BEING UPFRONT: A Pictorial Guide to Bodacious Women in Anime--Page 2 (Am-Az)

Print/licence statuses at the end of the entries refer to North America (that's where I live, so...).
Just a Line.
Nanako Shichigusa; Kaoru Satsuki (left to right)
Nanako from NKS/ANNSatsuki from NKS/ANN
Even before the actual OVAs were released, the now-defunct Sony-sponsored anime magazine AX was hyping this puppy (or those puppies, depending on how you look at it) to the teeth in their magazine and elsewhere. I even saw a cute standup of Nanako at a Disc Pier in Osaka (and regret not getting my photo taken with it!). A scientist named Kyoji Ogami is developing a robot called the Venus 2000, and finds that he only needs a brain for it. Enter young, beautiful and healthy as all get-out (and stupid) Nanako Shichigusa, who stays at Ogami General Hospital, training and serving as one very clumsy and put-upon maid/nurse. All the while, she serves as a study in extended motion; several posters on rec.arts.anime.misc said at the time of its release that the Gainax Bounce was being threatened by the Pioneer Bounce. Lady, let those cats outta the bag before they suffocate! Yep, she's in this for the fanservice, and there's no disguising that fact whatsoever. In the third OVA, a patient is brought in for Dr. Ogami to check out, and he brings in the mysterious and seductive (as long as she's wearing her makeup) Kaoru Satsuki to hypnotize him (and the males in the audience as she walks). That is, when she isn't coming on to the patient or Nanako. On one hand, Nanako is cute and very bouncy (character design by Toshinari Yamashita, best known for Burn Up W/X), the plot has background elements that need the whole series to unfold, and Dr. Ogami does help Nanako out when she gets in big trouble (that is, in every episode). But, on the other hand, she's occasionally bloody irritating (look, you can only exploit clumsiness for laughs for a short time before it goes stale, and man, does her voice ever grate) and, a lot of the time, Dr. Ogami's a total bastard to her, which has resulted in some people laying charges of misogyny on the series (arguably not true, since Dr. Ogami doesn't treat Satsuki so badly, but you can see where they're coming from). I'm thanking Belldandy I didn't buy this blind, but if you're curious about it, I suggest that you rent it first and decide what to do from there (which is probably the only way to see it now anyway). The second and third Pioneer/Geneon volumes aren't as bad as the first in those regards, but the elements are still there, so it's your call.

Out of print (previously on Geneon Entertainment (USA) Inc. on bilingual DVD).
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
The Yuka Takeuchi Fan's Kaori Satsuki Gallery (which I've contributed to). I guess he found Nanako annoying, too.
Just a Line.
One name you will see come up a lot in Being Upfront is
Masami Obari (Japanese only). His specialty is anime based on fighting games, and you can always count on absurd levels of torso development for both fanboys and fangirls in his work. Thanks to the miracle of alphabetical order, his introduction here is going to be downright overwhelming. The most individual characters in a single story in BU--14, and that's just the first two OVAs!--his most over-the-top character design, and the hands-down flat-out smuttiest piece of work he's ever had major involvement in. To make things a little easier, let's break this entry down into two groups.
Good side: Unnamed victim; Angel Blade; Moena Shinguuji (top row, left to right);
Seiryu Tenmyouin; Kyoka; Shaia Hishizaki (middle row);
Ayame Fudo; Emily; Angel Ender (bottom row)
Unnamed victim from Angel BladeAngel Blade from Angel BladeMoena from Angel Blade
Seiryu from Angel BladeKyoka from Angel BladeShaia from Angel Blade
Ayame from Angel BladeEmily from Angel BladeAngel Ender from Angel Blade
Part of the Vanilla Series, but far from vanilla. In the future, the earth is left uninhabitable, so people have learned to build and live in giant cities placed above the clouds. In one of these cities, Aqua Tokyopolis, mutants who still reside on the planet's surface have been stalking and attacking young women, like the one pictured here (who is the first girl seen in the first episode), but a superheroine named Angel Blade has been turning up lately and rescuing them. Moena Shinguuji is the female lead, a young, kind of shy student at the all-girl Bernard Academy, who has been having dreams lately about those very events for some reason. Her chest is modest in the Obari scale of things, but when it it does bounce, it almost gets away from her. The same cannot be said of the Blade herself, who has obviously inherited the daring fashion sense of Go Nagai's Kekko Kamen character. You just have to see the OP sequence (starting with the second OVA) in which not only do her breasts do some crazy hopping, but so do her hindquarters in the next shot. And it has a way-gone transformation (and several subliminal frames) in it as well. Oh, yeah. You're probably intelligent enough to figure out the connection between these last two, so I'll leave it at that. Seiryu Tenmyouin is a beautiful and very popular student at Bernard Academy. She's the president of the student council, has the highest marks in her grade level, is the captain of several sports clubs, and is admired by the other female students--and deservedly so, as she's also very nice. The girls suspect that she's actually Angel Blade--and they're not the only ones. Moena works part-time at the Academy's coffee shop, which is run by Kyoka. We meet her when Moena's hyperactive friend Hasumi is bemoaning her lack of chest development, but Kyoka jovially handles her--then Hasumi comically handles Kyoka, who just merrily wobbles away, as always. It turns out that she's a distant relative of Moena, who adopted her after her mother died when she was young and her father disappeared. However, there is more to her than meets the eye--and this may have something to do with the appearance of Shaia, who runs into Moena on the street--and knocks her right down--and later turns up at Kyoka's shop with a heart-ornamented choker similar to the one Moena wears (see above picture), discussing matters which will be made clearer later with her. If the name sounds familiar, yes, it was lifted from Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer, but it's not the same character. Ayame and Emily are police officers sent to investigate the events that are happening, and they come to the conclusion that Angel Blade would know about these enemies. Ayame goes so far as to dress up like how she thinks Blade would and turn up at the scenes of suspicious activity, in the hopes of encountering her to try to find out everything she knows. One of the things she does find out is just how the bad girls would like to deal with Blade if they ever get their hands--among other appendages--on her. In the third OVA, during a fight against two of Dark Mother's mutants (more on them later), Angel Blade is suddenly aided by a similarly-(un)dressed character (hence the ECU crop of her picture here). After she makes quick work of the baddies, she introduces herself to Blade as Angel Ender, her "prototype." So it turns out that she's not alone, which is a good thing, because there are a lot of people(?) to deal with below the clouds on the...
Bad side: Nailkaizer; Chloe; Elaine (top row);
Phantom Lady; Karin; unnamed secretary (bottom row)
Nailkaizer from Angel BladeChloe from Angel BladeElaine from Angel Blade
Phantom Lady from Angel BladeKarin from Angel BladeSecretary from Angel Blade
Behind the scenes at Bernard Academy, we witness the discussion of an evil plan, called Operation Mother, between the principal of the Academy (while he enjoys a young carnal snack) and a mysterious woman named Nailkaizer. She is an executive member of the organization Dark Mother, and appears under cover as the Academy's Houjo-sensei (and wearing a much more modest outfit than she normally does). Infamous singer Peaches talks about and praises members of the "fourth sex," or "herms." She would get a kick out of the ladies(?) of Dark Mother. "State variation" is an expression I use here to talk about the phenomenon of anime women's breasts notably changing size between scene cuts due to poor production, but it means much more here. These characters not only have the Obari Overbuild and undress to impress, but they can change their genitals at will; Nailkaizer's first appearance at the beginning of the first OVA won't leave your mind easily. This also means that we don't always see actual male characters in the 18+ scenes, therefore, more characters to feature here. Nailkaizer works in the field with two other mutants, Chloe and Elaine, who can not only fight, but disguise themselves to get where they want to, hence, Elaine's turn to hear every wise guy go, "hello, nurse!"--until she gets her syringe out, that is. Dark Mother is under the command of a woman who is referred to as Phantom Lady, but, also being a mutant, is featured in the second OVA playing catch with Nailkaizer, and doing the pitching. She could well have the biggest chest Obari has ever designed; she definitely gives Gravion's Mizuki Tachibana a run for her money. She is also very notable for her incredibly milky...complexion. Yeah, that's it. Karin is a mutant who refers to Phantom Lady as "mother." Normally, she just spies on the goings-on, but gets a bit more active at the end of the second OVA, and right into it in the sequel Angel Blade Punish! (more on that below). Also present at the meeting of the two sick minds near the beginning is the principal's secretary, who only appears briefly in that episode in the background of one scene (that blur in the foreground is Nailkaizer's right one), but long--and large--enough to make it here. Okay (inhale). As you might have gathered by now, this is not the kindest title as far as sex goes; there's only one truly "yes!" consensual scene in the first two OVAs, but there's still at least one more episode, so who knows? However, if you can overlook that, you can find a few laughs, some characters you can sympathize with and/or admire as well as drool over, and a plot that's a little less convoluted than a lot of Obari's recent work--but only a little.

In print on Critical Mass Video (18 and over only, please) (bilingual DVD; previously on Anime18). For some inexplicable reason, CMass's re-release is on two discs like CPM's was. I'd be very grooved if the special edition which joined all three OVAs together and added a new sex scene was released here.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Just a Line.
All of the named characters in Angel Blade (except Seiru and Emily), plus:
Widow (two pictures); Elphie Elfman (top row, left to right);
Angel Beretta (bottom picture); Mizuki Tachibana (lower right)
plus many backround characters
Widow from Angel Blade Punish!Widow from Angel Blade Punish!Elphie from Angel Blade Punish!
Angel Beretta from Angel Blade Punish!
Yeah, the original series left us cliffhanging, so a second one was in order, and Punish! picks up were the first left off. At the beginning of the second episode, we meet Widow, who, along with her servants Rush and Sledge, has some webs to weave to try to catch an Angel or two. At the same time, Shaia is treating Moena and Ayame to a break by taking them with her to a tropical(ish) resort, where she'll be photographed for an idol gravure feature. After Ayame performs an impressive high dive at the pool (during and after), Moena is beseeched by a bespectacled young woman to cut off her head, pleading to the "samurai girl" like a besotted fangirl for an autograph. Ladies and germs, Elphie Elfman, parody of Japanophiliac westerners. Of course, Moena doesn't indulge her, but Elphie indulges Moena in something much better than that later in the episode (the only consensual scene in the whole series; ah, well, at least we also get to see Kyoka in action). Of course, it doesn't take long before things go pear-shaped for our vacationing heroines; the battle in ep. 1 messed with her powers, so, after some more prurient scenes of misfortune, Angel Beretta comes on the scene with her big guns--and she's bloody good with the pistols as well. The Anime News Network entry on the show thinks that her name should have been "Angel Bullet"--and they may be right. To add a bit more comic relief to the proceedings, we witness a couple of tapings for a variety show, featuring co-host Mizuki Tachibana--who you may know better from Obari's TV series Gravion and Gravion Zwei. I'm sorry to report that her scenes don't really add to the 18+ rating for this series, but at least we get to see more than just a towel flipping up briefly. If you don't like a lot of non-consent in your H anime, the Angel Blade series is not likely to change your mind, but the overall tone is quite a bit less hateful than a lot of that sort of stuff that gets made nowadays (and, yes, all the blatant upfrontness in it makes it a bit more palatable as well). Now, if only they could make some more to tie up the loose plot threads (in among all the funky scenes, of course), I, for one, would gladly have it.

In print on Kitty Media (18 and over only, please), who did the right thing and put all three OVAs on one bilingual DVD.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Mizuki from Angel Blade Punish!
Just a Line.
Meifon Ri; Valeria Vertone (left to right)
Meifon and Ta Fei from Angel LinksValeria from Angel Links
This series was made as a parallel to Outlaw Star (two of the supporting characters in this show appear in an episode of OS, and vice versa), and the two stars of it are bounty hunter Meifon Ri, who runs a service in which she and her crew go after pirates...for free (cheap at twice the price!). She's a spunky and temperamental 16-year-old bounty hunter, the captain of the titular spaceship, fighter of a tragic past and feature(s) of many a specialized moving closeup. Throw in non-subliminal messages like Meifon voraciously eating a couple of large pork buns at a party (can you guess what those are shaped like?) and a cute mutant cat/bat mascot named Ta Fei that occasionally lives in her cleavage (and attacks the hands of pirates trying to cop a feel of the house) when it hasn't transformed into her sword. Less obvious but still notable is Valeria Vertone, the cool but hard-nosed tactical officer who brings her experience in the Einhorn Imperial Space Force to the Angel Links. She's tall and statuesque, but her uniform top's dark colour doesn't always make things so noticeable (and besides, one of the still flashes of the main-crew-and-logo sequence that occurs a couple of times is of her also-nice rear). While the story doesn't have quite the breadth of Outlaw Star, it is only 13 episodes, and now that I've watched all of them, I can tell you that the overall series is quite good in its own right, and worth checking out--especially now that it's nice and cheap to do so.

Out of print (previously on
Bandai Entertainment, Inc. on bilingual DVD).
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Just a Line.
Honey Melody
(right in picture); Elga (left to right)
Fubuki and Honey from AGFubukiMs. Elga (and henchmen) from AGFubuki
This four-OVA series was created by Mine Yoshizaki (who also brought us Seven of Seven/Shichinin no Nana and Keroro Gunsou/Sgt. Frog), and was designed to slam straight into us anime geeks' unique id by using two sure-fire elements--classic arcade video games (all the ones shown in the series represent real ones) and fan service. Game Junior High student Fubuki Sakuragasaki (left in the left picture) is the Japanese video game champion, and this series is about her adventures preparing for and taking part in the BAG (Best of Arcade Gamer) Tournament. Her greatest weapon is the Passion Panty, a magical pair of knicks (with a Space Invader printed on the seat) that causes the "game spirits" residing in her to come to her aid in the heat of battle when her friend Hanako Kokobunji reveals them with the help of a handheld electric fan. Yes, panchira hounds, this one's for you. Ah, but that's not all. The American champion is a tall, gregarious, and very affectionate blonde named Honey Melody (Buxom American Blonde in a Cowboy Hat #2). Fubuki first encounters her wailing away on a dancing video game, where Honey proceeds to pull her up onto the platform and dance her around it. This woman is upfront not only in build and motion, but in personality, as the face-crushing hugs she gives Fubuki every time they meet after that will show. Honey first appeared briefly as a supporting character in Seven of Seven, and now puts in the odd cameo in Keroro Gunsou/Sgt. Frog, but, given that she seems to have a more prominent role in this series, here's her entry. Behind every white cloud, there's a dark pattern, and in Fubuki, it's Elga. She's a member of a "secret evil society" (so secret she announces that's it's planning to take over the world during the national tournament--yeesh) called Jurassic-dan. She goes to ridiculous lengths to try to stop Fubuki, and pitches in the odd bounce in the third episode. While this is undoubtedly a pure over-the-top piece of silly fluff, I found it pretty entertaining fluff. I don't know about you, dear reader, but that's good enough for me.

Out of print (previously on U.S. Manga Corps on bilingual DVD).
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Just a Line.
(obviously the one on the right)
Azumanga Daioh was one of the most unique TV series of 2002. Based on a four-panel gag series by Kiyohiko Azuma, this was made into 130 five-minute vignettes which were then gathered into 26 half-hour episodes. In it, we follow a group of female high school students and their teachers through three years of senior high school. One of them is Sakaki-san (no one ever finds out what her other name is), a tall, reserved and athletic student who gives off the vibe of being a tough and cool loner, but who, deep down, is a big softie who loves cute things like cats (but they don't like her). She still wins several friends before too long, including Chiyo Miyama (left in the picture), a 10-year old genius who gets skipped forward into high-school and is as cute as she is smart. Sakaki-san's build gets commented on here and there, but always in comic circumstances (i.e. the hyperactive Tomo, after challenging her in a sprint on the track, tells her to move back 8 centimeters at the starting line since her bustline is 8cm bigger). I and many other anime fans love this series because its style encompasses not only physical humour, but many understated yet effective mental twists as well, most typified by the deep-spacy Kasuga "Osaka" Ayumu. Heartily recommended.
Sakaki-san (w/ Chiyo-chan) from Azumanga Daioh
Sakaki-san; Kagura (left to right)
The above show wasn't the first time the Azumanga Daioh manga got animated; a five-minute short was released on an official website (no one seems to recall whose; maybe Azuma's), making it one of the first, if not the first, ONA (original net animation). In fact, rumour has it that the server which housed the first episode overloaded, which influenced the decision to make a TV series out of it. Since it was targeted to those who followed the manga, there were really no character introductions, but it added a few small twists. Sakaki-san is first seen in the opening credits, with a close-up of a bounce, while the jockish Kagura shows up briefly in the first part, where a video of the classroom is being shot for a time capsule. When she first notices that the camera's on her, she strikes this pose, smiles and bobbles. What happens after that? Ain't gonna spoil it. The TV series, while still maintaining some references about the size of Sakaki-san's chest, did away with the more blatant fan service--and believe me, it actually really isn't missed. It puts more of the laughs back where they belong.
Sakaki-san and Kagura from Azumanga Web Daioh
The TV series is out of print (previously on ADV Films on bilingual DVD). Collections are still available, but avoid all the Thinpak ones; they stripped all the off on-disc extras, including the Very Short Movie. Get the
Complete Collection to get it proper. Does anybody have a copy of Vol. 5 complete with cloisonne pin they can sell me cheap? Azumanga Web Daioh was never licensed, but it was fansubbed.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry

Compiled by Dave Watson (remove spamtrap word before sending). Don't hold it against him.

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