BEING UPFRONT: A Pictorial Guide to Bodacious Women in Anime--Page 5 (E-G)

Print/licence statuses at the end of the entries refer to North America (that's where I live, so...).
Just a Line.
Helen; Lola (left to right)
Helen from Early ReinsLola from Early Reins
This one-off OVA is based on a video game, and set in frontiers where anime rarely goes--the Wild West of the 1800's. Yes, Sergio Leone fans, we have an actual Japanese spaghetti western here, with the only modern touches being a little bit of slickness in the CGI animation--but only a little. A small passenger train (steam engine, of course) full of people is headed for Sunshine Hill. Among them are a Union soldier and six young women of different ages and backgrounds. For some reason, quite a few non-reputable men want this train stopped, and are all too willing to kill people to do this. The baddies didn't take one thing into account: These women, by and large, don't take any mess. The saloon singer Helen is kind of snooty about these matters, but doesn't turn away from helping out when things get hairy--or could do well with a good look at a low neckline. Lola is tough, quiet and cool, and has a big...body count. If you get on the wrong side of her guns, you'll regret it for the rest of your life--all three seconds of it. While her preferred mode of dress doesn't lend itself to placement here, a scene in which she's dressed differently makes it perfectly clear; I won't say any more than that. At 45 minutes, it's much shorter than your average Western movie, and doesn't have much along the lines of character development. Still, it's simple but distinctive and effective popcorn entertainment.

Out of print (previously on Anime Works, a division of
Media Blasters, on bilingual DVD). It's not hard to find via mail order, though.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Just a Line.
Chiharu Shinonome
(BWH: 88-F/55/82cm); Kirika Misono (99-G/61/89cm); Komoe Harumachi (111-?/46/65cm) (top row, left to right);
Shima Kurosawa's maids (bottom row) plus a few minor/background characters
(Source: Original manga)
Chiharu from EikenKirika from EikenKomoe from Eiken
Kurosawa's maids from EikenOne of Kurosawa's maids from Eiken
Densuke Mifuno is an average, dull student who is starting at the high-school division of Zosshono Academy, which has 54,000 students ranging from primary to high school level. Thanks to the banana peel on the ground we see at the beginning of the first OVA, he accidentally falls into fellow high school frosh Chiharu Shinonome. Hands first. To the jealousy of all the male students who witness it. She is not only cute and intelligent (although she doesn't really show it, she did get the highest score on the entrance exam), but shy, and obviously not a little bit endowed. Despite the accident, she and Densuke seem to be attracted to each other in that nice innocent way most of us like--but it doesn't seem to be going that smoothly. Shortly after the collision, Kirika Misono flies in (and crashes) on a mecha, big hair and big parts flying in the wind. She essentially browbeats Densuke into joining her Eiken Club (I have no idea what that name means, unless it's a reference to how most of the female members' backs must feel), of which Chiharu turns out to also be a member. Kirika is a brash and pushy one, and is almost always seen inhaling food--most of it phallic-shaped. I guess she has to eat that much to satisfy those three stomachs. While seemingly not romantically interested in Densuke, she does flirt with him now and put it one way. In one of the club's meetings, the only purpose of which seems to be to hang out and eat streaming noodles, we meet a few other members (including a bear, for some reason). Komoe Harumachi is a kind, slightly bashful, 111cm-busted sixth-grade student. As you can see, she can't belly up to counters, between her height and her... Her own turns with a hula hoop in the OP are particularly notable. At the end of the first OVA, we find that Densuke has a rival for Chiharu's affections. Shima Kurosawa is tall, handsome, rich, confident...everything Densuke isn't, really. In the second OVA, he turns up in a big, mysterious aircraft with a group of five maids (all of whom look almost exactly alike) to participate in Zosshono's games. As you can see, they not only make quite the cheering section, but one of them actually participates, including one game featuring ice lollies. Oh, yeah. As you've probably gathered by now, Eiken is an excessively gratuitous pandering piece of fan service-filled trash that will seriously offend genteel anime fans. That's their problem, not mine. If a minute without ridiculously inflated bouncing breasts and/or in-yr-face-fanboy panty shots happens in this OVA, I must have missed it. In other words, it's immensely entertaining--for those of us who are entertained by that sort of thing. Basically, this show was Made For Being Upfront. Recommended to those who can handle it.

In print on Anime Works, a division of
Media Blasters (bilingual DVD). Note that they're also releasing the English-translated manga if you want more warpage where that came from.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
The Yuka Takeuchi Fan's Eiken gallery page
Just a Line.
Milfa Links
This is a softcore hentai comedy (the first of several you'll see here), but not your average one. The male and female leads are newlywed couple Kenji and Milfa Links. They're quite traditional, deeply in love with each other and live in a big comfortable home. Yeah, yeah, big deal, right? Well, the story is set in an Old-European-style village with modern touches like a big garage (albeit with a two-headed hydra inside) and the clothes the people wear (such as Milfa's sleeveless blouse in this pic). Kenji is a human and Milfa is an elf (Record of Lodoss War, anybody?). Unfortunately, this last part results in an incompatibility that makes consummating their marriage impossible. The series (if you can call it that; were more than two OVAs made?) follows their attempts to solve their problem, and the ensuing mishaps. It's pointed out a few times that Milfa is unusually well-endowed for an elven woman, but she's also very modest (and easily embarrassed), is outfitted accordingly and most of her close-ups are her face/head only (which made getting an appropriate screen capture difficult). This is a refreshing change from other manga/shows where the creators assume we'd forget about the size if it wasn't stuck in our faces all the time. Feminists will definitely not like the portrayal of Milfa as a happy, dutiful, blonde and very buxom housewife (like they'd be watching this sort of thing), and a lot of ero-anime fans might be cheesed that there's no visible penetration, but this is better than tentacle porn anytime. Kazuma G-Version's art in the manga is excellent (not to mention steamier!) as well.

Out of print (previously on SoftCel Pictures). If anyone wants to sell me their copy of the DVD, get in touch via the link on the bottom. Since this is a Pink Pineapple production, I think it's safe to say that it won't get license-rescued.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Milfa from The Elven Bride
Just a Line.
Mai from Fatal Fury
Lily from Fatal Fury
Mai Shiranui (left top); Lily McGuire (left bottom); Panni (right)
I'm not really that large on anime based on fighting games, but when the domestic video box blurb describes female lead (well, in the second OVA and movie) Mai Shiranui as a "bouncy Ninja" and the video preview talks about her "double suspension," I'd say that inclusion is warranted. Seeing a Maboroshi Studio anime music video with footage from it confirmed this status. Also brought to my attention was Lily McGuire, a tragic beauty type who male lead Terry Bogard befriends in the first OVA (and who he had actually encountered once before, when they were children). In the Motion Picture, not only does Mai cut loose--note the subliminals--but we're introduced to three elementals/fighters who work for Laucorn Gaudimos, the movie's main villain. Included to double your fun on the bad guys' side is Panni, who controls water (and by accounts, ripples quite nicely). She's gotta be using resin glue to keep that outfit on. Masami Obari did the character design here, and you can tell, can't you? Strictly a turn-your-brain-off-and-enjoy type of anime--but there's nothing wrong with the odd one of those.

Out of print (previously on Viz Media, LLC, on bilingual DVD).
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Panni from FF Movie
Just a Line.
Kumiko Morita
Kumiko from Hajime no Ippo Hi, sports fans. This piece of work is about Ippo Makanouchi, a young man who makes a sharp ascent from bully-bait to professional boxer, but still manages to keep his basically shy, polite personality. Imagine Wayne Gretzky's mind transplanted into George Chuvalo at his peak, and you've got an idea. In episode 41, an idol named Kumiko Morita, who all the athletes there know about but wouldn't mind knowing, comes to the gym where Ippo trains with a camera crew to tape a segment for a TV show. After interviews and assorted flexing by his baser compatriots, Ippo is wondering to himself what he can do to show off to Kumiko, when one of the crew asks if he'd engage her in a sparring match in the ring (hence her ability to look irresistibly cute in a training outfit, as you can see on the right). While trying to figure out how to put his dukes up without genuinely hurting her, he first swings a body blow he thinks she can block--and sinks it into her left one, much to the envy of the other boxers, but she takes it in stride. She then ups the action for the camera by pelting his face with successive (but not hard; she's just an idol, remember) lefts and rights, which he can't think to block because he's transfixed by two parts of her idolatry merrily dancing away in front of him. By now, his fellow boxers are insanely jealous. While this series does use a lot of the customary sports anime clichés (which put me off the show at first, thus making me skip about 10 eps near the beginning), the bits of comedy (which actually don't depend on fan service very often) and strength of the characters, especially Ippo, make this one better than most of them. Just grind through those early eps and it'll pay off.

Out of print (previously on Geneon Entertainment (USA) Inc. on bilingual DVD).
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Kumiko from Hajime no Ippo in the ring
Just a Line.
Forte Stollen
; Ranpha Franboise (left to right)
Forte from Galaxy AngelRanpha (with Mint) from Galaxy Angel
Milfeulle Sakuraba was just a cute, cheerful waitress who was only minding her own business when two young women encountered her while they were working. First Lieutenant Forte Stollen is a hotheaded weapons fiend with a voice so deep that some people have wondered if she was actually a man. Given the picture above, I wonder if they were blind. Second Lieutenant Ranpha Franboise is calmer, friendlier and a bit flirtatious, but also a pretty wicked martial artist. They are both senior members of the Angel Brigade, a branch of the Transvaal Empire military. While they search for mysterious relics known as "Lost Technology" (whatever that is), the Brigade--now expanded to a quintet with the addition of Milfeulle--are sent out to perform various bits of gruntwork, much to their chagrin, and our laughter. Produced by Broccoli (Di Gi Charat), the first season of Galaxy Angel was broadcast on Animax and featured the above two in the funky, nicely aerated costumes you see here. For the second season onwards, it was picked up by TV Osaka, and there were demands to redesign those outfits to cover up those nice expanses (What? I thought Osaka was supposed to be cool and casual). They did it. While the show may still be cute and funny, the stink of obvious compromise isn't sitting very well with me. Well, at least the original designs were brought back for the Moonlit Lovers video game. For now, enjoy the extra skin tone while you can.

The whole franchise is out of print (previously on
Bandai Entertainment, Inc. on sometimes bilingual, sometimes sub-only DVDs).
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Just a Line.
Unnamed bake-neko; Yuu Himehagi (also on lower right); Eiko Rando (left to right)
Bakeneko from GeobreedersYuu from GeobreedersRando from Geobreeders
Yuu (sleeping) from GeobreedersThis series is about Kagara General Security, a private firm dedicated to "deleting" bake-neko. Bake-neko ("phantom cats") are living electrical charges who live in (and wreak havoc in) information systems, like computer networks. They appear to humans as cats, or as catlike people. One such example is the one above left, who has overtaken a shopping mall, and goes around trying on different outfits (and goes stark nekkid in the times in between). Kagara's Yoichi Taba (the solitary and much put-upon male member, who is trying to quit before he gets killed; he's in the background in the above middle pic) and Takami Sakuragi (administration, butterfly knives, poor stress handling, the odd panty shot and a bit of jealousy over said bake-neko's build) are on the case. The scene where the bakeneko turns up in front of Taba in the altogether while he's communicating with Kagara leader Yuka Kikushima is priceless. Yuu Himehagi's main duty is driving, but her main hobbies are smoking a lot and sleeping on the floor of the garage (see right). Their accountant, Eiko Rando, is also the best martial artist in the group, so she gets into the thick of it at times. In the case that the first OVA series is based on, Kagura investigate a stationary transport ship, so Rando dresses for working near the water. This allows for the odd spot of freedom of movement--and a good look, of course. All of that, however, is just a tiny bit of gravy on a good action comedy.

Both the original series and the sequel Geobreeders 2 are sadly out of print (previously on U.S. Manga Corps on bilingual DVD). Argh, profanity, why didn't I profanity buy them when I had the profanity chance? Anyone got these to sell?
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Just a Line.
(BWH: 97/58/89cm)
(Source: Official websites)
The GetBackers are Amano Ginji and Mido Ban, who retrieve stolen articles for clients who hire them when they aren't running up their tab at the Honky Tonk Café or trying to get their car back from the towing company. While they are able to fight well when needed (Ginji with an "electric eel" touch, Mido with a super-strong grip and an evil eye that makes people hallucinate for a minute), they still have a major Achilles heel of being suckers for beautiful women. This includes the one on the left, code named hevn (pronounced "heaven," if it wasn't obvious to you). She works as an "intermediary" for our heroes, helping them get jobs (for a percentage of their fee, of course), which frequently wind up being more trouble to them than anything else. In at least one case, she manages to get them to take it by flirting with Ginji a bit. Given her overall beauty and the nice independent jumps parts of her give us during her little twirl-and-pose in the OP sequence (which is where this capture is from), I have to say that I wouldn't be immune, either. Action, a large slice of comedy, bishounen (down, yaoi fantards) and bishoujo--really, this one has something for everybody.

Licensed by Sentai Filmworks (previously on ADV Films on bilingual DVD). All the ADV collections have the on-disc extras stripped off, and, given their (re-)releases of ADV titles, I'll bet you the Sentai release remains the same. I'd love to be proven wrong.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Honky Tonk Café (nice index page pic)
hevn from Get-Backers
Just a Line.
Major Kusanagi and Sano from GITS SACSano from GITS SAC
The original Ghost in the Shell movie is rightly considered an anime classic, since it combines SF, action, philosophy and interesting characters, including the good-looking, butt-kicking lead, Major Motoko Kusanagi. Stand Alone Complex improves on it (in my opinion) by wrapping all this in the guise of a cop show (including some well-done comedy relief) and developing the characters more. It doesn't slump on the scriptwriting, either, by not pinning everything on the central storyline of the pursuit of a hacker who calls himself The Laughing Man (whose philosophy is based much on that of Holden Caulfield's, the lead of J.D. Salinger's classic novel The Catcher in the Rye; read it sometime, because it's excellent). The "stand alone" episodes are no mere filler; they throw other events and cases that Section 9 have to work on between going after the Laughing Man--like how real cops work. Late in the series, Major Kusanagi incurs some major damage during a battle with an Armed Suit, and she has to see a cyberdoctor to basically have her mind transferred into a new body (same as the old one; why mess with what works?). The first shot of the doctor is her feet as she walks down the hall; the second is a close up of her prominent chest. When she finally gets to work, we find out that her rack-side manner not only makes the Major uncomfortable (as the picture shows), but we quickly find out that she's a doctor in the tradition of Josef Mengele. Does the Major get out of this? But of course--with some unexpected help. Sano only appears for a few minutes in episode 22, which makes it hard to get a good picture of her. It also shows that, if upfrontness is your foremost criteria for buying an anime, you'll be disappointed. However, if that's your case, you should get over yourself and at least rent this, because it's an excellent series overall, as is the sequel series SAC 2nd GIG. Just be careful about the Limited Edition versions; more on that below.

Out of print (previously on
Bandai Entertainment, Inc. on bilingual DVD). Thankfully the DVD collections of this and the sequel series SAC 2nd GIG aren't hard to find. Same with the collectors' edition versions of the singles, except for the last volume of both series, which include series boxes. SAC 2nd GIG's LE's are also in tin boxes with hubs that are a massive pain to get the discs off of. Original movie Solid State Society and TV-season concentrates The Laughing Man and Individual Eleven are in print (bilingual DVD and bilingual Blu-Ray), also on Bandai Ent.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Just a Line.
Miharu Sena Kanaka; Kirie Kojima (left to right in picture); Maharu Sena Kanaka; Kosame (left to right)
Miharu and Kirie from Girls BravoMaharu from Girls BravoKosame from Girls Bravo
A short high-school lad named Yukinari Sasaki has a rough time of it. Girls pick on him so much that he develops severe gynephobia, to the point where he breaks out in a rash anytime a girl touches him. After a typically crap day at school, he comes home at school to find his neighbour and classmate Kirie Kojima in his shower room, barely covered by a towel. As you can see, it would be kind of hard to cover what she has. Due to her hair-trigger temper, she slams Yukinari with a flying knee in the face into the bathtub. He wakes up in this strange, very large bathing room, where a young woman with long pink hair, three dots on her forehead and nothing else on in this scene hovers over him, asking how he is. Instinctively, he runs like mad away from her, but he then finds that his skin doesn't break out when she touches him, which allows him to relax. Her name is Miharu Sena Kanaka, a blithe, slightly dippy but very caring type who approaches him as a potential friend, and he has somehow travelled through his bathwater to Seiren, Miharu's home planet. Before too long, Miharu's even more endowed older sister Maharu comes home. Upon meeting Yukinari, her first instinct is to...knock him out with a gut punch so he falls into her body, and she can cuddle him without him resisting. Nearing 30 years old is making her a tad desperate, you see. When Yukinari resuscitates, Miharu tells him that Seiren's populations has a female/male ration of 10:1, which results in Yukinari getting mobbed by women when Miharu goes out for a walk with him. After a very wild goose chase, they wind up back in her bathing room. For some reason they are able to see Kirie crying over him on the surface of the bathwater. When it then starts to glow, Yukinari returns to Earth the same way he came--with Miharu right behind him. This upsets Kirie at first (much to Yukinari's damage), but she quickly comes to understand what's going on, and also befriends Miharu when she finds what type of person (Seirian?) she is. Before too long we are introduced to one of their classmates, Kazuharu Fukuyama, who is rich as the Duke of Earl and about 50 times more perverted, which frequently results in Kirie smacking him down. He also has a crazy, black magic-obsessed younger sister named Lisa, who finds herself drawn to Yukinari after a bizarre soul mate horoscope corresponds with what he has on him when she runs into him. She has two attendants who protect her (and sometimes do things like kidnap for her); the woman is named Kosame, and she turns out to be a stronger fighter than Kirie...and she also falls hard for her as a result, which results in the male attendant Hayate having to hold the normally-stoic Kosame back when they're around Kirie. Fukuyama invites the main group to a baseball team, and they end up in a all-female fighting tournament founded by his family's financial empire, which he blackmails Kirie into taking part in. She makes it to the finals, where her last opponent--last year's champion--turns out to be Kosame. And why is the fighting ring now full of mud? Kosame is normally fully, sternly dressed like a rich megalomaniac's right-hand man, but the above picture is taken from the start of the match. Suffice it to say that she's in hog heaven shortly afterward. And so are most of the viewers. Girls Bravo is primarily renowned for large amounts of gratuitous nudity, which had to be censored for the original TV broadcast in Japan (and resulted in selling a lot of uncensored discs, of course). On one hand, it's great that the harem that eventually forms around Yukinari aren't all hanging off him; in fact, the shy, androphobic young woman and bratty little girl from Seiren who turn up are originally sent to get Miharu back, but end up trying to find a husband for Maharu. On the other, the sudden realization that hey, we're supposed to be trying to get the lead characters together results in an ending that feels kind of shoehorned in. Yukinari and Miharu get along extremely well, but there isn't very much detectable romance between them. A bit disappointing, but at least the story doesn't soil the bed, and hey, it does slam the boin goggles onto your face quite nicely.

In print on
FUNimation Productions, Ltd. (bilingual DVD; previously on Geneon Entertainment (USA) Inc.). Note that the video quality of the first eight eps was screwed by someone in the production chain (many suspect that Kadokawa Pictures sabotaged it themselves--and they could well be right) resulting in sick levels of dot crawl. Sadly, for some inexplicable reason, FUNi got the exact same version for their re-release.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Just a Line.
From Dannar Base: Anna Aoi/Saruwatari (BWH: 84/53/83cm); Kiriko Aoi (94/59/87cm); Shizuru Fujimura (87/53/88cm) (top row, left to right)
Momoko Momozono (88/57/84cm); Konami Sasaguri (84/56/83cm); Hiiragi (85/56/84cm) and Hayashi (85/58/85cm) (L-R in picture) (bottom row)
(Source: The now-gone official Japanese website)
Anna from GodannarKiriko from GodannarShizuru from Godannar
Momoko from GodannarKonami from GodannarHiiragi and Hayashi from Godannar
In 2042 in Tokyo, the teenaged Anna Aoi is being evacuated from her house in the middle of a fierce battle against amien invaders called "Mimetic Beasts," fought largely by giant robots called Dannars. An accident almost spells certain death for Anna--except that Goh Saruwatari, pilot of Godannar, rescues her. Five years later, Goh and Anna (now a high-school senior) are about to be married. In the interim, she has also undergone training to be a pilot, but also wants to be a wife and a mother. Hey, who says you can't have it both ways? Anna certainly doesn't. Goh, however, has had difficulties with it since his original partner (and girlfriend) disappeared in the 2042 battle, but he soon learns to live with it--or does he? Kiriko Aoi is not only Anna's mother, but Goh's boss, as the commander of Dannar Base. She's cool as a cucumber, and also a very capable leader when the fertilizer hits the ventilator. All that, and the looks and figure that make a lot of fanboys go "MILF! MILF!" She's very aware of this, not only in the way she dresses, but where she keeps her cell phone. When the wedding is interrupted due to Goh and Kiriko being called to help fight a particularly difficult Mimetic, Anna decides that she can't stand still and runs away after him and her mother. She winds up finding a giant robot called Neo Okusaer hidden under the graveyard she cuts through, and gets into it, determined to help Goh save the city. When their united robot proves to be quite powerful, Anna becomes not only Goh's wife, but his co-pilot (see?). Piloting the sharpshooting Core Gunner is Shizuru Fujimura, a brave, skilled and attractive woman, but one who also strikes others as being a bit cold--except that she's not, especially with a crush that she obviously has on a certain someone. It's not obvious to that someone, though. Dannar Base has a lot of people keeping it afloat, including bridge bunnies Momoko and Konami, and mechanics Hayashi and Hiiragi. All of these four are very capable workers, but they don't let that get in the way of their femininity, as their occasional teasing of Goh shows.
From around the world: Luna; Ellis Valentine; Shukuyu (top row);
Ecatarina; Volspina (bottom row);
Plus a few very minor characters from different settings.
Luna from GodannarEllis from GodannarShukuyu from Godannar
Ecatarina from GodannarVolspina from Godannar
Before long, Anna gets to meet four other duos who pilot similar robots to her's and Goh's in other parts of the world. The women at their controls are Luna (Genesister, North America), Ellis Valentine (Dragliner, England), Shukyou (Goddiner, China), and Ecatarina (Volspina, Russia). Not only are the pilots most welcome here, but Volspina now carries the distinction of being the first bodacious giant robot to be added to BU. Not only does it look somewhat like its co-pilot, but it also bounces a bit. Basically, Godannar is a semi-parody of classic giant robot shows, complete with hilariously overwrought theme song lyrics. Even if, like me, you don't really dig mecha, well, there's plenty of other things (ahem) to keep you and I interested. In fact, I came close to just showing 12-year-old crew member Lou Roux and Anna's cat Pin-Pin, with the legend, "Here are the only two female characters in this show who don't qualify for this page," but decided against it. For one thing, one more character doesn't quite make it into this entry, but I'll be giving her an Honourable Mention at some point. Also, chances are you'd kill me if I didn't at least give you a good look at Kiriko (especially after she has a wardrobe malfunction). So here they all are. If you want a nice, light and occasionally humourous view, whether triggered by retro, the odd knowing dig at said retro or some nice gratuitous fan service (or all of the above), Godannar is well worth checking out.

Out of print (previously on ADV Films on bilingual DVD). The Thinpak collections have the on-disc extras stripped off.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Just a Line.
Unnamed president of TN Software
The first OVA in this comedy series features happy-go-lucky knowledge-hungry lech Kintaro Oe (the wide-eyed lad on the right) in the first of several jobs, this one being at TN Software. He first encounters their president in a road accident in which she runs him off his bicycle into a large pile of trash. The first sight we get of her above the waist is a sequence of barely-encased wobbles and ripples that makes Jell-O™ look arthritic in comparison, and it's not the only time you get to behold their fluid motion. As for her wardrobe, I suspect that Satoshi Urushihara (Plastic Little) designed this red painted-on-looking temperature-gauging outfit. Her general demeanor is pure Ice Queen (which makes Kintaro fantasize about being her slave), but when she loses her temper, even The Champ would get the hell away from her fast. A screamingly funny show, and one of the very few English dubs that don't flat-out suck. OK, a couple of the minor voices do, but still...

In print on Anime Works, a division of Media Blasters (bilingual DVD; previously on ADV Films). The AW DVD collection keeps the ADV dub.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
TN Prez and Kintaro from Golden Boy
Just a line.
Mizuki Tachibana (BWH: 46"/23"/38")
(Source: Newtype USA centerfold, May 2004 issue)
Miss Best Chest, Newtype Japan Heroine of the Year reader's poll, 2002
Mizuki (and Ena) from GravionCan you say "Hello, Mr. Obari"? I know I can. Earth is being invaded by alien forces known as Zeravire (or "Zelabaia," according to the Japanese website), but its global military is not equipped well enough to go up against them. However, the eccentric billionnaire Klein Sandman (any relation to the late, great Mark Sandman of the band
Morphine?) has decided that he's mad as hell and isn't gonna take it anymore, and builds the giant robot Gravion to battle the menace. Eiji Shigure is a young man whose older sister Ayaka went to work for Mr. Sandman's organization a long time ago and hasn't been seen since, so now he's devoting his time to searching for her. It turns out that Gravion can only be piloted by teenagers (with one exception) with an enzyme known as the "G-Factor," and it turns out that Eiji is one of these people. He winds up being drafted as the pilot of the Gran Diva G-Attacker, which is one of the vehicles that join together to make up Gravion and make it kick Zeravire butt. His teammate is the aforementioned exception--the 22-year-old spectacularly-endowed-and-knows-it Mizuki Tachibana, who pilots the Gran Diva G-Striker, keeps an eye out for cute boys and likes a drink (if she ever were to really exist, I'd offer to buy her drinks until she thinks I'm a cute boy). I might add that she also makes the obligatory hot springs episode (in Zwei) a little funkier. Like pretty much everything Obari works on, the name of the game here is fun. If it isn't fan service from Ms. Tachibana--and several of the large group of maids who inhabit the Sandman castle and love to torment Eiji (the head maid, Ena, is in the background of the above picture)--it's fan service from the mecha, which pastiches several classic giant robot series from the past. And if it's not either of those, it's the "Engrish" that occasionally crops up; the first ep has one prime example of it. If you dare to take Gravion at all seriously, then (A) you'll probably be disappointed, and (B) you'd definitely be missing the point by several miles. I'd consider this show a guilty pleasure--if only it wasn't for the fact that I refuse to feel guilty for liking this sort of thing.
Yes, I'm aware that other characters in this series qualify for BU, but I need to tear my room apart to find the handwritten list I made when I watched my copy. I had to at least get Mizuki in, though, or I would have gotten some pretty serious E-mail.

Out of print (previously on ADV Films on bilingual DVD). All the Thinpak collections have the on-disc extras stripped off, but this version of the Complete Collection, with both series, still has them and is still easy to find.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
The Yuka Takeuchi Fan's Mizuki Tachibana gallery, where I took the above pic from.
Just a line.
Rushuna Tendou (you can guess which one she is); Touka Kurenai; Setsuna Oomido (left to right)
Rushana and Mikan from GrenadierTouka from GrenadierSetsuna from Grenadier
In days of yore, Japan was at war, and the gun clashed with the sword. Those who armed themselves with firepower were known as "senshi." Samurai Yajiro Kojima is a swordsman who, for obvious reasons, doesn't like senshi very much. This all changes the day he runs across an unusual young woman named Rushuna Tendou, who carries a very positive attitude (the Japanese secondary title means "Smiling Senshi"), a six-gun, and two obvious reasons for being featured here. She is on a journey across Japan to the distant capital of Tento as part of her training from Tento's Empress to learn to settle disputes non-violently by removing an opponent's will to fight. Since she obviously hasn't quite attained that goal yet, we get to see just how incredibly well she handles that revolver, and we learn that jiggles can be functional--in this case, it indicates that she's reloaded her gun in just less than one second in the heat of battle with large groups of other, more evil, senshi. You have to watch it to see what I mean. I might add that Rushuna may not like having to get violent, but she does love a good bath--indoors or out. And so do we. In fact, that's how she and Yajiro first meet. Well, it did take care of his will to fight at the time. For a few episodes, we follow Rushuna and Yajiro's adventures, which turn especially hairy when it appears that the Empress has put a bounty on Rushuna's head! In episode five, she helps rescue three young women who are being terrorized by a gang. They show their gratitude to her and Yajiro by taking them to their workplace: The Peach Blossom Tower, an inn and pleasure district (background, above right picture) run by Touka Kurenai, a formidable woman in more than build. We get to find out just what she's made of when she finds out about Rushuna's bounty. She's a hell of a fighter and a kind, if kind of hardened, person; it took effort to find a scene with her smiling in it. The Tower also ends up supplying our duo with Mikan (on the right in the above left picture), a young orphan girl whose talents include theft and the ability to manipulate balloons and other inflatable items; I guess the theft pays for all those blow-up things. In the previous versions of BU, I held this character back as a spoiler, but I think I can take the lid off now. At one point in the series, Rushuna has to battle against a fellow senshi, Setsuna Oomido, who is basically her bad counterpart. I won't give you the circumstances surrounding it, because I have to leave you some story to enjoy, but it's safe to say that you wind up with your fun(bags) doubled. More than one anime fan has commented that Grenadier and Rushuna seem to be no more than Trigun's Vash the Stampede with less goofiness and added mammeries. Not quite, given the samurai-era setting and flavour, but you can't blame it, really. If you're going to rip something off, might as well make it one of the less common anime genres (even if a common one is mixed in).

In print on Anime Works, a division of
Media Blasters (bilingual DVD). The whole series is currently available in a budget litebox, blus a limited edition litebox packaged with a small Rushuna figure.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
The always-dependable Yuka Takeuchi Fan has galleries of Rushuna in episodes 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12, one for Setsuna Oomido, plus a cute bonus.
Just a line.
Reiko Mikami
As you might have gathered by the name, this is a show about a young woman named Mikami who makes her living ridding buildings of ghosts. Mikami is a money-grubbing so-'n'-so who knows how well she is built and uses that knowledge to her advantage, whether it is to keep exploiting her lecherous, hard-working assistant Tadao (who always hopes to see more of her) while literally paying him pennies, or to attract more high-paying customers. While you have to give creator Shiina Takashi some credit for trying to make Mikami look unique, the facial design--especially those billiard eyeballs--doesn't exactly compliment her figure; if anything, it detracts from it. However, I've seen some of the OVAs and the comedy is good enough to let the viewer overlook that flaw.

The Ghost Sweeper Mikami movie is out of print (previously on Manga Entertainment on bilingual DVD). The TV series is available on Sentai Filmworks (sub-only DVD).
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
GS Mikami movie LD cover
Just a Line.
Noriko Takaya; Jung-Freud (left to right)
Noriko from GunbusterJung from Gunbuster
This mainly dramatic OVA series (it lightly parodies the shoujo/sports classic Ace wo Narae!/Aim For the Ace!) is one of Gainax's earlier efforts, and rightly considered one of their classics. That was probably also helped by the original character designs by Haruhiko Mikimoto (Super Dimension Fortress Macross). Noriko Takaya is a plucky young woman from Osaka who lost her father, Admiral Yuzo Takaya, when his ship was ambushed in deep space. She vows to follow in his footsteps and become a space pilot, and enrols in the Okinawa High School for Girls, which offers training in operating the RX-7 Machine Weapon. She's clumsy and has a lot of difficulty with it, which makes for touches of comedy (from Noriko) and drama (from others), especially when it's found out that she's one of the cadets chosen to pilot the Gunbuster. Jung-Freud is an ace RX-7 pilot from Soviet Russia (screw off with the idiotic meme jokes) who definitely does not fit the stereotype of the stern, stoic Russian. She first comes off as arrogant and boastful to all around her, but, after a large-scale challenge between her and Noriko's sempai Kazumi Amano--which Noriko gets involved in--she becomes friends with both of them and her attitude softens a bit. However, this doesn't necessarily prevent a rivalry with them to become one of the Gunbuster pilots. The show was given a big dose of infamy by some very noticeable portrayals of female bodily movement. This includes the scene where Noriko stomps away in disgust from some fellow cadets who are making fun of her (which is used in the OP sequence), skipping rope during training, and Jung-Freud in a nicely gratuitous bath-house scene which set the bar higher for similar settings in anime from that point onwards. As a result of this, the show is nicknamed "Bustgunner," and many fans now call jiggling in any anime show "Gainaxing."

Out of print (previously on Bandai Visual on sub-only DVD, and on US Renditions and then Manga Entertainment on sub VHS in days of olde). It's not hard to find the DVD set via mail order, though, especially since Bandai Visual sold it for a pretty stupid price, so it wasn't exactly rushing off the shelves. Be warned that some of the music was changed for this edition.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
The Gunbuster Index
Just a Line.
Yoko Littner
Gainax, flush with the success of FLCL, decided to take the screwiness factor that suffused it and apply it to the classic Giant Robot genre. In a dystopic future, in an underground village called Jeeha, the people seek to expand their living space by drilling further down into the ground. A short but sincere young lad named Simon is known as one of the best diggers in the village. His friend Kamina, a brash and arrogant young delinquent given to dramatic speeches, swears that he saw the surface world a long time ago and dreams of going back, wanting Simon to join him as part of "Gurren-dan" (Team Gurren) Of course, this earns Kamina nothing more than the village ender's scorn. During one of Simon's excavations, he finds a drill bit that glows green, and later on, some sort of large face. Later, a monstrously huge robot bursts through into Jeeha, exposing the surface world, but, most immediately, causing touble to the residents. Following shortly afterward is a red-headed, scantily-dressed young woman firing an enormous rifle at the robot, who immediately gets involved with our heroes. Later, she introduces herself as Yoko, originally from the mearby village Littner. Simon leads Kamina and Yoko to the large face, which turnes out to be a mini-mecha known as a Gunman, and the core drill that Simon found is its key. After they get the Gunman out, they use it to defeat the larger robot and then burst onto the surface world. It turns out that the surface world is crawling with Gunmen piloted by Beastmen out to destroy any human they can find, under the orders of the Spiral King Lordgenome and Yoko is one of the members of the resistance who is fighting them. She gives her age as 14 (a poke at Evangelion), and becomes the third member of Gurren-dan. She not only doles out the eye candy in heaping handfuls, but is easily the smartest and most mature of the three of them. All of the above happens in the first of 27 episodes, and things just get more and more...well, more everything as the series goes on, with Yoko lending her combat experience, electromagnetic rifle skills and damn-look-at-those-things-bounce--especially with Simon's pet pig-mole Boota nesting. Gurren Lagann is part tribute to and a bit of a parody of giant robot shows, with its own share of not just action and comedy but drama and even a bit of romance as well. I had fun watching it. So have lots of other people. If you haven't, give it a spin.

The TV series is in print on Bandai Entertainment, Inc. (bilingual DVD). Hoo boy, did they ever screw up releasing it, with sub-only and then bilingual editions, some with enclosed CDs and the like (which lasted on the shelf for about the lifespan of a fruit fly), some without...what a mess. Just get the Anime Legends Complete Collection of it. The two recap movies, Gurren-hen (Childhood's End) and Lagann-hen (The Lights in the Sky Are Stars) are in print on Aniplex USA (sub-only DVD), in two of their less wallet-sodomizing releases.
ANN Encyclopedia Entry
Yoko from Gurren Lagann 

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

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