Title: Assault Lily Bouquet
Year of release: 2020
When you’ve been around the anime block a few times, you realise you’ve seen this before. Maybe not this exact mish-mash or this exact coat of paint, but you’ve definitely seen this before. I saw somebody describe Assassin Lily Bouquet as ‘Strawberry Panic girls fight monsters with God Eater weapons’, and, well, yeah. It’s pretty much that. Or, I raise you, Nanoha with a school setting closer to Marimite, or Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero as an academy etc etc etc. By the time the cast have finished expositioning us and showing us their thighs and gimmicks, it feels well worn, like this crossover attempt can’t match any of its contemporaries in originality or enthusiasm.
It’s a little hard to get excited about the more-than-platonic-but-less-than-romantic-friendships that the series is promising, as it already took the second half of this episode to setup an entire love-triangle (of-sorts). With how safe the romanticism toes the line of comedy, there’s no indication there will be anything breakout there.
It’s already becoming pretty clear there’s a major character death to address in the upcoming few episodes, and with shows like Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero’s wonderful prequel, Washio Sumi is a Hero, and the decade-defining Madoka Magica, that’s hardly something to rock the boat. Hopefully it will give depth to the relationship forming between Riri and Yuyu if nothing else.
I feel like I’m spinning because I want to say something jumped out at me beyond the excitingly animated but occasionally questionably filmed action, but nothing did. The action between the girls and the Huge – the mechanical monsters of the series – has some fun quirks and interesting choreography but can be difficult to decipher at times. It’s very animated, which is an odd thing to say in 2020 amidst the pandemic, but it’s clear that the delay did do good for this show’s production.
For all its faults writing, I just can’t put my hand on my heart and say it’s truly bad. Vanilla is a flavour, after all, but this isn’t noteworthy vanilla – it’s just rather bland. If you were going to watch this show anyway, you’ll probably stick with it and find it decent enough. If you were’t going to watch it, the only thing you’re missing out on is thicc thighs; leg fanservice that would make even Kyoto Animation blush.