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Sunday 14th August 2011

Matt Kamen has a 2020 vision... careful, you might go blind...

SekireiHigher education in Japan can be fiercely competitive, with students facing punishing exams to get into the best high schools and even tougher ones for University. It doesn’t look like it’ll get any less stressful by the year 2020, as Minato Sahashi is reduced to a spineless wreck, having failed his entrance exams twice. On top of that, he’s a wet blanket, allowing his mother and sister to walk all over him, while everyone else considers him a complete loser. If only he had a girlfriend or six to boost his confidence....

Luckily, an ego boost is in Minato’s future, with the cute and impressively buxom Musubi literally falling into his arms. He’ll have to fight for her though, as he learns that Musubi is a Sekirei – a humanoid alien that can bond with a chosen human to activate their superhuman powers. Unsurprisingly, Minato turns out to be just such an individual and the newly formed duo is dragged into a survival tournament known as the ‘Sekirei Plan’, organised by the secretive MBI Corporation. As Tokyo becomes a battleground pitting the Sekirei against each other, Minato learns he can “contract” with more than one girl, creating a veritable harem of tough-as-nails warrior babes! When losing a battle also means the loss of the Sekirei, can Minato actually bring himself to compete when it means destroying other girls?

The male-oriented series is a departure for Sekirei’s manga creator, Sakurako Gokurakuin, whose body of work is dominated by boy-on-boy titles which usually target straight women. Gokurakuin – who also publishes manga under the name Ashika Sakura – first gained attention with self-published fan comics of Gundam Wing, before debuting her first original work, Night Walkers, in 1994. One of her earliest series, 1997’s Tokyo Renaikitan, focused on the relationship between a distressed teacher and his guardian demon, introducing a fantasy element that would go on to infuse many of her works.

Gokurakuin’s 2003 anthology series Sensitive Pornograph would receive its own video series adaptation in 2004, the first of the creator’s original works to be animated. Running only two episodes, the animated version echoed its anthology roots, with one episode exploring the addictive relationship between two manga creators with a decade’s age difference between them, the other a more whimsical tale of a man pet-sitting a rabbit which bizarrely turned out to be another man.

Sekirei, however, has proved Gokurakuin’s most popular work by far, with two TV seasons to its name so far and the manga seeing new chapters published fortnightly in Square-Enix’s Young Gangan magazine. While the true purpose of the Sekirei Plan and the mysteries of the aliens’ origins are still to be revealed, the answers begin to unravel in Sekirei: The Complete First Series

Sekirei: The Complete First Series is out now on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.


Sekirei The Complete Series

was £29.99
Minato may not be able to pass the college entrance exam, but he's about to learn something amazing about himself � He's an
Ashikabi, born with the ability to partner with the Sekirei � a special group of 108 beautiful girls with incredible powers!
WARNING! Otaku wish fulfilment in the extreme. May feature occasional nudity and Japanese oddness!



Fairy Tail Music: Daisy x Daisy

Tom Smith on Fairy Tail Part 7’s opening theme
Little Mika still has a long way to go, but since signing to Pony Canyon she has managed to have a crack at the anime universe, featuring heavily in one series in particular; Fairy Tail.

Unboxed: Magi the Labyrinth of Magic

Jeremy Graves rubs a DVD and makes three wishes
Magi the Labyrinth of Magic, part one, is available on UK DVD and Blu-ray from Monday 24th February.

Blood versus Blood

The live-action Last Vampire against the anime
With the animated versions of Saya’s vampire-slaying adventures now into its third incarnation in both TV and feature versions, most recently featured in the release of Blood C: The Last Dark, one feels compelled to ponder in some depth the abject failure of the 2009 live-action version one of Sony’s few key 21st century animated franchises.

Bleach Music: Diggy Mo'

Tom Smith on the hip-hop star of Bleach 13
Forget everything that you think you know about hip hop. Diggy MO’ and his boys at SOUL’d OUT throw the genre on its head.
The Dragon Ball franchise is home to some of anime's greatest and most epic battles. With so many iconic battles throughout the series is hard to say which is the greatest, as we all have our favourites, so we're asking you to vote for the one you love the most!
With Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters Season 5 out now, we thought it was the perfect time to share with you our favourite duels from these five seasons.


Andrew Osmond on the real “adult” manga
Eric Khoo's film focuses on one of the founders of gekiga, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, who died on 7th March. The framing story is Tatsumi’s account of his life and development, growing up with a difficult family. He had none of the technology and luxuries that we take for granted, no reason to think he could ever make a living from the fledgling manga industry. And yet he was utterly driven to draw comics, like his hero Osamu Tezuka.

Men Creating Women

Andrew Osmond on anime’s gender gap…
Miyazaki said that women “who are striving for their independence” despise such fantasy females. “They feel this ideal is a one-sided attack on the part of men who are trying to fit women into a mold.

My Neighbor Totoro: the novel

Jasper Sharp reviews Tsugiko Kubo’s prose adaptation
Like the film, this novelisation is intricate and intimate in its details, and universal in its storytelling. The writing is simple enough for readers of around seven or eight to enjoy, without any loss to the emotional impact of the girls’ adventures, while fans of the film will also find new details that were previously unelaborated in the movie.

Ocean Waves

Andrew Osmond on a Studio Ghibli “obscurity”
Ocean Waves is the only feature anime by the world-famous Studio Ghibli which might be called obscure. It wasn’t made for cinemas but television, broadcast on Japan’s NTV network in 1993. And now it's playing as part of the BFI's Ghibli season...
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