Content warning: Sexual slapstick humor, shounen battle violence, monster
What’s it about? Kazamaki Matsuri has studied three years to become an exorcist ninja to protect his childhood friend Kanade Suzu from evil spirits. However, on the eve of starting high school, an evil 400-year-old monster known as Shirogane sets his eyes on eating Suzu for her spiritual energies. Matsuri just barely fights Shirogane off, but he is cursed by the powerful demon and turned into a girl!
Given there’s a level of infamy with this title, I’m sure most of you are reading this review hoping that I, resident AniFem wildcard Chiaki Hirai, will needlessly praise/bash this known horny title about a boy who turns into a girl as sexual hijinks ensue. And ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh maybe?
First, let’s talk about this show on its own merits. Is Ayakashi Triangle’s premiere episode good?
The pacing seems off as the episode seems to needlessly stretch out explaining the premise, which is one of the most tried and true setups—ninjas who fight evil spirits—in order to hold off on revealing the “very surprising twist” (Matsuri gets turned into a girl) ’til the end of the episode.
It’s so much exposition and almost none of it really matters. So much so, I had no issue summarizing almost half the episode in one sentence and I totally didn’t even mention the spider demon because no one really cared about it. And to be fair, this is a faithful adaptation of the source material, but it was just poorly adapted in terms of pacing.
One major liberty the show has taken appears to be its gratuity for fanservice. Added into the anime are much more detailed shots of Suzu’s thighs, and the black shorts she wears underneath are purposefully understated to a degree that they might as well just be underwear.
There’s some sexual humor that continues throughout the episode and most of it is just groan-worthy. Matsuri feels up Suzu’s thighs and mentions how thick they are (and gets kicked in the face). Matsuri’s grandfather is reading girly mags at home. Shirogane gets mad that Matsuri and Suzu are kinda lovey-dovey. And then everything gets cranked up to 11 once Matsuri turns into a girl, and it kicks my brainworms into high gear.
With three minutes left in the show’s runtime Ayakashi unleashes the jokey Shirogane censorship bars to cover Matsuri’s privates and subtly hints buying the Blu-Ray release will give viewers at home an opportunity to see some nip nops.
As with any gender-bending comedy, we get to joke about the badonkers (twice for that matter), and Matsuri gets to study his new curvaceous body, much to Suzu’s chagrin. Hijinks, indeed, do ensue as Suzu forces her childhood friend to don a bra for modesty’s sake.
See, this is what I was waiting for, and it’s about as horny as I thought it would be. Maybe even moreso. And I’m sure this show is going to continue to be this horny.
Is this what I wanted? Yeah, it’s par for the course, though I would have wished for some snappier storytelling.
Funnily enough, so little time has been spent on the gender swap for now, I can’t really say much on this central premise. Part of what makes me care about gender-swap stories is the internal conflict characters feel finding out they’re in an alien body, as well as the fantasy of attaining a nice body without having to jump through the financial, medical and social hoops of transition.
I’m sure all of that is well on its way and we’ll get to discuss GENDER in the coming weeks. I’m personally on board for the horny, because of course I am, but I totally get it if exploiting sexually awkward situations for comedy isn’t going to be your vibe. For now, however, Ayakashi feels like a show that’s less problematic than this season’s other hit TSF anime that’s probably gonna put people on a watch list, but also a bit more aware of analyzing the performative nature of gender than the actually good TSF anime of the season.