Review: Battle Programmer Shirase

A week or so ago, fluffy talked about how great Battle Programmer Shirase is. Intrigued, I checked it out for myself.

If I wrote a little review of it, it might go a little something like this:

Battle Programmer Shirase is a comical anime series (obviously; you can tell from the title) about an expert computer hacker. He lives in a small apartment he’s renting from some relatives, spends a lot of time with Misao, the requisite cute schoolgirl (his great-niece or something; I can’t remember exactly, not like it really matters), and frequently gets recruited by men named Akizuki when there’s a day that needs saving. It’s pretty short, made up of only five three-part episodes, and each part is only about ten minutes long.

The series starts off pretty slow, and nothing much really happens in the first episode besides introducing the main characters. Once you get to the second episode, though, it starts getting better, as the plot starts involving more than Shirase typing into something to fight off the King of America’s attacks as he types into something else. (After all, that’s why computer terminals always explode in the movies — a more realistic (i.e., non-explosive) portrayal isn’t interesting to watch.) The technobabble often tends to be somewhat plausible, with the obvious exception of the King of America’s weapon in episode four. Personally, I wonder if you really could pull off Shirase’s satellite trick from episode two; it almost sounds like it really could work.

The series tends to be fairly humorous throughout. Much of the humor is sexual in nature (my personal favorite being a sight gag that comes out of nowhere in the last episode), and much of that is related to the, shall we say, precise nature of the relationship between Shirase and Misao. It’s also funny how Shirase’s sheer dorkiness is frequently made fun of, even though people like him are the target audience for the series. Yes, a large part of Shirase’s character is stereotypical computer geek, but it’s done well here.

At first I found the episode recaps and previews long and annoying (how can you spend an entire minute recapping a ten-minute episode where little happens?), but they soon branch off into their own collection of humor and running gags. For example, one of the recaps is interrupted by a conversation between Shirase and Misao that has little if anything to do with the previous episode at all. It’s a bit odd how the narration rarely matches up at all with the scenes being shown, though.

Another great thing about the series if the opening and closing credits sequences. Maybe it’s just me, but BPS has one of the best opening sequences of anything that I’ve seen in a while; the theme song is catchy and the way the credits appear on the screen looks really cool. And I have no idea if this was intentional or not, but the animation during the closing credits makes me think of a finite state machine being driven by transitions in the song that plays. (Wow, what a dorky thing to say about a show.) It’s a shame that these sequences only start being used in episode two. The first episode’s opening sequence is just a set of clips from the episode, and the closing credits is your standard white-text-on-black-background. Yawn.

Of course, the series does have some flaws. The biggest one of these is how uninteresting the first episode is; I found myself wondering if fluffy and I were watching the same show. Like I said, it definitely gets better, but it’s a lousy way to kick things off. I also would’ve liked to see more variation in the running gag of Akizuki’s monologue. In episode three it looked like they might start playing around with it some, which I think would’ve made it a lot funnier, but they didn’t. Some of the series’s narration, especially around the beginning and the end, got to be a bit overdone and annoying. Also, two characters are shown in the opening sequence that don’t really appear at all in the show; did something get cut out of the series or something? Strange.

Overall, Battle Programmer Shirase isn’t one of my favorites, but it is pretty decent. It’s worth checking out, especially if you want to see a series with a computer science expert as the hero. I strongly suggest waiting until having seen at least the second episode before deciding whether you like it or not; the first episode really isn’t a good indicator of the rest of the series. The series hasn’t been released in the US yet, but it’s really easy to find torrents with fansubs even if, like me, you normally wouldn’t know where to look.

13 Responses

  1. Um…Paul…that’s not a little review. That happens to look like quite a long review. By the way, who is fluffy?

    Love

  2. Trust me, compared to the heap size of the program I’m working on on campus, this is small.

    Also, the hyperlink is there on fluffy for a reason.

  3. Do you even read the other comments on this weblog, Amy? :)

  4. yes, fluffy, i read the comments on this weblog. I know you are someone whom my brother went to school with and that’s just about all I know.

  5. Swing and a miss, Amy.

  6. Are you serious? Then how do you know fluffy? It makes no sense…my world has become more confusing just now!

    Question oh wonderful brother of mine, could you record a show entitled “Degrassi” for me? It’s on cable..

    ADVERTISEMENT
    Your local cable provider is:

    Insight Communications Company

    The N is also available via satellite television.
    The following providers offer satellite television in the United States:

    DirecTV
    1-800-DIRECTV
    The N: channel 298

    Dish Network
    1-800-333-DISH
    The N: channel 169

    Does that help at all?

    http://www.the-n.com/ntv/schedule.php?ipv_timeZone=2&pv_date=07/01/2004 This is the site to know when the show is on. It seems they repeat on Saturdays and then there’s 1 new*er* one on Sundays. I would just download the shows but that means I’d have to download this one program and dad doesn’t want me to do that. *sigh*

    I’m so happy you’re coming home this weekend. I’m looking forward to test-driving your car :)

    Love xoxo
    Amy

    PS. E-mail me about Degrassi to ask me anything and to tell me anything

  7. One of the things about this big ol’ Internet thing is that there are lots of websites, many of which have lots of people on them. :D

  8. To be fair, one of my friends from high school did briefly go by the nickname “fluffy,” but I can’t see how Amy would’ve known that.

  9. Yeah, but I mean, you *do* have a life (if you can call it that) outside of college, right? ;)

  10. I’m afraid I don’t follow.

  11. One of your old friends used to go by “fluffy”? Which one?!

    Remember, I get to test drive your car when you come home :-D

  12. Bill.

    And you can test-drive my car, on the condition that you return it in no more than the same number of pieces as you receive it in.

  13. so if I return it in less pieces than the original, that’d be fine? I know, same number of pieces, intact.

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