Pictures from the North American premiere of the third Madoka Magica movie, as well as a Q&A with producer Atsuhiro Iwakami and Studio SHAFT president Mitsutoshi Kubota.
Reviewby Theron Martin, Dec 29th 2005
Weather Report Girl
The prime-time news room of a network TV station can be a cutthroat world, as weather girl Michiko Kawai finds out at ATV when a single-day stand-in by brassy, flashy new girl Keiko Nakadai proves such a success for the ratings-starved network that Keiko becomes Michiko's permanent replacement. Dismayed at being relegated to the morning news and disinclined to take up Keiko's wild, sexy antics, Michiko resorts to drastic measures to gain her position back, but Keiko is far from a push-over. Her soft exterior hides a deeply-seeded mean streak which could crush Michiko if she's not careful! When the return of a respected former anchorwoman also threatens Keiko's popularity, she wastes no time in trying to also put her in her place, but the sophisticated beauty Kaori Shimamori is not so easy an opponent. And it seems that some of Keiko's past indiscretions have not been forgotten by everyone. . .
This 2-episode 86-minute OVA series from 1994 has only recently been released by The Right Stuf International, and it isn't difficult to see why it wasn't picked up earlier: it's not a mainstream title by any stretch, nor is it a glowing example of anime virtue. It is a series aimed at adult males who get a kick out of watching sexy women try to one-up and put-down each other in degrading and mean-spirited ways. A generous soul might try to claim that it's a biting satire on behind-the-scenes maneuvering in a news room, but that would be giving the series way too much credit. This is purely visceral entertainment which collects crude and nasty behavior, some nudity and strong sexual content, lots of lingerie shots, and “cat fights” (which of course expose some T&A) and wraps them up in a bombastic, sometimes-humorous production which isn't quite hentai but is only one small step removed from it.
That Weather Report Girl works at all as entertainment beyond its fan service content is due largely to how deliciously wild and bitchy Keiko is in her efforts to defeat her competition. This is the kind of character you love to hate, one whose over-the-top fits of pique, devious nature, and cruelty leave the viewer eager to see her get her comeuppance – which isn't so easy to do, since she's also remarkably capable at turning even difficult situations to her advantage. In many ways she's the spiritual cousin of Tenchi Muyo!'s Ryoko, although this one doesn't hesitate to flash her panties to emphasize a point or force a subordinate to go down on her. All of the other characters play off her to one degree or another, including the ugly, obsessed old high school classmate who has a distinctively original reason why Keiko is the only woman for him. There isn't much plot or any substance in all these antics, but anyone who was expecting that there would be was looking in the wrong place to begin with.
The artistry is most distinctive for its character designs, which uniformly portray the leading ladies as tall, lanky, long-necked vixens with high foreheads, healthy bosoms, and enormous chins on teardrop-shaped heads. Male characters, by comparison, are generally rough and ugly individuals. The appeal of the main characters is highlighted by the varied and inventive costuming, ranging from stylish lingerie to swimsuits to sleek evening gowns. The hairdos of the main characters and the general styling and coloration of the overall artistic effort reflect the stylistic flairs common in early '90s anime, though the quality of the drawing is a little better than the norm for the time period. Background art is also acceptably well-rendered, though neither it nor the character art is especially complex or detailed. Nude shots, which are less common than one would expect given the 17+ rating and usually very brief, are well-enough drawn that they shouldn't disappoint anyone into such things.
That this is an OVA series instead of a TV series is also reflected in the animation quality, which is a bit better than the norm for series from that time period. The sometimes-quirky musical scoring does a competent job of supporting the dramatic flair and grandiose actions of the characters without ever getting too obtrusive. Nothing bad about it at all, but it's just not particularly noteworthy.
Hentai and pseudo-hentai titles are not known for putting much effort into their English dubbing, but Weather Report Girl packs a surprisingly good one for its genre. Performances in most roles are smooth and stylistically on the mark compared to the original performances, while the voices themselves match up well. Even the pseudo-sex scenes sound pretty good, which certainly isn't the norm for English dubs. Unfortunately the English credits, which are shown only after the original Japanese closers, mostly list obviously fake names (Kerri Grant? Chick Peter?) so it's hard to give due credit on the performances; at least some of the VAs can be heard in the English dubs of certain hentai titles, however. The English script is nearly word-for-word the same as the subtitles, but that and the smooth deliveries come at the expense of any pretense of accurate lip-synching. (If the lack of this bothers you, then this is not a dub that you're going to appreciate.) The Japanese dub isn't particularly good at lip-synching either, however.
Like most adult-oriented titles, Weather Repot Girl is short on extras. Only an art gallery composed mostly of screen shots provides any complement to the typical company previews.
Weather Report Girl will never be mistaken for a top-tier title, nor will it ever achieve much popularity, but it does a respectable job of accomplishing what it sets out to do: provide a spicy, raunchy, and mindless diversion for adult viewers.
Overall (dub) : C+
Overall (sub) : C+
Story : C+
Animation : B-
Art : C+
Music : B-
+ Good fan service, interesting and lively central character.
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