Length: 3 Episodes
Genre: Drama, Hentai, Romance, Yuri
The foundation of the story is the relationship between Shinobu and Momoko. When they were children, an innocent game of hide and seek was cut short, and as a parting gift, Momoko gave Shino a kiss and told her she’ll see her later. That “later” never came, and Shino didn’t see Momoko again… until they reunited in high school, that is. This may sound like an ideal scenario, but Momoko doesn’t remember this moment, while Shino can’t seem to forget it. Thus, Shino is stuck reliving this moment in her head in hopes that Momoko will remember her and what led her to give Shino that kiss.
Let’s just suspend our disbelief that a 5-year-old child (give or take) is capable of experiencing love, and take a look at the rest of the story. My biggest gripe has to do with the romance at the heart of it all. Shino says she’s in love with Momoko, yet how does she demonstrate this deep, heartfelt love? By bedding Kirin, Maya, and who knows who else. Considering that there are a lot of adults who don’t really know what love is, I guess it’s not that strange for a teenager to be confused about it as well. The central story arc does have less emotional resonance as a result, however.
Aside from that, Shoujo Sect does squeeze enough drama into the 3 episodes to make things interesting. Whether it’s statutory rape (due to complications regarding jurisdiction, that may be debatable), blackmail, or incest, drama is one thing that the show is definitely not short on. I must’ve went to a boring high school, because nothing like that happened where I live. Back on topic, Shoujo Sect won’t win any awards in the story department, but at least it does enough to elicit some emotions.
Being only 3 episodes, the show doesn’t spread itself too thin and feature too many characters, so let’s take a look at the most prominent ones, then briefly touch upon some others.
Shinobu Handa: Shino is the school’s resident troublemaker. She has a certain charisma about her that attracts others, like Kirin and Maya, who have fallen under Shino’s spell and are part of her free-spirited harem. Shino’s unrequited love for Momoko manifests itself in a strange way. Namely, her becoming sexually involved with people other than Momoko, but I digress. Simply put, Shino is a promiscuous girl who’s a bit of a nuisance to those on the straight and narrow, but she’s not all that bad.
Momoko Naitou: Speaking of someone on the straight and narrow, Momoko fits that bill to a T. She’s a member of the Disciplinary Committee and is the object of Shino’s affection. Momoko can often be viewed as a intermediary between the teachers and the other students. She takes her role as a member of Disciplinary Committee seriously, and is strict yet fair in her enforcement of the rules. They say opposites attract, and when you contrast Shino’s and Momoko’s personalities, it couldn’t be more true.
Maya Enjyoji: After planting a kiss on a napping Shino, Maya pleads for forgiveness, but Shino uses the opportunity to seduce Maya. It couldn’t have been all that bad for Maya, because she subsequently joins Shino’s growing entourage. Maya can be viewed as the third wheel in the ongoing relationship stalemate between Shino and Momoko. Maya realizes that while she may have Shino’s body, she can never have her heart, as that solely belongs to Momoko.
Kirin Subawbe is Shino’s servant and occasional lover. Wherever Shino is, Kirin is usually not too far away. Like Shino, Kirin also has someone else on the side. Chizuru and Shigure Komai are sisters that also attend the high school. If you recall my earlier mention of incest, you should be able to put two and two together and figure out how things play out with these two. Hayato Kyouko is the student’s math teacher who ends up teaching more than just math, if you know what I’m saying *wink wink*. There are several younger girls that reside at the dorms alongside Shino and company, and they too belong to Shino’s harem, although it’s unclear to what extent.
As a whole, the cast of characters don’t do enough to stand out amongst the legions of similar character archetypes, and they get lost in the muddle. Some of that might be due to the truncated nature of the series, but that shouldn’t too much of an excuse. Aside from the romance involving Shino and Momoko (and the incest), there isn’t anything terribly memorable regarding the various characters. All in all, I found the ensemble to be lacking and mostly average.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, the show doesn’t look all that good. Yes, it’s also fairly old (it was originally released in 2008), but it wouldn’t look that out of place had it been released in 1998 instead. Things are just bland and lifeless. An example being several cutaway shots that should have been animated, and are instead static images that end up being an eyesore. The creators had to have been working on a shoestring budget, because there isn’t much to get excited over in this category. It’s not too unexpected that this would be a show that isn’t all that good looking, but even those lower expectations struggle to be met.
The show doesn’t have a proper OP, so let’s shift our focus elsewhere. The ED is noteworthy only because of the simplicity of the lyrics. Regular visitors, lurkers, yuri lovers, lend me your ears! I’d be lying if I said it’s not the best “la la” song I’ve ever heard, but I can’t praise it that much when it’s such a simple thing. However, it does sound pretty good, and I guess that’s the whole point, so I’ll give it a pass this time.
The other music heard throughout the series consists largely of works that can be attributed to musical geniuses such as Chopin and Beethoven. Now, I’m not a ghost whisperer or anything, but I can’t imagine those guys being too proud to have their works associated with a hentai anime, just a hunch. Using licensed music to stuff into the show comes across as being cheap and is a major example of cutting corners. Moving on, the voice acting is unremarkable, but isn’t what I would call bad, it just doesn’t stand out that much. The performances are sufficient and don’t deter from the overall quality of the show.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the sound effects used during the sex scenes. The sex scenes are plentiful, and they make extensive use of squishy sound effects used to accentuate the invasion of body orifices. If you find that sort of thing alluring, you’ll be in heaven with how frequently they’re used. This is the kind of ridiculous knowledge-dropping you’ll only find in my posts here on Yurireviews, ladies and gentleman.
This is a full-on hentai with nary a male character to be found, so it’s no surprise that there is a overwhelming amount of yuri involved here. The fact that it’s hentai might turn some people off, but beggars can’t be choosers, I say. Personally, I don’t have anything against hentai and welcome it with open arms. Hentai-infused yuri deservedly gets a bad rap, but Shoujo Sect at least attempts to add some semblance of legitimacy to the relationships, and for that, it’s a better watch then most other shows of its type. Whether it’s Shino x Momoko, Shino x Kirin, Shino x Maya, Chizuru x Shigure, or any other combination, there’s enough variety for any yuri fan to find who they want to ship.
While hardly original, Shoujo Sect does a better job of balancing a serious romance story with elements of hentai than most of it’s peers, which isn’t saying all that much. There are defintely portions of the show that are lacking, but sadly, there aren’t very many quality alternatives to choose from, so Shoujo Sect is essentially the default frontrunner for anime of this type. For someone seeking more adult-themed content in their yuri, Shoujo Sect will suffice, warts and all. On the flip side, if you prefer lighter fare, or are very particular about your yuri, then you might be better served looking elsewhere for a fix.