Synopsis: Despite the title, this is not a feature but the three-part OVA Battle Skipper (1995), which Takashi Watanabe directed before going on to Slayers.
When the members of the Etiquette Club at St. Ignacio’s School for Girls go down the tubes–literally–they acquire the skimpy outfits they wear to pilot the unfortunately named BSs or Battle Skippers, state-of-the-art military mecha. As “Extars,” the Etiquette Club members fight to eliminate evil from the world, which means the bizarre schemes of Sayaka, the nasty, super-rich president of the rival Debutante Club, and her flunky, Todo.
The series was created to promote a line of robot toys from Tomy, and viewers who are willing to accept high school girls’ quarrels escalating into battles involving satellite weaponry may enjoy these silly adventures.
A couple of years ago in the YR comments, someone implied that this likely had some yuri subject, so I finally watched it. Let’s just say that I’m glad that this was an OVA that only had three episodes… 😛
The story of Battle Skipper is relatively simple and sees two rival clubs of St. Ignacio’s School for Girls—the debutante club and the etiquette club—struggle to coexist. That may sound like your typical school anime, but thankfully, literally no emphasis at all is placed on club activities. Instead, two corporations with familial ties to the leaders of both clubs clash behind the scenes for control of advanced AI technology used in Battle Skippers, mecha used by members of the etiquette club called Exters.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, the story here is pretty generic, but that shouldn’t be surprising considering this entire anime is based on mecha action figures. As you’d expect from a three-episode OVA, the pacing is rather brisk, yet the conflicts between the two sides felt underwhelming. For me, part of that had to do with how the main antagonist steps aside and entrusts one of her minions to try to do the dirty work for her and steal the AI tech. He’s not likable, and I would’ve preferred to see a lot less of him and more of the antagonist, who doesn’t do much except act like a diva and order around others.
This is a mecha anime, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously, and even though I didn’t consider this OVA to be very funny, the presence of comedy is a welcome sight. I don’t consider myself a mecha fan, however, I was actually a little surprised that there wasn’t more mecha action. Actually, that might be a reason why I didn’t quite hate this show. Anyway, I think three episodes wasn’t enough to tell a compelling tale, so I would’ve liked this to be a bit longer. Something in the neighborhood of five or six episodes, because the story just doesn’t feel complete at all. It feels like there was meant to be more, but these three episodes are all that were made.
Long story short, I didn’t have high hopes for this anime’s story, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to call it bad, I have no problem saying that it’s mediocre at best.
I thought that Battle Skipper was lacking any standout characters, and that yuri subtext that was mentioned? There’s very little of it. Starting with the characters, they’re all very forgettable and simply weren’t very interesting to me.
Besides the members of the etiquette club and Sayaka, no other students are given a meaningful role, and given how short this anime was, I feel like that was a good decision. No one character commands a lion’s share of the screen time, so all of the main cast have their moments, though most of them are pretty underwhelming. Had the very bland Saori gotten more of a push, I definitely would’ve been less than pleased, so it’s probably for the best that it’s a group effort through and through.
I was hoping that Rie and Reika would essentially be a yuri couple, but that wasn’t the case at all. The tiny amount of yuri subtext can be attributed to Shihoko, who does show some interest in Rie and (very briefly) Saori, but she also (very briefly) takes a liking to a male substitute teacher. All three of these instances are really minor, and she doesn’t even come across as that amorous, compared to most other yuri characters. So if you’re like me and watched just for some potential yuri, you’re going to be really disappointed. I feel like I say that a lot. 😀
Being an anime from the mid-nineties, Battle Skipper has that retro charm that I tend to enjoy, though for a mecha anime, I thought that the battle scenes were a bit lackluster. On the bright side, at least this isn’t one of those modern mecha anime with questionable CG implementation, so it probably could’ve been a lot worse. The magical girl-esque transformation sequences were pretty nice, and as we’ve come to expect, there’s some brief fanservice involved.
As for the audio, I thought that the music was okay, but nothing special. I think I’ve reviewed several older anime by now, and I don’t know. Maybe it just comes down to personal preference, but it sort of seems to me that modern anime—even ones that aren’t particularly good—arguably feature music that’s better suited for climactic battles. Not to say that the old stuff is bad, it usually just doesn’t get me hyped like the music from more recent anime does. All that being said, I don’t have a problem with the production values of this OVA. I definitely wouldn’t call it bad, yet it’s clearly not Utena.
From top to bottom, I think Battle Skipper was a generic anime that led to me feeling nothing but indifference. Whether it was the story, the characters, or the production values, it was all just so mediocre, and I know I’m going to forget all about it in a week’s time. The lack of yuri probably should’ve made this feel like a complete waste of my time, yet I can honestly say that it was entertaining at times.
Total Enjoyment: 5