Anime: Maken-Ki! Season 2
Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: April 12, 2016
Retail Price: $64.98
Maken-Ki! Is a shonen anime series that was originally a manga, published through a Japanese magazine until eventually receiving the anime adaptation. The premise of the series introduces Takeru Oyama, a young man who enrolls at Tenbi Academy, a former all girls private school - turned co-ed educational facility. Of course Takeru has very specific goals in mind which mostly included surrounding himself with beautiful women and his childhood best friend Haruko Amaya. It is quickly known that Haruko has harbored feelings of compassion and romantic interest for Takeru, which is often expressed through her lashing out for his perverted tendencies. (Any anime fan has come to know that emotion when they’ve watched a few series.)
The school isn’t your average high school, when Takeru learns that Tenbi Academy includes students that have magical (or “spiritual”) energies that manifest themselves as something known as elements. In addition to their special abilities, the also are holders of distinct weapons that have been labeled Makens, a large part of their battle-fueled lives at the school. The fighting setup of Maken-Ki! Is most likely a ploy to draw in male viewers, but mostly end up using the female characters as reason to stick around. Takeru is surrounded by women who create predictable tension in male/female anime interactions, with this magical and sometimes action based twist to switch up the intentions from time to time.
The anime series is often referred to as a “nose-bleed” series which means you know there is bound to be the typical overtones that draw attention to the femininity of the supporting characters at the academy. Everything about Maken-Ki! Tries to encompass that portion of notoriety that has become an anime stigma - so Maken-Ki! Further perpetuates that anime series should take away from plot to appease a niche pool of viewers for a strictly tiresome approach to multiple unnecessary decisions. If there were a strong selection of characters to enjoy that would possibly make up for it to an extent, but the focus lies so heavily on those less effective aspects that it makes it harder to find enjoyable attributes of them.
You can at least tell that the anime (and presumably manga) is very self-aware of their limited audience. Every outlined story inclusion and artistic choice that you will discover in Maken-Ki! Is self referential to the inappropriate ways. The story of Maken-Ki! most often tries to refer to the perverted viewers of the series, making them use their abilities to face off against onlookers and disturbed men. It doesn’t make it any edgier though, because the male protagonist of the anime himself can't help but be enamored by the women around him - and not for their personalities of course… Finding positive story viewpoints in Maken-Ki! is practically impossible to come across, so you should prepared to discover (or more appropriately, not discover) anything that is thought provoking past the oversexualized creative concepts.
The animation is distracting to say the least, with all of the overdrawn physical characteristics of the second season. I would applaud the colors of the character designs that set them apart from one another, but they all were attributed with the same bodies that could be deemed damaging to the depiction of sexuality and self identity. It is very evident that the anime series Maken-Ki! knows that many won’t be ok with the direction of the second (or first) season, but they seemed prepared to go all in for what their intentions were. You must be able to give them credit for committing to their source material and a series that would be rather polarizing between fans, even if it’s not something for a vast majority of quality anime fans.
Overall Score: 4/10
Aedan’s Final Thoughts:
- I tried to give Maken-Ki! A chance, but the overt fanservice isn't something I can ever attach my interest to.
- There were plenty of characters, they just didn’t capture anything of extreme interest other than romance and appeasing certain male viewers.
- If this series was fortunate enough to earn a second season, I would hope there are plenty of other plot heavy series that can be just as lucky.