© 1997 AIC, IPC / Pioneer LDC, TV Tokyo, SoftX, Mannensha, Aeon
Battle Athletes Victory
The original Battle Athletes was a fairly typical, but colorful tale of a young female athlete triumphing over adversity in the realm of intergalactic competition. Having enjoyed the original series and heard good things about made-for-TV version, I quickly snatched this series up (and at quite a bargain, I might add).
Battle Athletes Victory is a re-telling of the story line presenting in the six-part OAV series, Battle Athletes. Set about three millenia in the future, the world has undergone a severe pole shift causing Antarctica to become situated at the equator. This is the training academy where young girls from around the globe compete in athlete competitions for the right to journey to the University Satellite. Once at the University Satellite, they can compete for the coveted title of "Cosmic Beauty", the be all and end all of universal athletic titles.
Akari Kanzaki, a clutzy young teenager, is competing at the training academy to journey to the University Satellite. She has a very tough legacy to live up to; her mother, Tomoe Mido, was once the greatest Cosmic Beauty of all time. Others are also trying to live up the precedent set by Akari's mother, and mercilessly taunt Akari for not demonstrating the same level of athletic skill that her mother did. Naturally, this does nothing to help Akari's self-esteem, which remains at a low-point for the first handful of episodes. Akari is supported by some friends including Ichino, a delinquent trying to become the fastest runner of all time, and Tanya, a spunky African girl with a huge appetite. She does face some stiff competition from the more serious of competitors, like Jessie, who loathes that Akari is Tomoe's daughter, and Ayla, a Russian swimmer with severe dedication.
Having watched and enjoyed the original Battle Athletes, I was expecting something of a similar vein, just stretched out by an extra twenty episodes. What I didn't really expect was how downright silly this series is. From the oft-bizarre athletic competitions and eccentricity of some of the characters (especially Tanya), one must be prepared to set their brain in neutral to properly enjoy this series. Like anything, though, there is a limit to how much silliness I can take and the series does show signs of calming down as things progress. Another element which did begin to grate on my nerves was the sheer amount of waterworks the characters demonstrate. Akari spends a good portion of her screen time bubbling like a little girl, and could easily give C-Ko a run for her money in that department. Again, I'm hoping she matures a lot as things progress, otherwise I fear I may not last until the end of the series.
Like its predecessor, Battle Athletes Victory also requires one to suspend their sense of disbelief for a number of scenes. It seems that light-hearted athletic stories always involve the underdog overcoming insurmountable odds to achieve victory. In this case, things do cross over to the far side of unbelievable. Not to give anything away, I fear that the first ten episodes has virtually choreographed the remainder of the series. On the other hand, I suppose watching twenty-some episodes of Akari trying her little heart out to win only to lose at the end would be disappointing.
Production values are quite good for a television series of this nature. Colors are bright and cheery, animation is fluid when it counts, and the artwork is AIC's usual quality. There wasn't a lot of music in the series, and I must say that the opening and closing themes didn't do a lot to win me over. The English voice acting is solid all-around with good performances given by the actors.
In all honesty, Battle Athletes Victory has a ways to go to live up the OAV series. I am reminded of my initial reaction to the OAV series being one of aversion, so I am hoping the initial phase of Battle Athletes Victory episodes will be replaced by more entertaining ones later in the series.
|last modified: 05-26-03||The Anime Critic and associated content © 1999-2003 Pete Harcoff. All rights reserved.|