Assault Lily BOUQUET – 1st Episode Review
Synopsis: On the verge of extinction by the alien entity known as Huge, the planet unites to develop CHARM. Merging science and magic into a weapon, military facilities called Gardens quickly sprout up to train recruits in this nascent technology. Forged by nature and training, teenage girls emerge as a heroic Lily upon blossoming. Can humanity survive long enough for these Lilies to bloom and save us all? (Official Funimation Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Assault Lily Bouquet opens with a brief action scene and then immediately dives into non-stop exposition told solely by the ‘main’ character, Riri and then through the million and one girls it introduces in the span of a few minutes. It’s a lot of information conveyed solely through dialogue, which ends up feeling like you’re having a story-book explained to you at breakneck speed. While the generic premise of weird monsters invading Earth with only high school girls able to save us isn’t all that hard to follow, the low effort put into world building makes it feel like the show really expects the audience to just pick a favourite girl and watch exclusively for her sake, with your attachment to her based exclusively on her design and cookie cutter personality tropes.
Tom: It’s storytelling 101 to show rather than tell. Assault Lily BOUQUET makes the all too common anime mistake of doing the exact opposite. Riri, our would-be heroine doles out not only information about herself, but the setting as well, making sure that none of this parade of details really sticks in the viewer’s mind. The basic gist however, seeing as how even Funimation’s synopsis is lacking in more direct details, is this; Riri is a new admission to the Lily Academy; a school/base that trains young girls into fighters against the onslaught of horrible creatures known only as the Huge. Riri is excited to join the fray, as she’s dreamed of being a Lily for several years now, after one saved her in a Huge attack. Her life as a Lily turns out to be a tad more than she bargained for as she meets the other girls at the Academy, who aren’t exactly your typical schoolmates. It’s here then that the parade of characters Linny mentioned hits us. Assault Lily batters the audience with simply far too many girls to remember, yet seemingly believes one or two lines of dialogue from each is enough to make them all memorable. Honestly, like so many of the Gacha anime adaptations each season, Assault Lily suffers a self-inflicted poor start, inundating audiences with so much information that none of it manages to stand out or impress upon audiences what makes Assault Lily worth returning to after the premiere.
Linny: Assault Lily BOUQUET is well aware as to the demographic it is truly aiming for. The repeated focus on the girls’ thighs in thigh high socks makes it plenty obvious Assault Lily BOUQUET is here to pander to the thigh lovers. And for good measure, there’s also a ton of yuri service as not only does our main protagonist Riri end up with a most vocal and ardent admirer amongst her fellow Lily mates but the ending credits is chock full of images of the girls cuddling and snuggling in clearly romantic postures. In fact the ending credits wind up with a shot of the weapon activating rings worn by the girls being posed like wedding rings, stacked on top of each other so as to let the audience know that there’s definitely going to be some romance amongst the all female cast.
Tom: For as much the first fifteen minutes are botched, over-written exposition I will say Assault Lily picks up a bit in its back half. The second half of the premiere is all action that showcases Riri, hints of what makes her special, and a couple other choice Lilys. By cutting out the bloat of characters paraded mere moments ago, it becomes easier to see what the main draw of the series is supposed to be. We learn that Riri is semi-obsessed with Yuyu, the Lily who saved her two years ago, but Yuyu seems to have turned cold. Riri also ends up with her own ‘fan,’ Kaede, who quickly develops romantic feelings for Riri after she saves her from a Huge. There’s nothing particular original or stand out here, but what’s here does benefit from some excellent animation that really makes the action sequences pop and impress.
Linny: But even if the action saves the series to some degree, Assault Lily BOUQUET still feels contrived if not outright illogical at times. For example, the show, and Riri herself, make it plenty obvious that Riri is not yet an experienced Lily. She’s a complete newbie, without a single inkling for how to activate a Lily’s special gear. Yet she rushes after both Yuyu and Kaede to face off against an escaped Huge, which becomes obvious set up for her then needing to be rescued. She gets yelled at by Kaede, another new Lily, for joining the fight while being so inexperienced. This begs the question, are all girls entering the academy meant to be well versed in combat already? Then, a little later in this same fight, Riri is suddenly able to read the tactics of the Huge even though her two much more experienced school mates get completely fooled by it, randomly and momentarily turning her into a bad ass. That said, I will admit the possibility that the latter example is probably build up for a later, though predictable, reveal that Riri is actually very special and not nearly such a meek and weak addition to the Lily fighting force.
Tom: Overall, even with the back end of the episode feeling tighter and more engaging, Assault Lily BOUQUET still hasn’t done anything we haven’t seen before. Assault Lily is primarily based off a line of dolls, and feels fairly typical for a magical girl anime, if not also taking a page from the plethora of Gacha game adaptations, where the modus operandi is to sell people on playing the game rather than offer a well realized story. If you’re a fan of magical girls with massive weapons fighting ill-defined monsters, and would appreciate a little Yuri-pandering on the side, then Assault Lily is likely to work for you in spades. But if you were hoping for something a bit better put together, and worlds more enthralling, unfortunately Assault Lily just isn’t up to it.
Linny: Assault Lily BOUQUET is probably going to have a niche, diehard fandom of those invested in the fate of these girls and their thighs. If you’re a thigh lover, there’s plenty to love here as the show keeps fixating near every chance it gets. But if like me, you wanted a competent story with solid execution and interesting new concepts, there’s really nothing to be seen here. Which isn’t all too surprising once you discover the source material/inspiration for the show is just a line of dolls. It’s unmistakably promotional material. You’d hope that with just a product line for lore, the show runners would be free to come up with a truly unique story, but instead Assault Lily BOUQUET takes the easy way out, doing the bare minimum needed to offer up a typical setting, filled then with fan service and girls with tropes for personality. Yes the show has enjoyable animation and unique weaponry but it might be best for you to go into this either already familiar and fond of its characters or because you simply enjoy watching high school girls take down monsters, even if the story isn’t all that original or well executed.
Assault Lily BOUQUET is available for streaming via Funimation.com