The Fall 2014 Anime Preview Guide
Trinity Seven

Rebecca Silverman

Rating:  1.5 (out of 5)

Trinity Seven, a title which makes very little sense (how can a trinity – 3 people – have seven members?), is simply mediocre. Given that it essentially opens with protagonist Arata grabbing his cousin Hijiri's breast when she comes to wake him up and then not apologizing – sorry, but “you've gotten bigger” is not an okay compliment – this is far more than I was expecting.

An urban fantasy in the vaguely post-apocalyptic vein, Trinity Seven follows high school student Arata as he suddenly realizes that his entire world has been destroyed. His morning is going about as usual when he looks up at the sky and realizes that the sun is a black, smoky orb. His cousin and childhood friend Hijiri, with whom he apparently lives, tells him that the sun has always been black, but he quickly figures out that something is not right about that statement. As it turns out, it only turned that way three days ago when a gravitational phenomenon destroyed his city and everyone in it. Before either of them died, Hijiri hung a small grimoire around Arata's neck and told it to fulfill his wish. This saved him, and in his trauma he wished for his life to continue as normal. That peace is shattered, however, when a busty redhead comes to town to investigate and reveals what really happened. Lilith offers him two choices – live and forget Hijiri and his previous life ever existed or die with them. Arata chooses option three: use the grimoire to become a mage like Lilith and find a way to bring back Hijiri.

This is pretty much the sole admirable moment in both Arata's character and the show. After this point the episode becomes choppy, suddenly dropping us at the Royal Biblia Academy, a school for mages that we didn't know existed two seconds ago, and throws us into Arata's new school life. Learning that he has the potential to become a demon lord is a bit of a shock, as Lilith gave no indication of such a thing, and that he appears to be the only male student with that much magical power feels like a gimmick. A shot of his new classmates makes it easy for us to pick out the only important character based on hair color, and with almost no further ado we learn about the seven most powerful girls at school and meet them in short order. Arata, meanwhile, is shamelessly frank about how much he admires girls' bodies, and while it is nice not to have a hero stammering and nose-bleeding all over the place, Arata almost takes it too far. On the plus side, at least he deserves the slaps he gets.

As has been mentioned, the art and animation for this show is clunky at best. The weepy-eyed character designs are more odd for this show than odd in general – it's a style I've seen much more in shoujo and josei manga – but the bodies being consistently out of proportion is a big problem. Movements and sound tend not to match up and voices are far more expressive than the animation they accompany. The background music is nearly constant and has a plunky quality that doesn't quite work, making it more of a distraction than an enhancement.

There are enough good urban fantasy shows out there that even fans of the genre can probably skip this one, and the girls aren't well drawn or animated enough to make this particularly good fanservice. (Plus censorship.) It has a couple of moments, but really, there are better things to watch this season than this.

Trinity Seven is available streaming on Crunchyroll.

Nick Creamer

Rating: 2

Arata Kasuga has a normal high school life. He lives with his childhood friend-slash-cousin Hijiri, he sits in the back left window seat of his class, and he likes to grope and talk about breasts. The only strange thing in his world is the ominous black sun hanging overhead - but as this episode progresses, he swiftly learns his ordinary life is a lie, a world created by his own wish. That sun is the omen of a gravity well that destroyed his city and stole his original cousin, and his new “cousin” is just the physical form of the grimoire that granted his wish. Given the choice of either dying or losing his memories of Hijiri, he instead chooses to become a mage, and hopefully someday find his cousin again.

Trinity Seven plays “generic pervert dude enters magical world full of cute girls” about as straight as is humanly possible. It opens with Arata literally waking up into a grab boob -> get smacked gag, its ominous cabal of “videogame boss” antagonists (the titular Seven) are all cute girls, and its “mage school” is essentially any other anime school with a light Hogwarts coat of paint. Like Arata's original fantasy world, the larger reality of Trinity Seven all seems to be the result of one horny teenage mind. The various characters all play to type, girls either comment on the character tics of other girls or straight-up announce their own bust size, and the headmaster describes his own students as “boss characters” while laying out the relevant variables of this videogame-narrative adventure. Main heroine Lilith is the “pure ice princess” who's immediately melted by Arata's fumbling sex jokes, ninja Levi is the “one of the guys” one who matches Arata joke for joke, and blue-haired Arin (they always have blue hair) is the emotionless one. There have been shows like this in the past and there will be shows like this in the future, but Trinity Seven offers virtually nothing to separate itself from the generic ur-harem fantasy.

There's nothing that really stands out about Trinity Seven aesthetically, either. Its one compelling piece of imagery is that black sun looming over the city, but the visual framing isn't much to speak of (mainly just a lot of leering boob shots, as you'd expect), and the animation is very limited. The soundtrack is also somewhat oddly chosen - it's full of ominous chimes that seem to imply the show wants to be taken seriously, but that create a disconnect when laid over scenes full of boob jokes. Overall, Trinity Seven is very much a “if you like this sort of thing, here's another one” show - there's nothing that separates it from the genre pack, but also nothing that really makes it fail at this standard routine.

Trinity Seven is available streaming at Crunchyroll.

Hope Chapman

Rating: 1.5

Trinity Seven takes place in a horrifying post-apocalyptic world where everyone has perpetually slipped a contact. There the little discs sit, irritating and useless, at the bottom of everyone's eyeball, forever burning, forever itching, and forever blurring their vision. Wait, are those not contacts? What the hell are they? Take a close look at the eyes of every character in Trinity Seven and you'll see it: little white translucent semicircles at the bottom edge of the eye, not distinct enough to impact the character designs for good or ill, but just noticeable enough to be distracting.

That's the only interesting part of this boilerplate "chosen one everyboy in magical high school embarks on quest to find harem girls" series. It has other trappings and gimmicks thrown in like a horrifying apocalypse and a mysterious childhood friend whose presence is echoed in the new world through many faces, but it's nothing we haven't seen done before and done better. The visuals are...

Well, the show is animated. Technically that is true. I'm sure Trinity Seven just takes place in a world where the bones in everyone's hands have been broken, along with having misaligned contacts.

Really, the element that brings this show down from a "Bleh but not Bad" 2 to a "Bad but not The Worst" 1.5 is its milquetoast lead's one outstanding quality. Arata Kasuga is a friendly reminder of why the "terrified of boobs" and "unabashed pervert" extremes of harem lead characterization exist. While the former can be seen as wimpy and obnoxious, at least they are also kind and considerate of the piles of ladies around them. While the latter can be seen as stupid and creepy, at least they are more entertaining to watch and humorously honest about their teenage urges.

Kasuga is neither of these two extremes, but even that would be preferable to his actual character: Smug Sexual Harassment Man. Right from the beginning, Kasuga "accidentally" gropes his childhood friend Hijiri, refuses to apologize for it, and then "teasingly" comments on her breast size, (no unthinking slip of the tongue here, just a blatant attempt to humiliate and objectify his "friend.") It's not just for Hijiri as it turns out. Almost every comment he makes to the women around him is a chauvinist "girl, you got a crappy attitude, but at least you have a nice figure" dismissal that, of course, makes these pathetic harem targets blush. (Or else join in his objectification, if they're either the more "tomboyish" type, or obliviously encourage it, if they're the "emotionless" type.) He's Mr. "Smile, Sweetheart!" incarnate, in a way that I think makes him unattractive to both women and men. Nerds don't generally resonate with the Type A Broheim, so it's weird to see one portrayed here inside a "generic anime lead" skin.

So, it's just bland, poorly-animated, and a little bit gross. There are hundreds of better harem shows out there than Trinity Seven. I can't see sticking with this one unless you're bored right off your gourd.

Trinity Seven is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Theron Martin

Rating: 2 (of 5)

Review: Arata Kasuga live what he thinks is a relatively normal and peaceful life, one where his cute cousin Hijiri visits to wake him up every day and walk to school with him. He is somewhat bothered when a mysterious girl walks by him and tells him to “wake up,” which gnaws on him until he discovers something even stranger: that that sun is black and Hijiri doesn't seem to think anything is odd about that. Eventually the truth comes out: Arata's home town was actually destroyed by a magical phenomenon, and Hijiri was lost along with it, and what he is experiencing (including the current Hijiri) is an artificial construct borne of his own wish on a grimoire the real Hijiri gave him shortly before he disappeared. That also gets the attention of gun-toting Magus Lilith, as it marks him as a potentially powerful mage. Told by his grimoire that Hijiri is undoubtedly alive somewhere, Arata ignores the options Lilith gives him and instead opts to become a proper Magus, which involves him transferring to the super-secret Royal Biblia Academy. There he learns about the Trinity Seven, the most powerful mages at the school, and that making of them his pawns might speed him along in realizing his goal to recover Hijiri – much to the consternation of Lilith, who is one of them. Naturally the other six are girls, too, and all have different specialties.

The source material is listed as a “fantasy comedy manga,” although few signs of that comedy aspect show in a first episode that, for the most part, takes itself pretty seriously. When the comedy does show, they almost invariably involve risqué references or other, more overt types of fan service, such as one bath scene that will clearly involve nudity in the home video version. While what passes for comedy can occasionally engender a snicker, that such is not the series’ strength readily becomes apparent before the episode ends. No, unless the switch to the school shakes things even more than what has been shown so far, this seems like it is headed more in the direction of a harem series that takes itself at least semi-seriously, and that is a difficult thing to pull off. Just as difficult, though, would be switching to a more comedy-heavy approach after taking such a weighty.

Probably the biggest problem with the series is that, aside from the sentient nature of Arata's grimoire and the mystery about why Hijiri had it in the first place, nothing that it is doing in either a dramatic or harem sense is sticking out as anything all that fresh; even its justification for having all the top mages being girls – that magic is tied to emotions, and girls tend to be more emotional – is thin. (But where does that put Arata, then, since he has power on the level of a demon lord?) It seems to be getting done with a little more quality in delivery than base harem fare, but that's about it. To really grab newcomers to the franchise it is going to have to show something more than it has so far, and by that I don't mean more skin.

Trinity Seven is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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