Kaori FukuharaAyahi TakagakiAsami ImaiChika Anzai
Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-chan!!
Also known as: Juden Chan
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2009
Director: Shinichiro Kimura
Original creator: Bow Ditama
Actor: Ayahi Takagaki, Hiroki Takahashi, Kaori Fukuhara, Sayuri Yahagi, Ui Miyazaki, Ai Shimizu, Asami Imai, Aya Hirano, Ayako Kawasumi, Ayano Ishikawa, Chika Anzai, Jun Konno, Kei Shindou, Kotono Mitsuishi, Masahito Yabe, Masataka Azuma, Michie Tomizawa, Sayaka Kinoshita, Tae Okajima, Teruyuki Tanzawa, Tomoko Kaneda, Yuko Gibu
Keywords: anime, boobs, SF
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes, plus 6 omake mini-episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=10463
Website category: Anime late 00s
Review date: 13 December 2014
It's quite an interesting and funny show. Unfortunately it also has the beating of women with a baseball bat, perversion, fanservice, the outright pornography of the omake mini-episodes and a slightly anticlimactic final episode.
Firstly, the good stuff. I like the ideas and their implications. Our heroes are Charger Girls (in Japanese, "juuden-chan"), who come from a parallel dimension and have super-technology that can make them invisible and intangible. They could fly through your head and you wouldn't even notice. However they regularly visit Japan in order to help depressed people. They do this by impaling us on electrodes the size of rhino horns and zapping us with 100000000000 volts of electricity, which surprisingly makes us happier and more determined instead of, say, frying us to a crisp.
What's interesting about this is that they're not doing this because they're good or noble people. Well, our hero is. She's called Plug. She cares about humans and puts considerable effort into finding the moment when she can zap you to optimal effect. The Charger Girls' electricity isn't a magic cure-all, you see. Let's say you were depressed because you hated your boss. If a Charger Girl zapped you when you were fantasising about killing him, this might give you the encouragement and determination you needed to turn your fantasies into positive action, i.e. you'd commit murder. Alternatively, if you're depressed due to making bad decisions, mindlessly cheering you up might just encourage you to continue making the same bad decisions.
...and for doing this, Plug is a bad employee. She's going against official company policy. As her colleague Aresta says, they're being paid to zap people. That's it. They're not being paid to get emotionally involved with them. Aresta's exceptionally good at her job, but she'd see it as a moral failure to lift a finger for anyone when off-duty. She also casually mentions "repeaters", i.e. people on whom the effect of being zapped seems to wear off and so will soon need another dose.
Plug doesn't get repeaters. Aresta gets lots and isn't bothered by this in the slightest. Oh, and the Charger Girls have a scanner that assesses their potential targets' energy levels. "A", "B" and "C" are in danger and need charging, while healthy people are "D", "E" or "F". "A" is the worst and in danger of suicide.
This is intriguing, although it takes us a while to dig down into it properly. The Charger Girls are over-reliant on their technology, as is shown in the episode where Sentou, a human, does better than them at finding depressed people. (Unfortunately this idea fails on-screen, because the technology we're shown is far too efficient for the episode's premise to work. You could scan an entire crowd just by looking in their direction, as a letter pops up in the air above each potential target.) Our heroines' nemesis is an extrapolation of the psychological effects of parallel world technology, which is cool. She's interesting, I think. There's a human (Sentou) who's immune to the girls' stealth technology and there are others who are natural insulators and/or voltage sinks. The parallel world company, Neodym, has an Audit division to investigate Charging Girls who break the company's rules. These people's job is to help us, but if it weren't for Plug, they'd also be kind of scary.
Fortunately Plug is an admirable hero, thanks both to her kind heart and her scatterbrained incompetence. She breaks the rules all the time, but usually because she's such an idiot that she's forgotten about them. On one occasion, she disobeys orders for the sake of a target even though doing so gets her arms burned off.
It's also funny, with amusing characters and strong reasons for conflict. All that I like. Now for the stuff I don't.
1. SENTOU
Sentou hits women with baseball bats. He doesn't even need any provocation. He'll hit them because he's surprised, or because he's in a bad mood... and he's supposedly a good guy! He's rough and insensitive, but he's got a heart of gold and he ends up being one of our heroines' staunchest allies.
While still hitting them with his baseball bat. They'll quite often be unconscious afterwards, or in Aresta's case wetting herself and having an orgasm because she's a masochist.
There's a double standard here, of course. Anime's full of women hitting men for comedy value. Love Hina is full of it, for instance. However that feels more like Tom and Jerry slapstick and it's hard to get too indignant about a spinning cartoon character flying into the sky. However it's different to see a man hitting a woman, especially when she's much smaller than him and he's using a weapon. People have died from assaults with baseball bats. You could get brain damage, haemorrhaging, skull fractures or lifelong problems that could turn you into a vegetable. Losing consciousness (as happens to Sentou's victims) is a bad sign, for starters.
I hated this. I really, really hated it. Sentou killed the first four episodes for me, because I couldn't laugh off these repeated assaults as I was clearly supposed to.
After that, though, things improved. Sentou stops hitting people, or at least not without significant provocation and/or something else in the scene to make it less unpalatable. He grows as a person and we come to like and even admire him. In episode nine, he's inspirational. He's an important part of the show and I can acknowledge that what I've been describing is probably part of his character growth... but in the early episodes, for me he was a show-killer. I saw little difference between that baseball bat and stabbing random strangers with a knife.
2. PERVERSION
I'll be honest; this is why I watched the show. I read the reviews and naturally I went looking for it. Disturbing fetishes are funny.
Oddly, the original manga is more wholesome. It's by Bow Ditima, creator of Mahoromatic, who gets a cameo on TV in episode twelve. However the anime's decided to go apeshit with fanservice, even if at least it's better than something like Queen's Blade. It also has three layers of filth. The show itself is comparatively mainstream, but the show-within-a-show "Magical Girl Sweetie Millie" is a tentacle porn hentai on children's television and the omake mini-episodes are flat-out pornography.
We have panty wetting. We have spray-on uniforms that are practically a gynaecological examination and have peek-a-boo panels both back and front, going up to the mid-point of each nipple. We have naked transformation sequences. We have Aresta's orgasms on being beaten. We have communal shower scenes. We have Sentou's lascivious lesbian boss who's not above drooling over underage girls. We have panty shots as our heroines' killer strategy near the finale.
That's the main show, i.e. the less perverted stuff.
"Magical Girl Sweetie Millie" is a good deal more extreme. It doesn't have a plot. It's just a hentai parody of the magical girl genre. Every episode sees something depraved and/or sexually explicit happening to Millie, with the joke being that our heroes keep watching it on TV and think it's nothing but a regular children's series.
And then we have the omake mini-episodes, which are more pornographic than most (softcore) pornography. They're wall-to-wall mass nudity and fetishes, e.g. breast fondling, oral tentacle rape, more bladder control issues, cosplay, incest, lesbian sex scenes, extreme nyotaimori (google it if you must), etc. The actual storylines are light-hearted silliness at a hot spring (i.e. communal naked bathing) and sometimes they're amusing, but at other times there's no plot at all and the script will have just said "show the audience pictures to which they can masturbate".
Those are just DVD extras, though. You don't have to watch them.
3. EVERYTHING ELSE
Those are the two main issues. Personally I find the perversion quite funny, but it's definitely narrowing the potential audience and not just among women. Sentou's baseball bat, on the other hand, is only offensive in the early episodes... but wow, did I hate it. My other issues are less important, or even trivial. Episode two doesn't work, because the Charger Girls' technology's too powerful for the script requirements. (I've already mentioned that one.) The finale tries to build its drama around zapping a depressed person with lots of electricity, because that's what our heroines do, whereas overcoming the baddie is reduced to a handwave. The end of the last episode is teasing a second season that never happened.
Oh, and all the names are based on electricity, e.g. Reika Galvani's name refers to the physicist Luigi Galvani, but the result is that (to me) our heroines have boys' names. Plug is the ugly Bash Street Kid in the Beano. Aresta (i.e. "arrester", as in lightning arrester or surge arrester) is how the Japanese might say "Alistair".
Would I recommend this show? Probably not, even though I ended up enjoying it and caring about the characters. I find its ideas interesting. Personally, I'm glad I watched it. If you think you'll be okay with its dodgier aspects, then by all means check it out. However it's the kind of show where someone might get the wrong idea if they walked in and found you watching it.
It's educational, though. It taught me new Japanese words, like omorashi.