Friday, May 30, 2014

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Burn Up W

Some people have seen this as being a follow up of some kind to the original Burn Up! one-shot OVA. Both of them are future cop comedies featuring busty female officers and done through AIC, but in most respects Burn Up W is a remake of the first one. The original highlighted a kickass buxom blonde named Maki, and W also has a character named Maki but slightly older with short blue hair and glasses, although it's never revealed if this is the exact same person in the same storyline. Similar to how the TV series, Burn Up Excess is an extended remake of W, and the Burn Up Scramble TV series is almost a remake of that too. So the franchise seems to be one remake after the other, but Burn Up W was the one that cemented it within the otaku zeitgeist.

Set in the not to distant future, a select special covert team within the Tokyo police has been assembled to handle special cases dubbed Team Warrior, although each member has their own unique quirks. Their leader Maki is extensive with their budget, their main fighter Rio is a battling blonde with a talent for spending way too much of her pension, Maya is their gun expert who is obsessed with firearms, Lillica is the playful hacker, Nanvel is their tech genius, and Yuji is the token male of the group whose main contribution is helicopter pilot and according to the opening credits(which only were completed more with every episode)is also a decent driver. They repeatedly butting heads with a mysterious underground group trying to introduce a new "virtual drug" to the market. Granted this OVA came out when the idea of VR involved huge helmets with large visors and going into somekind of Lawnmower Man sim, but this is maguffin of the story. The criminals first take a hotel full of dignitaries hostage to show them their product while some rank thrillseekers pretend to be the actual terrorists. The bad guys then loose track of their virtual idol Maria who is supposed to front the VR drug, and the AI downloads herself into an android body, which Team Warrior's response is to send an oversized Evangelion mecha to deal with it(talk about overkill!). The police eventually get a hold of one of the virtual drug headsets, so the bad guys invade police headquarters to get it back, so Team Warrior has to put them down.

Despite all the gags and fan service, the last two episodes have a pretty somber note to them with Rio's friend getting killed which causes her to go all Punisher on the bad guys. The OVA doesn't have an official ending to it, which is why it was remade as the TV series, Burn Up Excess, but the OVA on its own has a serious mad streak of fun and no holds barred action that the other TV remakes really seemed to capture. Burn Up W has been released twice through ADV Films on DVD, once on its own and again as part of their Essential Anime line, although it originally was unforgivably put on VHS as one episode per tape!

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