Xerdo's Burn Up W Tv Review

Burn Up W tv Review

Story & Characters

* Before we begin this review, it must be specified that it deals not only with Burn Up W - but also Burn Up Excess and Burn Up Scramble. This is, in other words, a comparative review of the saga*
<i>Ah!, the late 90s. Boy, was the world different then. </i> Playstation and Saturn were high-technology, Windows ME had yet to be unleashed upon naive masses, high school people could still wear shirts not tucked in, and anime was colourful, over-the top, exaggerated, and full of engrish and fan-service. It was heaven.

And just in the beginning of that golden age, that heaven long gone, several impressive comic titles were made into animations that could be defined as classics. Burn Up W and Excess were not two of those classics, but they could definitely make fun of them and leave the viewer satisfied.

You have your typical, late 90's utopian Neo-Tokyo story, with a little bit of Charlie's Angels, and a little bit of <i>good ol' blowing stuff up.</i> It's the early 21st century, viewed from the retrofuturistic eye of 90s anime - and like Tokyo in the 90s and today, there's crime to be fought. Of course, the police has the technology to fight regular crime, and a police complex, PoliceTown, has been put together to administrate and keep the beautiful and peaceful city of NeoTokyo safe.
But what about violent crime, terrorism, and other serious dangers that also need to be kept from the public eye?
For that, elite ranks in the government have created Team Warrior - an elite force of specialists who can solve any hostile situation - from a plane hijacking, to the kidnapping of a virtual idol, to nailing persistent underwear thieves.
And just who is Team Warrior? Of course - a group of quirky, curvy females to satisfy every ecchi fantasy there is - the violent, busty bonde bimbo, with debt up to her neck, the innocent, pink haired, childish computer expert, the technology freak who has the least design taste possible (but is still bouncy and hot!), and the gun freak who loves her weapons just <i> a little bit </i> too much. (Yup, in <i> that <i/> sense. ) Oh, and Yuuji, the perverted voyeur, who also happens to be an expert pilot.
In W and Excess, the formula works incredibly well. All the characters have great personalities, but, above all, great chemistry together. The bad guys are, as well, extremely well written - and the way the plot advances, balanced between humour, action, fan service and serious themes, is just awesome - a feat in 90s style anime.

Burn Up Scramble does not fare that well, unfortunately. Produced in 2004, Scramble is a re-interpretation of the Burn Up formula. But this <i> gaiden </i> effort of sorts fails miserably because of the sore lack of many very important characters, and the unnecessary changes applied to the rest. Rio, the blonde bimbo in question, for example, seems as too much of a loser in Scramble. Gone are Maya and Nanvel who added depth and quirkiness to the formula (respectively), and were some of the old series' best looking characters. Lilica has changed from computer-freak to mind-reading freak, making her seem useless and just forced onto the plot. Yuuji now has an obsessed girlfriend, but doesn't get enough screen time to do what made him a great character in the first two Burn Up entries.
The only positive change is Maya Jinguu, the gun-obsessed agent, who's been added a lot of character depth. That too is wasted, though - when the series tries, and fails, to focus on her friendship with Rio.

Burn Up W (1996) is a four episode OVA that just manages to have enough time for comedy and serious action, and to be a great pilot/introduction for the full series (Excess). In the third episode, things take a much more serious turn - but the story is told so well, that the balance stays long enough to make a solid impression on the viewer. It's, however, not the best.
Burn Up Excess (1997) takes all that made W great, and ups the ante, with much more time to establish a great story, excellent character development, well written comedy, and a distinct personality. By the end, you know you'll miss this series once it's over.

Burn Up Scramble (2004) has these two series' potential... and pretty much runs it into the ground. It's watchable, and the serious part of the series does become quite interesting, as do some of the early episodes. But without the loveable characters, the depth of their development, and the properly executed action or drama sequences, and, of course, with its comedy being toned down, it's dead upon arrival. It's not a bad series over all, but it has big shoes to fill and doesn't deliver.

I give Burn Up W a 7 in the story department, Burn Up Excess a 9, and Burn Up Scramble a 5 - which average to 7.

Rating: 7


In the art department, we, once again, deal with serious changes between the three series.
Burn Up W has an intro in three of the four episodes, and this intro features stills from the comic book going into motion and colour - as if the manga authors themselves were seriously surprised their work had made it to animation. The chase and the music are great, though, and do set the stage for very good art direction. The viewer can tell the budget was somewhat limited, as was technology, but there is great design in characters, locations, and props, as well as a very well executed animation.

Excess adds a seriously colourful and dynamic intro to the mix - and a very quirky "cut and paste" style ending that just happens to work excellently. To this, we also add a great variety in locations and a seriously fan-service oriented animation, coupled with several great references, and a marked improvement in the colour balance and secondary character design, and we get an even greater experience. We should add that vehicle and weapon designs are also top-notch, and so are the "takes" of the characters (the "camera", if you will) - that make for great still imagery.
Upon every episode, we get a really good look into the title's universe, and it's just a great one.

Scramble, several years later, would differ from the norm. The intro and ending are pedestrian at best. The animation quality has improved a bit, but the character designs have been <i> updated </i> to a more contemporary style. And that update, once again, fails to bring any necessary change to the formula. Burn Up Scramble is also a bit darker, with a bit more seriousness to the color palette, and some of the enemy and location designs are updated as well. But without the quirky anime-style "emoticons" and other "interface" details, it just ends up being drab, more than serious, and unnecessarily void of colour.

In all, W and Excess get a solid 9 for design, whereas Scramble gets a 4.
I'll note this as a "7" mark.

Rating: 7


Excess and W have excellent music - Intro, Ending and Incidental alike. We get variations of the Excess theme, as well, as incidental "dramatic" or "dynamic" background music. The voices are over the top, exaggerated, and just right on with the style. Special remark is to be given to the Ending Theme for Excess, which is infectiously catchy - while the intros to both Excess and W are your typical Engrish-laden, 80s-style techno-rock-pop mixes, typical in their conteporary anime. With a lot of variety and repetition of "mood" themes, though, the music is overall quite catchy and well executed - and the voices fit right into the over-the-top, 90s style of the series.

The intro and ending to Scramble don't fare that well. Neither do the incidental themes. It's remarkably sad that the intro has a narrator explaining the concept behind the series, in a retro-ish techno musical theme without lyrics. The voices are quite good, though, but they don't matter much if there's a distinct lack of cohesive style. It's definitely not a bad case in any of the three titles. W and Excess get a 9 in the audio department, and Scramble gets a 7. I'll mark this as an "8" in the category.

Rating: 8


I guess what can be endearing about the first two titles, and what fails miserably in the third one is the style and presentation. The first two are a sample of better times in anime, when it was colourful and extreme, full of engrish and fanservice, but also when it was such a novel concept in this side of the ocean. W and Excess have several in-jokes, very funny omake sections (complete with "fake" television static), and pop culture references, as well as references to other titles (from Robocop to Evangelion, to Tokimeki Memorial, Hentai Gaming, and even to Segata Sanshiro CMs of the time).
This, taken with a quirky, over the top sense of humour, and lots of fan service and mature jokes, just makes the story endearing. Adding this endearment to great design, excellent editing, and a balance that makes the story both serious and funny, both deep and easy to pick up, and you get a great mix.
Burn Up W has more of a mini-series, <i> auteur </i> film feeling to it, and it goes into more serious, depressive matters. Excess does get serious, but it's your typical over-the-top 90s title, comparable more to Agent Aika than to other more serious titles.
Scramble attempts to take the seriousness a step further, but it fails to adapt the balance of moods, and just feels uncohesive.

Overall, I consider Excess to be the best of the three - even if W is a very impresive introduction to the series.
Scramble is not absolutely terrible, but I won't recommend it to people who aren't Burn Up fans unless they want to have everything related to the series. I recommend a rental, at best, for that third one.
I give Excess and W an overall rating of "9", and Scramble an overal rating of "6", which I'll mark as an 8 to this review's score system.

Rating: 8

Final Verdict

7.5000 (good)

Reviewed by Xerdo, Sep 05, 2005


  1. endsoftheworld99 Sep 05, 2005

    Woahh, a great review on an anime that I love! Thanks!

  2. Xerdo Sep 05, 2005

    Dammit, I made a critical mistake here.

    It's Maki who is gone from Scramble, not Maya. Names too similar.

    That and an Italic tag that I'm sure I put there but still never worked.

    Oh well, the rest is true.

    And I double checked and everything. Man, I think I need to sleep more...

  3. 89757 Banned Member Sep 06, 2005

    Hei !!! I like your review even I don know about Burn Up W .Your review is very interesting and great,so keep it up.

  4. Xerdo Sep 06, 2005

    Thanks to both of you for reading.

  5. acidsmudge Sep 07, 2005

    I like the review, I think you have a talent that I failed to aquire. Keep up the good work. I have been wanting to watch the Burn Up saga and now I realy want to watch it. I could say that I love you and hate you for it because i am struggling to find it. Oh well time to try harder.


  6. Xerdo Sep 07, 2005

    Thanks for visiting and for the great comment. I really recommend getting the series -
    If you have too much trouble getting it and really can't find it, contact me and I'll help you somehow.

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