Perhaps one of the most bizarre and stereotypically Japanese ideas for a fighting anime appears. A tournament for waitresses!
Yuka Takeuchi is an upcoming VG fighter, a waitress who takes part in this high powered tournament for the prize of ten million dollars and a piece of prime real estate. The matches are broadcast live almost everywhere in the world, and as punishment for losing they have to strip naked on camera! Well, underneath the commercial façade of punches, kicks and energy blasts the Jahana organisation is manipulating the entrants for their own ends, and designing performance enhancing drugs with shocking consequences. When Yuka’s best friend Satomi is forced into the competitions she has to both fight to the finish, and free Satomi from Jahana’s influence.
Though it seems serious enough this show is pretty tongue in cheek when you get down to it, as there’s only so much seriousness the concept can take. Battling waitresses, combat rings that spring up everywhere and the amount of flesh that eventually gets bared are kept from spiralling into stupidity by the comedy that keeps a lot of these three episodes going. The young Manami and her breast obsession and ridiculous attacks for instance lighten the mood a lot and provide some good laughs. When it does get serious it tends to be a bit hit and miss. Some of it, particularly revolving around Satomi and what Jahana do to her works well, but they do sometimes fall into the traditional fighting show clichés, and it’s very hard to take it seriously when it does.
There’s plenty of violence in this show, though it’s mostly bloodless fisticuffs and ki blasts, and it is surprisingly well choreographed which helps a lot in keeping you interested, rather than the random flailing and blurring of limbs so many shows do, *yawn*. And, as the concept suggests, there is plenty of nudity, though nothing detailed. This isn’t porn, the combatants just tend to lose their clothes (or at least bits of them) quite a lot. If I were to give an age recommendation I’d say mid teens and up, because there are one or two scenes, like the ‘softening up’ of a mind control subject by stripping (she lost a battle) and whipping her, that are on the dark side with the material.
The animation is nice and fluid and the battle sequences look great. Sometimes the drawing of the characters weren’t as good as they could be, but that’s again because they can look very nice at times. Overall this a great looking show.
My advice about the dub is, quite frankly, don’t bother. To be fair it does get enjoyable enough when they act it tongue in cheek, but for the serious material it really doesn’t work, and the deliveries are way too unnatural, like someone taking lessons in clear pronunciation rather than natural speech. Plus the changes they made to the script make it seem even less natural and it plays right into the clichés. It just sounds dumb when that happens.
This show is enjoyable enough, but it takes what could have been a great concept and doesn’t do enough with it. We really need to see more story, of how we get from the beginning to the end and how the fighters learn and improve rather than just throwing them into battles and then whisking them off for the next. Give us some character interaction and development. It would have been great just to see Yuka, Jun and Manami travelling around some more, working things out and getting to be buddies. Also the intrigue into Jahana worked really well, and could have been developed a lot more than it was. It’s a decent show and a good way to spend the seventy five minutes that it lasts, but it isn’t anything special, and while I think I will come back to it every now and again it really shouldn’t be a priority unless you are really craving some fan service laden fighting action with some good laughs.