Burn UpWataru TakagiRokuro NayaKyoko Hikami
Burn Up W
Medium: OVA, series
Year: 1996
Director: Hiroshi Negishi
Studio: AIC, Media Rings Corporation
Keywords: anime, action, boobs
Actor: Yuka Imai, Maya Okamoto, Ryotaro Okiayu, Sakura Tange, Yuri Amano, Akemi Okamura, Eiji Shop Itou, Hidenari Ugaki, Hidetoshi Nakamura, Kyoko Hikami, Masako Katsuki, Masayuki Kumagaya, Mitsuru Ogata, Nobuhiko Kazama, Rokuro Naya, Shozo Iizuka, Takashi Murakami, Takuma Suzuki, Toshiharu Sakurai, Toshiya Ueda, Wataru Takagi, Yasunori Masutani, Yumiko Shibata, Yuuichi Nagashima
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 4 episodes
Series: << Burn Up >>
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=124
Website category: Anime 1990s
Review date: 23 March 2006
Tokyo is awash with high-tech crime, against which are pitted the fearless police officers of Team Warrior. Rio is a top-flight combat specialist with huge breasts and the self-control of a toddler on crack. Maya is the team's equally buxom green-haired gun freak. Nanvel invents things and has huge breasts. Lilica is a computer whiz who can hack just about anything and has huge breasts. Yuji is the team's token male and thus flat-chested, but you never know. Give him time. Maybe they'll spontaneously grow or something.
The surprisingly extensive Burn Up franchise includes to date a 1991 OVA (Burn Up), this 1996 remake (Burn Up W), its 1997 sequel TV series (Burn Up Excess) and a rebooted 2004 TV series (Burn Up Scramble). In case you hadn't guessed from the introductory synopsis, this is not a cerebral show. It's about girls, guns and fanservice, executed with wit and shamelessness. Admittedly it's not as bad as its creator Hiroshi Negishi's similarly boing-friendly Amazing Nurse Nanako, but to appreciate it properly you should ideally be male, drunk and/or thirteen years old.
However having said that, I enjoyed it. Dumb fun is still fun. Admittedly it's an uneven piece of work that would be frustrating as a standalone four-episode OVA. It has the kind of sequel-hunting ending that's guaranteed to piss off an audience, but since it got that sequel in Burn Up Excess, I could relax and enjoy this properly.
The first two episodes are mindless fluff, but good for a laugh. They have goofy over-the-top plots, slick action and genuinely impressive fanservice. That last one in particular is harder than you'd think. Cartoon breasts are just cartoon breasts. Anime fanservice tends to be silly or off-putting for anyone past their teens, but this show has the right tongue-in-cheek mentality for its "boobs and bullets" formula. Drawing a few nipples helped too. It's a weird Japanese quirk that anime nudity seems to be regarded as inoffensive if the breasts don't have nipples. The Burn Up Excess TV sequel suffered from this (sometimes almost scary) problem, but the Burn Up W OVA has pleasing anatomical correctness.
Episode three takes a surprising turn into serious drama, which is disconcerting but still good. Bad guys do nasty stuff that's actually kinda upsetting. You want to see these bastards suffer.
Unfortunately episode four is where it falls apart. It's not terrible, but it's a shame to see the build-up of episode three lead up to nothing more than a grudge match between our heroines and a few lackeys. We don't even meet the real villains behind it all. Burn Up Excess solves all these problems, but there comes a point where a show should stop hiding behind the skirts of its successor. As a lead-in to make you watch its follow-up TV series, it worked. As the dramatic climax of a complete four-part story, it's poor.
Episode four has a further problem. Parts one and two were fanservice romps and part three was serious drama, but this wants to be both. We feel the emotional weight of Rio's hunger for revenge against her friend's murderers... but then a psycho makes her strip and she has a knife fight while bouncily topless. That looked silly. It's possible to pull off that kind of Russ Meyer scene, but to do so you've got to go much further with it and wallow in sleazy exploitation. Here it's just too tame.
Incidentally there's a bit in episode three where Rio pretends to be a schoolgirl to make money selling her used underwear. This is noteworthy mainly as an illustration of the cultural chasm between East and West. There are shops for Japanese perverts which really do sell this kind of thing, which isn't presented here as remarkable or even out of the ordinary.
Overall, this is a slightly confused romp that works better as parts 1-4 of 17. I couldn't really recommend it as a standalone purchase. Its first three episodes are great, but unfortunately the feeble ending undermines what went before. It's a weak conclusion... but since it's not the real conclusion, I'm happy to announce that this OVA is rather good. Well, I laughed.