First Impressions – Assault Lily Bouquet

Hi everyone!

Looks like we have our first anime for the Fall anime season and the one I will introducing to you today is the latest action-packed show, Assault Lily Bouquet!

Premise

Assault Lily Bouquet is based on two novels, Assault Lily: Ichiryūtai, Shutsugeki Shimasu! and Assault Lily Arms written by Hiroyuki Kasama. It is directed by Shouji Saeki who did FLCL, Medaka Box and of course, everyone’s favourite Gurren Lagaan. The animation is also produced by Studio Shaft which as some of you may know has done such anime as Fate: Extra Last Encore and the Madoka series and films. This media franchise also has its own figurine series.

The story is set in the near future where humanity is under threat by an mysterious enemy known as HUGE. To counter this threat, humanity develops the anti-weapon “CHARM” (Counter Huge Arms) by combining science and magic. Naturally, the only ones who can use these weapons effectively are teenage girls and the girls who use these weapons are referred to as “Lilies.” All Lilies are trained at military academies called “Gardens,” which functions as military bases and research facilities. This is a story about girls who aim to become Lilies so they can protect Earth.

Okay, so that’s the basic premise of the show. Now let’s get onto the first episode recap !

Episode Recap

So the first episode starts off the introduction of our protagonist, Riri Hitotsuyanagi (CV: Hikaru Akao), a happy, cheerful, slightly airheaded sixteen year old girl. Two years before the story, she is rescued from a HUGE attack by Yuyu Shirai and her mentor. Inspired by this event, Riri decides to become a Lily herself.  Two years later, Riri leaves for her first day at school at Yurigaoka Girls Academy.

Upon arriving at the academy, Riri instantly meets Kaede Johan Nouvelle (CV: Mikako Izawa), a prominent Lily whose father is a major CEO of a company that makes the CHARMs. After a slight misunderstanding, Kaede accompanies Riri into the school where they spot a large crowd. Taking a closer look, the pair discover a senior student, Araya Endo (CV: Akira Sekine) trying to pick a fight with Yuyu. Excited, Kaede bids Riri farewell and runs into the crowd to watch. Riri is then approached by Fumi Futagawa (CV: Rimi Nishimoto) who asks her about Kaede and explains who the other two Lillies are.

Suddenly, Riri spots Kaede stepping into the middle of the fight to get Yuyu to make a Schutzengel pledge with her.  As Kaede is about to draw her weapon, Riri steps in to stop her. Before the situation can get even worse, a bell then rings and a senior student named Shinobu Izue appears telling everyone to get ready. The senior student informs everyone that a HUGE has escaped from a nearby research facility. The student then orders all of the senior students to sortie and find it, while all of the first years with no combat experience wait in the gym. As Yuyu starts to walk off, the senior student orders her to partner up with Kaede.

Instead of heading to the gym, Riri asks if she can tag along too and Yuyu strangely allows it. Searching a nearby valley, Riri’s team gets ambushed by a HUGE and are forced to engage it in battle. However, Riri panics and discovers that she is unable to activate her CHARM. Yuyu is then forced to step in and save her. Using a flash grenade, the trio manage to escape. Once they are a safe distance away, Kaede scolds Riri for stating that she will help when she cannot even activate her weapon. Riri apologizes, but Yuyu intervenes and states that she is equally to blame for assuming that Riri had combat experience.

Staring at her phone, Yuyu offers to teach Riri how to make a pact with her CHARM. Using Riri’s blood, Yuyu channels the blood into the ring to power up the CHARM. Suddenly the HUGE attacks and Kaede is forced to defend herself. Sending the HUGE flying, the HUGE unleashes a smoke cloud which engulfs the area. and almost causes the girls to attack each other.  Unleashing her weapon, Yuyu is pushed into a corner when Riri miraculously manages to activate her weapon. The three girls then destroy it.

Later in the  quarantine room, Riri thanks Yuyu for her help and explains that she is happy to see her again. Asking what she means, Riri tells Yuyu that she saved her and her friend during the evacuation of Koshu. Riri then remarks that Yuyu seems to have changed since that time and that she liked to say thanks to the other Lily that was with her. The lights then on  and the girls are greeted by the lively Moyu Mashima (CV: Inori Minase).  Getting down to business, Moyu apologizes for letting that HUGE escape and lets them out of the Quarantine room.

Outside the room, Riri and Yuyu bump into Kaede who was waiting for them. Hugging Riri, Kaede announces that she has found the “girl of  her destiny” and declares that she wants to make a Schutzengel pact with her instead. Riri and Kaede then attend the entrance ceremony, while Yuyu sneaks off. Later that night, Yuyu meets up with the other Lily from two years ago, Misuzu Kawazoe (CV: Ayako Kawasumi) in her room. As they chat, Misuzu chides her for shying away from the others.

Impressions

So that is the first episode. Overall, it was a fairly good episode. It had a lot of likeable elements and the story is fairly interesting.  I particularly like how  the episode started with Riri giving a self monologue explaining the basic world building and the basic premise of the show. It made it easy to follow.  Some of the main concepts like the HUGE and the CHARMS were fairly easy to understand. However, I wished they explained this Schutzengel pact better.  As far as I can understand, a Schutzengel pact is something like a formal partnership.

I also like how all of the main characters are introduced. The the staff made sure to put their names in text, which made it easier to tell them apart. However, one thing that irks me is  the naming of the enemy, I feel like it could have been better. I know HUGE is an acronym for something, but it would have really helped to explain it. Though they will probably get to it in the next episode.

Additionally, the animation is alright and it has exciting action sequences. The opening theme song animation did  a great job in luring me into the show. The character designs of the HUGE are similar to the One-Eyes from Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise, so if you are a fan of that, you may like this one.  Furthermore, the CHARMs themselves are totally Nanoha inspired. In addition, the music is pretty amazing. The opening theme song, “Sacred World” by Raise A Suilen is a fun electronic rock song that does an amazing job highlighting the action aspect of the show. While the ending theme song “Edel Lilie” is a sweet cheery song that which emphasises the bonds between the Lillies. It also sung by the main protagonist Riri’s voice actor, Hikaru Akao.

One other thing that should be mentioned is that fans of shoujo-ai shows will love this show. Judging from the ending animation sequence, Riri and Yuyu are definitely going to shipped together a lot and there might even be a love triangle developing between Riri, Yuyu and Kaede. So there are definitely going to be shoujo-ai and perhaps fan service elements in this show.  As to whether or not I’ll blog this series, we’ll just have to wait and see!

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