The Testament of Sister New Devil
by Rebecca Silverman,
When this series is released on disc, it is just going to chock full of breasts. In fact, most of the first half of this fifth episode will consist entirely of boobs and nipples, with a few butts thrown in for good measure, both with and without underwear. How can I tell? (Apart from the fact that I just watched the episode?) Because there is so much censorship that you almost need sunglasses to look at the screen. In what appears to be an attempt to make up for all the (poorly handled) plot last week, this week's episode of The Testament of Sister New Devil spends a lot of time in the bath and the bedroom, with Basara getting snuggly with various female body parts owned by all three of the cast's main females...and later he gets a face-full of his teacher's clothed breasts as well. Not that he wants all of this attractive female flesh in his face, of course – he just wakes up to Maria inside his pj's, walks in on Mio in the bath and trips her, and Yuki sneaks into the shower with him. And just to make things even worse, he triggers Mio's curse and has to bring her to orgasm on his bed by fondling her bare breasts. Gosh, Basara just can't get a break.
Now while the censorship is annoying – it's mostly bands of light, but as you can see from the screencap, the show does get creative with some of it – the bigger issue here is that after an episode nearly devoid of fanservice, we get one that is in its first half nothing but. It's not wrong to have a fanservice show or one without any, but for an ecchi show that's still trying to have a plot, a balance of the two helps to keep things genuinely interesting, especially since in the broadcast version you don't see any of the ecchi bits. Sister New Devil hasn't managed to balance its two main elements of “urban fantasy story” and “breasts” so that they coexist to form an intriguing whole, which is one of the major strikes against it. That all of the plot is delivered in conversation rather than action doesn't help this particular episode; somehow watching two dudes cook and eat steak strips doesn't make for thrilling television, even if they're explaining important details about the attacks on Mio and who will be coming for her next.
As for that, this week we are introduced to five new characters who look to be fairly important. Two are on the Demon side and three appear to be heroes sent to kill Mio, though we don't know any more than that. Teacher also seems to possibly represent a third party interested in Mio's powers (or perhaps Basara's), as she blesses Basara with a what sounds suspiciously like a prayer. All of this does indicate that the plot may heat up, but the introductions are very rushed, which takes away from the excitement somewhat. There's also nothing done with the new characters; they're basically shown and then the story moves on. While it may be meant to whet our palates for more information, with the jumble the past couple of episodes have been, the show would have been better served by giving us a little more up front.
The episode is not entirely devoid of positives, however. It's kind of fun to see that Basara and Takigawa are still friends despite knowing who/what each other are, and Maria continues to be a fun character, even if she shares some questionable ideas about what is acceptable in a romantic relationship with ero games. (Could those games be written by succubi?) Yuki has regressed since last episode, as has Mio, and there's also some return to the off-model animation that plagued the show's beginning.
It really is a shame that what started out as the best of the season's harem offerings (which, admittedly, might not be saying much) isn't doing much to prove itself. This episode's unbalanced presentation of fanservice and plot illustrates what's really wrong with the series at its core, and while it no longer feels like its leaving out crucial information, it also isn't doing much to make its plot points interesting. Here's hoping it can get its act together before too many more weeks go by.
The Testament of Sister New Devil is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Rebecca Silverman is ANN's senior manga critic.
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