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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

And while we were here, we regret that we didn't get to see... Segata Sanshiro.

Finally caught up with Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girls.

It wasn't bad. Not stellar by any means, but still rather enjoyable.

First and foremost, this is a fan service series. (Not the dirty kind, mind you.) If you aren't familiar with SEGA products or titles from the 90's, then most of the writing will go right over your head. There's a few gags here and there that the non-initiated might be able to enjoy, but you'd need to be really with it given how much SEGA culture is soaked into this show

It's a shame too because the show does get better despite the slow and almost lackluster start on all fronts.  In that regard, you have to wonder who the show is REALLY marketed towards: On one hand, you have very cutesy designs with characters that just scream Type B, with light comedic writing that might be more suitable for a younger audience. (For the uninitiated, Type B = moeblob style animu.) The show also appeals to the newer crowd by plugging the game that the heroines are about to venture into right before they do so. On the other hand, you have over 9000 references to SEGA's golden years during the 90's, where everyone was trying to be cool, like how it was totally cool to get Kamen Rider Ichigo to play a martial arts master who blew people up by throwing them if they didn't play more Saturn. There are times where the "new and cute" and the "cool and nostalgic" images clash, which makes some scenes come off as a little odd, unless sugar sweet nostalgia is totally your thing. Thankfully, these clashes happen a little less often as the writing steadily improves over the course of each episode, and they find a nice balance.

On the visual front, CG animation wasn't bad at all. Pleasantly surprised to find that it was done in MMD. A lot of the 3D assets were also extremely well done, most notably the NiGHTS and Sonic chilling in the lobby of Sehagaga Academy, as well as the many consoles and cabinets. On the flipside, the CG also makes the show look a little antiquated, especially when the motions aren't as smooth or natural as they should be. Graphically, what they do right is done really well, but there are few things here and there that stick out.

The show also sounds nice as well. A LOT of audio is used from the dozens of games featured in this series, including voiceovers and BGM. (Akira's "Jyuunen hayai wa!" quote is here from VF 1, and in good ol' 90's inferior quality.) Show gets bonus points from me because a lot of the Saturn's system sounds were used. The Saturn was a cool, cool machine. The voiceover work is also rather nice to listen to. Saturn and Dreamcast sound appropriately girly and cutesy, given their respective characters, but Mega Drive's actress manages to deliver her lines with such impeccable timing and energy that her performance stands out as the most natural and funny. (Mega Drive for best Sega Hard Girl. Torn between the Space Channel 5, Border Break, and Jet Set Radio episodes for my favorite of her performances.)

Overall, this series is short and sweet, coming off as both an elaborate and affectionate parody, as well as an elaborate and affectionate commercial. It's just too bad it's rather niche in terms of audience, since it's actually rather charming.

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