Reviewby Theron Martin,
Testament of Sister New Devil BURST
episodes 1-10 streaming
While Basara's old man dukes it out with Leohart, the new young Demon Lord, Basara goes about normal school life, which includes getting involved in a festival committee. The danger isn't entirely gone, though, as someone at school is using otherworldly powers to manipulate students and a teacher (or two) may be involved. That doesn't hinder Kurumi from also getting drawn into the sexy master/servant pact antics with Basara or Lars from cautioning Mio and Yuki that they have to get stronger in case Basara's power goes out of control. Later, Mio's demonic uncle Ramsus summons the four of them and Maria to the demon realm, where they learn that Zest has become one of his servants. Though Ramsus has the thought to excise Mio's demonic power from her, the quintet soon become involved in the ongoing conflict between the new Demon Lord (and the council who backs him) and the moderate faction still loyal to the previous Demon Lord, which includes Maria's mother. Ultimately matters are to be decided with a tournament, but the council may have some other nefarious tricks up their sleeves.
If the first season of Testament had issues fully distinguishing itself from close competitor High School DxD, its 10 episode second season only exacerbates the problem. Let's see, a plot where the whole gang goes to the demon realm, where they have to “level up” so that they can compete in a demonic tournament, only to see broader-ranging shenanigans disrupt the tournament as part of an ongoing power struggle. The hero also has an aspect to his power which can go dangerously out of control, too. Gee, where have we seen that plot before? Oh, yeah, in High School DxD BoRN, just a couple of seasons earlier. Granted, the balance of the character personalities still remains decidedly different, and the presence of the hero's father as an active participant is unique to Testament, but the problem remains that Testament will ever languish in DxD's shadow until it comes up with fresher content.
A comparatively weak artistic effort this time around for D&D should have given BURST an opportunity to gain ground that way, but it blew that opportunity by not doing anything better artistically than what the first season managed. Despite some flashy battle scenes, the animation effort is still a mediocre one anywhere outside of the fan service scenes; this is especially glaring in the depiction of Ramsus, who might as well be a statue for how unanimated he is. In most cases it does not match up favorably in its biggest strength – its character designs – either; yeah, Maria still has no true equal in DxD, but honestly, who would pick Mio over Rias Gremory in any character design match-up, regardless of what criteria you were judging on? The handful of newer characters introduced are not any sharper, and a particular problem is that Leohart lacks the weight – the gravitas, if you will – in his design that a Demon Lord should have. The one place where Testament can compete visually is with it fan service, which still edges out DxD in explicit raciness. Sadly, it in turn is topped even in that regard in its own season (see Valkyrie Drive -Mermaid-) and it fails to project much sexiness without being so explicit; the most recent To Love-Ru installment betters it in that regard. Hence even in the fan service aspect of its visuals the new season is little more than an also-ran.
Evaluated entirely independently of its competition, the second season tells a decent but wholly unremarkable story. Though the exact specifics of how it operates are not entirely predictable, almost no major move in its plot or character development is going to surprise anyone. For instance, in the case of Zest, her not ending up as a maid in service to a friendlier demon would have been more unexpected. The same could be said of Kurumi actually resisting getting dragged into the orgasmic antics with Yuki and Mio; that she would get involved was preordained from her first appearance, given what kind of series this is. Mio becomes stronger, but still relies on Basara so much that she has not moved beyond being a weak character. Nothing all that interesting comes up in the power struggles in the demon realm, either; if anything, they are actually mild and simplistic compared to what one might expect to see going on amongst demons and/or devils. One of the few positive developments is that this season does elaborate quite a bit more on who Jin is and how respected and feared he is in demonic circles, as well as some particulars behind how Basara's own power works.
Although the musical score does not do anything exceptional, it is still probably the series' strongest production aspect. It mostly carries over musical themes used in the first season, but it works them well for ominous, dramatic, or even occasionally gentle effect. Opener “Over the Testament” is a pretty typical J-Rock number whose visuals show off well what the series is about (in both an action and fan service sense). It does come in some slight variations, with the song and visuals remaining the same but the singing sometimes differing and versions used later in the series also including sound effects for the on-screen action. Closer “Temperature,” which seems to come in only one version, is respectable but also unremarkable. The same can generally be said for the Japanese voice work, with Kaori Fukuhara's fun interpretation of Maria being the only noteworthy performance.
For all of the criticisms that I have leveled against it, BURST is still a successful series because it remains true to what made the first season popular enough to warrant this follow-up: have a strong male lead surrounded by a bevy of adoring girls of varying builds, plenty of supernatural action, and lots of (censored) nudity and the hero bringing girls to orgasms. It would have had to really screw up to fail, and that it didn't do.
Overall (sub) : C
Story : C
Animation : B-
Art : B-
Music : B
+ Plenty of sexy fan service and action, some new revelations about key characters.
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