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He’s Godai with a chip on his shoulder. More or less.  No, wait, that’s Eiji.

[イシの目覚め] Ishi no Mezame
The Stone’s Awakening

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Three years ago, Alma Tandoji and Ruri Aiba were involved in a mysterious attack when Alma’s hidden powers called Sacred Seven were awakened. In the present, a stone monster has awakened and is about to wreak havoc on the port city where Alma lives. As a student, Alma has a terrible reputation now, having been in a fight years ago that left 18 students severely injured. Only one person, a girl named Wakana, who also shares the same interests in looking for rare stones that Alma does, trusts him, though Alma is quick to brush her off, Wakana extends an invitation to a rare stone exhibition at the museum. Later that night, Alma is visited by Ruri and her butler, Kagami, who ask for Alma’s help.

vlcsnap-2012-12-10-14h14m11s181When Kagami makes a callous remark about Alma’s dead mother, the boy goes into a fit of rage and begs the others to leave him alone. Wakana waits for Alma by the bus stop when she’s attacked by the stone monster, prompting Alma to head into the city, where he goes into a rage upon seeing the injured girl and attacks the stone creature in a monster-like transformed state he can’t control. When Ruri appears and is nearly eaten, she gives Alma her “soul”, which allows him to transform into a controlled, armored warrior state. Now in control of his powers, Alma defeats the monster. Later that night, a mysterious masked creature collects debris from the battle. The next day at school, Alma decides to be more sociable and join the stone hunting club – where he learns Ruri and her butler Kagami are the newest students at the school.

vlcsnap-2012-12-10-14h13m20s188This is a show I’ve been meaning to watch pretty much since it aired, but I just never got around to it. I had fallen into a bit of an anime slump over the last few years and there are a ton of shows I wanted to watch that I never got to until now. Sacred Seven, I’m almost sure is a show I’m going to love.

Right off the bat, I love the animation style used in the show. I’m reminded of CLAMP’s style, just more proportioned. The animation is high quality throughout, there’s never a moment that seems to drop in quality, which is pretty amazing considering the bulk of the action isn’t until the final few minutes of the show. So, from the start, Sacred Seven has impressive animation going for it and that is always going to be a plus in my book. I watch shows that go through drops in animation quality and while that doesn’t kill my enjoyment, it does hamper it quite a lot.

There’s a ton of mystery going on in this episode and, unlike Horizon, I actually felt interested in finding out what’s going on. How do Ruri and Alma know each other? What happened three years ago? Who the heck is watching them? Also, I didn’t mention this in the summary because it doesn’t have a huge role and felt weird to fit in, but Ruri has this stone Oni head that talks and I wanna know what’s going on there. The thing’s pretty amusing, and there are a couple of visual sound effects going on screen to help convey its emotions, I love it.

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I’m not always one for school anime, but I was actually enthralled by what was going on here. There isn’t a lot, but it’s enough to grab you and not let go. Alma has this pretty terrible reputation and it’s hard to say he hasn’t earned it, given what happened to him in the past, but that was an isolated situation. Speaking of, I’m eager to know what caused the fight. I think it might have something to do with his mother. Back on point! Alma’s a pretty normal kid, just a shut in because the world hasn’t been his best friend lately. Despite his luck, he’s also not a bad guy and willing to help people around him, though he doesn’t like showing this side too often.

vlcsnap-2012-12-10-14h22m22s225Alma strikes me as one of those characters who prefers isolation and might do anything to keep things that way. Maybe his quiet, loner persona is just an act so he can keep people away from him? We know something happened a few years ago and Alma hates the powers that he has, so it could be his way of keeping himself (or others) from forming relationships. Surprisingly, this isn’t off putting at all to Wakana. Even before she sees him stone hunting, she’s pretty much the only person in school who actually treats him with kindness and respect. If anyone can crack that wall he’s built up around himself, it’s Wakana.

Finally, action! When I realized that the animation quality was superb within those slower pace scenes, I was excited for the action, and I wasn’t disappointed. The suit Alma wears in his controlled state is beautiful and very henshin hero-like. He’s even got a massive scarf! He’s also got the ability to summon weapons that augment his arms, sort of like Megaman. As you watch the fight going on, you can see where the crew of this show got their inspiration from. The fights are animated beautifully, the choreography is impeccable, and the backgrounds make each fight a sight for the eyes. Also, Kagami drives this robot-tank-thing that looks pretty great, and it even manages to do half decently in battle before it all goes to hell!

All in all, Sacred Seven delivered for me on so many levels. There’s action, mystery, interesting and endearing characters, this is the perfect first episode. While we’re not introduced to everything going on, as a viewer, we’re left wanting more – and it’s not for a lack of content, it’s because the show is that interesting. Sacred Seven is my favorite of the anime I’ve watched for this project and it’s getting a pass into round two with no trouble at all.

Grade: A

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