Akiballion: Battlemaids of Akihabara Complete Collection - Mania.com



DVD Review

Mania Grade: C-

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: C
  • Video Rating: D
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Switchblade Pictures
  • MSRP: 19.98
  • Running time: 187
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series:

Akiballion: Battlemaids of Akihabara Complete Collection

Akiballion: Battlemaids of Akihabara Complete Collection DVD Review

By John Rose     March 26, 2010
Release Date: January 05, 2010


Akiballion: Battlemaids of Akihabara DVD Complete Collection
© Sentai Filmworks

Dark and gothic Gotham has a hero to match it, so naturally Akihabara's protectors will be a maid cafe waitress, a nurse and a swimsuit model who transform into champions of justice to save the world from creeps turned into monsters.

What They Say
They DON'T Do Windows, But they DO do Monsters!

We all know who protects Metropolis and Gotham, but when Akihabara, the geek nexus of Tokyo, is threatened by alien Cyber-Fairies, it will take more than just an average superhero to defend the world's single largest concentration of anime fans, model kits and maid cafes.

Wait, there's the answer! Enter Akiballion: maid café hostesses by day who don super-powered electro-brain battlesuits to combat the ultra-grotesque monsters sent forth by the villainous Fairie Queen! Can these three lovely young ladies handle the stress, the fighting and the responsibility of being Japan's last line of defense against alien invasion? Hey, if they can handle the lecherous customers who frequent their own restaurant, giant troll monsters should be easy (shouldn't it?) Get ready for the strangest team of superheroes to ever serve both light refreshments and just desserts, as the Electro-Battlemaids clean up the streets and tabletops of Tokyo in AKIBALLION!

The Review!
Audio:

The only language track available is Japanese 2.0. The track is clean with no drop outs and is presented in a nice mix with most of the dialogue coming from the center speaker with a little boost coming from the sides while the back adds to the soundtrack and uses occasional effects. The biggest sound problems present aren't with the encode but are a reflection of the sound design done by the film makers. Sometimes the film chooses to rerecord the lines given while the women are wearing their helmets and sometimes they leave it muffled as it was delivered. There is also a spot where they are fighting on a roof top and there is a high pitched whine from one of the roof top machines.

Video:
Released in 2008 as a DVD Pay-per-view series where people bought the disc with the first episode and then had to PPV the rest the episodes. The DVD has most video problems one can imagine in one form or another likely due to cramming the whole series on one DVD. There is plenty of noise present throughout the feature though usually not an overpowering amount but it could be a larger annoyance to those sensitive to it. There are also scenes where there is color blur, dot crawl and dithering. At times it looks like a textbook example of various flaws that need to be avoided in a release.

Packaging:
The front cover has a shot of the three leads in their fighting costumes with a shot of them unmasked in the background. The back has a shot of the three unmasked and 9 stills from the feature, 3 showing up-skirt shots and one showing the lead woman in the white swimsuit like one piece that serves as the undergarment for the sentai outfits.

Menu:
The menu features a static shot of the women wearing the uniform and unmasked. The menu moves quickly between the five episodes that comprise this release.

Extras:
There are no extras on this release.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This series was created to show off the models who comprise the main cast of women and give some fan service along the way. The first episode introduces the lead character of Maki as she throws a rather creepy guy out of the maid cafe where she works who has made her co-workers skittish by sniffing the air as they pass. When Maki arrives she resolves the issue be throwing him out while lecturing him on being better behaved. The customer then comes into contact with a costumed woman who introduces herself as Troll and offers him power by turning him into a Cyber Fairy. He then stalks Maki forcing her to transform out of sight which allows her to defeat him though as she is about to finish him off Troll teleports away with him. Maki returns to the apartment she shares with Ruka and Moe who comprise the other members of Akiballion andthey scold her for fighting on her own and make her promise to call them if anything else happens. Maki had held off doing so initially as her friends were pursuing their dreams that day and she was looking to let them do so. Naturally the next day the monster sets her up by kidnapping a friend forcing her to go attempt a rescue and a show down between Akiballion and the Cyber Fairy.

The second episode spotlights Moe who is a nurse by trade but hoping to become an illustrator and as such she uses some of her time off to meet with different publishers. The episode opens with Moe dealing with a recent rejection and also a guy in a white lab coat following her (which as people who follow sentai or magical girl shows know mean that he is a villain). During the episode there is a flashback to explain the women got their powers by the god of the Cyber World who recruits them to fight Cyber Fairies. Cyber Fairies are the product of residents from the Cyber World who were tainted due to the evils present on the internet and now want to invade the human world lead by the Fairy Queen. The three women accept his offer to become champions of justice and the flashback ends returning the story to the present. Lab coat guy has failed in his pursuit of Moe and accepts Trolls offer of power and after which he attacks Moe. Moe luckily just has time to call her friends for help and Akiballion arrives just in time to battle the Cyber Fairy.

The third episode revolves around Ruka. The intro is that Maki has a cold which allows Ruka to show off her gruff side when talking to Maki but also that she cares by leaving some soup for Maki which Moe finds. This episode has Ruka going to a modeling job which is interrupted by a photographer who had been stalking her and wanted her for his own and has accepted Trolls offer of power in exchange for allowing him to carry out his fantasy of having a private shoot with Ruka. Ruka gets to the swimsuit shoot to discover she that no other photographers have shown up as the cameraman has already taken them out and her manager is no help what so ever. Ruka tries to call her friends and despite being interrupted her friends figure out she is in danger. The risks for the team get even greater as Moe goes after Ruka leaving Maki to fight Troll alone when due to her cold Maki's helmet transformation becomes undone allowing Troll to see Maki's face. Troll then escapes leaving the Cyber Fairy to face Akiballion alone.

The final two episodes play off the fact that Troll knows who one of the members of Akiballion is and she resurrects the fallen Cyber Fairies as she and the Cyber Queen make an attempt to finish Akiballion off for good.

The series plays out as a kind of paint by numbers formula which people who have seen a number of sentai or magical girl shows will be well acquainted with. The acting is OK but the women were chosen more for their looks than acting or fighting ability but in neither case does it become unwatchable. The fights are fairly well staged and the costumes are particularly well done (both Akiballion and the Cyber Faries) with one small problem in that to help make the women appear even more like long legged heroines the belt is set real high so the skirt is real short...which leads to the second problem with the show. The number of up-skirt shots, the innuendo looks from Troll and the monsters who "punish" the members of Akiballion by alternately either stepping on the for extended periods of time or pour various odd liquids on them while they writhe in agony makes one wonder what exactly they were aiming for. At times it feels like the creators wanted to do something more adult but toned it down in the minimum way they could get away with. It feels like a show trying to serve two masters and not doing a great job at either one.

In Summary

Akiballion is a series that sentai fans and magical girl show fans might find to be watchable as a middle of the road show but few others will get much in the way of enjoyment out of it. Outside of a few odd scenes where the heroines are being tortured and supposed to be writhing in pain the only stand out horrible part is the video quality. This is a series that looked to have been just a middle of the road project to promote/capitalize on the main actresses and so didn't try for anything spectacular and thus neither accomplished that or failed to such an extent that it becomes watchable as a train wreck. It is a show not likely to greatly entertain or upset anyone and fans of the genera may find it an alright though likely not memorable way to pass a few hours.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Samsung 50" Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Reciever with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, JVC DVD player XV-FA95GD

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