Battle Girl High School – Episode 1

By: Amelia Cook July 3, 20171 Comment

What’s it about? In the year 2045, the world has been contaminated by Irōsu (mysterious invaders who suddenly appeared), and humans find themselves restricted and contained. Standing boldly against these invaders are ordinary girls everywhere, without a powerful army or even weapons. The Shinjugamine Girls Academy is a school for these “Hoshimori” (Star Guardians) destined to fight the Irōsu.

Source: Anime News Network

The first 66 seconds of this premiere spend 24 of those seconds introducing 14 young schoolgirls who will presumably become equally important. That’s 14 character introductions in 24 seconds as they sit in a classroom, doing their best to extol the one trait which will tell each of them apart, as their names flash up next to each of them on screen. It’s a lazy, overdone approach to introducing large ensembles, and one which suggests endearing audiences to the characters is a low priority.

And frankly, Battle Girl High School is pretty lazy and overdone overall.

In the first five minutes it hits magical girl, idol and high school comedy notes, complete with uncannily adult student council president and uncannily youthful principal. By the end of the episode we have little sense that it will mix these ingredients up into anything groundbreaking. It is baseline cute though, and I found the characters generally endearing despite myself. They have that “I want my friends to be happy!” kind of schtick that last season’s Re:CREATORS sent up so beautifully… only playing it straight.

This feels very similar in many ways to Schoolgirl Strikers, only targeting young girls. The characters undergo traditional magical girl transformations, wear age-appropriate uniforms and battle abstract monsters that disappear into dust rather than showing any blood. The only way in which Battle Girl High School does not play it straight is in its moments of pure queerness.

Shiho smiles at Kanon, blushing. Subtitle: "That was just 'cause you were there by my side, sweetie."
Kanon blushes and smiles back at Shiho. Subtitle from Miki speaking through the telephone: "The two of you are just so adorable together."
Miki and her friends speak in the school garden. Subtitle: "I was just thinking about how in tune with one another Kanon and Shiho were last night."

Not involving the main character, of course, but there are several more minor character pairs set up for blushes and compliments and all around sweetness.

That aside, the most engaging element for me was the fact that these girls are considered to be under-performing even as they technically succeed in their tasks without injury. It speaks to a work ethic and commitment to excellence that I enjoy seeing on screen, and the idea that ‘just’ doing their jobs is actually not good enough is one that I find interesting. Interesting, but not groundbreaking.

Battle Girl High School, is sweet, simple and straightforward, and if you enjoy just hanging out with good-natured characters trying to do their best, this may be an enjoyable weekly half-hour for you. There is a slim chance that they will build on this foundation and flesh out any of the strands – idol, magical girl, school life, queer relationships – to elevate itself to something that makes more of an impact, but it’s probably not interested in that, and that’s fine.

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