Najica Blitz Tactics: Volume 1 Review
From Studio Fantasia, the creators of 1997's panty laden Agent Aika, comes Najica Blitz Tactics - upping the panty ante and more.
Najica Hiiragi and her assistant, Kirala work for the CRI Cosmetics Company in Tokyo, designing the best perfumes in the world - currently they are working on a new series of perfume, entitled "Day Series". Najica is someone that every other woman admires; she’s cool and sophisticated but that's not all. When Najica isn't designing perfume she's working as a secret agent for CRI intelligence, run by Majima. Offering her assistance is Gento, a techno-geek who continues to pursue Najica in the hopes of getting a date.
When Najica is ordered to infiltrate a castle belonging to a child-loving, perverted lesbian with a hundred female maids, she finds a young girl by the name of Lila whom she must rescue. Succeeding in her mission, Najica takes Lila back to the CRI building where she learns that Lila is no ordinary little girl. She is an android, or "Humaritt" - an incredibly human-like being with super-human abilities who is now assigned to be Najica's new partner.
Much to Najica's reluctance, she takes Lila under her wing as they begin their secret adventures. Will Najica learn to appreciate Lila? Will Lila ever learn become truly human? And can Najica ever find that elusive "Day Series" scent? The answers should reveal themselves over the course of this 12 part, panty-tastic series.
Okay, first things first. This show has panties. Lots of panties, more panties than any other show ever made. Lots and lots of shots featuring young girls and women wearing (mostly) pure white panties.
Gratuitous would be a good way of describing the abundance of panties on display here. So into their panties, Studio Fantasia uses them in almost every shot in the entire series. Najica and company can't stand still for a moment without a camera pointing up, under their skirts. I'd like to say that it's tasteful but it's almost as deplorable as if they'd been naked. However bad it might sound, I find it all very enjoyable.
With that being said, Najica Blitz Tactics is not pure perversity but more a show that caters for fans of echii as much as it does for those who just want good, solid action and adventure. If you take away the endless supply of fan-service you are still left with very coherent plot strands and interesting characters.
Like Agent Aika, the primary focus is on female agents who must save the world from disaster. Agent Aika was a shorter show than this, which goes deeper into developing its characters, at least that is what it is attempting to do. The makers have decided that Najica Blitz Tactics should concentrate on forming character relations in-between their various missions and while it’s not particularly refreshing, considering this type of scenario has happened countless number of times before in anime shows, it is still fun.
There is no amount of boredom to be had from the first four episodes in this series, depending on whether or not you find any worth in showing panty shots, every few seconds and also if you find the second main character, Lila to be of interest.
See, Lila struggles with human emotion. While she looks like a human she is far from being able to act like one. Her naivety and lack of emotion causes her to make mistakes, for which Najica has to take care of afterward or instruct her on how to do things properly - this results in Najica feeling like she is doing a babysitter's job, rather than teaching a young killing machine how to act accordingly.
But it is all part of the learning process. Lila is endearing and cute but behind her innocent facade hides a destructive being that is mysterious not only to Najica but also the viewer. By the end of Volume 1, the viewer begins to like her, but is no more the wiser about how her character is going to turn out.
Story wise, each episode is structured to work like a standalone. Although the development between Najica and Lila is apparent and necessary, the episodes focus on the pair heading out on a different mission and taking on a different bad guy/gal each time. More often Najica and Lila have to take on a female adversary, each one having a wackier hair style than the next. For a show that is catered more toward a male audience, I find that it should have as much appeal to a female one.
We boys have the likes of James Bond and various other spy shows to keep us happy and it seems that Studio Fantasia wants to give a show of a similar nature to female fans. Those of you girls who watch anime, I'd appreciate hearing from you and your views toward series like this. I certainly don't find it degrading toward women; I find the idea to be fresher than the actual storylines being told.
Now I'm not trying to defend the show of its content, it shouldn't be taken seriously in the slightest. I wonder though how many fantasies it fulfils amongst viewers, whether it be guys or girls who enjoy series' of an espionage nature.
It is interesting to see the series and its content arrive on DVD with no cuts or complaints. If you were to really look deeper into it, which isn't hard then you will notice various themes running throughout. The more obvious of these is an apparent look at paedophilia.
In episode one, the mistress of the mansion in which Najica infiltrates has a penchant for young girls. This is very interesting to me because for once it isn't at the hands of a man but a woman. Unbeknownst to the lady, Lila is an android but this doesn't make the point any less valid. As she approaches to kiss and fondle Lila in her sleeping state, Najica then bursts in.
If Studio Fantasia is trying to make any statements, political or otherwise then they do a good job at offering us a different kind of viewpoint over what is and what isn't acceptable in our world. However, this kind of thing is totally normal in Japan so it's probably just one of those typically Japanese inclusions that needn't be pondered. Look at it how you will.
The first four episodes in this volume do little to form an overall arc. I often find that with a series running for 12 or 13 episodes, things are left until the last couple to tie up loose ends, in the meantime we just enjoy individual episodes for what they are.
Najica Blitz Tactics: Volume One features the following episodes (be warned there are minor spoilers below).
Mission: 001 - A Magnificent Secret Agent with a Rose in Her Hands
Najica accepts a rescue mission to infiltrate a castle and bring back Lila.
Mission: 002 - A Pretty Partner with a Gun in Her Hands
Najica learns that Lila is an android, known as ZZZ. She soon takes Lila on her first mission, after being ordered to take her as a new partner. Their mission is to stop a sniper who is hiding out in a park.
Mission: 003 - Ugly Relics in the Jet-Black Darkness
An explosion at the Maraluge military base in the South Pacific alerts the attention of the CRI. Najica and Lila are sent out to stop a maniac from selling his weapon to the highest bidder.
Mission: 004 - The Fictitious Star with a Sweet Trap-Like Perfume
A humaritt is hiding amongst a female pop group. Najica and Lila must find out which member is the android. They soon become tangled up in pop conspiracy.
A note to ADV Films: Well done for presenting a classy DVD that matches the Region 1 counterpart.
The series is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. Each episode looks gorgeous. Being made in 2001 it's no surprise really but ADV sure have a knack of authoring their series to near perfection. Najica Blitz Tactics is sharp and colourful and offers high panty detail.
Nicely included as standard are both the original Japanese language track and a newly dubbed English one, courtesy of the ADV team.
For the Japanese dub we are presented with its original 2.0 track. I usually take preference over the Japanese dubs, as I do in here but the folks over at ADV always manage to put together a fine vocal cast for their dubbing sessions. The English dub is presented in 5.1 and sounds crisp. Both tracks sound great and it’s good to see that English dubbing has started to improve lately.
ADV generally put together similar features for all of their releases, so for this one it’s not a surprise to see these:
The main title animation and theme, sans credits.
The main ending theme that sounds not unlike a jazzed up Inspector Gadget tune.
Audio Commentary by Kira Vincent Davis (Najica) and Monica Rial (Lila)
Episode three has a commentary track with the lead English dub voice actors who we soon learn are high on caffeine. Though it’s not very informative the track is a lot of fun, often proving to be hilarious as the girls start off by introducing themselves and the shows they are currently working on, before proceeding to yell "Panties!" numerous times and swearing, knowing that it will be bleeped out later. This is a nice little addition and allows us to get to know the cast a little better.
Japanese Promo Spot
A short clip that features various shots from episode 1.
A neat collection of black and white characters designs. Approx, 20 pages.
Trailers for several upcoming ADV titles.
Like it or loath it, Najica Blitz Tactics is entertainment at its most shameless. I doubt that it will appeal to everyone, especially those who prefer a little more substance from their anime, but for those who like to try out other shows and discover a more bizarre side of the medium they couldn't do themselves any harm in checking this out.
With a bit of luck, volume two should begin develop more of an arc although I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't. I'll keep you all posted.