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Battle Girls: Time Paradox is an anime series that ventures into the realms of action-comedy. A mostly fun, light-hearted series that does suffer issues of who its intended audience is meant to be and having a very annoying protagonist.
Hide-san is a ditzy, accident-prone Middle School student who is more interested in fashion, the internet, and texting than her studies. With her being on the verge of failing a major history test, she says a prayer at a local temple and somehow finds herself in an alternative version of Feudal Japan whose population is entirely female. Renaming herself Hideyoshi, she gets taken under the wing of Lord Nobunaga who seeks to conquer the land by gathering all the pieces of mystical Crimson Armor.
Hideyoshi is an annoying character. She is a whining little girl who is constantly complaining, always hungry and lacking intelligence. She panics easily and much of the humor results from her stupidity or slapstick failings. She is the butt of the jokes. Hideyoshi is very similar to Usagi Tsukino from Sailor Moon: a ditzy schoolgirl with questionable intelligential abilities, lost in a world she does not understand; she even has an animal sidekick. Her personality and voice are grating, both in English and Japanese. However, she does have one winning attribute: Her compassion.
Hideyoshi is where the bulk of the humor comes from, often from the result of her misfortunate or her excitable personality. The other humorous characters in the series are Nobunaga’s main advisor, Akechi Mitsuhide who is desperate to impress her lord with schemes, which backfire and Hanzo, the useless ninja. The humor on offer is more likely to provide small chuckles than anything else.
Most of the other characters are portrayed straight or have a deadpan delivery with their jokes. Nobunaga was a brilliant creation, a tough, dominating woman with the spirit of a warrior and determination to succeed. She is willing to use force when needed and very confident, sometimes overly so. She was the best acted character, in both English and Japanese versions as she seeks to fulfil her destiny. She looks as if she has walked off from the game Heavenly Sword, armed with a massive sword, large breasts, a big ponytail and skimpy outside as she oozes charisma.
As well as the main plot, Battle Girls is littered with subplots as other characters manoeuvre to get the Crimson Armor pieces for their own interests. The biggest arc is the jealousy Mitsuhide develops towards Hideyoshi, believing the teenager is usurping her position as favored confidant as she harbors a secret love for Nobunaga. This all culminates to a brilliant tenth episode, being one of the more dramatic episodes in the series.
The series is mostly comedic, particularly in the earlier half, but as Battle Girls progresses it becomes more serious and with the final few episodes being action-packed affairs. Episode five is an atmospheric episode in its second half as the characters have to tell scary stories to ghostly undead, having a creepy tone to it and the aforementioned tenth episode being a highlight of the series.
Episode 7 is the worst episode, highlighting the tonal issues for the show. Battle Girls could easily be marketed for a younger audience, but there many sexual jokes and undertones and episode 7 is when it all peaks; containing many sexual gags with the only male character, Shiro the Dog getting very aroused by the female characters and telling his sexual fantasies to Hideyoshi. Another character writes sexually charged plays containing very suggestive scenes. There is nudity in the show and minor swearing- this stuff could easily be cut, but for episode 7 it would be an impossible feat. Yet, it is an inconsequential episode to the grand scheme of things. It’s these incidents that lifted the show’s rating to a 15 in the UK.
The animation of Battle Girls is static at times. Sometimes this is simply used for comedic effect, having characters move frantically, so the movements are sudden. For action scenes there is the occasional shortcut as a character wields their weapons and shouts their move with a colored background behind. Fortunately there is some fluidity to the fight sequences and they are fun to watch. The music department deserves a lot of praise for their work for the action sequences, giving the scenes an epic sounding orchestral score with a real cinematic quality.
Battle Girls is an enjoyable romp that has plenty of character moments and action beats – though you have to bear with a whiny lead. It is something fans of Sailor Moon would enjoy. Watch the Japanese language version because the English dub is lacking in quality.