The Summer 2016 Anime Preview Guide
Hybrid × Heart Magia Academy Ataraxia
How would you rate episode 1 of
Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia ?
What is this?
How was the first episode?
I was just thinking this morning that we have yet to see a brazen fan service series this season – in fact, what little male-oriented fan service has been put out so far has been very mild – and lo and behold, here we go! It's our first series of the season naughty enough to require visual censoring, and it literally wastes not a second establishing itself as such; the very first shot involves it, and the very first scene seems to involve a male character stimulating a busty female warrior to the point of orgasm in order to “charge her up.” And there are two others waiting in the wings for the same treatment! Some guys have all the luck.
In all seriousness, if what's described in the above paragraph is a turn-off then there is no point to checking out this episode, because while things don't get worse than that, they don't get any better, either. In fact, the thin line of plot running through the episode is more an excuse to set up sexy situations than actual, proper storytelling. The writing even seems aware of how ridiculous the whole scenario is, too, as shown by lead protagonist Kizuna's incredulous reaction to what his sister is telling him to do to the alluringly-outfitted Aine in one pivotal scene. Since very little is explained about how this Heart Hybrid process works, hopefully further elaboration will come next episode.
Of, course, the technicalities of why arousing the female warrior powers her up may be irrelevant, as is the fact that Kizuna's demonstrated personality so far is almost as bland as Aine's is annoying. All that really matters for a series like this is the fan service. The biggest problem is that there's nothing special about that aspect, either. Production IMS, the studio which animates this one, also did Testament of Sister New Devil, which also involved cases where the male protagonist had to do erotic things to the female characters, and the results here aren't any better. At least that series offered some variety in its girls, whereas here the three main girls are separated from one another primarily by hair color and style. If your fan service tastes don't run towards big, bouncing boobs then there is little to appreciate here.
I've said many times before that even heavy fan service series have to have something beyond just the fan service for them to be watchable: good action, sterling artistry, appreciable characters, a sense of humor, or even just enough camp to fully accept how ridiculous they are. This one doesn't have any of those going for it. As fan service series go, this one is a bottomfeeder so far.
A Boobs rating feels like the only way to evaluate a show like this. Hybrid x Heart is barely a narrative at all, and doesn't really pretend to be - it's a vehicle for softcore porn, and more importantly, an advertisement for the show's own uncensored bluray release. More creativity was used in finding ways to censor boobs and crotches in this episode than in any other element of the show's construction; in addition to the usual light beams, there were Eva-style warning signs, ornate scifi frames, and even replicas of the heroine's hands moving up and down to hide her various regions. You can't say that the censors at least were asleep on the job.
Unfortunately, no other element of the show earns such care in execution. Hybrid x Heart's premise is a mix of standard light novel “special boy attends magical school with lots of cute girls” and a scifi premise tailor-made to force him to grope lots of bashful young maidens. That's literally how his power is expressed - he feels up girls in skintight suits, and that gives them the strength to fight poorly rendered CG monsters. Hybrid x Heart's underlying theme is “how can we make groping into the dramatic core of the narrative.”
All of this is very silly, but it's not really the reason Hybrid x Heart is bad. The reason Hybrid x Heart is bad is that it fills all the space between those grope-sessions with the most banal, poorly drawn, laughably written scifi nonsense imaginable. First off, none of the girls here feel at all like real people. The principle heroine introduces herself to the hero Kizuna with “do you lack the intelligence required to understand language” - a line that simultaneously defines her as the Ice Queen trope and reflects a fundamental lack of understanding of how humans construct ideas and sentences. The other two girls are the Bashful Tsundere and the Ojou, and Kizuna doesn't really fair any better. Even if the assumptions necessary to justify all the groping weren't entirely unconvincing, there's nothing outside of those contrivances worth paying attention to. And the aesthetics are just as bad - the show's way of depicting a “bustling academy” is two still frames of a crowd, and later on, heroine Aina flies through the sky as a single static frame, like she's skateboarding on air.
I feel that more than anyone, the people who are actually looking for sexy scifi anime should feel insulted by a show like this. Erotica doesn't have to be this bad - porn can have a narrative and characterization and all that good stuff regular shows get to have, too. Hybrid x Heart assumes it can get away with nothing but groping and a prayer, offering the bare minimum even for those just here for the boobs.
In the future, the fighters of the world will be powered by…orgasms! Well, at least this show completely owns its premise. Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia is more than just a boob show: it's an all-out ecchi fest with the thinnest of premises: creatures known as magitech are attacking (or are using magitech to attack; I couldn't decide) and only people wearing Heart Hybrid Gear can fight them. They appear to be trained at the school Ataraxia, which in true anime style is its own island, which is run by a woman named Reiri, older sister of protagonist Kizuna. Years after her brother was rejected by their mother, she calls him back to Ataraxia to be, depending on how things go from here, either a human sex toy or a gigolo. His job? To bring the busty young ladies who wear the Gear to orgasm in order to recharge their outfits.
I have to give it credit – there is little to no beating about the bush here. Hybrid x Heart promises sex and it delivers. It also features one of the few instances of “girl slaps boy into oblivion” that makes sense. After stuck-up Aine's Gear fails in midair, Kizuna rescues her and is instructed by his sister to fondle her all over. He does, and when Aine regains consciousness, she punches him into a tree for touching her sexually while she was unconscious. If only I could believe that she would continue to be mad at him (and Reiri, who ordered it) as the series goes on…although it does seem from the opening scenes of the episode that further congress will take place while the girls are awake.
Naturally this is censored, albeit not as heavily as it could be. There are light bars, but they're thin, and weird honeycomb patterns cover nipples. Generally speaking they show more than they cover, although the graphic used to cover Kizuna playing with Aine's breasts is a weird panel that has a still picture of hands on breasts, so it was visually confusing. (I may not always want to see what's going on, but I firmly believe that it's on me to look away, not the show to censor it.) I do appreciate that it wasn't trying to be cutesy – again, this show owns what it does.
All of that said, this is one of the weakest excuses for sexual content in a plot that I've encountered. That's really all that Hybrid x Heart has to offer: a few fights and a lot of skin. If you aren't choosey about your boobs coming with a plot, this show may be for you. But thus far I'm not holding out much hope that this will go beyond that and I really want to smack the sister for orchestrating the whole thing. Her brother may feel differently.
You're here for the titties, aren't you?
Please understand that I don't mean that as an accusation. When I say "you're here for the titties, aren't you?", what I really mean to say is "well, why else would you be here?" Starting right from the HxH in the title, this show is very much not about anything else at all. (Okay, maybe butts, there may be a B plot about butts.)
That's the one nice thing I can say about HxH Magia Academy. Unlike a lot of other magic high school light novel shows, this one doesn't try to hide its nature as a shameless fanservice vehicle. Honestly, that seems to be the way LN adaptations are trending recently, with the blander Absolute Duos and Sky Wizards Academys of the scene getting supplanted by a more direct focus on Big Boobs as the primary draw, like with last season's Netoge and Hundred. Dropping the pretense of a story more and more, I guess.
But HxH takes this trend a step further by just going pure softcore from the very first scene. Unlike its spring season predecessors, HxH is trying to sell you actual sex scenes instead of just giant cleavage. (Well, mild foreplay that the girls wildly overreact to like porn stars.) Even if it's just a lot of groping and teasing, this is as close to porn-with-a-plot-slapped-on as TV anime ever gets, completely forgoing the walls of exposition and worldbuilding most light novel anime are prone to in favor of packing more moans and bounces into the runtime. It's not good by any means, but at least it's honest, I guess. Anyway, this is much more like last year's F-cup-filled Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid than Chivalry of a Failed Knight and its ilk.
But on the note of Valkyrie Drive, TV broadcast standards leave all of HxH's numerous fondling-to-orgasm scenes covered with light bars and logos, retroactively removing the show's only perceivable appeal. You could probably recommend this as simple spank material to some big-boob-fetishists if it was uncensored, but since it isn't, it's good for a laugh and an eyeroll but not much else. If the producers of these things are really interested in being more and more honest about the show's appeal, they should just replace those light bars and logos with a little sign that says Buy The Blu-Rays, Chump.
discuss this in the forum (599 posts) |
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history