(Japanese) Hiroshi Negishi
(English adaptation) Matt Greenfield, Amanda Winn
(Japanese Language Version) Yuka Imai, Yumiko Shibata, Maya Okamoto, Sakura Tange, Yuri Amano, Ryutarou Okiayu
(English Language Version) Amanda Winn, Tiffany Grant, Renee Foresman, Kimberly Yates, Carol Amerson, Jason Lee
The OVA (Original Video Animation - a series
released direct to video) "Burn-Up W" is not a
well-known anime, which is a pity. It's a sequel of sorts to the
even lesser-known early 90's OVA, "Burn-Up," and runs
to only four episodes, all of which are collected on this disc
The star of "Burn-Up W" is bubbly blonde police officer, Rio (Imai/Winn), whose shopaholic tendencies often leave her in hot water with her creditors. But Rio is more than your run-of-the-mill cop - she's also a member of Warrior, a sanctioned, covert law-enforcement team (the W in the title is for Warrior, y'get it?). She and her Warrior team-mates - trigger-happy gun-nut Maya (Okamoto/Foresman), computer-programming cutie Lilica (Tange/Yates), tech whiz Nanvel (Amano/Amerson), their girl-hungry "guy Friday" Yuji (Okiayu/Lee) and their boss and dispatcher, Maki (Shibata/Grant - who was the star of the aforementioned "Burn-Up," and is the only connection between the two shows) - don their battle armour to take the cases that the regular cops can't handle!
CASE #1: "SKIN DIVE"
When a group of feeble terrorists holds a group of Neo-Tokyo's VIPs for ransom, their outlandish demands include seeing a popular starlet perform a nude bungee jump - but in order for Warrior to foil their scheme, Rio has to stand in for her! But what they don't realise is that the whole thing is a cover for a sinister organisation to field test their new "virtual drug"...
CASE #2: "SEARCH FOR THE VIRTUAL IDOL"
The disappearance of Maria, the virtual idol - an interactive computer program - sees the Warrior team hot on her trail. But Maria's "kidnap" is not what it seems, leading to a clash with an android assassin, as the virtual drug conspiracy lurks in the background...
CASES #3 & #4: "POLICETOWN ASSAULT" ACTS 1 & 2
This two part tale rounds out the disc and the series, as the police discovery of a virtual drug unit leads to individuals under the influence of the drug murdering Rio's best friend, Chisato, and besieging police headquarters. A violent clash between the attackers and the Warrior team ensues, as Rio vows to avenge Chisato at any cost...
If the description of the first episode didn't make it clear for you, at its heart, "Burn-Up W" is a silly, fun show that's not intended to have much depth. At least, that is the feeling one gets while watching the first two episodes - sexy, silly and simple. Notably, "Search for the Virtual Idol" features a needless-but-amusing "Neon Genesis Evangelion" parody (right). But the change in tone in the final two episodes is nothing short of schizophrenic, with serious death, violence and emotion all at work. It is a truly bizarre shift in tone, that is admittedly quite jarring, and after the first two episodes, it can be hard to take the seriousness... um, seriously.
But this is not what you will be preoccupied with when watching "Burn-Up W."
What is, you may ask?
Why, quite simply, it's...
Bountiful, bouncing, behemoth boobies.
Giant, juicy, jigglin' jubblies.
Massive, monstrous, muthaluvin' mammaries.
And other such clever alliterative euphemisms.
that's right, "Burn-Up W" is fanservice. It's not a
show with fanservice thrown in - it's fanservice, with a show
built up around it. The Warrior girls are all smoking hotties,
and are easily some of the bustiest ladies to ever grace the
anime genre. The show (and this review!) is utterly shameless in
it's presentation of this, not hesitating to have cameras angled
in on the heaving, ogle-worthy endowments, and, in the case of
"Skin Dive" and "Search for the Virtual
Idol," have stories that are almost solely about hot,
smokin' babes doin' sexy stuff for no good reason. Even the
much-more-serious "Policetown Assault" opens on a note
like this, as the cash-strapped Rio attempts to sell her
underwear to make ends meet. For all this, though, there's very
little actual nudity - a brief bit in "Skin Dive," in a
fantasy sequence of the starlet performing the bungee jump and a
shot of Maria's under-construction body in "Search for the
Virtual Idol" are your real-time lot, but with the aid of
our friend, Mr. Slow-Motion-Button, you'll also get the unique,
one-time joy of seeing Rio's fully-baredfunbags for a couple of frames in episode
Um... I mean... that's what I HEARD... uh, a friend told me about it.
Didn't look for myself, no siree.
Certainly didn't make a screencap.
Aaaaanyway... truly the most irritating thing about the whole package is that the end is so abrupt. It's evident that the series was planned to go on longer, but got cut short, leaving the virtual drug storyline hanging in the air. An epilogue is tacked onto the final episode after the credits, to try and give some kind of closure, but it's pretty weak, in that all it does is remove the Warrior team from the virtual drug case, so we're not left to wonder, because we now know they don't have anything to do with it anymore.
The characters are all pretty likeable, though Maki and Maya stand out as two characters that just don't catch your attention in the fun way that the others do (though they get fleshed out some more in the sequel series, "Burn-Up Excess"). The dub is the quality one expects from ADV, with the pre-nuptial Amanda Winn and Jason Lee voicing the sometime-couple of Rio and Yuji. I did not recognise Winn at first, as my only experience of her is as Rei in "Evangelion" - indeed, I only recognised her before seeing the credits because I heard her real voice on the Eva movie commentary tracks, and identified her through that. And going by those commentary tracks, Winn's own eccentricities are not that far removed from Rio's personality, leading to an enjoyable, infectious, and all round sterling performance. She truly is a fabulous actress - there's next to nothing that she does as Rio that sounds false or forced - and Rio is such an over-the-top character, that makes it all the more impressive - and she can *really* deliver a scream! Lee is the perfect foil for her as the wimpy Yuji, really adding something to the character. The rest of the characters are fairly well-cast (most notably Kimberly Yates as Lilica), but some guest characters stand out above them, including the ever-enjoyable Alison Keith in the role of Maria in the second episode, and Spike Spencer, giving an hyperactive, disturbing performance as Jackal Head (right) in "Policetown Assault."
"Burn-Up W" does not pretend to be deep. It's mindless, male-centric entertainment, with explosions, big guns and semi-naked girls with massive chests. Looking at those composite parts, it's hard to believe that they all mesh together so successfully to create such a truly enjoyable, insane experience.
In all honesty, there is simply no better way to put it than GameFan did, in their quote which adorns the back of the DVD case - "If you're looking for a series packed with action, hot babes, and just a little depth, then Burn-Up W is for you."
Gentlemen - start your engines!
Girls... you, ah, might want to not bother. ^^;
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
This is in reference to the R2 version of the disc, which include:
Scene Selection - yeah, yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah. Don't you hate when discs list this as a special feature?
Audio - in addition to the English dub, the Japanese and Spanish audio tracks are also presented on the disc, with English subtitles.
Photo Galleries - four touched-up screenshots from each of the four episodes.
ADV Previews - a selection of trailers for current and upcoming ADV releases.
And a weblink to the ADV R2 website (which isn't even an active link, it's just the address)
So in summary, the only thing that's not standard or generic from ADV is the photo gallery, which is pretty boring. Some character profiles would have been nice, or maybe a clean opening. From what I've learned, the only thing the R2 edition is lacking that the R1 version contained is an alternate angle setup for the credits, which allows you to see both the Japanese and English versions. No great loss.
What are VERY nicely done, however, are the disc menus. Both nice-looking... (boobies...) and cleverly written - each link is in police terms. The audio setup is "Dispatch Lingo," the extras menu is "Evidence," the DVD credits are "Rap Sheet," the scene selection is "Line Up," and the previews are "Accomplices." Though it lists "Search for the Virtual Idol" as simply "For the Virtual Idol." Proof-read, people, proof-read!
Extras Rating: 2 out of 5
Also, as a final note for any fellow intrigued R2 viewers, "Burn-Up W"'s sequel series, "Burn-Up Excess," is currently being released on DVD in the UK. There are 13 episodes, over four volumes, featuring all the same cast getting up to the same sexy antics, though with a few dub re-casts, which are all for the better (anything that gets Alison Keith - who replaces Carol Amerson as Nanvel - more work is okay in my book!). "Burn-Up Excess" is just as shameless as "Burn-Up W" - ADV even take it a notch further, presuming they're including the feature that's also on the R1 versions of the discs: The Jiggle Counter ™, helping all the males out there keep track of which delightful duo gets the most bounce-time. Rather defeating the purpose of the DVD releases, however, is the fact that "Burn-Up Excess" is also currently airing on the Sci-Fi channel on Thursday nights, with one DVD volume's worth of episodes airing each week (four the first week, three for the following three weeks). Episodes 1-7 have aired at the time of this writing.