Charger Girl Ju-den Chan
"Charger Girls" from a parallel dimension relieve severe depression in humans with jolts of (apparently) electric current delivered with devices called Refreshers (but which look just like giant electrical plugs.) While humans normally cannot see them, one fellow, named Oumi Sento, actually can, and this capability leads to his involvement with two of them, Plug Cryostat (yep, most of the "Charger Girls" are named after electrical equipment) and Arresta Blanket.
I'm sure it's just an apocryphal story, but I heard once that the original "proof" of the efficacy of electroshock was an early experiment in which a catatonic patient, after being given the shocks, screamed "Please don't do that again!", and of course everyone was delighted that this person was now able to speak, and soon shock therapy was the rage; you see, it didn't matter what your reaction was, just that you had one. Ju-den Chan provoked SEVERAL reactions from me, few of them less than hostile, but if it's just its ability to shock (metaphorically) that counts, then I guess the show is about as effective as electroshock (and just as pleasant.)
Anyway, our heroines, hereafter simply called Plug and Arresta, are tasked with identifying humans who need their own brand of electroshock therapy. Plug seems to be the principal heroine here. In the tradition of anime heroines, she's got a big heart, though the show occasionally has her step out of character and be vindictive toward Arresta, who's her on-and-off rival. Plug also possesses the other common anime heroine traits of being flighty and dim. Her one good idea is to focus on quality rather than quantity; by giving her jolts when the recipient is in exactly the right frame of mind, she can secure a more long-lasting "cure" for her target's (victim's?) depression than the others can.
Arresta is a bit different. She's more serious about most things than Plug is. She wears glasses and has ENORMOUS breasts (nearly Eiken-class!), whose bouncing ability is so astounding (and so frequently employed) that it surpasses the famous Gainax Bounce as much as the Sun surpasses the Moon- or maybe more like a SUPERNOVA surpasses the Moon. (She is seen at one point in an impossible swimsuit, in the sense that there's no way that it could long even conceal the sliver of her boobs it does without same completely spilling out.) The "working clothes" of both girls are skintight outfits that are curiously transparent around the cleavage. (I could go by the principal heroine's name and call them Plug Suits, but that would just be evil.) The show has some REALLY disturbing fanservice, which I'll get to very shortly; first, let's discuss our male lead.
Sento works in a "family restaurant", and has a little sister whose depression serves as the route leading Plug into his life, shortly followed by Arresta. As noted, he CAN see the "Charger Girls", but his first reaction to them is to send them flying through the air with his trusty baseball bat. This will actually continue to be something he does whenever they irritate him, or even just when their sudden appearance irritates him, though we find that he can be supportive and sympathetic at times. So this show has finally revealed what a male tsundere looks like. I was naturally bothered a lot by his spontaneous violence, but maybe MORE bothered by the fact that his nose is usually drawn as a hatched rectangle. This irritated me no end. Where's MY baseball bat?
One person NOT bothered by his violence is Arresta, who is a masochist who LIKES being hit. This show's in Crunchyroll's "Ecchi" category, and I admit I started watching it partly out of curiosity about why it was there, since the show's basic premise commits no offense other than being moronic. The creepiness of the show does lie partly in Arresta's masochism; I don't know how much in the nudity, which Crunchyroll mostly optically censors anyway. But the most uncomfortable stuff of all lies in a show-within-the-show called "Sweetie Millie-Chan" that everyone here seems to watch, particularly Plug. Millie seems to be a magical girl, but she nevertheless always seems to be seen in the villains' clutches, typically being whipped until her clothes are stripped off, or (even worse) in the preliminaries of tentacle rape; in fact, the show goes so far as to- well, I can't go there in this review. Another thing-that-will-not-be-described-here that the show indulges in is something identified in its Wiki article as omorashi fetish. I noticed this going on in the show, but had no idea that this sort of thing had a name, and subculture, in Japan. Perhaps it's a counter-reaction to the Japanese traditions of modesty and hygiene. (Back to "Sweetie Millie" specifically, I'll admit that the concept of having Millie's miniature-doglike sidekick/mascot/whatever-it-is motivate her by SWEARING at her was at least interestingly bizarre, and I DID chuckle at the random Sailor Moon joke. But I ALWAYS chuckle at random Sailor Moon jokes.)
I guess that video piracy was a major concern at the time this was made, since this is the first time I've ever seen a show with built-in Public Service Announcements against it. I would suspect these are defeating their own purpose though, since the visuals run during these spots are exactly the same kind of ecchi content that might induce a pirate to rip off a show like this in the first place. Or possibly some kind of irony is intended here. I have no idea what the show's creators were thinking of, though I suspect the reasoning might have been as twisted as the show itself often is.
And yet, for all this, in the end the show's not bad, but that is only LITERALLY true. The song used over the closing animation (with Plug working out on a treadmill) has a bouncy, infectious melody that I actually found delightful. If they'd just kept the closing song, thrown the rest of the show into the dumpster (and set fire to it), and started over, something worthwhile might eventually have emerged from their efforts. Possibly. It might have taken nearly as long as for those monkeys pounding on keyboards to write Shakespeare, but surely in time...
Couple of thoughts here. One is that a lot of the Media Blaster shows are of this ilk, though in fairness I first experienced Ah! My Goddess and Simoun as Media Blasters releases. Thought Number Two is the distinction between being arch or ironic, versus simply pandering. I'm sure the creators of the show, if challenged, would say its excesses are completely of the former nature, though they certainly serve the latter purpose as well. I've seen a lot of that so-called convenient schizophrenia in shows; see Beyond The Boundary, for one. — Allen Moody
Recommended Audience: ADULTS ONLY! Arresta's body (and tastes) would have to be completely concealed, and practically ALL of "Sweetie Millie-Chan" would have to be excised just to bring this down to Merely Stupid on the Offense-O-Meter
Version(s) Viewed: Stream courtesy of crunchyroll (Japanese with English subtitles)
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Charger Girl Ju-den Chan © 2009 Bow Ditama/Comic Gum/Hibari/AT-X
|© 1996-2015 THEM Anime Reviews. All rights reserved.|