This was a very challenging season finale which forced Production IMS into a delicate balancing act. And they pretty much aced it.
This episode takes over where the previous episode left off: the good guys are trying to find the heart of the beast so that they might slay it and escape. The first half of the episode is in action/adventure mode with plenty of traps and battles.
In the mean time, we get plenty of cheesecake shots from Zest and her evil clones.
Even with all the raunchy stuff that comes later, watching the Zest clones jiggle and bounce was probably the sexiest part of this episode. It was also nice to see that nipple bumps were very much in season.
Anyway, story. The heroes win, the beast dies, and so does Zolgear. We get an interesting execution scene for Zolgear that shows some anti-hero tendencies for Basara. It was really interesting how much “dark side” stuff there was for Basara and his father in this last half episode. Neither guy seems to be a shining white knight.
But nothing was more unexpected than seeing Basara force himself on Mio at the end. Not that she minded, but the scene definitely had a vibe of going too far. The way he went about it just felt a bit wrong, like he was unaware of the culturally accepted rules of engagement for sexual activity. While it’s certainly refreshing to have an MC who has some guts in the bedroom, it was actually a relief to see him back off after things started getting rough.
(an aside, here is how this shot will look uncensored on BD:)
Basara snaps out of it and apologizes, but Mio basically talks him into resuming. That’s when the rest of the girls barge in to join.
I really, really, really like this franchise. So it’s easy to forgive the Cross Ange style of excessive faux censorship. That said, censoring kissing seems a bit much.
Sadly, we’ve seen some previous “censored” shots of Mio with her shirt pulled up that were non-nude when ‘uncensored’, and I suspect that will generally be the case for scenes like this as well. Very good chance this episode ends up non-nude, unless you count the barely discernible nip slip in the next season teaser.
Still, the sexual content was raunchy enough to be faithful to the source novel, the action was decent enough, the animation and art improved, and the characters and story continue to be a surprising strength for this franchise.
The end credits were replaced by some still images and a teaser for the next season (credit to MaxPower for noticing the nip slip and providing the image to show it):
Based on this, it looks like Basara will be powering up in some way and then doing battle with the new demon king. This is interesting because the demon king has not been painted at all like a villain to this point in the story. This anime is full of multi-dimensional characters, really it’s only been Zolgear who was either pure evil or pure good.
It’s such a rare thing to look forward to an ecchi anime because of the story , and it’s all the more remarkable considering how raunchy Testament is. There is so much this show did right, it almost feels like I can’t overhype this series.
I’m going to give my final thoughts on this first season, but before I do, here are some things posted on the ShinmaiMaou twitter:
The first is a teaser sketch from the Summer OVA. It shows Chisato wearing a one piece swimsuit under her jacket. It’s a strange look, but I don’t mind as long as we get to see a lot more of her later.
There was also this bit (from the mobile app ‘Interactive’) which shows some uncensored scenes from the first BD, including one faintly visible nipple.
Okay then, so here are my Jerry Springer style final thoughts on this show.
I’ve been thinking about this show for weeks, trying to figure out exactly why watching this series has felt so different and so much better than your typical trashy ecchi anime.
Part of the reason is that the story is legitimately above average (almost unheard of in ecchi). Part of the reason is that at times, the action could be surprisingly good. Part of the reason is that the content rating is where we want it be coming off a couple of rough seasons for ecchi fans. Part of it is that the characters (male and female) are genuinely interesting and likable. The girls are more than just eye candy.
Really, it’s a combination of all those things. But one aspect in particular really jumped out at me as I thought about it more and more.
The way this anime portrays sexual encounters is unique in its approach. Sure, its all done under the pretense of satisfying some succubus pact, but what we essentially see is an anime version of foreplay. Lots and lots of it.
I can’t really think of any other anime that went so much after the foreplay aspect. Really the only show that comes to mind is Seikon no Qwaser which had some scenes that felt like they were warm-ups for sex. Most anime that show sex just jump straight to the sex part. Foreplay itself is surprisingly uncommon.
Foreplay tends to be popular with female audiences, and it’s a big reason Fifty Shades of Grey was a massive commercial success. The key to this style of eroticism is having a male lead who basically acts like a ‘gentleman predator’ while the woman is strong yet desires to be taken or dominated. This exact dynamic has been at work throughout the Shinmaimaou anime, and it became very obvious by the final episode.
I really like that about this show. It feels like the sexy scenes in this anime AREN’T just for men, but might have some appeal to women too. A novel concept for an ecchi franchise.
I am excited to see where this show goes from here. This anime was basically a grown-ups version of shounen ecchi. The fact that it also managed to have a good story and good characters has made this one of the most pleasant surprises in ecchi in a very long time.
Bravo Production IMS. Congratulations on the deserving success.