No. of Episodes Aired: 2
Currently Streaming on Crunchyroll
Alternate Title Suggestions: Better Than Koihime Musou, Usagi and Dogbert’s Excellent Adventure
Jon from Project Haruhi has been waging a brave internet campaign to get people to realize that Battle Girls: Time Paradox (also known as Sengoku Otome) is actually not bad, so I decided to give it a shot. It’s also being simulcast on Crunchyroll, so it fits with my new “try everything on CR this season” policy (although I made that policy before I realized that CR was apparently trying to license all of Japan one drawing at a time, which is why I’m currently up to my elbows in loli succubi and gender-swapped warlords, but whatever.)
After the first two episodes, I agree with Jon; while not stellar by any means, the anime is certainly better than reading the summary would leave you to believe. While it’s in the Ikkitousen/Koihime Musou class of anime (“watch chicks with big boobs do stuff in a vaguely historically-inspired story”), based on the first two episodes, it seems to have a little more heart than either of those shows- I get the impression the characters are written as characters first, automatons-with-boobs second.
The story concerns plucky protagonist Hideyoshi- who I find myself liking, and wanting to draw, almost despite myself- getting zapped into an alternate universe that’s based on the Sengoku era of Japanese history, only everyone’s a woman. However, instead of this just being one of those inexplicable choices in anime that make no sense (like trains being personified as bishounen in Miracle Train, seriously, what the hell), I get the impression that the all-female parallel world is actually part of the plot of Battle Girls. See? I said “plot”; we’re already head and shoulders above Koihime Musou.
I would also like to note that the new trope in time travel stories is for the protagonist to refuse to believe they’ve traveled in time until they realize they aren’t getting any “bars” on their cell phone. Some might find the fixation on Hideyoshi’s phone irritating, but I thought it was interesting to note how our times are now reflected differently in these sorts of stories; it used to be, plucky protagonists wouldn’t believe that they’d time traveled until they realized that there was no television.
My favorite part of the series so far is Shiro, a talking dog in a helmet who seems to be Hideyoshi’s main foil in the series; they have a surprisingly funny conversation in episode 2 that I won’t spoil. While there’s no question that this show is fanservice-laden (just take a look at Nobunaga’s “armor”), when a lot of the action is dominated by a teenage girl (who actually looks like a rather modestly-proportioned teenage girl) and a cuter version of Dogbert, it certainly doesn’t feel like a fanservice show.
At this point, I’m almost rooting for this show to develop a lot in the plot department so that everyone who dismissed it as a stupid fanservice show can feel stupid, but I don’t know- like any of these shows that trade in fanservice, that veneer of respectability can disappear at any time. I just hope the first two episodes are actually indicative of what the rest of the series plans to deliver, and it doesn’t disappoint me later…I mean, I can handle one obligatory hot springs episode, but let’s keep it to one, okay guys?