Battle Athletes Victory – Episodes 1 to 4

March 31, 2004 on 6:17 pm | In Battle Athletes Victory | Comments Off on Battle Athletes Victory – Episodes 1 to 4

This is great.
Battle Athletes was a silly OVA. Battle Athletes Victory shows no restraint and is therefore a master stroke of genius. As with so many other Pioneer anime, the fundament is the same, but other things are wildly different.

Akari is now a blundering athlete with a heart of gold and entirely no self esteem. She lives in her mother’s shadow. This is the stage where all of the students are actually in training to go to the University Satellite, instead of being inducted. It’s a different angle and definitely allows it to stand apart from the OVA – especially as Akari does not possess the ganbatte attitude.
The sports are extreme, almost to the point of sadism – but they’re so ridiculously sadistic that they become hilarious. The first event that we see is a race wherein the girls run while drawing steamrollers. They have trouble at the hill … but even more when they get to the mine field! It’s stuff like this that makes it gold. Yet when the real injuries occur, then it takes on a serious tone. It’s good comedy in that it knows when to laugh and it knows when to cry.

Director Akiyama also brings the taste of excitement to it all. Bike Hard! was a pure adrenaline rush sport, that really brought me to the edge of my seat. It was just so well done. There are also episodes which have very little to do with sport – Night of Woong-A-Ji was about faith versus practice and also about respect but mainly about face painting.

And in the year 4999, not everything is about futuristic sports – the fourth episode features a swimming competition. In a fifty metre pool. But it still works. Most of the sports aren’t simply made up, which is good, but they’ve kept this one at its purest level – the only added spice was endurance.

The other thing is that the characters are great. Itchan is marvellous, with Hisakawa Aya in her Osaka best. She is such an encouraging, no-nonsense character and they milk the Osaka stuff for all its worth. Most of the training school’s broadcasts are by a big Osaka network – “Hello, everyone, especially those in Osaka!” and their attention to Itchan regardless of her participation is also very funny.
The greatest new addition is Wong Ling-Pha, the Chinese princess. She’s so devious, and her team of servants so … servile … that it would be difficult not to love her. She’s the one who plays both the evil and good cards within the same moment. Truly great.
Jessie survived the first episode and she and Ayla look to be the greatest rivals.

The lesbian overtones look like they can only get stronger, but the thing is that there has to be one complaint: this is not a DVD. It can be given some leniency because it came out in the stone age of anime on DVD, a year when not even one hundred anime DVDs had been released. Still, one OP and one ED to a disc and no eye-catches is just wrong, as is putting previews for every episode on the following disc at the end.
Considering that the OVA had 15 chapters to an episode and Victory has one, it was a step backwards in authoring. But the quality of the series manages to rise above that.

Frequently hilarious and offering promising characters, Battle Athletes Victory is easy to love.

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