Since the last thing I reviewed was something with a unique and creative premise, I figure I should offset that by reviewing something that shows next to no creativity at all, Battle Girls – Time Paradox. It’s a show I previously wrote about during the Spring preview guide, so if you’ve read that you already know I’m not fond of the series, and that hasn’t changed after watching the whole thing.
Modern-day middle school girl Hideyoshi is mysteriously hurled into a world resembling the warring states period of Japanese history, only this time it’s inhabited only by women. This world’s Oda Nobunaga is gathering the legendary Crimson Armor so she can rule the world, and for some reason needs Hideyoshi’s help to do it.
The first thing wrong with this series is its source material. Although calling it source material is probably too generous. It’s based off of a pachinko game (this pachinko game to be precise). So really, the claim that this series contains no creativity is a tad bit wrong. It certainly takes some kind of creativity to make a thirteen episode anime based on a god damn pachinko game. The end result was crap, but still, congrats to the staff for managing to pull that off.
But let’s just accept that someone somewhere thought making a TV series out of a pachinko game was somehow a good idea. The series still shows a complete lack of any originality or creativity. It’s a re-imagining of Japan’s Sengoku era (Japanese title of the series is Sengoku Otome – Momoiro Paradox), a time when samurai engaged in widespread battle to seize control of the nation. Except this time around they’re all girls who don’t wear very much. The actual story involves a school girl wandering into an old temple and being mysteriously transported to this strange world. Once she gets accustomed to the world, she joins Oda Nobunaga on a quest to collect the Crimson Armour, the pieces of which are scattered and in the possession of various samurai. There’s also a talking dog.
So to summarize:
- Re-imagining of Sengoku era
- Scantily clad women fighting each other
- Teenage girl mysteriously transported to strange land
- Quest to collect scattered pieces of an important item
- Talking animal companion
Clearly all unique and never before seen concepts.
This isn’t really helped by having a main character who is dumber than a sack of bricks. Obviously someone who just got magically transported to another world is going to be a little sceptical at first and not realize what happened right away. But Hideyoshi, the main heroine of this series, takes this well beyond the acceptable limit. It takes her until halfway through the second episode to finally realize what’s happened. Most shows with this premise get to that point before the commercial break. Hideyoshi witnesses a group of bandits burn down a village, Nobunaga defeat them using a magic sword technique, wanders around a feudal Japanese castle with no electricity or plumbing (first episode contains two scenes of her going to/coming back from the toilet for some reason) and she still doesn’t grasp what’s happened until the talking dog explains it to her. And no, they never explain why the dog can talk.
Even after that she still has brain dead moments where she expects people to understand modern concepts, or apparently forgets that she’s in an entirely different world. There’s a scene several episodes in where she meets another samurai, Ieyasu Tokugawa, who looks like one of her friends from her own time. She then waves to this person, completely expecting Ieyasu to know who she is and wave back. She’s that dumb. She’s also an entirely useless character, having no fighting capabilities, setting off traps while trying to sneak through a tunnel, and only ending up in this world because she tripped at a temple, breaking through a door and stumbling upon someone opening some kind of magic gateway. Somehow though, even with her complete inability to function, she manages to end up as one of Nobunaga’s retainers who gets to go everywhere with her.
But even with all these problems, you could forgive the series if it at least manages to be entertaining. Which is too bad, because it’s really, really dull. When you hear that the premise involves Nobunaga collecting pieces of a legendary suit of armour from several other famous sengoku era samurai, you likely expect there to be some kind of fighting in the series. Well you would be so wrong. The first piece they collect involves them going up against two other samurai in a series of recreational sports. So instead of a sword fight, you get a volleyball match.
There’s an episode where they have to get pieces of the armour from Shingen Takeda and Kenshin Uesagi, rival samurai who spend all their time fighting. There’s an entire scene in that episode where we watch Hideyoshi and the others watch Shingen and Kenshin fight, with only a few small shots of the fight actually being shown to the viewer. Eventually Nobunaga joins in the fight, at which point it devolves to people standing far apart and launching magic attacks at each other with their swords. Not exactly a riveting fight scene.
There’s another episode where the characters get lost in a forest and in order to get out they have to tell 100 scary stories. What we end up seeing is just a montage of story endings, which is like hearing the punchline of a joke without the set up. Basically, a lot of the series involves things happening off screen which the viewer never gets to see. Such as the episode where the characters put on a play. All we see are a few excerpts of it, and never get to see anything more.
The series does manage to have an actual fight scene eventually. But it doesn’t involve Nobunaga, the character you’d actually want to see fight, and instead focuses on Akechi Mitsuhide. She fights with throwing knives and most of the fight involves her dodging attacks until she somehow manages to rig up a way to capture her opponents. Nobunaga does end up in a fight here, but it of course takes place off screen and all we really get to see is the end result. They don’t actually kill their enemies either. Not even during the final battle against the major villain. They basically just make her apologize and that’s it. This is Nobunaga we’re talking about. A female version, but still Nobunaga. The Devil King doesn’t just settle for an apology from an opponent and call it a day.
The series’ attempts at humour are largely groan inducing. There’s a scene in the play that gets put on that involves the girls engaging in what would appear to be a lesbian orgy. This really excites the dog, who tries to jump in and join. There are quite a few jokes about how the dog wants to do all the girls, because apparently bestiality is hilarious. Most of the other gags in the series rely on Hideyoshi’s complete inability to move more than three feet without tripping over herself, so unless watching a girl fall down a lot is hilarious to you I don’t think you’ll find much humour in the series.
The animation isn’t any better than anything else in this series. During the first episode, none of the bystanders are coloured, they’re just dull grey outlines. The other students in Hideyoshi’s class don’t fair much better, but they’re at least coloured. Hideyoshi and her friends are the only characters during the early scenes that the animators seemed to care about, and Hideyoshi’s friends contribute exactly nothing to the series, aside from looking the same as all the sengoku era samurai. But once you get to the sengoku the character designs improve. Each samurai actually has a unique look, though most of their outfits are just skimpy armour (proper armour is for cowards apparently). Even when someone puts on the Crimson Armour, which is always shown as a full suit of samurai armour, it magically turns skimpy. Apparently the animators had a burning need to keep the girls in skimpy outfits.
The actual animation is kind of lazy though. As mentioned, most of the action happens off screen. There’s no complicated fight choreography to be animated, and when characters do actually fight it’s mostly just special attacks where the animation can be recycled over and over anyway. There’s a scene of houses being destroyed by a laser later on in the series where once the laser hits the house it just magically turns into a pile of rubble. There are no frames of falling debris or anything like that. Just one frame of the house being in perfect shape, followed by a frame of it being a pile of rubble. They could have at least put a dust cloud over it to hide this fact, but I guess that would have been too much work. But given the material they’re working with, it’s hard to expect anyone to put too much effort into this.
Every aspect of this show is just bad. It’s based on a pachinko game, the entire premise is unoriginal, overused cliches, and it’s just boring. Anything remotely interesting happens off screen, and the whole thing is just a waste of time. It is literally the most boring re-imagining of the sengoku era you could ever witness. I really don’t recommend watching it.
Cons: Pretty much everything
Battle Girls – Time Pardox is available streaming at Crunchyroll