Since putting together the top seasonal anime lists, my to watch list grew a lot and after hearing quite a bit of Absolute Duo, I figured I would start with this one and slowly work my way through the list and well, at first I enjoyed it until I started looking deeper.
- Genre: Action, Harem, Supernatural, Romance, Ecchi, School
- Type: Series
- Episodes: 12
- Duration to watch: +/- 4 hours
- Age restriction: PG 13
- Release date: January 2015
- Animation Studio: 8bit
- Does it have a manga: Yes
- Source: Light Novel
- Kanji: アブソリュート・デュオ
About Absolute Duo:
There are people who can materialise weapons from their soul. These people are known as “Blazers.” At Kouryou Academy High School Blazers are taught how to harness their abilities. While at school each of the students are required to partner up with another student. The pairing is done with the hopes that one day, the pair can attain the power of Absolute Duo.
Tooru Kokonoe hopes to attend this academy in order to gain power after his sister and friends were slain by a mysterious man. However, at the opening ceremony, he is forced to duel against the person sitting next to him, with the loser being expelled. As Tooru prepares to give the match his all, it is not a weapon that manifests from his soul, but a shield, an irregularity which catches the attention of a foreign student named Julie Sigtuna.
The name makes somewhat sense after watching the anime and seeing as the characters need to form pairs ‘for life’. Each pair needs to do everything together, leaving very little time or chance to develop on their own.
I was not expecting the amount or level of fanservice that was part of this anime. I enjoyed the animation and art style. While some scenes were pretty, and I got some pretty screenshots, on the whole, it was what I have come to expect from anime in general. Even if the character eyes were a tad big.
While watching it, the anime seems good but once you start paying attention, cracks start to be revealed. Such as the fact that ‘Absolute Duo’ was never really explained. The goal that so many of the prominent characters were chasing was never actually explained or achieved. It did become clear that as a ‘pair’ Absolute Duo could not actually be attained, considering that the headmistress was trying to achieve it alone and using the students to collect data.
The main pair, Julie and Tooru, did have a moment where they moved completely together. However, I am sure that other pairs would have done that at some point too. So that in itself, I find really lacking and can not be the main goal for everything. Do I need another season to get an answer and finally learn what Absolute Duo is?
I found that the main characters were hollow and lacking substance. They have the tragic backstory but not much more. Their reliance on each other and their bond felt more like it was there for convenience more than anything else and I had hoped for more depth to them.
Tooru, as the main character, only had friendliness and self-righteousness. I was disappointed by his whole character. He lacked a lot and while his past had the potential for development, it fell flat. If not for the synopsis I would not have known for certain that it had been his sister and friends who had been killed. I had assumed as much but it had never been made clear.
His fighting ability and the fact he was an irregular with a shield rather than a weapon, was really underutilised throughout the series. The other characters completely outshone him with their capabilities. Once I noticed these problems, I began to question him and his ability as the main character.
As for Julie, I have mixed feeling about her. Her naivety at first was understandable due to language barriers and multiple misinterpretations but there were points where it was a tad forced. Then with her becoming a ‘rival’ competing for his attention lessoned her character. The revelation of her not being an exceed also came out of nowhere and did not really add any value to the show other than failing to add more depth to her character.
The side characters had more depth than the main two. However, the ‘obsessed rejected girl who did everything for the guy she loved’ plot move irked me. Overall, many aspects of the anime lacked explanation, development and depth.
Favourite Character: Lilith
While she is very full of herself, she has the skills to back it up and her personality quickly grew on me. As for her deciding on Tooru for her future husband, I am hoping she changes her mind, but I am all for her being as forceful as she is in aiming to win him over.
Least Favourite Character: Tooru
I fail to see why he was our main character or why he was the one that all the girls gravitated around. I feel that he is the character with the most wasted potential.
Most Annoying Character: Miyabi
Doing everything for a guy and then going crazy when he rejects her and blaming herself and desiring to become stronger to make him see her – to the point where she was willing to sacrifice everything, including her friends irritated me to no end. Struggling to accept herself as ‘weak’ and improving upon herself I could get behind and enjoyed watching her progress and then the twist of her doing ‘everything’ for Tooru, just ruined it all and somewhat cheapened her whole character development.
Would I recommend Absolute Duo? Yes, as a quick watch that you can easily and quickly get through without needing to pay attention to what you are watching. I would not recommend it to someone looking for more than quick fan service and shallow plot barely putting together a story.
What do you think of Anime, Absolute Duo?