Sacred Seven? No, I’m still not going to join the Geology Club
From what I can tell, Sacred Seven is the latest in original productions by Sunrise. The company built up a name for itself back in the late 90s with other original works such as Cowboy Bebop and Outlaw Star, but nothing seems to have really struck critics as being the next big thing since Code Geass. So I’m guessing that a lot of hope was pinned on this one. I really only have one question: what’s up with Sacred Seven and rocks? The main character has a hobby of looking for rocks, another character is the head of the Geology Club (literally translated to ‘Rock Club’ courtesy of whoever subbed this), and there are gemstones all over the place used as villains, power sources, mementos and other assorted plot devices. I mean, I can understand the gems and everything but … why rocks?
Tandoji Alma just wants to be left alone. He possesses the power of Sacred, which grants him a variety of superuhman powers, but he is extremely wary of allowing his abilities to manifest due to an incident he was involved in several years ago that left someone hospitalized. But Aiba Ruri has other plans for his power. After warning Alma that Japan has come under siege by Dark Stones, strange beings from the sky that serve as the antithesis of the power Sacred, Alma sets off to do battle. Alma‘s power quickly spirals out of control until Ruri collapses her crystal pendant into Alma‘s body, saying that she entrusts her soul to the Sacred wielder. Finding himself in complete control of his unlocked powers, Alma quickly bests his opponent and an uneasy relationship is established between the two.
Sacred Seven is definitely rooted in its action, which is one of its greatest assets. It uses an interesting blend of genres — the Sacred manifests itself as an armored suit around the user, and the powers seem strangely mechanical. That is, the combat is very reminiscent of fluid-moving mecha anime, but the Super Sentai feel is very much intact as the Sacred wielders dance around the screen, shifting between acrobatics and true flight in a very interesting fashion. The animation is very lively, but at times the art suffers a little, especially when objects are in the distance. I’ll chock that up to budget constraints, but it is a little distracting during an otherwise well-animated and choreographed fight scene.
The art style is also strikingly similar to Code Geass, particularly the facial expressions. Alma has the same broody look that Lelouch gives when he’s deep in thought. Not too surprising considering both were done by the same studio, but the Alma/Lelouch character design is a little too close for comfort, especially since CLAMP was the designer for Geass. Makes me feel like CLAMP were unknowingly milked for an additional series.
Sacred Seven also left me feeling a little nostalgic, and I think I know why. Alma’s Sacred power can only be activated by Ruri, and only by cramming a huge gemstone (typically priced in the 100-million-ish zen range) into his chest. These gems look a lot like the Chaos Emeralds from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and they’re basically unlocking super powers … yeah. Definitely made a connection there.
What is lacking in Sacred Seven is the narrative, which is disappointing because it really does start to pick up near the end. Things resolve themselves absolutely in the end as far as I can tell and it’s a wonderful end for a series, but I do believe that there is going to be some supplemental works in the future. I’d be very happy to see a bit more of Alma and the limits of his powers. I also could have also done without the narrative trying to make really corny rock metaphors like having “feelings crystalize” and such. Otherwise, Sacred Seven is a bit better than I expected, but I can see why bigtime Sunrise fans would be disappointed.
Character Ranking – Sacred Seven
- Aiba Ruri
- Tandouji Alma
- Kijima Naito
- Kagami Makoto