Chiaki TakahashiKana UedaManami NumakuraAi Kakuma
Bikini Warriors
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2015: B
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2015
Director: Naoyuki Kuzuya
Writer: Go Tamai
Actor: Ai Kakuma, Chiaki Takahashi, Kana Ueda, Yoko Hikasa, Manami Numakura, Shizuka Itou
Keywords: anime, fantasy, boobs
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 four-minute episodes
Website category: Anime 2015
Review date: 11 December 2015
It's actually very good. They're only four-minute episodes, but they made me laugh. I'd recommend it to anyone who used to play fantasy role-playing games... well, if they can take industrial-strength levels of fanservice. Look at the show's title. Imagine how gratuitous it's probably going to be. Well, it's worse.
It really is an entertaining skewering of fantasy RPG tropes and cliches, though. Sometimes these are drawn from sword-and-sorcery in general, but often they're specifically dissecting what tends to happen in table-top role playing games. Heroic parties of fighters, elves, wizards, etc. kill evil monsters and find treasure! In practice, though, how heroic are they really? Answer: not a lot. The players I knew tended to be on a scale from "having a laugh" to "gleefully sociopathic", which in certain ways those games can actively encourage. (If you don't know what an RPG is, by the way, you'll probably still enjoy this show, but you'll miss a lot of what it's commenting on and you'll think the show's less intelligent than it is.) Going through the episodes:
Ep.1 - Dungeoneering costume = full plate armour (male) or a micro-bikini that wouldn't protect you against a stiff breeze, let alone swords and arrows (female).
Ep.2 - The king summons our heroes to save the world! Great! Let's discuss the fee.
Ep.3 - The Kleptomaniac Hero. This is the motto of dungeon-crawling role-playing games. If it's dead, take its treasure! If it's still alive, kill it and take its treasure! If it's a bus full of blind orphans... hey, maybe they're monsters in disguise. Let's check to see if they've got any treasure!
Ep.4 - Go on my quest for the greatest treasure of all!
Ep.5 - We need the Crystal Staff! But it's insanely expensive. What if we sold these elixirs that immediately bring us back to maximum physical and magical strength? They're so amazing that we always hoard them for a more important time and never use them...
Ep.6 - The Strategically Placed Objects episode. You know how nudity can be made family-friendly by positioning random objects between the naked people and the camera? This episode does that throughout for comedy value, thus giving the impression of absolute filth even when our heroines are clothed.
Ep.7 - What exactly does an Elf do? Fighters can fight and wizards can cast spells, but elves? Show off their pointy ears and sing ballads in the forests? (This is quite a funny episode in itself, but it's funnier if you know that it's pointing out a quirk of game design in some old RPGs. Elf, Dwarf and Halfling used to be character classes in Dungeons & Dragons Basic edition, before 3rd edition came out. AD&D would let you play an elf magic-user or whatever, but not Basic. An elf was just an elf.)
Ep.8 - We need new party members! There's a barbarian and a valkyrie...
Ep.9 - I've been possessed by an evil magic-user, but don't worry, my friends! It's not me doing this! I still love you! You've realised that, haven't you? You're going to stop me gently as your faithful friend and co-adventurer, right?
Ep.10 - Treasure! Treasure! Maybe it's a trap? Maybe we have the opportunity for something nobler and finer? No, it's about the treasure!
Ep.11 - I am a paladin and I must sacrifice myself for goodness, honour and nobility! (The end of this episode is actually the point where the series stops being funny, because the series finale's imminent and so the show's decided to play its heroism straight.)
Ep.12 - Like a dramatic flashback montage from a non-parodic epic heroism version of this series, but with lesbian sex scenes. It's also more sequel-hunting than you'd imagine possible (unless that was meant to be a deadpan gag).
This is great. It's clever and funny. However there's also the fanservice.
Every regular character in this show is female, ridiculously well-endowed and dressed like a stripper. They're not just bikinis. No one would wear that on the beach. It would be less embarrassing just to go naked. Then, on top of that, the camera will ogle the women so brazenly that it's as if it's meant to be another level of comedy. Clearly it's self-aware, e.g. ep.6, but I don't think you could really call it parodic. This isn't a pisstake of exploitation. It's just exploitation. It knows nothing of shame. Long and important conversations might get realised with nothing but extreme close-ups of female anatomy.
In fairness, this is an exaggeration of a real thing in sword-and-sorcery. Look at the paintings of Boris Vallejo, Chris Achilleos et al. However the main drive behind this show's exploitation is clearly the desire to be exploitative. They like boobs.
That's enough of that, though.
The show's heroes have characterisation, both collectively and individually. Collectively, there's comedic tension between the heroes they believe themselves to be and the mercenary backstabbing sleazebags they basically are. They'll spout cliched heroic dialogue, while the show skewers those cliches.
Individually, our four-woman party contains a Fighter, Paladin, Mage and Dark Elf. (They don't have names. Everyone calls the paladin "Paladin" and so on.) The Dark Elf isn't very friendly and looks badass until you notice after a while that she's never any help when you actually need her. The Mage is timid and nice. The Fighter is actually a bit of an idealist and the nearest to actually being the hero they all think they are.
The Paladin's the biggest pisstake, though, of course. Paladins used to be a running joke among AD&D players (before 4th edition). They're holy knights, absolutely devoted to good and incapable of lying, stealing or doing all the other things that players love to do. This meant, in practice, that the stereotypical comedy Paladin tended to be very stupid.
That's not this show's Paladin. Instead, she's a pervert. She loves filth, sexually improper behaviour and being molested. This is actually funny.
I enjoyed this show. It's a laugh. There's nothing I can say in defence of the outrageous fanservice, but it doesn't actually get in the way or anything. It won't take you long to watch the whole thing, with under an hour's runtime for the entire series put together (including the end credits), but it manages to fit a lot of gags into that time. I don't even remember any dud episodes, if you don't count the fact that the show stops doing comedy for the finale. It's funny. Here's hoping for a second season!