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The Summer 2022 Preview Guide
Vermeil in Gold

How would you rate episode 1 of
Vermeil in Gold ?
Community score: 3.6



What is this?

The story centers on Alto Goldfield, a student at a magical academy who aims to become a master of all magic. However, when he is on the verge of failing a class on summoning magic and in danger of being held back a year, he finds an old summoning grimoire. Following its instructions, he inscribes a magic circle, and ends up summoning a powerful demon named Vermeil, who was sealed long ago, and makes her his familiar. However, the voluptuous Vermeil occasionally requires magical energy from Alto, which she claims by kissing him deeply.

Vermeil in Gold is based on Kōta Amana and Yōko Umezu's manga and streams on HIDIVE on Tuesdays.


How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis
Rating:

While I have rated this one as a 2.5, that number indicates an average rather than a score. The way I see it, this episode is either a 5 or a 0 depending on whether it's your fetish or not.

Vermeil in Gold appears to be the most trope-filled anime of the season so far. It doesn't seem to have a single original idea to its name. It's a fantasy set at a magic school. The main character is an innocent boy who summons a super sexy demon. His childhood best friend is a tsundere who is (not so secretly) in love with him. Oh, and he is completely overpowered. If you look up “pubescent male sexual fantasy” in the dictionary, there might just be a screenshot of this episode. If you're looking for anything new—some kind of twist or game-changing mystery—you won't find it here. It's nothing but cliché smut... which might be exactly what you are looking for.

I respect any work for knowing what it is and wholeheartedly embracing it. Vermeil in Gold is titillating wish fulfillment from top to bottom. It doesn't want to be something new; it wants to be a best hits album. I mean, it puts a voluptuous older woman in the “virgin killer” sweater and sets up a situation where Alto must continuously do “naughty” things with her. It's basically shouting from the top of its lungs, “If this is your fetish, here I am!” And with relatively high production values and a solid voice cast, it's certainly giving its all to deliver on that claim.


Caitlin Moore
Rating:

Do you dream of being deflowered by a big titty succubus girlfriend? If you do, have I got an anime for you! If not, well, I still have lots of anime for you, but Vermeil in Gold isn't one of them.

I feel like there's been a lot of series lately about sexually aggressive adult women throwing themselves at blushing, virginal teens. If that's what floats your boat, hey, good for you. Vermeil in Gold is one of those fetish series that doesn't really have much else going for it if you don't have a boner for its basic premise. For me, however, the continuous lack of consent to the sexual element elicited a pretty much constant grimace.

Vermeil could actually be kind of a fun character if the rest of the cast could hold their own against her. She's killing it in a micro-mini backless sweater dress, carrying herself with an aggressive confidence that will doubtless win her many admirers. Had she been summoned by someone receptive to her advances, who wasn't intimidated and confused by her constant physical affection and offers of blow jobs, I could see this being a fun, sexy time for some lucky viewers. Consent and reciprocity go a long way toward making fanservice more appealing to me, even if it would run the risk of turning into outright porn if the protagonist accepted her offers.

But that's not the series we got. Instead, she gets to play off Alto, who is as milquetoast as they come. He stammers, he demurs, he struggles to understand what to do with her advances. And hey, that's understandable, because he's all of 15 years old, which is pretty creepy if you don't have a fetish for imagining yourself as an innocent teenager being hit on by a sexy woman. Occasionally he appears to be open to her flirting, and in those moments, they actually have okay chemistry, but then she starts to push his boundaries and it goes right back to being uncomfortable. The best part of the episode is all the ways Vermeil finds to rest her boobs on him and honestly, I can't blame her. Those things look heavy. I'd be looking for things to hold up their weight too.

And good lord, was Alto's friend Lilia annoying. She has an extremely unsubtle crush on him, which manifests mostly as shrill demands that Vermeil stop lavishing attention on him. She has no personality outside her jealousy, nothing to do but shriek and complain. And considering how little Alto has going on, it's obvious she's there just to add conflict and/or fulfill the required role of “childhood friend”.

Either Vermeil in Gold will grind your gears, or it won't. But it's not worth a second glance if you're not into the kink it's made to serve.


Rebecca Silverman
Rating:

There are hints of a better story in this episode. Mostly those concern Vermeil, the demon summoned by our hapless hero Alto Goldfield – we know that she was sealed in a book for untold years, and her statement about how it would be better for her to masquerade as a human in public because of human distrust of demons, paired with imagery in both the opening and ending theme, seems to indicate that she's suffered greatly at human hands. I'd almost be willing to say that her aggressive physical pursuit of Alto is born of as much of a need to be “useful” to him as her need for his mana, but that may be taking things too far – or at least willfully ignoring the intense fanservice angle. In any event, all of this is to say that Vermeil in Gold may be hiding something more than we get in this episode.

To get to it may take more fortitude than most viewers have. To put it simply, a lot of the “humor” comes from bad old sexual predation shenanigans, with Vermeil stroking Alto's crotch several times despite him being very clear that that's not what he wants from her. She's also constantly sitting on his lap, shoving her breasts against various parts of his anatomy (some more plausible than others; that scene in the end looks very weird), and using sexual pleasure to win a fight against Lilia, Alto's friend who desperately wants to be his girlfriend. It's clearly meant to be funny or at least entertaining, but since so little of it involves any consent, I can't say that I found it to be either of those things. More than that, it feels like a weirdly old-fashioned approach to fanservice, all the more so because the source manga began in 2018.

But like I said, there are some hints that there are more things going on beneath the surface. Alto's last name is “Goldfield” while “Vermeil” means a thinly gold-plated silver (AKA silver gilt), so there's some symbolism there about Alto being the real thing while Vermeil sees herself as less-than, and the fact that Alto has such strong mana that he could only form a familiar contract with a being as powerful as a demon is a very interesting detail. I'm not inclined to pursue this show any further, but it isn't without its potential and has wonderfully detailed background art – it seriously looks like a world I would love to live in. If nothing else I'm comfortable saying that this could be the title that makes me regret its preview guide entry.


Nicholas Dupree
Rating:

I think the best way to exemplify where Vermeil's priorities lie is the scene where it introduces its titular demon. After some lovingly animated boob jiggle of our naked heroine all but mounting our hapless protagonist, she slides her hand down his smooth, featureless torso to the flat waistband of his tightie whities. It's in that moment of high-minded cinematic storytelling that we learn exactly what this show is about. It's going to be putting its big tiddy demon lady on display as much as physically possible, and anything else is going to be phoned-in window dressing at best.

And hey, if your standard for watching an entire season of television is the frequency of anime boobs precariously contained in a virgin-killer sweater? Congrats, here's your anime of the season. But if that doesn't do it for ya, there's not a whole lot here. Vermeil and the can of unseasoned lima beans that constitutes our protagonist, Alto, don't really have much in the way of chemistry or even a comedic back-and-forth. Their entire relationship is just her breasting boobily in front of him and occasionally expositing about demon lore, while he sits stock still and blushes. There's almost a dynamic between them when they're around other people, with Vermeil being assertive towards anyone who intimidates her extremely timid summoner, but that's not really much to go on, and doesn't give a good example of why these two would make a compelling duo to follow outside of the promise that maybe she'll touch his downstairs some day.

Maybe if Alto seemed more enthusiastically into Vermeil, or at least has some kind of distinguishing feature to build upon, this would work as a bit of goofy, horny fun. But even his embarrassed reactions are oddly subdued, and that kneecaps the chance of humor or sensuality. And that's before we get to Alto's insufferable childhood friend whose two jokes are “I am jealous of the big tiddy demon” and “I am horny for this potato boy” when she's not being comically groped into submission by Vermeil. Vermeil herself is at least not irritating in how she doesn't take crap from the people around her, but with nobody interesting to bounce off of she doesn't have much to do.

This premiere does at least look nice. Along with the two big obvious focuses for the animation, there's a genuinely lively direction to this whole episode. Clever camera angles, playful storyboarding to simple dialogue scenes, and some nice flourishes make the whole thing a lot more watchable than a more workmanlike approach. Considering the level of care ecchi titles have gotten in the past few seasons, that's not something to take for granted. The character designs leave something to be desired, feeling altogether too plain to leave much of an impression, but they're presented well even if they're not all that interesting on their own.

Sadly, being better than World’s End Harem isn't the same as being good or entertaining, and that's the rub (no not like that) of this premiere. All it really has to offer is competently executed horniness, and if that isn't enough on its own then there isn't much here. The character banter isn't compelling. There's basically no plot besides your standard Anime Magic School stuff about passing magic tests. The setting itself is as bare as bones can be. Sorry Vermeil, but you need to have some kind of heart beating underneath all that chest meat, and that just doesn't seem to be here.


James Beckett
Rating:

At the very least, I have to give Vermeil in Gold some credit for its shamelessness. This production is clearly the result of some proud degenerates who all shared a common goal: To bring to life the story of the big-tittied demon mommy who would use her magical sex powers to turn them into the most popular boys at school, even though she could just as easily smother them to death with both hands tied behind her back. Some folks work their entire lives to put their most personal fantasies onto paper and/or celluloid, and with nothing to show for it. Vermillion in Gold stands as a proud testament to the sheer power of perv-serverance in manifesting one's will unto the world. If I may paraphrase from Field of Dreams: “If you draw it, they will come.”

In other words, this is a stupid-as-hell sex comedy about a hapless idiot who summons a lascivious succubus in an effort to avoid failing out of his magic school. It's not trying to be high art; it's just trying to make its audience laugh (and provide some material to deposit into their collective spank banks for later use). On that account, Vermeil in Gold's success is tied to the responses of the two most subjective organs in a viewer's body: Their funny bone, and…well, the other one.

It didn't work for me, personally. I struggle to engage with wet-blanket protagonists like Yuji even when they're not the self-insert avatars for a kink I'm also apathetic to. Vermeil's shtick is only intermittently funny—I will admit to chuckling at the awkward absurdity of her just straddling Yuji in the middle of class, for all of his schoolmates to see—but she's not entertaining enough on her own to carry an entire show. I also have no love for the tired “jealous best friend who is romantically obsessed with the pile of mashed potatoes that is our protagonist for no discernable reason".

Plus, Vermeil in Gold is too slapdash in its production values to inspire any admiration on an aesthetic level. A lot of time and effort has clearly been spent on some of Vermeil's key scenes, but I get the impression that the crew at Staple Entertainment had to scramble at the last minute to get the other nineteen minutes of the premiere put together when someone remembered that they actually had to put together a full episode of television. Overall, this might not be quite as terrible as it could have been, but you won't catch me going back to Vermeil in Gold for seconds anytime soon.


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