There’s a moment in the third episode of Chained Soldier where our hapless hero Yuuji finds himself delicately peeling off the stockings of his “master,” Kyouka, and he thinks to himself, “Holy crap. We’re deep into fetish territory.” Boy howdy, is he not lying! While nobody would ever accuse Chained Soldier of having the sheer depth of fetishistic glee as, say, Nana & Kaoru, the series seems to be making up for its lack of graphic smut with an overwhelming amount of variety with its sleaze. Sure, HIDIVE‘s uncensored release only really provides a couple of seconds of proudly nippled boobies per episode, but you also have to factor in the fact that, in just three episodes, Yuuki has been:
• Transformed into a buff Pokémon love slave by the Kyouka, the dom-ineering leader of the Demon Defense Force 7th Squad.
• Reduced to an oft-humiliated chore boy for a dorm filled with a literal harem of rom-com archetypes who all also possess body and ego-destroying superpowers.
• Blackmailed by a feisty snaggle-tooth girl (Shushi) who is also a gamer girl who can kick your ass in Street Fighter. She is also also a shapeshifter that uses her size-changing powers to sit on his face and insult him over his tiny dick.
• Forcibly squeezed into and smothered by the bosom of Shushi while in her even-more-giant Ultrawoman form, which happens only a couple of minutes before Shushi openly admires the fact that his dick is huge, actually.
• Shoved onto the ground so Kyouka can assault his nards and his nose with her booted and her bare feet, all while being loudly berated for the many different subconscious perversions that Kyouka is forced to indulge as a “reward” for Yuuki’s service.
• Attacked by the lecherous monster-girl who also happens to be his presumed-dead and openly incestuous sister.
When you look at it from that angle—i.e., the view from the floor where you’ve been lying to patiently await Chained Soldier‘s boot to make loving contact with your drooling mouth—this show is a veritable cornucopia of perversion, even if it doesn’t flaunt its uncensored assets as brazenly as some of its competition might be. Now, that’s all well and good for the bona fide Freaks n’ Sinners™ that will lap up whatever Chained Soldier sees fit to offer them, but what about folks like me? Folks who, for some ridiculous reason, might be looking for some amount of depth or narrative complexity in Chained Soldier, on account of it literally being their job to think way too hard about whether or not the Incredibly Horny Demon-Fighting Sex-Slave Harem/Tokusatsu/Fantasy Comedy-Action Cartoon is “good”?
Well, I have good news, everyone! Chained Soldier is actually pretty, er…good! I mean, yeah, its “Shuuki vs. Mankind” conflict is a setup we’ve seen a hundred times before, and the harem-comedy angle has been played out for so long that I don’t even know if an “original” version of it is even possible anymore, but it’s the execution that counts, in the end, and Chained Soldier succeeds on that front. The animation is consistently decent, for the most part, and the show does a good job of spreading out its world-building, its action, and its unrepentantly flagrant horniness so that you never have time to get bored of any one element. The characters are simple, but fun, and dammit, the jokes are pretty funny, okay? I laughed when the third episode spent way too long emphasizing the squeaky-boot sound effect of Kyouka mashing Yuuki’s potatoes like she was a Minnesotan housewife preparing a Thanksgiving feast, and I’m only slightly ashamed to admit it. I have a feeling that “consistently entertained and only moderately humiliated to be seen associating with it in public” is exactly where Chained Soldier wants its audience to be, too. If it can keep it up, I see no reason to complain!
James is a writer with many thoughts and feelings about anime and other pop-culture, which can also be found on Twitter, his blog, and his podcast.