DVD Review: Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess – The Complete Series
16/03/2017 1 Comment
MVM Entertainment continues to expand their anime catalogue with variety and today we will be sharing our throughts on the DVD release of Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess in our latest review; a series which will be available on both Blu-ray and DVD within the UK.
Some guys wait their entire life to meet the girl of their dreams, but high school freshman Rihito is already living with four of them! And they’re (almost) always ready and willing to help him with whatever difficult task their “Master” needs to be handled. So, how did Rihito get to be so lucky?
Well, while Hina, Ann, Ines and Rene may not be exactly high maintenance, Rihito does have to make sure that they’re lubricated regularly and their batteries are recharged. That’s because they’re Shinki: tiny, six-inch high, customizable androids.
But don’t let their tiny size fool you. These little ladies have more than full-size intelligence and emotions, and since each one would prefer to be Rihito’s favorite, there’s sure to be a little mechanical friction! Get ready for sparks to fly as these battery powered princesses take charge of Rihito’s world!
At first glance Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess suggests a series similar to Infinite Stratos, with both titles featuring female characters attached to mechanised armour; but in actuality they couldn’t be any more different. While Infnite Stratos sees groups of students learning to utilise the mechanised weaponary for ‘potentially’ military purposes the characters within Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess are actually six-inch-tall dolls that are able to perform chores and battle amongst other dolls for sport. From this perspective Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess should fall-in-line with Clamp’s ‘Angelic Layer’ series but even then Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess still opts to offer something completely different and – in some aspects at least – a bit mediocre.
So why exactly do we have an anime series that follows the daily-lives of robotic dolls rather than the master that wields them? Well Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess is actually based on a Japanese toy line created by Konami Digital Entertainment which sees plastic dolls (or action figures if you prefer) fully customisable with outfits and weaponry tailored to the owners desires. These figures soon spiralled into their own Original Net Animation, known as Busou Shinki: Moon Angel, which was used to help promote the PSP videogames being released in Japan at the time. This anime series Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess however, which is kindly being released by MVM Entertainment in the UK, is not only an adaptation of the previous ONA series but also acts as an introduction and continuation of the Busou Shinki legacy that Konami Digital Entertainment created in Japan.
From a personal perspective the history of Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess is more entertaining than the events of the anime itself; but even then interesting moments can happen – such as the intense aerial battles amongst dolls and the varied weaponry they use. In a nutshell Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess follows the daily activities of the Shinki dolls owned by Rihito with each episode focusing on a different set of topics. For the most part the Shinki Dolls themselves, known as Ann, Ines, Hina and Lee, are the main protagonists with Rihito the ‘master’ of these dolls taking on a more supportive roll and as such the story of each episode is told from the perspective of the doll rather than the perspective of the master and throughout the thirteen episodes included we begin to learn more about the dolls, their abilities and the relationship they have had with their master.
For example the first episode quickly sees Rihito leaving his apartment with Ann being left to take charge and unpack his belongings to which viewers are quickly introduced to the other characters of the series and the different abilities they have. The second episode meanwhile sees the dolls attempt to bond with a newly received shinki doll and in turn create dinner for their master – which of course is a hard chore for something that’s only six-inches-tall. It’s this kind of ‘pleasing the master’ theme which continues throughout the series and although the characters do occasionally battle it doesn’t deal the tension or suspense that Angelic Layer or Infinite Stratos managed to give but more importantly it doesn’t add any sense of purpose to the events of that episode; instead it’s a more about spicing it up with some action.
This being said Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess does offer some interesting elements and this mostly revolves around the animation choices; for starters the dolls themselves have actually been animated in doll form, with their joints and edges all present and viewable, while the fight-scenes themselves mix a blend of CGI animation with traditional anime methods. Of course it’s not the most visually stunning show but considering it’s rather mediocre content the animation and character design easily is the highlight.
Even in the bonus materials section Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess continues to disappoint as viewers will only find six trailers for other Sentai Filmwork releases; majority of which have yet to receive a UK release.
All six trailers are presented on the first DVD disc with the remaining discs being used solely for the episodic content. You’ll notice that the opening and closing animation for Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess are nowhere to be found either; which is slightly disappointing as by now the universal standard is textless songs and trailers – of which only trailers are included in this set.
Media: DVD 9 x3
Running Time: 1:39:24 (Disc 1 & Disc 2), 2:04:45 (Disc 3)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow) & White (Translations)
Resolution: 720 x 480 (480p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 30 fps
Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess is an adaptation of the previously released Original Net Animation series used to help promote the toy-line produced by Konami and in turn sees popular female figures from the toy-line recreated in anime form. The series follows several Shinki dolls as they overcome daily life with their master with episode content ranging from unpacking boxes, cooking food, heading to the beach and Christmas shopping – with a few other events thrown and the occasional high-speed-fight between dolls in for good measure.
For the most part Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess is more about discovering the personalities of the individual shinki dolls rather than them battling other opponents and while Shinki Dolls can be used to enter tournaments and battle other users this is not something that takes dominance in the series – which is a bit of a shame. Personally I was hoping for something more along the lines of Angelic Layer whereby viewers become accustomed to the personalities of the dolls before being thrown in to a tournament for the best user in the country; but alas this isn’t to be.
Disregarding the events of the series then this DVD release by MVM Entertainment continues the same trend set by past releases – with the DVDs being a replication of those used by Sentai Filmworks in America. Sure enough the MVM Entertainment logo appears at the start of each disc; but alas once reaching the menu it’s exactly the same as the American counterpart – which is seemingly becoming the norm now within the UK anime industry. Despite being a replication of the US release their really isn’t much to talk about; for instance the only bonus features are a selection of trailers for other anime releases – majority of which have yet to be released – and simplistic menu design with each episode listed on the main screen. Although it’s simplistic it works and the same can be said with the English subtitles as not only are they removable but they are presented in Yellow with translation notes and separate dialogue being shown in White subtitles.
Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess is a series that should receive some consideration before watching; as diving straight into it with the expectation of something like Infinite Stratos or Angelic Layer will surely disappoint viewers. Sure enough the aerial battles which take place mimic those found within Infinite Stratos but the story surrounding those battles are as meaningful as you might expect. It’s not a series about tournaments or rivals; it’s a story about a group of toy dolls and their relationship with their master. It’s unique in it’s own right; but not something i’d rush to watch in a hurry so save it for a day when you’ve got nothing else to watch.
Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 20th March 2017 within the UK.