However, every now and then, I stumble upon a release that embraces anime’s conventions as well as it rises above them, and I’m happy to say that’s the case with Sentai Filmworks’ latest: TRINITY SEVEN.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
There’s more (plenty more), but I’ll leave it at that. What there is doesn’t exactly spoil any of the details – in fact, it essentially clarifies how Arata enlists the aid of a secret magic school and its seven beautiful mages – in his quest to undo what’s been done to that wide, wide world around him; and – in very traditional mythic structure – the ladies properly educate the hormone-driven youngster both into the ways of magic as well as the ways of the heart as he promptly kinda/sorta falls in and out of love with each of them (to a degree) but mostly intentionally or accidentally takes advantage of his circumstances to get in a good groping or two along his path. (As Stan Lee said, breasts – like comic books – are better when in hand.)
By definition, Arata is captured as the quintessential teenager. He can’t quite control his appetite for the opposite sex, and – though he never acts with any malice toward them – he still can’t quite keep his hands to himself. However, he eventually manages to contain his urges (except for those positioned more for comic relief than anything else), and he finds there’s a greater horizon (and reward) out there if and when he can control the magic running through his veins. Underneath that clumsy, sarcastic teen is a young man whose heart is necessarily pure, as a—when confronted by dark forces – he strives to stay focused on doing what he must to save his newfound friends.
Still, I wasn’t all that won over with where all of it ended up. Without revealing too much, I thought that certain elements of the climax were easily predictable (sometimes that’s the curse of properties requiring vast set-up), and – with a title like TRINITY SEVEN – methinks most folks will understandably predict that only by coming together can this fearless team accomplish the goals the story lays out for them. It would’ve been nice for a curve ball sailing in during that last confrontation; but the storytellers do redeem themselves (just a bit) with a coda that portends a future for these warriors as their great adventure is clearly just beginning.
Along the way, be prepared to be reminded of other properties – like the aforementioned Potter universe as well as a strong resemblance to THE MATRIX trilogy. While not everything gets tied up perfectly in a bow, there’s enough magic here to make for some exceptional entertainment and enough laughs to tide you over until the recently announced big budget film adaptation gets wrapped and released.
RECOMMENDED. I’ve never been a huge fan of anime, but I have to admit that TRINITY SEVEN pulled me in: it’s an effective combination of teen(ish) romance and fantasy, and it’s all delivered with such gusto (and with relative restraint from some of what makes anime so easily mocked by those who don’t watch it regularly) that I found it hard not to enjoy so much of it. Granted, it’s still anime … so you can look forward to more than a fair share of amply-endowed young lasses who conveniently find themselves clothing-challenged on several occasions, as well as a young hero who can’t quite keep his mitts off of the nearest breast.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Sentai Filmworks provided me with a Blu-ray of Trinity Seven by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.