Battle Programmer Shirase
Shirase Satoshi is a computer programmer (and slight pervert) who lives in a house taken care of by his relatives. Frequently, Amano Misao (who Shirase is an uncle of, even though Misao considers him to be like an older borther) comes by to give him food and keep him company, but she is unaware that Shirase is the well-known hacker Battle Programmer Shirase (BPS). He doesn't work for money, but usually is paid for his work by other methods. To put it in a better way, he does odd jobs for odd payment (usually a very rare piece of computer equipment). These are his tales.
I'll admit that I am not a big fan of ecchi anime. In fact, it is one of my least favorite genres. Even knowing that BPS is an ecchi comedy which also features fan service by underage girls, it is hard, if not impossible, for me to hate this series. In other words, it is like Love Love, only this has more substance than the aforementioned horror story, with less fan service.
First, I might want to mention that BPS is a massive commercial. Subliminal advertising has never reached a point like this in a program. I think I counted Intel, Jolt Cola, DHL, Sony, and Pioneer (which was parodied) among many others. Of those, it seems DHL is the most used.
Another odd point is the way this program shatters the fourth wall in the last episode (Episode 5, Part 3). In said episode, the producers are thanking its loyal viewers as well as, according to them, "Those outside the broadcast area who took special measures to watch the show on their PC monitors." This sentence is referring to the fansubbers as well as those who view the fansubs, making BPS one of the first few programs to acknowledge fansubs. It also mentions "and to everybody who watched it subtitled overseas without permission: The head director, Hayashi Hiroki, representing the entire staff, would like to say 'I'm really sorry'."
Now that the references have been handed out, it's time for the review to start, and I will like to single out the music first. This show has a few catchy tunes, including the "In the last episode" tune (which sounds like an electronic/hip-hop crossover), the OP "Suddenly" (a very catchy electronic-style song with a rather interesting vocalist), and the ED "Pure Enough" is a fun little ditty with a laughter-inducing intro. These are actually quite good songs and can be sung along to.
For an ecchi anime, this anime has some rather decent characters. Shirase is your lazy man with the skills and popular name as well as an impressive collection of CPU hardware as well as a somewhat perverted persona. Misao is the girl who is rather shy except to her "onii-chan" (Shirase) and a few others. In the later episodes, a girl named Yon-chan (I forget her actual name) comes in. She is the new student visiting Japan who is really a hacker in the service of the US Navy, despite being about the same age as Misao. Akizuki is a man who is part of both the plot and a common gag involving Misao and Shirase (more on that later) and is in every episode episode, but in a different profession each time (like Alexei Sayle in The Young Ones). On the opposite side of the good guy/bad guy spectrum is Ose Rintarou, the "America King". He fills in the part of the foil of Shirase in the first four episodes, then abruptly stops after episode 4 (though the show provides a good enough reason for this). Most of the other characters are mostly in there for filler.
Plotwise, this show has a rather strange habit of using running gags and a separate plot for each episode, but stringing a backstory together, even though the backstory is very vague. One of the common running gags involves Misao, Shirase, and Akizuki (though in one case involves Yon-chan instead of Misao). Usually, Akizuki barges into the scene and just prior the his entrance, something happens (like an earthquake) that throws Misao and Shirase into a rather intimate position that was not intended. Akizuki then starts a sequence involving self-grief in seeing this (even though he is misunderstanding the scene), but midway through the sequence, Misao ends the so called "intimate position" while Akizuki continues the grief, ending with him abruptly stopping and acting like he never saw anything (which cues laughter from nowhere in particular. I'm serious!). This scene always plays out the same way. At first, the scene made me confused, but afterward started making me barely laugh each time. Another gag is the showing off of Shirase's "attacks", but without the lengthly intro or colorful lighting usually used in shows like Sailor Moon. The plot also spoons out a ton of computer jargon, so good luck recognizing everything.
As for the artwork, it is, to put it simply, quite impressive. The colors mix well in the scenes and casts a look that is both mundane as well as animated, which had me in awe at it. Even the worst scenes artwise were still nice and colorful. The neighborhood was full of life. The school was nice looking. There was very little that was not impressive (which is rare since in a show like this, the fanservice is what gets the better treatment). The animation is just like the artwork in that it works out the scenes in grand ways. There is room for improvement with the animation quality, but the way the show flows made me forget that fact.
To end the main part of the review, I will do the voices. The way this anime handles the vocals is very neat, but not exactly perfect. The characters and voices match up rather well (Misao=cute girl. Shirase=lazy.) and left me with little regret of having watched this.
Probably my only problems with this show are the small episode count (15 episodes was a rather small time limit and didn't get too far into Shirase's backstory as well as Rintarou's, but giving a small bit of info behind Misao, probably trying to prove that this Misao won't be having a blonde-haired evil alter-ego) and the fact that the last episode seemed to have a rather stupid ending. Other than that, this program is certainly worth a bright star in my book, even with the underage fan service (since it, unlike Love Love, didn't spoon it into your mouth all at one time, but had very little actual fan service) and the innuendo.
Very good ecchi that was well-made, told a story at the least, and managed to implant fan service without overdoing it. Full marks. — Jake L Godek
Recommended Audience: The show has innuendo in a running gag and also features fanservice which is mostly from underage girls. It also features a transvestite. (The more you know.) I give it a minimum R.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (15/15)
Battle Programmer Shirase © 2003 AIC / BPS Production Committee
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