What They Say:
Set in a slightly futuristic world where Earth has been invaded and is at war with aliens from another dimension called the Nova, the story follows the adventures of a Japanese boy named Kazuya Aoi who enrols for training at a special school for genetically modified girls called Pandora who battle the aliens, and their male partners, called Limiters, who use a special power called “freezing” to limit their opponent’s mobility. The protagonist makes the acquaintance of an unusual older girl named Bridgette L. Satellizer who appears to be the most powerful Pandora in her class, but has not yet chosen a male partner to be her Limiter, and in spite of the warnings of all his friends, he decides to be her Limiter.
The audio and visual quality of the DVD release is pretty standard with no visible issues or errors throughout the series. The audio is well balanced and comes across clearly with no distortion or muffling, whilst the visuals play smoothly. Subtitles are easy to read and don’t have any noticeable errors, typos or other visual problems.
I must say that the menu design for Freezing is rather cool. The entire thing is laid out like the computer screens that are often seen used when monitoring the Nova movements. There are a few clips from the show relating to the events of the episodes on the current disc playing on panels of the menu, whilst a short segment of the ending theme plays on a loop. Access to the setup and episode selection screens are available on each menu, which open up using a stylised loading bar before displaying the available options. It takes a couple of seconds but at least it looks cool, although the subsequent menus are silent and static. Similar submenus are available on the first and second disc for extras, with the first disc including a couple of promo videos for the show and the six short OVA episodes and the second including trailers, textless openings and endings. My only issue with this is that the OVAs are all under a single file and can’t be selected individually.
Freezing offers a selection of extra features on this release. Included on the first disc is a series of short promo videos ranging from 30 seconds to a minute and a half intending to show off the series’ key points, those being fights, giant alien monsters and fanservice, which sums up the series rather well. Also on the first disc is a series of 6 short mini-episodes averaging around three minutes each, mostly featuring the characters of the series in comedic situations and revealing outfits. There’s some lesbian action here, a beach episode, general comedy fanservice material really. Nothing really all that special, but it’s nice that they decided to include them as extras. The second disc features a couple of trailers for the series which are a little different in tone to the promotional videos. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is, but it seems similar to the differences between teasers and actual theatrical trailers in western media. Also included on this disc are textless versions of the opening and ending, being Color by MARiA and Kimi wo Mamoritai by Aika Kobayashi respectively. All in all it’s a lot more material than a large number of releases these days and I’m sure the OVAs will appeal to those people who watched the series mostly for the fanservice, as that’s obviously the audience they aim to please.
The main plot and setup of Freezing is a relatively interesting one, if a little cliché. Giant unknown alien beings known as the Nova have appeared on Earth in the near future, seemingly attacking anything around them, causing destruction, killing people and generally messing up life for humanity as aliens tend to do in most forms of media. A series of genetically modified warriors called the Pandora has been created to counter this threat, a modification which can only be done to females for… some reason. It never explains that. The Pandora have access to all manner of special abilities such as super speed and strength, the ability to create protective suits and weapons and rapid regeneration abilities. Backing them up are the males, designated as Limiters, which use a special power called a freezing, hence the title of the show. Why this is only usable by males isn’t explained either. The plot revolves around these warriors fighting the alien threat in pairs of Pandora and Limiter, which work together to weaken and destroy the Nova.
Or that’s what you would hope to see, at least. The Nova make an appearance in the first episode, loads of people die, there’s gore aplenty and it all seems rather badass. It’s a pity they only show up again in various character flashbacks for the majority of the series, only appearing as a present threat again in episode 9. So what does the rest of the series revolve around? Mostly the romantic interaction between the main dude Aoi Kazuya and an infamous Pandora by the name of Satellizer El Bridgett, often dubbed as ‘The Untouchable Queen’ due not only to her fighting ability in battle, but also due to her cold personality and refusal to let anyone near her. Somehow though, she gets attached to Kazuya and their relationship develops throughout the series. Alongside this is a series of fights between Satellizer and various other Pandora. These range from her rival for ‘best fighter of the class’ Ganessa (who has amazing hair that’s half twintails, half drills and fits under the ‘rich bitch’ archetype, complete with Wahaha~ laugh) to bullies from higher classes. About halfway through the series another girl is introduced who acts as a love interest rival to Satellizer which, of course, results in conflicts of varying severity from bickering to full out fighting. There is one thing which I have not yet mentioned about all these fights, actually. Most, if not all, end up with at least one of the girls having their breasts exposed, usually both. Freezing is certainly not shy when it comes to showing fanservice even when during the middle of a fight, so expect to see panty shots and exposed nipples on regular occasion during the series. There’s even an episode dedicated to a school-wide beauty pageant which includes most of the significant girls in the series participating and showing off a lot of flesh.
Amongst all the fanservice and girl fights, it does manage to actually develop Satellizer’s character quite well. As her relationship with Kazuya develops, she opens up and reveals a new side to herself. On top of that, there’s a good half of an episode dedicated to her back story, explaining her past and what she went through to develop the cold shell exterior she has been putting on for years. For a series which is mostly girls slashing the clothes off each other because of a disagreement or misunderstanding, the history of Satellizer is actually pulled off really well, which surprised me. Unfortunately though, Satellizer is the only character who actually receives any significant character development or expansion. All of the other girls are just general archetypes which don’t really change much throughout the series, whilst the guys are even less focussed on. Kazuya himself spends the majority of the show moping about his dead sister and exclaiming how Satellizer is someone special to him, whilst occasionally throwing out some pretty crazy powerful Freezing abilities which, as far as I can recall, have no explanation as to why they are as powerful as they are.
Once episode 9 comes around, the actual plot and presence of the Nova becomes apparent again out of nowhere, as if the show had finally remembered that there are, in fact, giant aliens around wanting to break stuff. This is where the main bulk of the story actually progresses and there’s a lot of technobabble and exposition thrown about within a short period of time, including multiple sudden reveals, the Nova doing things they have never done before and a new character thrown into the mix just to shake things up a bit. The climax gets pretty crazy by the end of everything and it’s a bit of a mess really. Even so, the show as a whole is surprisingly enjoyable, even for a viewer who isn’t particularly fond of the main genres which Freezing falls under. Fanservice aside, the fight sequences are rather cool with some great action and cool abilities and are nicely animated to boot. The character designs are mostly aesthetically pleasing, whilst the soundtrack is just what it should be for such an anime, upbeat and filled with plenty of rocky battle themes.
Overall, it’s a relatively average anime but when compared to other ecchi action anime, it’s one of the better series around. Whilst not my personal preference, if you like watching cute girls getting into fights with each other and losing most of their clothing (and sometimes a lot of their blood and/or limbs) then this series is definitely worth a watch. If you’re expecting a complex plot, developed characters or a proper romance, then I’d recommend giving it a miss. Then again, when you look at the cover art and other promotional images for the show, why would you even expect anything less than gratuitous fighting and tits? I’d definitely recommend it for fans of anime like Seikon no Qwaser and Kämpfer, as well as recommend giving it a chance if you like Strike Witches or Ikkitousen.
Freezing is one of those shows that has some really interesting concepts and ideas, but instead focuses on providing ample amounts of fanservice and arguably unnecessary fights. Between the lack of character development outside of Satellizer, the disproportionate pacing and the convoluted finale, there are some genuinely good moments of storytelling. Even so, if there’s one thing Freezing can’t be faulted on, it’s having entertaining fights. Be they between Pandora or against the Nova, every fight brings something a bit different to the field and keeps things fresh and, most importantly, enjoyable. If you don’t mind watching something which throws nipples in your face every episode and just want something which is simple fun, Freezing could well fill that spot for you.
Japanese 2.0, English 5.1, English Subtitles, Textless openings and endings, Original PV’s, TV Commercials, All 6 OVA episodes.
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: December 17th 2012
Running Time: 300 (Series) 30 (Extras)
23” Samsung HDTV, Creative speakers and Sub, PlayStation 3.