ADV Films // 1997 // 325 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Gutierrez (Retired) // August 26th, 2004
"I'm sorry, my little bunny."
I like women. I like women that fight crime in skintight uniforms, who hang out with other women in skintight uniforms that fight crime. If somebody told me I would be given the opportunity to witness over five hours of buxom women in form-fitting suits kicking around criminals, I would have thanked them and written them a large check. After watching Burn Up Excess: Warrior Case Files, I should have known there was a catch.
Led by Maki, Team Warrior is an elite police force that deals with cases too tough for the normal police force to handle. Team Warrior has its share of quirky characters: Rio, a Barbie doll with no sense of financial planning; Maya, lover of weapons and warfare with a penchant for releasing sexual tension through firing a gun (Oh, the subtlety!); Lilicia, petite technical and computer genius; Nanvel, the mechanically inclined one; and Yugi the hornball.
Much like a modern television series, this DVD set has a meta-arc as well as episodes focusing on specific characters. The bulk of the series pits Team Warrior against the mysterious Ruby and equally enigmatic Mr. Harry in their quest for black diamonds. Along the way, Team Warrior fights debt, the mob, mechanical insects, and cross-dressers.
Originally released in four separate volumes, ADV has combined the four discs into one mega-volume.
Disc One -- "To Serve and Protect"
* "Warrior Team Deploys"
We are introduced to Team Warrior as they fight mechanical insects and rescue the Mayor.
* "Undies, Go!"
Team Warrior gets help from an underwear fetishist to track down transvestite robbers.
* "From the Desert with Love"
Team Warrior is hired to bodyguard a prince/petroleum bigwig from a group of mercenaries.
Maya takes on the mob in order to aid her family in this decent character development episode.
Disc Two -- "Crimes and Missed Demeanors"
* "An Idol Never Sleeps"
A pop star receives a death threat and earns Team Warrior's brand of protection.
* "Rambo! Bravo! Rio Bimbo!"
We were due for a flashback episode. This outing focuses on Rio's first days as part of Team Warrior.
* "Short Vacation"
Maki goes on vacation and leaves Rio in charge in one of the more important episodes of the series. Viewers should pay close attention to Maki's story, as it will resonate throughout the remaining two discs.
Disc Three -- "Under the Gun"
* "Nanve Kidnapped"
The transvestite bank robbers return and need Nanve's invention to alter their appearances for a nefarious scheme. Imagine Dog Day Afternoon if done as a National Lampoon's farce and that will approximate how this episode works.
* "Slam Tank"
The Warrior Team is asked to play escort to a super cyber tank named Harry. This episode is best described as Thomas the Tank Engine meets the models from the Victoria's Secret catalog.
* "Slam Tank Part II"
Rio and robot Henry are in the middle of a violent political situation.
Disc Four -- "The Case of the Black Diamonds"
The final three episodes all revolve around the Black Diamond storyline:
* "Episode Eleven"
This episode finds a disguised Ruby introducing a line of mechacops that causes unease amongst the Team Warrior Office and focuses on the mystery of the black diamonds.
* "Episode Twelve"
The black diamond mystery continues while Team Warrior investigates a plant suspected of manufacturing the mechacops.
* "Last Excess"
The mystery of the series' big baddie is revealed. An army of robot clones lays siege to the city. Team Warrior's got to pull themselves together to save everyone. To paraphrase Joe Bob Briggs, the final episode has plenty of "boob fu" and a poor visual reference to John Lennon's assassination. This would have been a better episode if it had ended five minutes earlier.
Essentially, this show is a cross between Guns & Ammo and a neutered version of Letters to Penthouse. What kills this DVD set for me is the constant anime tease. I'll put it simply -- this DVD set has its very own patented Jiggle Counter. There are enough boobs bouncing in these episodes to warrant an actual counter. What's more, the counter continues through the entirety of the thirteen episodes for a final tally of how many times a particular character's chest has heaved. This sort of display of almost sexuality is my main problem with Burn Up Excess: Warrior Case Files. I just don't get the point of the half-assed attempts at bawdiness. Yet more confusing is the false nudity. When a character is naked, they often are missing anatomical parts. An undressed Barbie doll is a good approximation of how anatomically correct the characters in this OVA are. Is there really a point to seeing drawing of almost-naked women parade around? If there is, I don't see it and have missed it entirely. Is it that the animators have never seen a naked woman? If this is the case then it makes sense.
The strangest use of lame sexiness is a recurring locker room scene. The same footage is used again and again and again. At least the shows have different dialogue looped over the scene with occasional additional footage.
The meta-arc of the set is interesting and had me wondering how things would turn out. All in all, the episodes weren't terrible, but their comedic attempts often fell flat. More importantly, I loathed the main character. I grew quickly tired of Rio's antics. Any episode that focused on the other characters was a welcome change. In fact, I grew intrigued with Maki's story. Unfortunately, the missed attempts at cheesecake during her spotlight episode undercut the better parts of her story. You can't win them all, I suppose.
For one of the few times in watching an anime, I wasn't annoyed by the voice acting. With the exception of Rio (whose character I couldn't get beyond hating), none of the actors made me want to watch the set on mute.
For a series that's seven years old, it looks pretty darn good. I didn't notice any problems with the video transfer. In addition, the sound was equally solid. I noticed nothing spectacular or problematic when I listened to the show in its native Japanese or in English.
Jiggle Counter, Jiggle Counter, Jiggle Counter, what would I do without thee? Other special features include production sketches for each episode, clean versions of the opening and closing and a special fold-out poster. The Jiggle Counter doesn't work on the opening or closing credits.
If you like She Spies or Charlie's Angels or are really hard up for pin-up like action, I'd give the old Burn Up Excess: Warrior Case Files a look. At its core, it's a decent series with an interesting final three episodes. In fact, since this set is available as four separate volumes, I'd suggest watching the Black Diamond trilogy only. When watching the final episode, stop it right when the screen goes white. Trust me; it will make for a much better viewing experience.
It's a series that almost hits its mark. If you desire espionage and naked action, do yourself a favor and rent an Andy Sidaris movie. At least the Sidaris films have real women in them. (Well, "real" in the sense that they breathe, not necessarily their parts.)
Burn Up Excess: Warrior Case Files is sentenced to do hard time. I'd say "Chain 'er up," but the OVA series would probably like that too much.
Review content copyright © 2004 David Gutierrez; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Japanese)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Jiggle Counter
* Production Sketches
* Clean Opening
* Clean Closing
* ADV Previews
* DVD Verdict Review: Charlie's Angels