Burn Up W

April 24, 2005 on 5:23 pm | In Burn Up W | Comments Off on Burn Up W

Burn Up W was once considered extreme. By today’s standards, it is practically tame. It is also one of the better OVA series from that interesting time in anime history, the mid-nineties.

In the future (2007, according to internal documentation), Tokyo’s police force is centralised in a giant complex known as Police Town. Within the police force is a secret crack team known as Warrior, consisting of four cute women, a tough one, and a perverted man with a video camera.
The series opens with a terrorist attack on a hotel complex. The terrorists demand ridiculous things in exchange for their hostage’s freedom. Things such as a naked bungee jump performed by their favourite idol. Unsurprisingly, this is a camouflage tactic. The true purpose of the hostage situation is for a syndicate to test its new “Virtual Drug” system.
As the episodes progress, the syndicate becomes increasingly sinister, right up to the realistic (if not crowd pleasing) conclusion.

From the first two episodes, one would be excused for thinking that they were watching two different programs simultaneously. The light and fluffiness of Team Warrior – with star member Rio and her Loan Hell – counteracts the dark violence of the syndicate and its mysterious red-head leader.
The last two episodes work because in the first two we gain insight into the lives and behaviours of the characters, and the antics they get up to with their large breasts and panty-selling to get out of debt. In fact, there are even tender moments allowed, adding just that bit more meaning to proceedings.
People freak out when Team Warrior and the syndicate finally clash head on half way through the third episode, yet this is actually one of the strenghts of Burn Up W. Few people can accept just how realistic this series is; for all of its virtual idols, slashed lingerie and giant robot parodies, Rio can’t spend her entire life in the homicide division of the police and expect her worries to revolve solely around shopping debts forever.
The unspeakable tragedies that occure within the third episode are entirely within the realm of possibility. If these events did happen, Rio would react exactly as she does. People can go around leading comedy rich lives and be struck by sudden tragedy. It happens.

Burn Up W is arguably the first “big tit” anime (it’s not, really, but it is a good example of the genre). The characters are attractive, unlike the ultimate in this line, Eiken. Besides which, Burn Up W has a story. The problem seems to be not so much with the fan service as it is the mingling of nudity and violence. Using my unique stance on these things, I argue that certain parts of this program are not service charged.
The most often cited example is Rio versus the knife fighter Wolfhead. To rob Rio of her power (and, more importantly, her pride), he makes her strip. The long pans of Rio’s body as she sullenly removes her uniform may be accused as wholly inappropriate. While it is wrong to objectify Rio in this instance (although this may have been director Negishi’s intent) it is clear that Wolfhead was doing so, an insight into his bastardry. This is exactly as rape in anime isn’t always meant to titillate, and isn’t as jarring as one might expect if they don’t allow it to be.

The animation is pretty right on, the characters are attractive (on the sensible side of top-heaviness) and Imai Yuka is really cool as both comedy Rio and drama Rio – somehow dropping her trademark deep voice for this performance. The OP, “Flash Your Dream” endures in my mind as a classic anime song, and there’s just a general AIC-ness about the whole thing that makes it great to watch.

Burn Up W is actually pretty good, if approached in the right way. The first two episodes are pretty good for comedy, and the last two have a natural progression into drama. Not everything can be expected in this life, and that is what this program tells us. For even more fan service and laughter, there is also the rockin’ sequel Burn Up Excess a worthy and less worrisome successor to this crown.

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