Anime Meta-Review


Power Dolls


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1 of 1
  • type: OAV
  • grade: watchable
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title appears to be an unsuccessful pilot.
  • genre: mecha
  • form: sub
  • made: 1996
  • Review created: Sun Feb 4 15:50:10 EST 2001
  • mod: none

Power doll's, as a title, conjures up images of super-powered babes in minimal costumes. This image proved partly right and partly wrong. Yes, the leads are all attractive females. But it turns out that they're members of an elite mecha unit involved in a realistically brutal planetwide war. The title itself actually turns out to be power D.O.L.L.S., standing for Department Of Line Limited Service.

Sadly it's only a single OAV, reeking of being a pilot, so there's not much time for background. It seems that a colony planet had some bones with Earth over immigration which grew into a full scale military conflict. While the earth forces are powerfull the colonists have developed advanced mecha to try and even the balance. And the power dolls themselves are the elite pilots of these weapons. Did I mention they happen to be female and attractive? The producers obviously want you to notice.

We get to follow an escape followed by a small piece of action. It seems that in order to deny the enemy a factory town a damn has to be blown, and the dolls will be leading the assault. However one of the commanders, already somewhat unbalanced due to conflict over rescuing some war orphans, has a personal involvement in the area. Will she be able to resolve her ties to her past, and the confusion within herself, while the dolls attempt to carry out their objective?

Thus in essence the show has several parts. One part is attractive females. The second part is a bit of inter-character and introspective drama. And the third part is pure mecha envy and militarism. And, while with one episode it can't get too far, it's not too bad. Although the problem seems to be that the designers are far more interested in the mecha, and technical accuracy, than they are in the women. And the conflict between the militaristic detail, and the artificial choice to have an all female unit, does give a strange feeling to the production.

Don't get me wrong. There's some good flashes of story and some very reasonable character work for such a short run-time. But these guys have `realistic' mecha. We don't get to see full body views of the women, the uniforms aren't skin tight and they wear face obscuring helmets. No wonder people so ignorant of the basics of anime were only allowed a single episode. On the other hand for those who like mecha fan-service there's lots to see. Well detailed military equipment, tactics and moves are lovingly rendered in a serious and believable way. It's quite clear that the designers had a lot of fun designing the gear and laying out the action scenes. And it actually seems to make the anime a better product, although not if you were expecting super-powered babes.

The animation is likewise decent. Some nice character expression, superbly detailed and logical gear and a dark sombre style to the whole production. The background looks good, there's a sense of atmosphere and the girls look quite attractive and generally competent. The main problem is that designing complex military gear is one thing, animating it is quite another. They do quite a reasonable job, but it is fasirly obvious they'd love to have complex and dramatic mecha battles but don't really have the time or money. It's a shame, and no fault of their own, but it is a recognisable factor in this anime.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:23 WST 2009