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Favorite Episode
Besides the whole Chiryuu-senpai- peeking-underneath- Hazumi's-skirt scenes, I also love this part in the last episode, where Kijima Touta caught Hazumi and was about to break her neck. Tears suddenly dripped from Hazumi's eyes and she told Kijima brokenly, "I've never met anyone so pitiful and insecure such as you." Kijima was surprised, he loosened his hold on Hazumi, who was able to run away. It was awhile before Kijima was able to shake himself back to reality and he noticed something on the ground: a bottle of "Iris Eye Cleanser." ^_^

Bakuen Campus Guardress
Synopsis | Review

Some anime are formulaic in their artwork. I'd like to think it's classified as "brand new-looking" and "old-looking." Bakuen Campus Guardress falls in the latter. Call me biased, but I don't like the antique feel of watching an old-looking anime. Then again, the story proved my taste wrong.

Bakuen Campus Guardress was shown in 1994 and is composed of four OAVs. I thought the anime serious with the ominous-sounding title. Ha! I was foiled again...

30,000 years ago, creatures from a place called the Dark World tried to take over the human world by trespassing through a door in space called the Gateway. The Gateway, along with the leader of the Dark World, Kijima Touta, was eventually sealed. This was accomplished through a key in the form of a person called Kairei. So being the key, he sacrificed himself and got killed in the process to be able to close the Gateway. Some of the creatures from the Dark World were left behind in the human world; they are called the Remnants (how accurate). The humans who are sworn to defeat them are called the Guardians. A school, the Gateway Campus, was constructed on the spot where the Gateway once stood. This school was founded by the humans who have first defeated the creatures from the Dark World, and their descendants are the students trained to be Guardians.

Centuries later, a group of Remnants led by a muscular man with a grotesquely made-up face by the name of McCoy, was toying with a group of Guardians in a secluded alley. McCoy would attack the Guardians with his "Beautiful Iron Punch" and taunt them as nothing but dog sh*t, when suddenly a clump of the aforementioned material fell on his face. Everybody looked up to see a school-uniformed girl holding a sword and standing above them on a high tower, while the sound of a pager could be heard nearby. She said she is heaven's warrior, called by the pager, and the maiden supreme, Hazumi Jinno. The Guardians recognized her and, instead of being grateful, have panicked, saying she's the "ally-killer," the "goddess of destruction," and that they're all "goners." Hazumi was insulted, her entrance being ruined by her co-Guardians, of all people. McCoy however got mad at being thrown dog sh*t on the face and carried on a litany about how he'll destroy the Guardians and make mincemeat out of Hazumi. When he turned to face her--too late--Hazumi had already built up enough energy to attack all Remnants and Guardians alike...

So begins the chronicle of the life of Hazumi Jinno, a high school student, and older sister to another high school student called Takumi. Unlike other sisters, Hazumi is madly in love with his brother and would even daydream of marrying him. Incestuous? Probably, but there are references (from Hazumi herself) that they are not blood relatives. Even their mother, Kasumi, is also infatuated with Takumi. Mother and daughter would race up the stairs every morning in order to be the first to wake Takumi up and steal a morning kiss from him while he's asleep (eh?).

If you find this odd, other characters peripheral to Hazumi's and Takumi's lives are just as weird. There's Chiryuu-senpai, who has this perverse habit of peeking under Hazumi's skirts by literally lifting up the edges and putting his head underneath. Consequently, he would sail into the air via Hazumi's flying kick, though that doesn't deter Chiryuu-senpai. He would even offer comments he thinks are helpful, like, "Next time, I think you should wear thonged bikini bottoms." ^_^ However, despite his ecchi-ness, Chiryuu-senpai is a high-ranking Guardian who would be in closed meetings with Tenkuu, a higher-ranking Guardian who's very concerned about the imminent opening of the Gateway and the subsequent arrival of Kijima Touta.

Another Guardian, Kazuma, is Hazumi's classmate who did not make his infatuation to her secret. There was even this one scene in the first episode when Kazuma was looking for Hazumi and when he found that she already left, became hysterical and said, "She can't, not without her boyfriend!" ^_^

To make the love triangle more complicated, there's also Hime, Takumi's classmate who would resort to anything to get Takumi to fall for her--even lure him in a secluded classroom in the guise of a fake basketball meeting to seduce him.

Bakuen Campus Guardress's plot revolves around the protection of the key to the Gateway--Kairei--reincarnated in the form of Takumi, and the return of Kijima Touta after 30,000 years of being sealed behind the Gateway. Hazumi, devoted to protecting her brother, knows that he is the key but does not remember that she herself is the reincarnation of the woman who had also loved and protected Kairei 30,000 years ago. Although Hazumi would have dreams of how, in her former life, she had fought Kijima Touta, and even tried to stop Kairei, the man she loves while he went ahead and sacrificed himself to seal the Gateway. Now, the Guardians are threatened by the re-opening of the Gateway and Kijima Touta's angered arrival. The Remnants are out hunting for the key to the Gateway, Takumi, and it's up to Hazumi and the other Guardians to protect him.

Moderation is the word I'd like to describe Bakuen. Everything was tempered with comedy that the anime may have serious themes without being depressing. And I don't think anybody would find Bakuen even remotely depressing. Just when you think you're about to get a tear-jerker scene, they'd do something totally unexpected. For example, when Kijima Touta cut Chiryuu-senpai's body in half and the head-to-torso part was tossed towards Hazumi's direction, Hazumi was prepared to fight Kijima to the death. Then, Chiryuu-senpai suddenly gained consciousness and spoke. He warned her about how Kijima Touta is now driven with hate for her and mankind...all the while peeking underneath her skirt. Hazumi, incensed, gritted out, "Of all the time..." and Chiryuu said sheepishly, "Come on, one last chance to peek at your panties before my last voyage." Hazumi squashed him with her foot and said, "Go take that trip by yourself!" ^_^

The plot, while having shounen components (e.g., demons from the Dark World invading the human world), also has a love story angle. Hazumi's love for Takumi, while disturbing at first, later becomes amusing to watch. The guys watching this anime won't find anything mushy at all, which makes Bakuen Campus Guardress neither shoujo nor shounen, but something in between.

Artwork, as I've said before, has a dated feel similar to Hana Yori Dango, but is well-done and detailed. The story, dialogue, and scenarios are so good that my prejudice towards dated artwork was forgotten, and it "grew" on me. The music, while unremarkable, can lend the story humor especially in scenes where there is comedy. If there is such a thing as "goofy music," then Bakuen has it.

Bakuen Campus Guardress, sadly, is an underrated anime. Not many people know of its existence. However, it is one of the best introductory titles for people who still haven't watched any violent anime. And yeah, Bakuen has its share of violence...lots of it, with a teeny bit of gore, but you'd soon forget it with the characters' antics. These antics are what makes Bakuen really special.

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