DVD REVIEW: BATTLE GIRLS: TIME PARADOX COLLECTION / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: HIDEKI OKAMOTO / SCREENPLAY: TOUKO MACHIDA / STARRING: BRITTNEY KARBOWSKI, SHELLEY CALENE-BLACK, EMILY NEVES, GENEVIEVE SIMMONS, CARLI MOSIER / RELEASE DATE: JANUARY 26TH
Movies based on video games tend to be among the most forgettable, and while cartoons may generally fair better, we’ve still got a long way to go. That said, it’s a genuine surprise that Battle Girls: Time Paradox, based on the CR Sengoku Otome arcade game, is actually pretty decent.
The show kicks off in the heat of battle, with a deliciously convoluted fight sequence. In an anime titled Battle Girls you expect as much, and fans of Red Sonja will appreciate the armour choices, as preposterous as they are impractical. Treat this as your litmus test; if this opening fails to ignite, the rest of the series won’t be anything to get excited about.
Despite the seemingly insurmountable differences between Eastern and Western entertainment, certain tropes are shared, and a normal student put in extraordinary circumstances is one of the most common. So schoolgirl Hideyoshi is a character we can all get behind, as she’s magically whisked off to an alternative Feudal Japan where the entire population is made up of women.
Hideyoshi is an endearing character, stand-offish, spry and accident prone, striking a similar impression to Naruto Uzumaki. Her growing rapport with the lord Oda is sweet, as she fights to gain all pieces of a crimson armour set which will enable her to rule the land.
The English dub is fairly decent, though sometimes characters do move their mouths when they’re not speaking. Voice over stalwart Brittney Karbowski does an especially good job with Hideyoshi, heads and shoulders above your average dub. In many ways Battle Girls is a typical anime, pootling along with a formulaic structure, but it is terrific fun, and a cunning piece of ‘what-if’ fiction. Throw in a talking dog, playful music and evocative settings, and you’ve got a winning formula.
The show dissects modern Japan and its cultural obsessions by looking to its past, but more than that the show explores its rich history, and by subverting it makes for an intriguing story. Though the feminist ideas or educational elements weren’t nearly as utilised as they could or should have been, Battle Girls is an enjoyable show nonetheless.
Special Features: Opening and closing credits / Trailer
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