Anime Review: Maken-ki Episode 1

Anime Review:
Maken-ki Episode 1

What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here for details on what I am reviewing.

Series Premise: Maken-ki is a weekly anime television series starting in October 2011, based on a fan-service manga series of the same name. Takeru is beginning his first day at a high school that previously has only been for girls. But he does not realize that everyone at the school has a special magical ability to wield weapons known as Maken, and soon finds himself surrounded by schoolgirls who either want to protect him, or kill him.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

Spoiler-free Series set-up: Takeru Ohyama is your average teenage boy, more interested in ogling the girls than his studies. Starting his first day of class at Tenbi Academy, he is accompanied by an old childhood friend, Haruko. While he chose Tenbi because he would be one of the first, few male students at a recently gender-integrated school, he soon realizes that the school is known for something else: each student has the magical ability to wield something known as a “Maken” in combat. Before he realizes it, he is caught up in a battle, and is saved at the last minute by a girl who claims to be his fiancee.

My Impressions: Every season, there are two or three different shows just like this, filled to the brim with as much fan-service as you can shove into twenty minutes, aimed entirely at that hardcore otaku audience that just can’t get enough boob and panty shots. After all, there’s never been a shortage of horny teenage boys (or twenty-something NEETs jerking off to the phosphorous glow of the computer screen in the basement of their parent’s home). And, along with Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls and Mashiro-iro Symphony, this season we have Maken-ki to assuage that fanboy lust.

Most (but not all) of these type of shows at least try to apply a thin veneer of a plot over the fan-service, in some cases it is little more than a fig-leaf, but other times they seem to make an honest-to-god attempt at a comprehensible story. But as for Maken-ki…well, it’s pretty blatant in that it does not hide that it’s really all about the fighting girls wearing as little as possible while fighting to form a harem around the male main character.

And in the first episode, we already have the “former childhood friend who is secretly in love with him”, we already have the “protective mystery girl who wants to marry him”, we have the “psychotic bratty girl who wants to kill him”…and they all just *have* to move in and live in his room, of course. Only three girls to start a harem for our viewer-stand-in-character, and I’m sure in the next few episodes they will easily add two or three more with ease.

Maken-ki is outright shameless in its liberal use of panty shots…as in *dozens* of them crammed into every shot imaginable (poorly censored or otherwise – I think someone counted 57 shots in the first episode alone). It’s almost as if they have a midget holding the camera (shades of Billy Barty in UHF). And what would panty shots be without a matching heapin’ helping of bouncing boobs? Yeah, plenty of that as well.

Well, I guess I could get all indignant and outraged at shows like this, but over the past two years I’ve seen at least a dozen variations on the same theme, so there’s nothing really new here at all, and I’m somewhat inured when it comes to the shameless objectification of women in this genre of anime shows. Harem shows will be harem shows, and I have no doubt that next season we will have two or three more to add to the list…and next season two or three more beyond that.

That does not negate the fact that this is a terrible show from start to finish, and is easily a candidate for the worst show of the season. Forget about any reasoning behind the plot, forget about whatever semblance of a story they try to offer up, forget about character growth, it’s all irrelevant. Nope, this show is all about the panties, the boobs, the harem, and the lucky guy standing in the middle of it all as a viewer surrogate. Don’t think too deep: it’s ostentatious fan-service in all it’s seedy glory. If you’re going to watch this, you know exactly why you are watching this; otherwise there’s nothing worthwhile in the slightest with Maken-ki.

The verdict:

For more information:

Sampling of Online Reviews:

  • “I remembered at one point of my life that I liked the manga. Today, I’m NOT really sure why I did. In addition of having unimpressive character designs, this anime doesn’t have anything beyond stereotypes and tropes. Grade: 4/10.” – Bokutachi no Blog
  • “Nothing left to really explain on other than the really generic anime plotline and the usual character types ranging from childhood friend, random fiancée, tsundere and plenty of others. So how many saw that ending coming way before the series even started? I know I was like let me guess, all of the girls Takeru has run into will move in with him.” – Metanorn
  • “Dropped. Not that I expected anything different, so I can’t say I’m disappointed. But hey, I gave it a chance. Which it managed to waste in under thirty seconds.” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
  • “Ah crap now I feel like I need to save and cleanse my soul somehow. Jeebus. Grade: 3/10.” – Conspicuous Klux
  • “Hmm…we get boobs, camel toe panty shots, girls falling over in compromising positions, ridiculous school setting, perverted male lead forcefully falling into the harem pit, stereotype characters. Yep, one horrible intolerable fanservice harem show coming right up. Grade: 0/5.” – Dere Moe Project
  • “There just a bit of everything for fans of fanservice to see here. We have hugely breasted teenage girls who give panties shots quite often and without a care in the world. We get fight scenes with lots of panty shots. Hell we even get some censorship that seems to be inconsistent from time to time. Grade: 3/5 (for fanservice fans), 1/5 (everyone else)” – Janai Blog
  • “The characters are not going to save this cliched ecchi show. We have the perverted glasses guy, the overprotective best friend, tsundere girl and secret fiancee the whole cliche harem group is here. There does not appear to be anything different or likeable about them.” – Nerd Age
  • “As for Maken-Ki!’s execution of its first episode, it was a total disaster. Many characters were introduced and by introduce, I mean as in, they give you the names of the character and that’s about it…Aside from the failure of a character introduction, Maken-Ki! also blatantly fails to explain its own premise…Certainly Maken-Ki! provides the audience with lots of questions, but not enough answers to make the audience know what in the world they’re watching.” – Rabbit Poets
  • “The plot sounds hokey at best, but the actual episode seemed appealing enough. Hopefully it doesn’t end up emulating another series, because honestly, the harem fad has come and gone. Maybe there’ll be something unconventional in this one, but I’m not holding my breath for the amazing to happen. Grade: 2/5.” – Population GO
  • “Why are there so many series entirely dedicated to fanservice, when there is plenty of porn around? In any case, my impression of this episode was as follows: it had the most unlikable male lead I’ve seen in any first episode this year. Potential: 10%” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
  • “Let’s see here: Perverted male lead, Osananajimi, Male lead is beaten senseless by osananajimi every time he acts perverted, Self-proclaimed fiance, Accidental trip/kiss, Accidental trip/boob grope, All girls school turned co-ed, Gratuitous panty shots, Male lead ends up living with 3 girls….I think we’re done here.” – Sekijitsug
  • “With sub-par art and a nonexistent plot mixed together with fanservice and some action, you have a combo that will probably only satisfy a very small audience. You are probably better off avoiding this show and looking somewhere else for your action fix if you really need it. Grade: 2/5.” – Mixmatched
  • “And in this iteration of the Sekirei/Freezing/Demon King formula, we have… pretty much the exact same formula as always. I think Incompetent Male Lead With A Magnetic Attraction to Women’s Underwear is slightly more magnetic than usual.” – Tenka Seiha
  • “The series starts with the intention to be crap and it doesn’t try to be anything else but crap. The brains of the series went down the toilet when it was decided what to do with this series and what its story should be like. But not only that it’s stupid crap, it’s also shamelessly copying stereotypes of the shounen-genre in the most unimaginative manner thinkable. It won’t get better, so if you think about watching this series – don’t. It’s better for every participant that this series is simply ignored. Grade: 1.5/10.” – Otakuness


Thumbs-up for Round One: Un-Go, Chibi Devi, Working Season 2, Bakuman Season 2, Mirai Nikki, Shinryaku Ika Musume Season 2, Ben-To, Chihayafuru, Guilty Crown, Phi-Brain, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, Fate Zero, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Hunter x Hunter, Tamayura Hitotose

Thumbs-down for Round One: Morita-san wa Mukuchi Season 2, Kimi to Boku, C3: CubexCursedxCurious, Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, Majikoi Oh! Samurai Girls, Shakugan no Shana Final, Mashiro-iro Symphony: The Color of Lovers, Persona 4: The Animation, Maken-ki

Coming up next: Cross Fight B-Daman, Digimon Xros Wars II, High Score, Infinite Stratos OVA, Kyousougiga, Hidamari Sketch SP, Sengoku Paradise Kiwami, Gdgd Fairies, Sora no Kiseki, Boku wa Tomodachi OVA, Lupin III Movie, Ao no Exorcist Special, Queen’s Blade Visual Book, Deadman Wonderland OVA, Toradora Special, Dragonball Z Episode of Bardock, R-15 OVA, Hoshizora e Kakaru OVA

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One Response to Anime Review: Maken-ki Episode 1

  1. Pingback: Anime Review: Recap of the Fall 2011 Season (after watching the 1st episodes) | This Euphoria!

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