Anime Meta-Review


Battle Royal High School


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1 of 1
  • type: OAV
  • grade: watchable
  • genre: magic_war
  • dur: 60
  • made: 1987
  • Review created: Tue Jan 30 11:13:35 EST 2001
  • mod: none've got no idea how to review this. At heart it's another fighting anime, with super-natural opponents popping up at the local high school for a bit of biffo...but it's also much stranger than you might expect.

It begins normally enough. We get introduced to a hugely muscled, cheerfully violent thug. The sort of person who can be good at heart because they see fighting as nothing more than a game. And a game they just happen to be very, very, good at. To begin with he's earning his resignation from the schools karate club by beating up every member and the well respected team captain. His girl friend is less than impressed with his new attitude, but the rest of the high school seems to be just generally impressed.

Things get more complex, and a lot more violent, when other forces come into play. It seems that various powerful demonic entities, along with their own private troops or servants, decide that this high school is a place of legend and move in. Needless to say this is not a good thing. It also attracts the attention of both the high tech time-police and the local demon hunter. They've all got lots of personal power, their own aims to meet and little intention of negotiating. It also happens that potentially the most powerful demon has a strong connection with our youthful martial artist. It looks like there's going to be a lot of violence while the details are hammered out.

It's a single 60 minute OAV episode, but it really seems to be broken into `parts' during which various foes are introduced and fights take place. Even if I were willing to spoil the complex interactions between the weird (and slightly corny) foes I doubt I could remember something that complex. And this is not just fighting, there's also some talking, along with shifting alliances, a little bit of mystery and the leads interaction with the `normal' people. It's actually suprisingly complex, given the premise, and is sufficiently entertaining. At the same time, which feels weird, even its twists are somewhat formulaic and there's a slightly fragmented feel to the writing and production. As if a lot of it has been made up on the fly in order to tie the `fun' scenes together.

That said there's some classy stuff here. There's some quite nice action between the powerful foes. There's some lovely destruction, quite a lot of gore and spouting red-stuff and even some touches of horror. I certainly don't think i'm going to be able to look at `fairies' in quite the same way again. While the premise is basic and a lot of the content fragmented and formulaic there are moments of skill and power. It almost feels as if the creators had fun with the production, seeing how far they could push the basis and having a good time with the scenes they liked. And a handful of these scenes are going to stick in my mind, which has to be taken as a measure of respect. You've still got to be able to handle the violent beat-em-up basis, and this isn't a hidden classic, but it does have some elements of interest.

The animation has a weird touch to it as well. It's a bit dated, and fairly variable, but it actually looks quite good. It's clean, and detailed, sometimes to an extrodinary extent. Some of scenes are actually memorable (the `healing' being a personal favourite) in terms of their animation quality. The character designs are incredibly archetypal, but do have a strong sense of personality and reasonable servings of cool. The action is not perfectly smooth, and some of the effects (especially energy) are lame, but it's all quite ambitious and the long melee's flow quite nicely. Monsters and gore are of the `gouts of organic goo' variety but quite acceptable. The voices are as archetypal as the characters, but fun enough, although the lead's a touch loud (probably in character though). Music was mostly energetic rock stuff of little particular note. In case you wonder there's also some nudity, but there's not too much, and it's not sexualised.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:15 WST 2009