Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: A-
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: A-
- Age Rating: 15 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: ADV Films UK
- MSRP: £19.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Najica Blitz Tactics
Najica Blitz Tactics Vol. #1
By Dani Moure
February 03, 2004
Release Date: February 16, 2004
Najica Blitz Tactics Vol. #1
What They Say
© ADV Films UK
Following a devastating series of earthquakes, a fifth of the Earth's surface is submerged under water. Najica Hiiragi (perfumier by day, secret agent by night), uses her uncanny ability to recognize and classify over 500 different smells to build her cosmetic empire and fight the world's criminal element in her spare time!
Forced to take on a partner, leggy loner Najica is paired with Lila, an android 'Humaritt' whose childlike naiveté belies her awesome artificially created instincts. Quite why she has to take this lovable killing machine under her wing and, in fact, Lila's ultimate fate is for Hiiragi to find out!The Review!
Panties, panties, panties, panties and more panties. It's panty-riffic!Audio:
I listened to the Japanese stereo track for my main review, and noticed no distortions or dropouts. The track itself was quite lively and immersive. The English language track is presented in 5.1, and it sounded excellent from some spot-checking while writing the review. This disc holds up very well in the audio department.Video:
being a fairly recent show (originally airing in 2001), the transfer is extremely fresh and clean, looking absolutely gorgeous. I noticed no artefacts or aliasing during regular playback. This disc just showcases again how well some of ADV's recent UK releases have turned out in terms of video.Packaging:
The packaging also manages to hit all the right marks. The disc comes packaged in a white keepcase, complementing the use of white on the cover extremely well. The cover is fairly sparse, with an image of Najica holding Lila in a rather compromising position on the right (once again exposing the panties), with the series logo off to the left and the volume clearly numbered. The white space actually really helps this cover standout, and fits the tone of the show well. The back cover contains the volume synopsis with three screenshots. Extras and languages are clearly labelled, with the runtime and episode numbers listed clearly in the standard ADV UK information bars. The insert is a single sheet with different artwork of Najica to the cover on one side, and a brief disc breakdown on the other. While some will complain about the lack of box (and of course, the panties included with it), ADV UK have done a great job of matching the US release in all the other areas.Menu:
The main menu is split almost halfway, with the left hand side looping video of some of the more panty-filled scenes from the show playing to the opening theme, with easy episode selection on the right, and the submenu links below it. The submenus are static but cleanly presented with fast access times, all looping various instrumentals from the soundtrack.Extras:
The first volume of Najica
presents some great extras. We have the usual textless opening and ending, as well as a Japanese promotional video for the show, that runs just over a minute and a half, with some clips from the show and showcasing some of the creative and vocal talents. We also get a still gallery of some nice line art from the show.
The meaty extra here though, is a commentary on episode 3 by English voice actresses Kira Vincent-Davis (who plays Najica) and Monica Rial (Lila). While there's not all that much focus on discussing the show itself, it's a hilarious track that is well worth a listen. The ladies are clearly having a blast themselves, and their passion for their work comes across nicely.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It would be unfair to focus a review of Najica
solely around the panty factor, but it ends up being such a key focus of the show at times that it's totally unavoidable. There's a lot beyond the panties, but right from the suggestive cover, you need to know that this series is filled, and I mean filled
to the brim with every panty-exposing camera shot you could possibly imagine.
But backing up, there is actually a plot beyond the panties. Najica Hiiragi is a special agent who happens to also have an interest in developing perfume, and the show opens by showcasing her female assets while she's training. She soon receives a rose, which signifies a new mission. She is sent on a retrieval mission, and after much fighting in a huge mansion she manages to get the goods, which later end up in her room. It turns out that she retrieved Lila, who is a Humaritt – an android type that's as close to being a human as possible. Lila is assigned as Najica's partner, which is something Najica initially objects to.
Over the course of the second episode, Najica has trouble adjusting to Lila and, indeed, treating her like a partner. She has to get Lila to learn to do things in certain situations, such as eating an ice cream before it melts. Nonetheless, the pair are sent to thwart an assassination, as a judge's daughter is being threatened by Mafia bosses as he refuses to retract his sentence against them. Najica is forced to work with Lila and try and learn some of her nuances in order to successfully complete the mission, which could be a failure without Lila's precision aiming.
The introduction to the story of Najica
is pretty good, and it's particularly good to watch Najica and Lila interact. The stories themselves are quite high on action and relatively simple, and continue as such for the remainder of the disc.
The third episode sees Najica and Lila sent in to stop the sale of a military satellite that can cause mass destruction and was recently recovered, to be sold to the highest bidder. They also need to deactivate the satellite, with more objectives to be thrown at them during the mission. Dressed in the most revealing swimsuits and skimpy outfits, the two fly out and try to flirt with the seller, Todd, to get on his side for more information. This episode is another fun romp, with more enjoyable action. The revelation regarding Todd's girlfriend isn't exactly the biggest surprise, though it's an interesting twist that leads to another recovery for the ladies.
The disc is rounded out with Najica and Lila attempting to uncover (and recover) a Humaritt from an idol group. This leads to some amusing situations with Lila having to pose as an upcoming idol herself, with Najica as her manager, in order to try and trick the group into slipping up so they can detect which one is acting like a Humaritt. It's far more difficult than they originally planned, though, and they are forced to try to identify the Humaritt from their serial numbers, which are naturally located just above their rear ends. Again, this episode is quite enjoyable and the situations Lila gets into are quite amusing. The hypnotic twist was quite different, though again the final revelation is quite easy to deduct once you see where the story is going.
But the thing about Najica
is that the plots aren't really meant to be all that complex. It's a fun show with lots of action and panty shots by the bucket load. The stories are relatively simple and predictable, but they're a lot of fun. Thus far, in terms of plot the episodes are fairly episodic, with the main running thread being the recovery of the Humaritts, which you'd expect to lead to a bigger picture regarding who they are and what they're needed for. It's a little unfortunate, though, that occasionally the plot is overshadowed slightly by certain garments.
The characters in Najica
are a lot of fun, and already Najica and Lila have built up a great dialogue and relationship that proves a lot of fun to watch. Najica manages to go from completely untrusting and almost angry at Lila to accepting her and even helping her learn. Amusing moments like the whole thing over which of Lila's laughs is most appropriate, and her tendency to take Najica's words a little too literally (even if it means throwing crockery around), both add to the humour level and make watching the episodes all the more enjoyable. And although he doesn't get all that much screen time in the first disc, Gento's rapport with Najica is also funny. Najica herself comes off as the "cool" lady at the company that every woman wants to be, as witnessed when she walks into the CRI building.
While the panties do begin to get a little tiresome, during parts of the first couple of episodes in particular, after a while it becomes quite amusing to see the inventive camera angles used to expose even the slightest glimpse of white. It's absolutely hilarious to watch all the women fall down with their backsides in the air just to get a nice view of their underwear. In addition to the panties and their exposure, Najica
also contains a fair amount of nudity in places, especially (you guessed it) butt shots. The most amusing line in the last episode on the disc has to be Najica's question to Gento, "You expect me to go after their butts?"
The animation is pretty good for the most part, with not too much reliance on the still panning shots. The action scenes are generally quite well done, and again, moving beyond the panties, they're also quite brutal. It may just be because of the cracking sound effects during every kick and punch, but with a fair amount of violence in the show it often sounds really harsh, which is probably a good thing, as it kind of subconsciously increases the "danger" level. The music itself is quite fitting, and both the opening and ending sound quite retro, and could almost be something out of one of those late night "erotic" movies.In Summary: Najica Blitz Tactics
is something a little different; light-hearted and not to deep, it doesn't take itself too seriously and focuses a whole lot on panties. While the show may begin to lose some of its charm and amusement if it doesn't shift up a gear a little in terms of story, what with it being short at 12 episodes, the opening disc is highly enjoyable and well worth a watch, especially since it's put together in such a great package.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening & Closing,Production Sketches,Commentary by Kira Vincent-Davis (Najica) and Monica Rial (Lila),Original Japanese promo video
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Pioneer DV-464 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.