We’re Back Baby.
Look, I’m not here to shit on Armed Girls Machiavellianism, in fact I’m actually going to compliment it quite a bit. That said, I went into episode one with the lowest of low expectations.
This show is nothing special to look at, and the character design is pretty meh-diocre to go alongside it. I don’t look at AGM and find my eyes being fellated by beautiful landscapes or pretty colours.
Hell, I look at the girls and they too seem to just slip into the background as just another group of A-Typical Harem Girls. This show should have really either been average as unbuttered toast or a train-wreck of hillarious proportions.
But then our main dude walks in, and the jokes start coming in and I start to find myself slipping down the rabbit hole of actually giving a shit about this show.
With half of the show aired and our first mini-arc concluded, I thought that now was the time to come out and discuss the particulars of what, exactly, makes Armed Girls Machiavellianism work so well.
THE WORLD OF ARMED GIRLS
So, this private school, Aichi Symbiosis Academy, used to be an All-Girls school, but when the school became co-ed the girls were all scared of these new “boys,” like ridiculously so. In response the faculty decided that instead of A/ reverting the school back to it’s previous All Girls status or B/ just tell the girls to suck it up, they decided to take the unlisted option of; C/ give Weapons to teenage girls, with which they might ensure their personal comfort, and see what happens.
I’m pretty sure the adults in the world are not the smartest individuals to breathe that sweet, sweet oxygen.
Of course, now-a-days, the boys sent into Aichi-Sym aren’t just your everyday, run of the mill boys will be boys kind of gents, but instead Delinquents of only the highest order. Sent into the school with the idea of the Weapon-Wielding-Woman within will be able to beat a modicum of restraint and respect into these boys, and for years, this system works pretty well.
The Ex-Delinquents find themselves as the lowest creature on the totem-pole here at Aichi-Sym, and quickly correct their behaviour as a course of both repentance and, more prevalently, a desire to not ever draw the attention of the 5 biggest badasses here at the school; The 5 Swords.
Enter our protagonist; Fudou Nomura. (Emphasis on the No)
DEFYING THE CURSE OF “YUUJI EVERY LEAD”
If you’ve never heard of the concept of the Every Lead, you’ve almost certainly seen him if you’ve watched any significant amount of anime, especially Harem shows.
He’s the unassuming, average looking dude in front of a cast of cute girls, who all start circling him because his dick apparently produces the Elixir of Youth. He usually possesses powers of a significant magnitude, or insights into the ways of the world that far outstrips their contemporaries.
These are your Tenchis, Shirou Emiyas and Negis. The boys who all of the cutest girls want to nail like a broken deck. The boys who have the personality of slightly wet sand.
When Fudou walks into the frame for the first time, he looks every bit that standard, milk toast Harem Lead. There is absolutely nothing about his design that is even slightly memorable. The most interesting thing about him is that he’s somewhat taller than most Harem Leads tend to be.
But then he starts talking and his personality kicks in, his honest to god, human emotions slap you in the face, and the curse is broken.
This ain’t no Yuuji Every Lead, this is a real boy. This is Fudou Nomura, and he’s going to shake your world to it’s core.
THE JOJO SCHOOL OF PUTTING MY FIST IN YOUR FACE
The fights on display aren’t the best for visual spectacle, the movement is fairly basic and on occasion, kind of janky. But the mechanics behind how these characters move and attempt to murder each other is actually kind of neat. Each fight introduces a level of lateral thinking into the mix. Beyond simply punching each other harder, its instead a contest of how can I hit you smarter?
Can I wear you down, before you can pull off your big fuck-off one hit KO? How can I maximise the power of each of my strikes, to best put you on your ass? Can I shake your confidence and your state of mind enough, so that I win the fight before I even throw a punch?
It’s this philosophy which makes each fight in AGM a joy to watch, even though you know the main dude is probably going to win, the strength of the girls is never undermined in order to demonstrate Nomura’s strength. If anything, the show goes out of its way to try and do its best to show him and the 5 Swords as operating on a fairly even plane, in terms of their individual strengths.
The first fight of the show goes out of its way to switch in and out of the heads of both fighters, showing the process of them slowly breaking down each others style and both of them figuring out that it’s essentially going to come down who fucks up.
The enforcer, Rin Onigawara only needs to time Nomura out, keep him on the back foot until the end of their homeroom if she can’t get in a clean hit to put him down.
Nomura on the other hand, needs to work his way around Onigawara’s seemingly impenetrable offence, to find a moment of still in her stance with which to handily put her down and win the fight.
Nomura’s moment of victory comes simply because Rin get’s jumpy at a crucial moment, his footing slips and she jumps back, expecting him to be prepping something. Drawing her sword up to take a breath and get ready to leap back into it, Nomura takes the chance to slide in past her guard, placing his hand on her side, winning the match by blowing her away with his mysterious “Spirit Bullets”
SHOWS GOT GOOD GAGS
By no means am I saying that this is some sort of hidden gem of a thing, or even that its a seminal classic. I’m probably enjoying this for a lot of the same reasons as I enjoyed Keijo!!!!!!!.
Both shows have some pretty solid comedy, and all of the fights are really well paced and planned. Sure, the stories are both kind of on the meh side of good, but in each instance, the main character saves the day with their sheer charisma.
And that’s pretty cool.