The Testament of Sister New Devil
Out of nowhere, Toujou Basara gets two girls thrust into his life by his father. As it turns out, the two girls are demon Princesses on the run, and they try to get Basara to leave the house. Unfortunately, Basara hails from a village of heroes and doesn't take too well at the two trying to force him out of the house.
After the prerequisite scuffle and reconciliation, it becomes quite clear that bigger forces on both sides of the fence are about to make life difficult for Basara and his recently aquired "sisters".
Before you decide to watch this show, I want you all to know one thing: the first episode of The Testament of Sister New Devil is mind-numbingly stupid.
We meet our father-and-son lead as they sit in a diner, the father unloading the news of his impending sisters on a surprised Basara. Immediately after that, he stands up, goes to the toilet and thus walks in on the older sister, Mio Naruse. He immediately clamps his hand over her mouth in an attempt to stop her from screaming in a scene that looks unnervingly close to a sexual assault, after which she slaps him and spends most of the scene in the diner berating him about it. But apparently she didn't dislike him enough not to wake him up the next morning by sitting on his crotch while rubbing her ass on it, and then pondering why something seems to be getting hard down there. She finds a porn game under his bed (which he didn't put there), gets upset about him being "that kind of guy", and so we have a very confused Basara heading down into the kitchen, where we get a "ha ha, I'm not really naked under the apron" gag from Maria, the younger sister. The father arrives, admonishing Basara not to do something that'll get him arrested and then leaving. The whole thing is like someone put out an idea jar about how to leisurely go about the introduction episode before they introduce the demon stuff, and then invited the local pervert club to supply the ideas, and those people basically just wrote down something they saw in another show. I can't stress enough just how astoundingly dumb this first episode is -- how creatively bankrupt and tediously by-the-numbers the gag plays out before they suddenly turn around and run the scene where they just reveal all the supernatural backstories -- how Mio and Maria are demons on the run, and how Mio is the daughter of one of the strongest demon lords of the realm. Yet he was a demon who sought peace with the hero clans and generally was an all-around decent guy.
So, the question that should remain is this: once you get past this episode, does the show become something worthwhile? The answer to that is... maybe?
Despite sounding like kind of a conglomeration of Listen to me, Girls! I am your father and High School DxD, The Testament of Sister New Devil does at least have some decent ideas to its name. If they had cut out the incredibly lame fanservice and comedy scenes from the first episode and mainly ran with the serious stuff, the show could actually charitably have been called intriguing. Basara, being understandably upset that his two new sisters tried magicking him out of his home, still throws the two girls out without even giving them a chance to explain themselves. Mio brings Maria to a lookout spot Basara had taken her to earlier in the episode (where he stereotypically saved her from a bunch of thugs) and hilariously states "I knew we couldn't live together", which is a logical conclusion when you remove someone from their premises by way of magic.
Adding to the intrigue is the mystery behind Mio's parents being murdered and the reason why Basara was banished from the village of heroes, particularly since Basara himself gets involved with members from both factions at various points, and it's quite clear that both factions have their own skeletons in the closets. It would have been nice if The Testament of Sister New Devil had chosen to dispense with the comedy altogether (or at least hired some writers to come up with new gags or directors able to give old, tired comedy acts new life), but for what it's worth, I appreciate the efforts of the show to tug at least a little bit on our heartstrings.
So why? Why did you choose to keep up the dumb comedy trappings you set up in the first episode instead of abandoning it? Why did you have Maria put some kind of succubus curse on Mio that makes her horny and super-sensitive to the touch of Basara? Were you of the opinion that the kind of sexual escapades your audience needed was the forced, awkward kind, where the male lead very reluctantly molests the female lead while she protests somewhat halfheartedly? The whole thing devolves into sessions done more out of duty rather than attraction, with a heavy side order of tsundere willfulness from Mio. I imagine the uncensored DVD release is the real prize for any proverbial customer, where the girls will presumably bare it all, but since I watched the stuff on Crunchy, I thankfully had to make do with the admittedly hilarious censorship bars shaped like Mio doing the hands crossed "no" thing, or Maria filming something with a lecherous grin on her face. I can't really say whether the censorship makes the scenes more bearable or if having just sounds and some vague imagery just makes everything worse. Several times, the show will almost literally force Basara and Mio through these duty-based fondling scenes, and it's just painful to watch. It would actually have been preferable if the two had been attracted to each other in a normal way without the curse pushing them along. At least then it would have felt natural, if heavily wish-fulfillment-like. And Maria wouldn't be forced to play the villainous part in all of this just to whitewash Basara's actions -- or rather, the show's idea of submissive sexual pleasure being DA BES!
The Testament of Sister New Devil also feels a bit like Trinity Seven, mostly in regard to the interactions with some of the other factions in the show, and the confrontations that arise from said meetings. I said the ideas the show put forth were intriguing, but the dialogue during those scenes are anything but. Granted, this show doesn't get as explain-hungry during revelations and confrontations, so we won't get any surprise sneak attacks with minutes of explanations beforehand. Yet, most fights come with typical teenage macho blather that gets tiresome real fast. A lot of characters in the show are also standoffishly confrontational when they meet. But where Trinity Seven allowed its female cast to be both badass and pulling their weight and then some, The Testament of Sister New Devil's female characters are downright useless if they aren't playing the villainous team. And so, Basara spends most of his time making good on his promise to "protect" them by fighting all their enemies. It's almost hilarious how most of the bigger enemies in the show tend to end their lives as Basara arrives just in the nick of time to land a killing blow just before they land theirs on any of the girls. It's as if the girls' job is basically staying alive until Basara arrives on the scene, and double hero points if Basara is already wounded or exhausted. There's nothing quite as condescending and sexist as seeing fully rested hero or demon girls -- sometimes teamed up -- completely fail to deal with a villain, right before being rescued by an exhausted and severely wounded Basara. It's the stuff exasperated facepalms are made of.
The show can get surprisingly nasty too. Sure, it's a relatively lame fantasy/pseudo-religious power fantasy made to make its main character look cool, but the show doesn't mess around either when it comes to dealing with villains or the people said villains kill. We are made to watch in grisly detail the aftermath of Mio's parents' murder, and some of the villains will be dealt with by having their heads exploded, gore and brain matter splattering against the walls. Nothing onscreen, mind you, but the use of shadows and meaty chunks bouncing off objects leave no room for doubt about what's going on. Straight-out executions? It's A-OK when the one being executed is villainous enough.
Honestly, I have a hard time recommending this show. I kind of want to, but The Testament of Sister New Devil is a harsh mistress who doesn't really want to show any favorable sides of herself. Truth to be told, I honestly enjoyed some of the twists and revelations in the show, but mostly the ones that weren't trying to appear all cool and stuff. The downside to all of this is that the show is almost obsessed with looking badass, to the point where cryptic phone calls are made among post-battle scenes filled with decapitated enemies and numerous allusions to Basara's sad past. And if it's not that, it's the show's attempts at fanservice and sexual escapades, which makes Nyarko's attempts at seducing Mahiro -- or Kuuko's attempts at seducing Nyarko -- look downright subtle in comparison.
I could go into more things -- like how Yuki, Basara's female childhood friend from the village of heroes, wants to undergo Maria's succubus curse as the slave to Basara's master, or how Basara's first male schoolmate shows up later with a face-covering mask, as if it wasn't blatantly obvious that it was him behind it -- but really, it's probably not worth it. The show is simply not very good. Yet, somehow, this show actually managed to get itself a sequel. Sometimes, I just don't understand this world.
It's not a total disaster, but really, I can see no reason why you would watch this when you could be watching... say, High School DxD instead. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: It's hard to tell how explicit the show is due to the censorship, but with how Mio moans during her scenes with Basara in the flesh, I'm pretty sure that alone makes the show inappropriate for the first couple of years of teenagedom. The sorta-forced aspect to said scenes quite frankly makes it unsuitable by itself. There's also the violence, which, while not onscreen, still leaves little doubt as to who gets done what to. It wouldn't surprise me if this show ends up with a TV-MA rating.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
The Testament of Sister New Devil © 2015 Production IMS, Kadokawa Pictures.
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