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Wednesday, 03 August 2011 00:00

Battle Girls - Time Paradox

It's another anime that's based on a gaming machine. Apparently. After last season's Rio - Rainbow Gate, I have to admit I didn't have a hell of a lot of hope for Battle Girls - Time Paradox, but somewhere along the way it managed to at least have a sense of fun about it. And sometimes that's all you're after...

Hideyoshino (or Hideyoshi to her friends) is your fairly typical high-school girl - loves fashion, hates studying, can't live with her cellphone, and is in real danger of completely screwing up her upcoming exams. In search of divine intervention, she heads for a local shrine to make a few humble requests of the gods - only to find herself caught up in a mysterious light and whisked away to feudal-age Japan and caught up in the intrigue of the warlords of the past, with Oda Nobunaga taking a special interest in her - only in this alternate version of the past, there are only females...

Only females, huh? Well there's a recipe for fanservice if ever I saw one - and the show lives up to that promise to a certain extent (we're not talking over-the-top service here, but it's pleasing on the eye nonetheless). The series quickly introduces the female versions of a number of famous names from the same era as Nobunaga, with Ieyasu Tokugawa ("Tokunyan"), Akechi Mitsuhide ("Akerin") and many others all putting in an appearance before the end of the series. To Hideyoshi, this is all quite strange, as each and every one of them bears a striking resemblance to her friends and teachers from school, and the lack of a cellphone signal is really strange...

There is a story here, surrounding the gathering of the parts of the legendary Crimson Armour that would help Nobunaga cement her domination of the country, but that's really secondary to the main characters just kicking around and having fun together - it's episode 9 or so before the armour story really kicks in. But that's just fine, as there's enough frun to be had from just watching the girls have fun - taking part in daft competitions, going hunting, putting on plays together - that the show becomes a good way to just kick back and relax for 25 minutes while not really having to think too much.

Paradoxically (see what I did there?), though, that's also the show's main weakness, one that it shares with Koihime+Muso: you may have fun watching it, but I challenge you to remember much about it more than about 10 minutes after each episode ends. Hideyoshi's a ditz, Akerin's insanely jealous, and Tokunyan looks damned good in her battle gear - but after that, it's all completely forgettable, disposable fare. That's fine if you're watching the stream each week as part of a subscription that you've already paid for (or if you're in Japan and watching on TV); but would I pay for it on its own? No chance. There's simply not enough here to merit it, and only limited replay value, as there's nothing in the story that really makes you sit up, take notice, and want to watch it again.

Disposable is good, and most certainly has its place. Battle Girls - Time Paradox could almost be the poster child for disposable entertainment, and there's a decent amount of fun to be had watching it. But in the (unlikely) event that it gets a western release, stick to the streaming version, as you'll only ever want to watch it once.

Rating - ***