Thrust back in time, Hideyoshi finds a strange alternate past that tells a complete, fun and very well animated series.
What They Say:
Yoshino Hide (nickname Hideyoshi) is your average, everyday teenager, interested only in fashion, snacks, and her afterschool free time. She’s destined to fail her next history test without some sort of miraculous intervention, so she stops by the local shrine to offer up a prayer or two to any deity that might be listening.
Her prayers are interrupted by a mysterious blue light that engulfs her and leaves Hideyoshi stranded in a strange new world that appears to be feudal Japan. All the inhabitants of this world, however, including feudal warlord Oda Nobunaga, are women! Now Hideyoshi finds herself on a quest to gather the pieces of the Crimson Armor and help Nobunaga conquer the land!
Contains episodes 1-13.
The audio presentation for this release is pretty straightforward as we get the original Japanese language in stereo as well as a new English language dub, which is also done in stereo. Both tracks are encoded using the lossless DTS-HD MA audio codec which gives it a good bit of life. Most of the show is kind of silly and fun dialogue driven stuff with a healthy dose of action thrown into it as well. The dialogue is generally center channel placed since there’s usually just one character talking at a time but it has a good feel about it overall. The music gives it a bit of an extra oomph to stand out and that has the warmest aspects to it and comes across the best, both in the opening and closing sequences as well as the incidental music throughout the show. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2011, the transfer for this thirteen episode TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The series is spread across two discs with nine on the first and four on the second. Animated by TMS Entertainment, the show wowed me when I originally saw it and it looks great here with smooth, flowing animation and lots of vibrant colors that fits it perfectly. The general color design is a lot of the appeal here as the characters have a strong look about them and the backgrounds are well detailed and done with a rich array of colors, both in the scenery and the actual skies, be they blue or sunsets. The show has a good bit of detail to it and it comes through well without any problems such as line noise or cross coloration. The visual design of the show was a big plus for me and it translates really well here.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case with both discs held against the interior walls. The front cover goes for the heavy fanservice approach with a look at Nobunaga wearing very little while Hideyoshi is landing on her from behind, though she’s kept mostly to her usual outfit except that it’s slightly falling off. The background is busy with a lot of traditional imagery while the lower left has the logo in its own box that has a very cool look to it. The back cover has a cute pink and orange look to it with the background that lets the character artwork that’s used to stand out as well as the shots from the show, which really plays up the fanservice side of it. The summary covers things well and the production credits are very easy to read. The technical grid lays everything out in a very easy to read format with no problems to be had there. The release doesn’t come with any inserts or a reversible cover.
The menu design for the show is simple but done with a good bit of theme to it. The menus don’t have any music playing to it but each of the discs has a full screen image, the first with Hideyoshi while the second has a trio of characters from later in the series. The colors are nicely done and mirror the strip along the bottom which has the episodes by number and title and submenus to get to that are quick and easy to load. The layout uses plenty of in-theme elements in the backgrounds that gives it some color and even with the first disc in its use of oranges and yellows manages to work very well, especially tied to Hideyoshi. Submenus load quickly and the general layout is spot on for the release.
The only extras included in this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences on the second disc.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
An original series from TMS Entertainment that aired on TV Tokyo back in 2011, Battle Girls: Time Paradox is a thirteen episode series written by Touko Machida and directed Yideki Okamoto. The show was part of the spring 2011 simulcast schedule and was one that I somewhat reluctantly took on simply because these kinds of shows are a dime a dozen. Transporting a young girl or guy back in time to deal with historical figures was something that got was big back during the Fushigi Yugi days and certainly predates that. And it seems like a new show of this nature comes along every season. So color me surprised when this one did familiar things but managed to be so much fun that it was one of my most anticipated shows every week.
We’re introduced to Yoshino Hide, who is nicknamed Hideyoshi, a middle school girl whose focus is on fashion and snacks and certainly not her studies. She’s given some grief by her teacher over her performance with her studies and tests, giving us a clue as to part of her personality. She has a decent city life and seems like a good kid, but she just doesn’t do well in school. Her only hope, in her mind, is to give an offering at the shrine in order to get a little luck. Unfortunately for her, she visits the shrine at the same time that she sees someone who looks like her teacher there and an accident of some sort happens that causes an explosion. When she wakes up, she’s back in the 1500’s, though it takes quite a bit for her to figure out that shes’ been thrown into the past.
And not just any ordinary past, but a past where there are no men at all, just women. She ends up coming into contact with Oda Nobunaga as she’s beginning her quest for power to acquire the various pieces of the Crimson Armor that she’s been told she must find in order to conquer the lands. Along with her faithful aide Mitsuhide, who has quite the idolized crush on Nobunaga, the pair are setting out to their first big encounter. Hideyoshi ends up becoming something of a favorite of Nobunaga in the time that she knows her at first and over the course of the series there’s almost a mother/daughter kind of relationship that develops. Which completely frustrates Mitsuhide since she has her crush and sees her place being overtaken by Hideyoshi. And poor Hideyoshi just wants to be everyone’s friend.
The series does a lot of familiar things as we get them traveling, dealing with other name lords of the time such as Ieyasu, Kenshin, Imagawa and Shingen, so there’s lots of familiar names and situations that come up. What ends up happening is that Hideyoshi’s involvement changes this worlds history as it goes along since she tries to make sure the battles don’t result in deaths, which in turn changes the way people react to Nobunaga as it goes on. There’s a lot of familiarity to what goes on here as it does follow the genre fairly well, but it’s in the execution of it that it works. And because it’s an alternate dimension time travel series, it deals with it all in a complete way with closure here, something that we don’t often get. Of course, it leaves things open enough for a sequel season, which I’ll admit I’m still hopeful for.
So what makes the series so much fun? It’s hard to pin down because there are familiar things here with how the characters act. A lot of it comes from Hideyoshi as she starts off all uncertain about what’s going on but doesn’t ever get truly whiny. She’s a happy go lucky kind of kid who is just trying to figure out what’s going on. When she’s finally clued in, she runs with it and does her best to help out Nobunaga and the others while trying to keep the peace between everyone. Some of it is silly, such as coming up with the culture festival, and she has her moments of using language that doesn’t belong in the time. She’s a product of her time and there’s amusement that she only has two outfits to wear that she brought with her, her school uniform and gym uniform. But unlike other shows where the main character just wears their school uniform, she actually gets an outfit appropriate for the time and runs with that. It’s a small thing but it’s one that helps the enjoyment of the show a whole lot.
The other thing that helps, guilty pleasure that it is, is the sheer amount of fanservice. It’s not excessive in the way that would turn some people off, or myself, but it’s definitely there in some key scenes. Nobunaga is dressed minimally a lot of the time, which is expected, and she has ample assets that get played with in hilarious ways. We get some bath scenes that don’t hold back too much and other instances have clothes torn and the like. But with the great looking character designs and the color design of it all, this aspect of the show is a big part of the fun for me. It has such a bouncy and fun nature about it in terms of atmosphere that it’s infectious. It’s the kind of show through its animation, dialogue and fanservice that feels like it’s having a lot of fun at every step of the way.
While the series initially had me feeling dread with it when I first saw the simulcast, it proved to be one of the best shows of that season for me. There’s such a sense of fun and simplicity about it while having a few layers to work with in a familiar setting and familiar characters that, for me, it managed to make it feel fresh. Which isn’t easy when you consider there are one or two shows like this nearly every season. Battle Girls: Time Paradox has a polished and professional feel about it that takes the familiar and shows just how much life is in it. While it doesn’t rewrite or change the nature of it in some dramatic way, it proves that that the execution counts big time. There’s very little that I found problem with in it and nothing that really merits much in the way of doing more than nitpicking at. With a fun cast of characters, good dialogue and a complete story told in one season, this is the kind of presentation and release that I wanted. And one that the show deserved. It may not reach high art levels, hence the grading, but for me it was an A+ series all around.
Japanese 2.0 DTS-HD MA Language, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: February 26th, 2013
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.