The first volume of the Sekirei manga released on June 25, 2005.
|Genre||Action, Harem, Romantic comedy|
|Written by||Sakurako Gokurakuin|
|Published by||Square Enix|
|Original run||December 3, 2004 – ongoing|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Keizō Kusakawa|
|Written by||Takao Yoshioka|
|Music by||Hiroaki Sano|
|Network||Chiba TV, KBS Kyoto, Nagoya Broadcasting Network, Sun TV, Tokyo MX, TV Hokkaido, TV Kanagawa, TV Saitama, AT-X, TVQ|
|Original run||July 2, 2008 – September 17, 2008|
|Episodes||12 + OVA|
|Anime television series|
|Sekirei: Pure Engagement|
|Directed by||Keizō Kusakawa|
|Produced by||Hideo Tatsumaka|
|Written by||Takao Yoshioka|
|Music by||Hiroaki Sano|
|Network||AT-X, KBS Kyoto, Nagoya Broadcasting Network, Sun TV, Tokyo MX, TV Hokkaido, TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting|
|Original run||July 4, 2010 – September 26, 2010|
|Episodes||13 + OVA|
Sekirei (セキレイ?, lit. Wagtail) is a Japanese manga series by Sakurako Gokurakuin. The manga began serialization in the seinen magazine Young Gangan published by Square Enix in December 2004. An anime adaptation produced by Seven Arcs and directed by Keizō Kusakawa aired in Japan between July and September 2008, and a second season aired between July and September 2010. Both seasons are licensed in North America by Funimation. The central character of the series is Minato Sahashi, a ronin who failed college examinations twice. His life changes, however, when he meets a girl named Musubi.
In Tokyo (known as Shinto Teito (新東帝都 Shintō Teito?, "New Eastern Imperial Capital")) in 2020, 19-year-old Minato Sahashi is extremely intelligent, but his inability to cope under pressure often results in failure.
One day, Minato meets a girl named Musubi, who literally falls from the sky. Minato soon learns that she is a "Sekirei" who chose him as her "Ashikabi", a human with special powers that allows them to have a contract with Sekirei. This binds the Sekirei to him and allows them to use their full power in elimination battles with other Sekirei. Made up of cute girls, buxom women, and bishōnen, the Sekirei fight in a competition known as "The Game" or the "Sekirei Plan" organized by Hiroto Minaka, the chairman and founder of the mysterious and powerful MBI Corporation.
Minato soon learns that being the partner of a girl is not all fun and games, especially when several other Sekirei choose him as their Ashikabi, each also forming a contract with him. Now, Minato must find a way to survive both the life-threatening battles of the Sekirei Plan and his partners' fierce competition for him.
Sekirei (鶺鴒?) are superpowered beings with a different code similar to a human's. The Sekirei spaceship crashed on Earth in 1999 on Kamikura Island (神座島 Kamikura-jima?), and was found by two students, Hiroto Minaka (future MBI chairman) and Takami Sahashi (future MBI head researcher and Minato's mother). On board, the pair had found 108 life-forms, described as "One pillar and 107 baby birds".
- The first of them (a pillar, shown as #00, later renumbered and known as #01 Miya) was an adult.
- Eight (later known as #02-09) were embryos, also known as the "Single Numbers".
- 99 others (later known as #10-108) were fertilized eggs.
The adult and the eight embryos are also known as the "Single Numbers". It is hinted that unwinged Single Numbers are equal or even more powerful than their winged counterparts. All of the Sekirei had used adjustments for the Sekirei Plan, especially the Single Numbers. The adjustments had been used not only for making Sekirei stronger, but also for controlling and strengthening their power. Each Sekirei has a Norito (祝詞?, lit. "Incantations"), a unique ability that allows them to perform powerful attacks. In order to use the Norito, a Sekirei must be kissed by their Ashikabi prior to reciting it. Sekirei that are under the same Ashikabi can also merge their techniques in order to create more powerful techniques. This puts most Ashikabi at a disadvantage, as only a few Ashikabi possess more than one Sekirei.
Ashikabi (葦牙?) are humans with unique genes that enable them to empower the Sekirei destined to serve them. Through mucous contact (kissing) between a Sekirei and its Ashikabi, a Sekirei without wings can become a "winged" Sekirei. Unlike Sekirei, who are mostly buxom women or handsome young men, Ashikabi can be quite innocuous as they can appear in any gender, age, and even status. In the series, the power of an Ashikabi can be determined not only by the number of Sekirei he or she has in his or her disposal, but by the bond between them. As the Sekirei fight escalates, five Ashikabi in particular, ascend as the favourites to win the Sekirei Fight, each having winged at least three Sekirei. One of them is Natsuo Ichinomi, the leader of the Disciplinary Squad, while each one of the four others control a different area in the city; Minato Sahashi from the North, Hayato Mikogami from the South, Izumi Higa from the East and Nishi Sanada of the West. If an Ashikabi dies, all Sekirei winged by him or her will also perish.
Jinki (神器?, lit. "God instrument"), are eight mysterious artifacts numbered from #1 to #8, also found on the Sekirei spaceship. If all eight of them are gathered, it is possible that they can be used to terminate all of the Sekirei if the wielder desires. Upon all Sekirei being winged, the MBI puts all Jinki in their possession as prizes for the matches of the Third Stage, and only the Ashikabi with a Jinki are allowed to keep participating in the Sekirei Fight by the end of the stage.
The Sekirei Plan (鶺鴒計画 Sekirei Keikaku?), known to Minaka and others as the "Game", is a competition in which the Sekirei and their Ashikabi must fight for survival until the last one of each remains. The true purpose of the plan is unknown, but it is implied to be sinister to some extent. The second anime season ended with the Second Stage completed, but before the Third Stage matches begin.
- First Stage: The Sekirei are adjusted and released in Tokyo. Thereafter, they must find Ashikabi for winging. This stage ends when 90% of the Sekirei are winged.
- Second Stage: Tokyo becomes a closed city and no Sekirei or Ashikabi can leave. The Ashikabi must then wing the remaining unwinged Sekirei, and every Ashikabi and their Sekirei must defeat at least one Sekirei.
- Third Stage: A series of battle royales between Ashikabi for possession of the Jinki. Only the Ashikabi who secure at least one of the Jinki until the end of this stage are eligible to advance.
- Final stage: The last stage of the Sekirei Plan is divided in several steps.
- Step One: The remaining Ashikabi and their Sekirei are brought to Kamikura Island, where the Sekirei were first discovered, and all Jinki must be positioned by them in designated spots across the place.
- Step Two: The Ashikabi are separated into four pairs. Each pair must have a winner among them in one hour or all Ashikabi are killed.
- Final Step: The two remaining contestants take part in the final match on the Heavenly Palace.
Sekirei began as a manga series which started serialization in the seinen manga magazine Young Gangan in June 2005, published by Square Enix. As of November 2013, 15 tankōbon volumes have been released.
The first 12-episode anime series adaptation produced by the animation studio Seven Arcs and directed by Keizō Kusakawa aired in Japan between July 2 and September 17, 2008. The anime is licensed by Aniplex in Japan. The first season is mostly faithful to the overall story structure of the manga series, covering roughly the first fifty-one chapters of the series. The opening theme is "Sekirei" (セキレイ?) and the main ending theme is "Dear sweet heart"; both songs are performed by Saori Hayami (#88 Musubi), Marina Inoue (#9 Tsukiumi), Kana Hanazawa (#108 Kusano) and Aya Endo (#2 Matsu). The ending theme used in episode eleven is "Kimi o Omou Toki" (きみを想うとき?, "When I Think of You") by Hayami. Six DVDs of the first season were released between October 22, 2008 and March 25, 2009. The sixth DVD volume was supplemented with an original video animation (OVA) episode, "Kusano's First Shopping Trip" (初メテノオツカイ Hajimete no Otsukai?, "The First Errand"), featuring Kusano participating in the shopping race with Musubi and Tsukiumi. A Blu-ray box set of the first season was released on June 30, 2010 with three Blu-ray discs and one additional CD. At Anime USA 2009, Funimation announced that the anime's first season was licensed and a DVD box set was released on November 23, 2010.
A second season entitled Sekirei: Pure Engagement (セキレイ～Pure Engagement～?) began airing on July 4, 2010 on Tokyo MX and on July 6, 2010 on some other Japanese networks. The first episode of Sekirei: Pure Engagement was pre-aired on June 13, 2010. The opening theme is "Hakuyoku no Seiyaku (Pure Engagement)" (白翼ノ誓約〜Pure Engagement〜?) and the ending theme is "Onnaji Kimochi" (おんなじきもち?, "Same Feeling"); both songs are performed by Hayami, Inoue, Hanazawa and Endo, as in the first season. The ending theme for episode 10 is "Oboeteiru kara" (おぼえているから?, "Remembering You") by Hayami. A single containing both songs was released on July 21, 2010. The limited edition of the single came bundled with a special three-minute OVA, classified as episode 0, titled "Two-Topic Gossip" (閑話弐題 Kanwa Ni Dai?). The full 28-minute version of the OVA was released with the first BD/DVD volume of the second season on August 25, 2010. As with the first season, Pure Engagement is licensed in North America by Funimation, and released the series on January 3, 2012. Manga Entertainment released Pure Engagement in the United Kingdom on November 19, 2012.
A video game for PlayStation 2 entitled Sekirei: Gifts from the Future (セキレイ ～未来からのおくりもの～ Sekirei ~Mirai kara no Okurimono~?) was released on October 29, 2009 by Alchemist in limited and regular editions. Two music pieces implemented for the game's music consist of "Yaksuko I'm with You" (約束 I'm with You?, "Promise I'm with You") and "Survive Baby Survive!", both of them performed by Saori Hayami, Marina Inoue, Kana Hanazawa and Aya Endo. The limited edition version was bundled with figures of Musubi and Tsukiumi with Kusano in a panda suit, a 40-minute drama CD, and an illustration of Matsu. While Musubi, Tsukiumi, Matsu, Kusano, Miya, Homura, Uzume and Minato reprise their roles from the anime and manga, four new characters were created by Alchemist consisting of two Sekirei, one Ashikabi and a baby as video game-only characters.
The game takes place in the Sekirei timeline, being played as a visual novel. Minato and the Sekirei in Izumo Inn encounter new characters consisting of Sekirei No. 54, Kuruse (来瀬?) (Haruka Tomatsu), Sekirei No. 57, Yahan (夜半?) (Ayahi Takagaki), Ashikabi Reiji Koya (甲屋 玲治 Koya Reiji?) (Yuichi Nakamura) and a baby referred to as Aka-chan (赤ちゃん?) (Haruka Tomatsu). It centers around the discovery of said baby, who is being pursued by unknown persons after Minato and the Sekirei found her abandoned in the city.
Volume eight of the Sekirei manga made the top 30 manga sold in Japan, holding third place with 103,811 copies sold from February 24 to March 2, 2009. Volume nine placed 17th out of 30 with 65,732 copies sold from December 21–27, 2009. From June 28 to July 4, 2010, volume ten sold 47,019 copies for a total amount of 120,991 in 20th out of 30.
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