Burn Up!

June 12, 2005 on 3:41 pm | In Burn Up! | Comments Off on Burn Up!

Sometimes I ask myself “Why do I watch this stuff?”: the sort of anime in which the police riddle a man with bullets and then tell him to freeze. Burn Up! is proof that in 1991, everyone thought it was still the eighties and that they should have abandoned ship.

Burn Up! is the tale of Maki, Reimi and Yuka, three S.W.A.T. backup members who take it upon themselves to infiltrate a white slavery ring. Yuka is a pink haired ditz, so she gets kidnapped by the slavers. Therefore Maki and Reimi have to go against more of their orders to bring down “the man” – McCoy – themselves.
What this means is a slow paced 45 minutes featuring girls who “don’t follow anyone’s rules, not even their own”. Maki, Reimi and Yuka don’t seem to have any sort of character. Reimi gets one scene in which she is dedicated to technology that results in her shooting a man to pieces for destroying her PDA; it’s played for laughs – the man is an enemy – but with the graphic nature of the animation it’s really just disturbing.

The fan service, if you can call it that, is the exploitation of white slaves (well, Japanese slaves, but you get the point). Watching McCoy punch Yuka in the chest sadly probably turns people on, but it does nothing for me. ADV promotes Burn Up! with the line “Big Guns, Big Busts!”, but it’s not a good boob anime in the slightest. Reimi and Maki get to wear their panties after being poisoned, but this is essentially a dose of “who cares”.

Burn Up in name only – the only similarity between Burn Up! and Burn-Up W is that they share a character named Maki (and the actress Shibata Yumiko in the role) – this 45 minute OVA lacks a lot of the charm necessary in such a project. The quality of AIC’s (eighties refugee) character designs, and the beauty of the city that the heroines work in, do little to assuage that problem, because the OVA feels simply dull and lifeless. The voice acting is severely lacking, with Yumiko Shibata’s Yuka in particular killing my ears. Most scenes have no background music to spark them up, which makes them feel dry. The characters sometimes pull their cute little AIC faces, but you can’t let an entire program cruise on that (unless it’s Scramble Wars or Ten Little Gall Force).

It is hard, nay, impossible, to see how this was resurrected as Burn-Up W four years later. AIC is famous for retooling their famous properties with different universes – Tenchi Muyo!, El Hazard – but Burn Up! is a Gall Force lookalike which has nothing memorable about it. Name recognition and nothing else, but why they would want to associate the two series with one another is another mystery entirely.

The only reason that Burn Up! can get away with itself is that it was produced in 1991, and a lot of the OVA of the time were guilty of similar crimes. 45 minutes is a decent amount of time to tell a story, but many companies simply couldn’t be bothered doing so. This problem is exacerbated when so many of these OVA couldn’t even provide spectacle to back up their lack of substance. Without regret, feel free to skip Burn Up!. Stick to W and Excess: they’re not perfect, but they can be funny at times.

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