Winter 2017 First Impressions: Schoolgirl Strikers – Episode 01 Review

The world is being invaded by the O’bli: inter-dimensional distortions in time-space.  Girls with the supernatural ability to defeat the O’bli are Strikers, who are trained by the recently established Goryoukan Academy and join the Fifth Force to combat these enemies.  Tsubame, a high school girl with amnesia, is called on alongside her four friends to join Fifth Force and maintain the balance between their world and the fifth dimension.  As if that’s not enough, they also have to keep up with their schoolwork too!

Honestly, I think the main reason I found this episode as engaging as I did was because I was watching it directly after the cycling girl show and my brain was desperate for any sort of stimulation.

This anime feels more like two different shows that have been mashed together and are vying for dominance.  There’s the mediocre action show about a colour coordinated girl group taking down amorphous blob monsters, and there’s the high school slice of life comedy show where a bunch of teenage girls get up to wacky hijinks around campus.  I personally preferred the slice of life part of the episode more than the action part.  The girls’ personalities play off each other well and the plotline where they’re trying to establish the school’s “Seven Mysteries” has some fun jokes here and there.  I would totally watch a version of this show that was just that.

It’s not that the action scenes are horrible.  They’re pretty well animated actually – there aren’t any obvious shortcuts like panning over still images, and both fights in this episode are dynamic and well realised.  The transformation sequences are also perfectly fine.  It’s just that I can’t bring myself to care about the generic “fighting monsters from another dimension in our skimpy battle bikinis” plotline because it’s been done at least three times per season for as long as I can remember.  It’s rote.

Because of the source material’s nature as a smartphone game that probably has some kind of gacha system with plenty of characters available, there are also quite a lot of characters introduced in the first episode.  There’s about eight primary and secondary characters that show up in this episode, along with a bunch of other girl groups in the background who will presumably be introduced later.  That’s a lot of characters, and the volume of characters introduced means that there’s not a lot of time to actually get into their personalities and what makes them tick.  What we do learn is little quirks like “plays volleyball”, “is a weapons nerd” and “eats curry bread twenty four seven” which doesn’t do enough to endear you to them in the first episode unless you can coast on appreciating the cute character designs and light banter, or just really love curry bread.  If even more characters get introduced I can’t understand how any of them will get fleshed out enough to justify their presence.

Although in a surprising twist there are parts of this anime that I do genuinely like, it isn’t doing enough of that stuff that I can justify watching it.  Sorry, Schoolgirl Strikers.  I’ll see you again in Summer when you’re called Battle Girl High School.

5/10

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