The Testament of Sister New Devil
Straddling the border of anime and hentai
Warning: this review does contain a few vague spoilers.
The Testament of Sister New Devil (新妹魔王の契約者 , Shinmai Maō no Tesutamento) is an anime based from the manga by Tetsuto Uesu with illustrations by Nekosuke Ōkuma.
There is one huge difference between anime and hentai, sex. The Testament of Sister New Devil doesn't actually go so far to become hentai, but it certainly straddles the border. Not just sitting on it either, I'm talking full on pelvic grinding, here. It helps that the nudity and some acts (which don't go to any real depths) are censored, but the home-video version will not have these censors making that line between the two even thinner. It's a good thing that these acts, which definitely makes this series unforgettable, is only a very small part of this anime.
I absolutely loved the characters in this series. The step-sibling relationship, how they got along, their disagreements, protective attitude, and even their reactions to the odd sexual situations they were being placed in, were all very entertaining. Of course, when you're dealing with a hero, the heir of the devil, and a succubus living together, things are going to be wild. This also made it completely understandable that the series would go into a very adult-themed direction at times.
Each of the characters were also so diverse, with rich and mysterious backgrounds. It isn't rare for stories to have characters feel so different, but having very different characters who were also interesting and believable was a real treat. So many anime series leave the characters to be just a personification of a stereotype, but The Testament of Sister New Devil's characters felt more like living beings with personalities and beliefs of their own, even while still filling the role of a stereotype at times. This does a fantastic job at making you feel for the characters, and builds plenty of tension when they are in danger.
And they're certainly no strangers of being in danger. Throughout this first season there are major conflicts in nearly every episode, and almost all of them feel like they are going to be fatal. Sure, the series would end quickly if certain characters would die, but the fights are fast-paced and epic enough for you to forget all about that as you get immersed into the combat. The animations aren't always smooth and seamless, but it is hardly noticeable due to the ferocity of those fights. They also blend into the main story arc incredibly well, too.
The Testament of Sister New Devil's plot is about the battle between heroes, demons, those who wish to be in power, and those who wish to protect others. Of course, this isn't realistic, it involves demons, but for it still takes on a deeper, and more understandable message than most fantasy series. This is because it is more drama than action. Where other series will make the fight the most important part, this anime focuses more on how it impacts the lives of the characters. This means the larger story about the fight for power is only a backdrop for the story about family. Even though none of the main characters are blood-relatives, they all consider each other siblings, and will fight to protect each other as such. Family isn't something you're born into in this anime, it is what you choose to build and protect, which is a fantastic message to be shared.
The animation and music were fantastic, too, for the most part. The detail on the characters, their actions and the world they exist in are definitely above average, which combined with the amazing music and sound effect, completes this series in ways few have achieved. Sure, some scenes were covered with cute sensors, so I can't comment what will be visible on the home release, but from how well everything else is done, I can't foresee any problems.
While this series paddles vigorously up and down the rivers of lust, it still does a fantastic job at being a kick-ass anime at its heart. The Testament of Sister New Devil will definitely take a few outside of their comfort zone, and is certainly not a family friendly experience, but this still feels like a must watch series for adults. I just hope that they don't take the sexual content too far in the next season.