Battle Girl High School Collection (Cert 15)
2 Discs Blu-ray (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 312 minutes approx.
Sometimes you see the title of an anime series and it pretty much tells you everything you need to know about it, even before you see the DVD cover. Battle Girl High School is such a show.
The setting is 2045 and the earth has been contaminated by alien invaders called Irousu, their toxic miasma causing the human race to hide in quarantine. The only ones capable of tackling the Irousu are Hoshimori (Star Guardians), young girls chosen by the fabled Holy Tree and trained at the Shinjugamine Girls Academy to be magical girls, each with their own bespoke weapons.
Unfortunate there is no more plot to share with you, only basic and incidental details to give some of the main characters a distinction from the others. I say “some” – there are 19, yes NINETEEN girls in the role of protagonist and no, it is not easy keeping up with any of them. This isn’t helped by the fact there are a few duplicates in appearance and their introduction is contained to a rushed battle sequence in the first episode.
It would take a very dedicated fan to remember all the names and which girl they are attached to – I can barely remember any of them and I watched the entire series in one sitting! Thus, any names referred to hereafter in this review are courtesy of Wikipedia, apart from Misaki and Miki, as they are the only two out the nineteen afforded anything resembling a plot arc, which annoyingly, doesn’t occur until the final two episodes.
Yet this isn’t a case of this show wearing its eye-rolling derivative roots on its sleeves, the reason for the huge cast list is that it is based on a social network game by COLOPL, giving players a rather extensive choice of girls to train to become Hoshimori and no doubt form a relationship with too. Maybe I am being cynical with this inference but Japanese games featuring high schools are rarely innocent.
Funnily enough, there is one sole male in the entire show, the teacher of the Hoshimori class – comprised of girls of all ages and grade levels in the one group – but at no point does this ever become a tired old harem situation, and we should be grateful for that. By virtue of the teacher being considerable older this is never on the cards and by the same token, we should be equally thankful he wasn’t a younger male to facilitate following this route.
All is not lost for fans of frisky shenanigans though as some of the girls have a slight yuri leaning within them, leading to some boob grabs and other girl-on-girl naked canoodling in the baths to provide some cheap thrills instead. And the all-important beach episode arrives in episode three, wasting no time in exploiting the best sides of these magical moe blobs. What, you didn’t expect a show featuring nineteen teenage girls and not feature any fan service, did you?
Whatever your fancy, there is bound to be a girl to your tastes either aesthetically or personality wise – you’ve got the plucky one, ditzy one, shy one, haughty one, playful one, serious one, the loli, and even two idols – with the whole spectrum of hair colours in a variety of styles – red, green blue, orange, brown, purple, blonde, and auburn in either long, short, straight, curly, twin tail, and pony tail.
Their Celestial Suits are typical of the magical girl attire – modest outfits, with high collars, flowing jackets and frilly adornments – and their weapons fresh from any fantasy arsenal, ranging from blades, lances, and swords, to metal gloves, hammers, and guns. They can also fly thanks to their powers with their jackets doubling as wings.
Oddly for a fighting show, there are few battles and what there are tend be over rather quickly, hardly any of them proving to be of high stakes. For what are supposed to be deadly threats to humanity, the Irousu are mostly treated as inconveniences for the girls as they go about their daily lives. If they are not interrupting a concert by the idol duo F*F aka Fortissimo they are stopping preparation for the festival showcase.
At least until the final chapters where an antagonist finally surfaces (after observing the girls from a distant location, another cliché to tick off the list) providing a real challenge for the girls. As hinted at earlier, this revolves around Mizuki and Miki and as actually an interesting idea which could have drive the entire show if the writers weren’t so damned lazy in wasting our time with the usual slice-of-life frippery.
Studio Silver Link are responsible for the animation, which is consistent in quality and of merit, most notably in the battle scenes, but the generic nature of the show makes it feel pedestrian, unable to distinguish itself from the countless other unimaginative genre titles it is comparable to. Not only are the girls cookie cutter in design, even the Irousu are a collection stock fantasy beasts, sometimes combined from two disparate forms.
No doubt knowing the original game is a prerequisite in being able to connect with and enjoy this show, as it allows players to establish a rapport with the girls; for an anime however, 19 leads is a ludicrous amount for anyone to follow, leaving too many spending more time on the periphery than upfront. Given the theme is camaraderie, limiting the number to four or five would have achieved this more effectively.
Ordinarily I would sum up by lamenting how the potential of a series like this is wasted, and whilst true based on the last two episodes, Battle Girl High School is so offensively generic and derivative, it is difficult to be that generous towards it. Unless you’re a fan of the original game or absolutely must have more magical girls in your life, there is sadly very little about this show to recommend.
Japanese Language 2.0 w/ English Subtitles
Disc 2 Only:
Clean Opening Animations
Clean Closing Animations
Rating – **
Man In Black