Anime Meta-Review


Combustable Campus Guardess


By Date




Title Info

  • alias: Bakuen Campus Guardress
  • seen: 1-4 of 4
  • type: OAV
  • grade: watchable
  • genre: magic_war
  • made: 1994
  • Review created: Mon Sep 18 00:16:00 EST 2000
  • mod: none

Gateway high is an interesting high school existing by itself on a mid-city island. And this is not a place you go to pick fights, as a large number of students are very capable, magically enhanced, warriors. But there's a good reason for that, as gateway high is the exact location for the gate between our world and the demon world of darkness. It seems that 300,000 years ago this gate opened, and only through a great sacrifice was the world saved. And, unfortunately, the time for the gate to re-open is at hand. In this setting we get to follow a young girl, one of the best (though certainly not the most disciplined) of the warriors. She has the special mission of guarding her brother, which is fine because she loves him and knows he is not actually blood related. In between being a student, fighting off the remnants left behind from the last opening and guarding her brother (although a prospective girl friend is her main worry) she has a nagging concern as to what his role is. Then there are the strange dreams she sometimes has, which seem to relate to some previous time. Fortunately, for us at least, all will soon be made clear.

This is a strange OAV series. On the surface it is a pretty straight `magical warrior' type of thing, with magical `monster people' fighting super powered human opponents. And certainly there is a lot of this, and it is fairly entertaining, but then there is some additional complexity not expected for this sort of material. To start with the emotional sub-plot, interaction and possible conclusions is actually fairly cool. Added to this is the suggestion that the events from 300,000 years before are responsible for shaping the current conflict. The development of this aspect is done suprisingly well. This leads to a conclusion which is suprisingly clever and satisfying. On the other hand this anime is not without some weaknesses. Clearly they identified having a 16 year old schoolgirl warrior as a selling point, and that's done well, but they also decided that some humor, especially a bit of ecchi humor would also help. Thus there are occasional bits of goofy humor, fan-service and `silly' action to explore this aspect. While it is not too bad I couldn't help but wish they had focused on their strengths rather than try and cover so many bases. This is aggravated by some `loose' direction in certain parts of the series. Still, suprisingly enjoyable.

This element is present in the animation as well. There'll be some very serious biffo or scenes which will then be interrupted by a bit of SD goofiness. And considering that some of the serious combat is quite atmospheric and violent this comes as doubly suprising. In addition this anime has some of the silliest martial arts special attacks ever seen, although the terror of a Tokyo housewife is fairly well demonstrated when `mom' gets to show off her skills. Fortunately this action is fairly well animated, with some quite nice and inventive sequences to watch. After all, most anime fans have a high tolerance for battling school-girls, and the heroine in this one is pretty good value. Technically the animation is fine, perhaps a bit old and a bit too dark in places, it generally keeps you entertained at worst and has some fairly epic scenes at best. It does have some variability in look and feel, and some dodgy decisions, but it is pretty watchable. The characters and voices are good fun, the music was variable and not too noticeable, but some quite pleasant opening and closing stuff.

The master of the obscure Lord Carnage has a review of this title, but I wonder if he doesn't give a bit too much away in the synopsis. In any case he loves the action, characters and humor but considers the story a bit cliche. Check out the review for more.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:16 WST 2009