a second go-around (after all, it is an 8-manga series) but this was the most ‘interesting’ spot to break it? I watched 12 episodes and NOTHING HAPPENED! At least in “Rosario + Vampire” there was a real denouement as to the season closer, not a fizzle of a firecracker and it really is more similar of a show that you expect. I will guarantee you that when the second season comes around, I won’t be here. I’m transferring out.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (When you play the moe card, they had best be good looking)
Plot 5 (The bare minimum)
Pacing 7 (Gets slowed as we wait for something to really happen)
Effectiveness 5 (You are running in place)
Conclusion 4 (More of a save point. A Disappointing save point)
Fan Service 8 (A similar show would “Sekerei”)
Overall 6 (Going nowhere fast)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Come for the fan service, forget the rest.