Review/discussion about: Masou Gakuen HxH
From “hubs” to “kings,” from “x’s” to “reds,” the Internet contains an array of pornographic possibilities.
In the old days, porn came from niche places: second-hand VHS tapes, the Sears catalog, and the occasional Polaroid picture. But with the advent of computers, all it takes is a quick Google search (after hitting CTRL+Shift+N of course) to find exactly what one’s libido desires.
Masou Gakuen HxH may not be smut, but it certainly doesn’t mind showing off some skin. As for how its shapely curves shape up the rest of the anime, though, it has a tough time getting its audience excited.
Gakuen brings Kizuna Hida to the forefront of the war against the Magictech enemy that wiped out most of Earth’s civilization. With people now living on mobile land units, those brave enough to fight don the Heart Hybrid Gear, granting them immense power. The catch? Said gears require sexual stimulation to work properly – which Kizuna is more than willing to provide.
Most people will say (and as this review will read) that Gakuen is mainly watched for a single reason: the ecchi material. While the events therein never reach full-blown sex, the anime includes at least one new lewd scene per episode (excluding number ten and eleven). The anime offers them as censored and uncensored versions, but one is not seeing the full potential of the show through the former.
The scenes themselves are mixed in execution.
On the high end, Gakuen is not afraid to delve into some kinky fetishes. Anal, masochism, and exhibitionism are never explicitly described as such. But, when Himekawa gets off on having her cat tail pulled out, Yurishia enjoys her blindfold and handcuffs, and Aine succumbs to the gazes of her fellow students, it becomes immediately clear that the show likes to spread the love.
On the low end, much of the content is both uninspired and repetitive. While these fetishes are explored, the sensual scenes tend to fall back on just groping butts or sucking nipples. They rarely do anything different, and, when the anime does try to switch it up with a threesome or a so-called Climax Hybrid, it still lacks creativity.
Gakuen does not reserve its sex for solely sexual purposes. Again, though, it’s mixed.
The inclusion of ecchi material forms the basis of the plot itself. Himekawa moaning in ecstasy helps to improve her relationship with Kizuna. And, by extension, allows her to develop her abilities further through higher strength and command over her Immoral Weapon (as well as simply being pleasurable to watch).
Yet it also leads into insanely bizarre instances. Kizuna presents his “findings” on the Heart Hybrid Gear, sharing his “data” with the rest of the males in his class under the guise of a “science project.” And, later, Sylvia, the young middle-school girl that acts as Kizuna’s secretary, is scouted out as a candidate for the Heart Hybrid Gear, leading to an uncomfortable, awkward situation filled with entirely unwanted and implied meaning.
Beyond the sex, Gakuen simply doesn’t have much else going for it. It tries to include action sequences, but they are more a means to an end for getting Kizuna shacked up with one of the girls. Most of its villains either lack importance or are so infallible that they escape their predicaments at nearly every turn. And the show’s themes on protecting others and having worth in life not by one’s abilities but in how one lives does not go beyond the usual and the forgetful.
To reiterate, the audience is not really checking out Gakuen for these qualities but rather a close-up shot of Himekawa’s mouth dripping with saliva. But given that the ecchi material isn’t anything too special, not much praise can be thrown its way.
It does not take long for Gakuen’s art and animation to falter.
And “falter” should be read as “tanks quite unceremoniously.” It’s hard to watch as Kizuna and the girls flail about in their battles, falling backwards in a clumsy manner or swinging their weapon all of one time. But it turns into unintended laughter when their flying sequence is them standing still and rising into the air as if an invisible puppeteer pulled them skyward.
Wonky models eventually creep into the forefront, too, turning the hilarity into disgust. Then, when an entire idol dance scene is replaced with a bunch of still frames to avoid animating any part of it, disgust becomes disappointment.
On a macro scale, the setting itself does not invite intrigue. The school, over the open ocean, some beaches, a crumbled city, and the inside of the living quarters are simply boring. Worse still, Gakuen can sometimes have trouble on a technical. For instance, episode ten features Aine clipping behind clouds, ruining the perspective of the shot entirely.
In fact, the CG enemies are more favorable at times, for they at least seem to have more animation put into them than the other parts of the show (even if they stick out way too much amidst the two-dimensional backgrounds).
However, to the anime’s credit and like the narrative, the various sex scenes are given a lot of focus, rarely letting up in terms of visual clarity. The camera positions itself at the correct angles to show off the girls in all their glory. Breasts jiggle when released from their captivity. And the girls writhe in pleasure, their bodies refusing to cease the comingling.
A lot of the sexiness comes from the parts of the girls’ designs that the audience cares most about: their generous proportions. The usual bust, waist, and hip categories are either large or curvaceous, giving the scenes the appeal they need. The rest of their individual designs are lackluster – especially their lame red-and-white school outfits – since their differentiation is almost nil besides hair color.
Gakuen’s cast is not the worst. They aren’t the best either, but they at least have more going for them than almost any other part of the anime.
A lot of their strength comes from the anime taking its time in establishing Aine’s, Himekawa’s, and Yurishia’s separate conflicts. Rather than trying to cram everything into a single episode – the perhaps-expected route given the harem format – the anime does the right thing, writing out their arcs in small bits before resolving them in full.
Take Aine. When Kizuna first meets her, she is cold, standoffish in personality. She trains extra on the side, practicing her skillset late into the night. And when she sees that Kizuna can grant her more strength (through the Heart Hybrid “ritual”), she jumps at the opportunity. Not to deepen her relationship with the man or anything else with substance – but just to get herself more strength.
For her self-thought weakness is a prevalent thread in her character. She feels inferior to the other girls. That all she has is her Hybrid Heart Gear, and all she has known are the experiments and Kizuna’s mother since she had nothing from before her life as a “guinea pig” (her own words).
She thus takes part in the lewd activities, researched what boys like (sexy stuff, cooking), all to try and get her Immoral Weapon so that she could be stronger. To her, she must be the best because that’s who she is and is meant to be (or at least she thought as such).
Kizuna, through mutual understanding, convinces her that they can “think together about how [they] can live.” And, with a successful Climax Hybrid, she starts to regain memories of herself, making her happier than she has ever been.
However, once she starts to see ominous images and unknown lands, she pushes back. She starts not wanting to go through with the Heart Hybrid action, fearing that she will get memories back that cease to make her who she is now. The anime does not explicitly say it, but every hint points to her being from the parallel world that has invaded their own. So, essentially, she regresses back to her former self to maintain her current state – outwardly at least.
Because, during the final battle, when the mobile pleasure room arrives, Aine seems visibly upset. As Kizuna and Himekawa have some fun (now placing context on the first scene of the season), she cannot concentrate on the battle at hand. “Because I don’t have any strength,” as she words it.
Caught in a paradox of sorts, she chooses to go through with another Climax Hybrid, stating that she is who she is no matter what happens. Brushing aside her earlier two-to-three-episode regression is a mistake, but, at the minimum, she fails since the flood of new memories scares her once more.
What finally sets her free is when the villain puts her into her own mind. She speaks with her younger self and walks through some videos of her past, leading to a huge door that hides what she has sought this whole season.
Gakuen falters writing-wise again when she immediately realizes that she wants to hold, touch, and feel Kizuna, protect him with all that she is and “become one with him.” Even given this misstep, she now wants power not for herself but for somebody else. She has always been lonely and distant and selfish, making this shift in her character a nice one to see.
The anime ends on a cliffhanger – her sister has arrived from the other world – but, in total, Aine is a woman with a handful of different sides, goes through a lot of conflict, and comes out the better for it.
Himekawa and Yurishia are not as involved as Aine, but they have their own progression, too.
Himekawa is a part of the Disciplinary Council, doing what she can to quell any and all lewd activities around campus. She means well (even if she seems a bit naïve), and she still has a kind heart when dealing with others. Initially, when Kizuna arrives, she absolutely refuses to accept the idea of committing sexual acts just to go through a Heart Hybrid. Himekawa also chastises the other girls for doing so, keeping her innocent persona up for quite some time.
Later, Gakuen reveals her conflict. She felt as though she failed Japan when, during the first invasion, she was unable to protect her people despite being brought up as the poster child for the war effort. Her failure forced her into her current mindset, locking away her feelings of want and pleasure because she felt as though she did not deserve such happiness.
Kizuna (obviously) helps her to overcome her feelings of guilt, and, when she defeats the evil dragon (with her Immoral Weapon obtained through the stronger Climax Hybrid), she beats the past that has plagued her for far too long. Afterwards, Himekawa does not gain more attention, but it was nice to see her win.
Yurishia hails from America. With long blonde hair, a noticeable accent, and a princess-like aura about her, the other girls of the school flock to her like sweet candy. She has an outgoing personality, taking over conversations with her confidence and feminine beauty.
When Kizuna saves her from certain death, she practically starts to throw herself at him. But, while on their date, she gets a bit more serious, thanking Kizuna for what he did and instilling in her the want to live life to the fullest.
Although, when an old teammate by the name of Scarlett shows up, it appears Yurishia is not as perfect as she was painted as. Possibly even evil. For Scarlett talks about how Yurishia left her team to perish, earning all the glory for herself.
Thankfully, it was simply a misunderstanding (explained through a visualization of her memories). Yurishia did not know that a terrible enemy awaited her friends; she sent them away to protect them. While she did take the glory, she also shouldered the hate, and, with a steamy threesome (involving Kizuna), the two mend their relationship in full.
Again, for Himekawa and Yurishia, the anime provides nothing extensive. But at least Gakuen tried to give more beyond their sexual aspects.
Speaking of which, their traits are wonderful in that they contrast sharply with their own personalities. Aine is lonely, so exhibitionist situations arouse her. Himekawa is innocent, so some dirty play gets her off. And Yurishia is dominant, so she responds immediately to submissive advances.
Connected to them all, and indulging in the pleasures just as much, Kizuna rounds out the group. Yes, he’s the everyman, given the one-of-kind, sex-empowering Hybrid Gear that permits him to almost-copulate with a bunch of beautiful women. But he has his problems, too. Mostly of the mommy variety.
Growing up, Kizuna did not have the best childhood. One of the very first scenes shown is how his mother literally disowns him because he is, to her, no longer useful. Gakuen does not go into much depth with his background, though, so it does not have weight to it.
He at least has his older sister who looks out for him, the Amaterasu group that supports him, and the gear that allows him to channel the power of those three girls. He’s not powerful like them, and he isn’t some dubious lecher. Rather, he’s simply a guy doing his best to lead and to help those he loves.
Regardless, his mother’s reappearance, working for the enemy, confuses Kizuna. And, when she continues to view people as little else but test subjects and uses them as such, Kizuna flies into a rage. She is the same now as she was back then, and that realization infuriates him.
His mother escapes, meaning his conflict does not see a satisfying resolution. Still, Aine, Himekawa, and Yurishia are at least explored to some extent throughout the season, giving the show a much needed boost in execution.
The art of Gakuen both soothes and burns the eyes. In much the same way, the music caresses and grates the ears.
The ending track has this science-fiction beat to it that’s odd to listen to. Yet the anime pulls it off with mixing up the pacing, a kissing sound-effect, and, at times, a catchy tune. The final “ouji-sama” lyric does not fit within the structure of the song itself, but the slight harmonizing and the inclusion of piano keys keeps the song afloat.
Unfortunately, the opening track is a lot worse off. Instruments that sound like broken trumpets, a somewhat upbeat tone that does not fit the atmosphere of the anime, and a bout of vocals that do not reach anywhere lofty. Altogether, it feels more like a mandatory inclusion rather than a piece designed for Gakuen.
But the original soundtrack ends up at the bottom. It has violin pieces for those sad moments and acoustic guitar ones for when things get frisky. But, like the OP, they do not impress. In fact, one track, sometimes used when the characters change into their Heart Hybrid Gear, sounds as though a ragtag rock band were playing from their garage in some random suburb. Its willy-nilly guitar and happier tone do not fit the seriousness of their transformations whatsoever.
While the girls moan in ecstasy during their sexual scenes (as does Kizuna during his transformation sequence near the end of the season), no notable voice acting performances were had.
I cannot lie and say I wasn’t aroused by this one. The lesbian scene between Grabel and Aldea was particularly steamy. And, admittedly, the show contains a fetish that I myself quite like. (As for which one that is, though, that’ll be up for you, the reader, to decide.)
I did like Himekawa and Aine as well. They were cute characters that took part in the romantic moments that I adore so much. Yurishia wasn’t as fun to me due to her overly clingy behavior. In fact, I actually liked Scarlett (her friend) a lot more.
The rest of the anime did not hold up. Bland action sequences, drama that never made me emotional, and most of the sexual content were just gaps that separated the small scenes that I found likable. Also, it didn’t help that Himekawa was somewhat ignored after her arc in the middle of the season.
Apparently, based off other websites and the ending of the first season, this one will be getting a sequel. But, given what I got here, I don’t find myself checking it out anytime soon.
Masou Gakuen HxH prioritizes sex over almost anything else. It has some passable character writing, but with a weak plot, shoddy art, and music that does not fit, there’s just not enough going for it to justify sitting through these negatives. If one needs porn, spanks and eights are a much better alternative.
Story: Bad, all about the sex, but, even then, those scenes have a handful of faults worth noting
Animation: Bad, wonky, laughable, disgusting, and disappointing, but at least the sex scenes are animated well enough
Characters: Fine, Aine, Himekawa, and Yurishia are given passable conflicts to experience or overcome, and their contrasting sexual qualities up their original foundation
Sound: Bad, bad OP, okay ED, bad OST, and okay VA performances
Enjoyment: Bad, some arousal here and there but most of the material simply lacks appeal
Final Score: 3/10
Thanks for taking the time to read my review. If you want, take part in the discussion below! :3