Monday, January 27, 2003

Najica Blitz Tactics (Najica Dengeki Sakusen)

Genre: Action / Sci-Fi
Parental Guidance Recommended
2001 Studio Fantasia, Unbar Film Works, Media Factory, G.D.H.

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Skysenshi's Description:
A perfume chemist by day, a secret agent by night, Najica prides herself in her beauty and finesse. With the single red rose that becomes her trademark, she tackles every case bestowed upon her with stunning grace and sophistication unusual of a good marksman and skilled martial artist.

When news of a new partner greeted her prior to her next mission, Najica is aghast. Sure, Lira, her new sidekick, is a Humalitte armed with superhuman abilities, but Najica always did everything on her own. When it becomes clear that her future missions will involve retrieval of other Humalittes, Najica soon begins to rely on Lira. Humalittes are very complicated creatures to understand, however, and Najica must learn to accept Lira's nature if she must rely on the latter to survive.
(12 episodes)

Panties here, panties there, panties in your hair. >>> by skysenshi
The first thing that struck me about Najica wasn't the action sequences. Sure, there are lots and lots and lots of action goodness in this anime. What struck me, though, was the ludicrous number of panty shots that can be found here. It would have been ok, if it weren't painfully obvious that the creators were really aiming for the white panties, but you can see that the girls of Najica would end up in various indecent positions while having their panty shots taken. No, this is not hentai.

I really shouldn't have any complaints because I find Najica a very sexy woman. Yes, I am a girl, and it's quite rare that I find a female character that turns me on as much as Najica did. In fact, the last time I was "lusting" after a female anime figure was in the late 90s and the subject was SailorUranus. But gawd, they really should've just made this a hentai anime instead. It's almost not funny being teased like this. Thank gawd for Lira's kawaii moments. She breaks the ice with her baby-like innocence and crazy antics, especially when it comes to discovering new things.

On with the rest of the anime. As my synopsis painted, Najica is about a beautiful secret agent of the same name. The episodes that chronicle her stunts are very mission-oriented as opposed to the usual anime that derive heavy support from equally heavier plots. In other anime, it could've been called "monster-of-the-day" type, but this one is "mission-of-the-day" themed, with every task concentrating on the retrieval of the beings known as Humalittes. Each of the episodes can stand alone. Of course, you will notice that as the missions progress, the Humalitte's abilities advance as well. Najica starts off facing a Humalitte that has next-to-zero personality and then in the last few encounters, she begins to see that Humalittes grow and develop like human beings with their own free will. Perhaps Najica's goal, which only becomes apparent in the middle of the series, is to make Lira come to terms with her own personality and her own decision-making skills. These make the perfect foreshadowing for the final episode, where the turning point of Najica and Lira's relationship arrives.

Najica is like a mix of Cowboy Bebop, Noir, and a little of Cutey Honey. I guess it's partially because of the music, which tries to be different, because it infuses a lot of Ska and Big Band Swing tunes. Not as great as the works of Yohko Kanno, of course, but basically pleasant. Another is the similarity of the opening sequence to that of Cowboy Bebop's and Noir's-featuring guns, silhouettes and playful colors. Of course the ecchi element is reminiscent of Shin Cutey Honey. So there you have it. It's observable that there are two markets being targeted by this particular title: (1) the ecchi fanboys who never tire of immaculately white panties, and (2) the fangirls who are thoroughly obsessed with powerful women. Either way, one can see that it's totally fan service.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 7; Story 6; Characters 8; Sounds 8

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