Bishoujo Yuugekitai Battle Skipper is a mecha comedy from the mid 90s. It was brought to us by Artmic. If you haven’t heard of them, it’s not a surprise. They’ve worked with AIC on a couple anime I’ve reviewed, Bubblegum Crisis & AD Police. They’ve also worked with Tatsunoko on some anime I’ve never seen. This will be the first time I’ve seen something that they were the sole driving force for and I don’t know if that’s a good thing. But, let’s give it a chance and take a look.
We open with a secondary school girl in the shower because… class killed the writer’s goldfish. She gets dressed and talks with her minion about a group of “Extars” who are piloting their BS’s and causing problems. The showering scene totally adds a lot to this plot point and wasn’t gratuitous at all. We then join two different girls as they run to their first day at school. They see some upper classmen arrive and move to orientation where we find out that the débutante club is the most powerful force in the school and everyone wants to join for the connections. Our heroines, Shihoko & Saori, decide to join the etiquette club instead because Shihoko is immediately attracted to the vice-president, Rie. They’re joined by another girl, Kanami, who admires the president, Reika. They decide to break into the club at night because… they think there might be Friendship is Magic DVDs that they can watch or, maybe, the reasons are just really flimsy. It’s one of those. They accidentally stumble onto a hidden basement and find themselves inside their own BSs. The three of them join Reika and Rie as Extars in order to combat ne’er do wells.
The major problem with this OVA is the humour. Most of the time it comes across as an excuse for lazy writing. Why is the Extars’ super advanced hidden base easily accessed by anyone? It’s a comedy, don’t worry about it. How do the antagonists break in? Comedy. If our heroines are trying to fight in secret why do they throw that out the window in order to fight hand to hand, especially when they could handle the ruffians with their armoured tank suits? It’s a comedy, they don’t have to explain it. The more ordinary jokes barely register as jokes. To use an example, when Shihoko and Saori arrive Shihoko refers to her initial meetings with both Reika & Rie as fateful. It’s supposed to be funny because she falls in love easily. And no, the comedy never elevates above that.
The writing is, in general, just very lazy. The plot points are heavily telegraphed and clichéd. At one point we see our antagonist’s minion rescue Saori from familiar looking thugs. I wonder where that’s going to go? It couldn’t possibly be a set up to get close to her for nefarious purposes. That would just be crazy. At another point we see our heroines come under heavy fire by a mobile fortress. I wonder if the one that got left behind is going to come to their rescue with their own mobile fortress that was introduced near the end of the previous episode? It’s almost like our script writer, Kamata Hidemi, had no passion for the project whatsoever and just rushed through the script over a couple hours.
The characters are pretty dull. Saori is the kind of clumsy protagonist who stands up for her friends. Shihoko falls in love easily and needs to be protected. Kanami is good at everything but gets a more supporting role because otherwise she’d be even more noticeably a Mary Sue. Rie is the kind of abrasive one who likes to fight. Reika is the motherly one who looks out for the others. And our antagonist wants to rule the world because… she’s rich? It’s rather like the script writing. Very low effort and reliant on the generic.
Frankly, I’ve seen stronger artwork and animation from several other 90s anime. This is another arena where Battle Skipper just seems to lack any real effort. The action sequences are pretty weak, with an over-reliance on motion blur and with machines that shoot each other kind of slowly. The character designs are kind of dull as well. Shihoko has random circles in her hair that don’t seem to be attached and that she leaves in when she sleeps because… she doesn’t want to actually get dressed in the morning. She’d rather just let her hair get tangled in the ruddy things. But don’t worry, not looking even close to good doesn’t stop them from throwing in random fan-service of the school girls. Because Kamata has a grudge against class and refuses to have anything to do with it.
The acting is passable. It’s not good nor is it bad. They did get some talented actresses like Orikasa Ai, Niiyama Shiho, Inoue Kikuko & Shiratori Yuri but the characters are, unfortunately, too under-written for them to show their abilities. The music is similarly mediocre.
The les-yay of this series is largely limited to Shihoko’s one-sided crushes. Although Kanami may also have a thing for Reika.
That’s Bishoujo Yuugekitai Battle Skipper. I don’t think anyone involved was actually invested in the project. It feels like cheaply produced shlock that no one really wanted to be involved with but, hey, it’s a pay cheque. I wouldn’t call it a terrible or even a bad OVA. It’s mostly just kind of stupid and innocuous. My final rating is going to be a 4/10. Next week I’ll look at Shuumatsu no Izetta.