Private Aichi Symbiosis Academy was once an all-girls’ school. When boys were finally allowed to join the school, the female student body requested that they be allowed to carry weapons to protect themselves from the dangerous males. The Supreme Five Swords–a group of the most powerful student warriors–was then formed to maintain the peace and present every male student with an ultimatum: Either drop out or become a girl to coexist. This status quo has been maintained for generations…until Nomura Fudou–a delinquent who beat over 40 opponents in one brawl–transfers in and chooses neither option, preferring peace and quiet instead. The Supreme Five Swords do not accept Nomura’s answer, so now Nomura must fend off increasingly strong opponents while striving for the freedom he desires so much.
Man, I was really feeling a harem show. There’s another one I almost watched, but it’s a sequel and I don’t know if I’m ready to dive back into that world. In trying to find a substitute, I happened upon Armed Girl’s Machiavellism. The harem shenanigans are not too terribly present here. Honestly, that’s probably a good thing. Helps it stand out a bit. Only two (or three) of the female leads wind up blatantly in love with the main guy. It surprised me in a positive way. Actually, that’s how the whole series is.
So, I really like the combat in AGM. I am wholeheartedly aware how phoned-in and cheap the animation is in between the first and final fights of the series, but I still liked all the fights. This may sound like absurdly high praise, but the encounters reminded me of comedic takes on Hunter x Hunter and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Sure, a couple do come down to who’s just straight up the stronger fighter, but most victors in the series are determined by their knowledge of their opponent’s fighting style or some singular tactic that would only work in that fight. The best example of the latter is present in Nomura’s fight against Satori Tamaba, who decides to fight him while completely nude. I won’t spoil how Nomura turns the tables on this Best Girl; just know it’s both surprising and humorous.
The comedic aspect of the show is mostly just there. Like, I was always charmed by the outlandish characters and their actions coupled with their relatively grounded fighting styles. A lot of the other jokes I’ve either just seen done better elsewhere or didn’t react to. I know all the dudes being forced to wear makeup is supposed to be funny, but I found it pretty shruggable. Some of the humor derived from that clash of styles was okay, like when a couple of the guys thought the shower was haunted. For the most part, though, it just didn’t do it for me. I know it’s supposed to demonstrate how the female students became the monsters they feared the boys would be, but it came off halfhearted.
The characters are all mostly easily likable (mmm, delicious adverbs). I mentioned Satori being Best Girl, but that comes with a bit of an asterisk. ‘Cuz, I also really love Kirukiru Amou. Yes, they’re probably the two most inhuman characters, but…I don’t have a defense. I do wish Rin Onigawara and Mary Kikakujou were more different since they’re the first two to fall for Nomura. Their personalities kinda become their crushes, and it feels like they get nerfed because of it. They are different–don’t get me wrong. Some cooler things could’ve probably been done with Rin’s mask and Mary not being entirely fluent in Japanese. Warabi Hanasaka is hella cool, and it would’ve been great to see more of Tsukuyo Inaba (she just wants friends!). I also appreciate Nomura’s brashness and mischievous streak. Makes him stand out as more of a character than a self-insert protagonist.
I’m genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed Armed Girl’s Machiavellism. I really do think it’s a 7.5 show for me. There’s a lot keeping it from breaking into that upper echelon, but if it can get a bigger budget for a second season while ironing out the problems with its humor and fleshing out the main characters more, then I’d be down for that in a heartbeat.