Maken-ki! is an anime TV series that has truly nothing going for it, with the exception of the ridiculous fan service that presents. From giant boobs, that would break any living woman’s back, to the extreme camel toe shots, Maken-ki! wallows in the depths of extreme fan service and stays there. Takeru Ohyama has just enrolled at Tenbi Academy, a high school that has just gone from an all girls school, to becoming co-ed. He’s planning to be reunited with a childhood acquaintance, Haruko Amaya, a second-year student who is planning to show him the ropes around Tenbi. He shortly finds out that the school is actually a school of magic users, where students may battle one another with their elemental weapons, Maken.
While there’s a little bit more to the story, in terms of the evil organizations and a few decent battles, there really isn’t much to Maken-ki!. While I most certainly hate the harem genre with a passion and don’t really have a taste for fan service, unless its done well, there has to be something within the actual story or in the execution of the story, to make a series like this worth while. For years I had huge distaste for Tenchi Muyo and yet I found myself able to see the multiple reasons on why it was so revered. Maken-ki! can’t even get that right, in that it steals a billion of other tropes from anime shows and filters them through a fan service blender.
When I looked at the studio responsible, I wasn’t surprised to find out that it was AIC, but was certainly surprised at some of the talent involved. While he’s been involved with a lot of anime that I dislike, Yosuke Kuroda has done scripted work for some really good anime TV shows over the years and it boggles my mind as to why he’s turned in such bad scripts. Granted, since the work is based off of a manga, I would assume that he had to play it safe and make the work as original as possible to the source material or his head would have rolled, due to fan outcry. I certainly expect much more from someone who’s written scripts for shows like Hellsing Ultimate, s-CRY-ed and Trigun, shows that still resonate with me today, but alas the entirety of Maken-Ki! is written like three or four other shows people have already seen before. Director Koichi Ohata, goes way back, with having worked on shows like Gunbuster, as a mecha designer, to working on Cybernetics Guardian and M.D. Geist, as a director. With an extensive history, in both OAV’s and TV series, one would think that Ohata would chose to do something with a production like Maken-ki!, but its sad to say that he does nothing but play it safe and repeat himself too often.
The video for Maken-Ki! is presented in an AVC encoded, 1080p HD transfer, with an aspect ratio of 16:9. While a majority of the visuals are strictly fan service driven, there are times during fight sequences, where the HD transfer looks really good, which showcase an array of colors and some solid animation. The audio is presented in Maken-Ki! comes in two Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks, the original Japanese language track and the English dub. With a show like Maken-Ki!, I would always like to hope that the English adaptation of the script does justice to the absurdity of the content and sure enough the English track delivers. ADR Director Joel McDonald and Scriptwriter Jamie Marchi do an impeccable job at delivering a dub that is pretty funny and helps the show maintain some sense of quality.
Maken-Ki! isn’t a show for my tastes, but if you enjoy seeing a huge amount of boobs, panties and camel toe, then this might be the thing for you.