I always forget that this anime started late, so as a result, it’s only on its eleventh episode. And you know what that means: after all of the season’s better anime will have come and gone, we will still have Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance and its bevy of tsunderekkos by our side. The anime places its hands delicately on yours as if to ask if you’re ready for the fall season and its five or six upcoming harem anime. Not only that, we’ll still have Sword Art Online II, which is really just a harem pretending to be an adventure anime series about MMOs. My point is, Blade Dance is here to guide us the rest of the way. Anime fans whined, pissed and moaned about all the supposedly fujoshi-pandering shows of the summer.1 But across the river, the fall season awaits! It turns out Blade Dance was merely an amuse bouche, i.e. a small little treat at the start of the meal to tickle our appetites. If we can just tough it out for another week or two, the Uguu Revolution will save us all!2 But enough talk. Let’s focus our attention on the latest developments in Kamito’s life.
If you’re expecting anything earth-shattering to occur, well, what is wrong with you? Why would anything earth-shattering ever occur in these harem shows? Basically, Kamito continues to spend more time with Fahrenfart as Claire runs off to sulk. The harem lead even holds Fahrenfart’s hand at one point, so naturally, she freaks out and demands that he takes responsibility. Responsibility of what? Hand babies? Needless to say, the girls in this show can only display two types of emotions: unbridled rage and irrational bouts of embarrassment. Oh right, they’re tsunderekkos. Eventually, Fahrenfart reveals why she became a knight, and well, nobody cares. Oh, it has something to do with Velsaria, i.e. her sister. Unfortunately, ever since Velsaria got her ass handed to her by a boy disguised as a girl — proving once again that boys rule — she hasn’t quite been right in the head. So, uh, Fahrenfart wants to show her sister what it means to be a true knight or something.
All of a sudden, the town is under attack. Whoever’s been handing out Cursed Seals got what they wanted: spirits are now on a rampage as Vel’Koz and Malphite lay waste to their surroundings. Kamito and company try to quell the threat, but he is heavily injured when he heroically dives in front of an attack to save a little girl. That’s the first and last time any harem lead will be penetrated by a tentacle for a girl’s sake, I’ll tell you what. Claire eventually comes around to lend a hand, because, well, she’s not that irrational! But before the injured Kamito and his two haremettes could do anything, a powerful attack from the sky takes out all the baddies. Oh good, someone’s saved the day! Well, not exactly. The problem is that this attack also injured a bunch innocent bystanders as well. After the smoke clears, our heroes see that the culprit was none other than Fahrenfart’s sister.
The cold, blonde knight doesn’t see why everyone’s so mad. Hey, look, she took out the baddies. What more do you people want? Oh, not kill the innocent bystanders? Pfft. You guys are sooooo demanding. If they deserved to be saved, they wouldn’t have died. Perfect logic. She then insults Fahrenfart for being a bad knight, which really grinds Kamito’s gears. Nobody insults my haremettes, buddy. Nobody! Except, of course, if you’re one of my haremettes too. After all, Kamito’s girls insult each other all the time and nobody gives a shit. Basically, if you allow yourself to be under the harem lead’s fold, anything goes. In any case, you all know where this is headed. Kamito and the rest of Team Scarlet must stop Fahrenfart’s sister at all costs. There’s just one problem: Team Scarlet only has three members. He still tries to attack her, but in his injured state, she just knocks him out of the way like a rag doll. That’s what you get for taking a tentacle attack in place of a little girl.
When we next see Kamito, he wakes up once again in his bed. The guy has a penchant for being knocked out for extended periods at a time. Still, he and Claire quickly make up. He compliments her chocolate, she blushes, blah blah blah. Why has Claire come around? Has she actually matured over the course of the story? Or is the show just coming to an end, so we don’t have time to dick around with her tantrums? It’s obviously the latter. Could you imagine what a 2-cour version of this show would be like? It’s enough to send shivers down my spine. Anyway, Kamito gives her a shitty pendant, and all is well. Claire even believes he hung out with Fahrenfart just so he could afford to buy her present. Shh, I won’t tell anyone if you won’t. Afterwards, Fianna shows up to inform the gang that Team Scarlet will indeed have to face off against Velsaria. Claire thus swallows her pride and finally recruits both Rinslet and Fahrenfart to the team. There’s this big sobfest between Fahrenfart and her former team members, but we don’t give a shit about that.
After Fahrenfart gives the harem lead yet another box of chocolate — dude’s going to get so fat — that about does it for this week’s episode of Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance. Next week should be the oh-so-exciting conclusion. I find it somewhat amusing that we don’t even have a real villain to close out this show. Even Seikoku no Dragonar had the harem lead go up against his loli-turned-dragon. Here, we’re just going to battle some dinky knight because the rest of the candidates failed horribly. For instance, Jio looked like he’d be the final boss of the series for a while, but he eventually got owned like a chump. As for Restia, she just hangs out in the background and grins like an idiot. As a result, Velsaria kind of had to show up out of nowhere. Hilarious. These harem shows can’t even cook up a proper finale. Oh well… the disappointment here will only prepare us for the disappoint to come in the fall season. If I bring back Harem Hill, at least it won’t just be a pathetic race between two shows.
1 Let’s be honest with ourselves. Do fujoshis outnumber otakus? Probably not. So why would you make the financial decision to cater to fujoshis and piss off otakus? But do you know what group does outnumber both fujoshis and otakus altogether? Women in general. If anime’s going to grow, it needs broad appeal. And like it or not, part of achieving broad appeal is, well, catering to the other 51% of the population. Y’know, da “wimmenz.” But the problem is bigger than this. Like every other medium out there, most anime series are shit. Most anime series are snooze-inducing slice-of-life shitfests about a bunch of scantily-clad girls talking like babies. But these shit anime nevertheless get a pass because they’re full of moe and male-oriented fanservice. Sexual urge, like always, trumps all else. The industry stays afloat on the backs of otakus forking over money for ridiculously-priced boxsets and anime-related paraphernalia just so they can own a piece of their favorite waifus.
So what happens when we replace male-oriented fanservice with female-oriented fanservice? Has the quality of the stories magically changed? Has the animation quality suddenly gotten worse? Hell no. If anything, Free! is one of the better animated shows in recent years. And yes, Free! is a fucking snoozefest too, but that’s the thing. It’s not as though anime will magically become shit just because they are increasingly become increasingly gay. Rather, these shows have always been shit. The only difference is in who they appeal to. So the outrage over shows like Free! is really born out of the fear that the hardcore anime fan will lose their basically-sexual urge to purchase anime. Replace the male-oriented fanservice with female-oriented fanservice, and what do you get? The same fucking anime except that it now caters to women. And without the illusion of male-oriented fanservice to cover up all the blemishes, the fan comes to the realization that he never actually liked anime in the first place. He was only in it for the unthreatening tits — the tits that won’t turn him down like they do in real life.
The impotent rage against fujoshis and cute boys in anime is thus a futile need to protect their hobby from themselves: “Please don’t make me realize that anime was always shit. I’ve already spent too much money on pillows, boxsets, and wall scrolls to turn back now.”