Absolute Duo is the pinnacle of average but you know what? I quite enjoyed it. I ended up watching all twelve episodes through two sittings and although it had me rolling my eyes and grimacing more than a couple of times, I found myself having a lot of fun with Absolute Duo.
Absolute Duo follows Tor Kokonoe as he enrolls in Koryo Academy where its students wield unique weapons known as Blaze, so that they can one day protect the world from any outside threat. Being an irregular who summons a defensive Blaze rather than an offensive one, and being paired with a female partner rather than a male partner, To finds himself becoming the center of attention very quickly. Obviously they can’t just attend this school and get on with their studies, oh no! Outside forces plan to interfere with the school and Tor and his friends quickly find themselves fighting not only to better themselves, but to protect each other too. It’s an enjoyable ride with a likeable cast, even if it is rather generic.
It’s an enjoyable ride with a likeable cast, even if it is rather generic.
8bit were brought in to animate Absolute Duo and they’re well known for making me Google because I sadly do not recognise the studio name. Looking at their work, I’d assume they’re best known for Infinite Stratos and The Fruit of Grisaia. Absolute Duo looks fine although there are zero moments that’ll take your breath away, and the small budget is clear — it looks about as average as the show is. There’s a lot of fan-service and I 100% could’ve done without Julie constantly being used for fan-service — it certainly doesn’t help that she looks incredibly young, and it’s incredibly uncomfortable to watch when 8bit keep focusing on her cleavage (0r lack thereof) and they keep leaving her shirt open. The story may be generic but it isn’t harmful, but the awful fan-service is a massive turn-off — I’m not a prude but I don’t enjoy seeing girls who look about 12 half naked either.
The voice-acting was pretty impressive with a few Funimation regulars making an appearance including Caitlin Glass, Bryn Apprill and Ricco Fajardo each giving great performances. I don’t have an issue with the voice directing either, but the script isn’t particularly outstanding — admittedly, I assume this is because the source material isn’t breaking any new ground either, and fits in an insane amount of anime tropes and yes, someone does trip and grab a boob. The voice talent do the best with what they’re given and I can only imagine there was a little bit of apprehension when breathing life into some of these lines. The soundtrack isn’t very memorable and I can’t remember the OP or ED which is pretty rare for me!
The awful fan-service is a massive turn-off.
Again, Absolute Duo is incredibly generic but that doesn’t make it a bad show. It’s filled with anime tropes as far as the eye can see, and there isn’t much in the way of character development, but it’s good fun to watch regardless. I won’t return to it and I’m not eager for a second season, but if one were to come along then I’d most likely watch it when I just want to chill out and watch something that doesn’t require much mental thought. It’s hard to recommend as a buy when it fills like a filler anime before you watch your next big show but if you like the sound of it then give it a whirl!
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