If Roger Corman were to produce, and the late Andy Sidaris write and direct an anime, the end product would be something like Burn-Up Excess.
Guns? Check. Girls? Check. Explosions? Check. Lots of boobs everywhere? Definitely check!
Director Shinichiro Kimura, and the studio Magic Bus put together a hysterical, titillating, and action packed outing that would have made both legendary B Movie auteurs mentioned above proud.
The premise is fairly straightforward. In some not too distant future, Neo Tokyo (everything’s ‘Neo’ in the future, apparently) has a special police division called Team Warrior that deals with situations that a normal police force can’t handle because of restrictions and bureaucratic red tape. When underworld elements headed by the mysterious “Harry” begin to surface in Neo Tokyo, threatening the peace, Team Warrior jumps into action.
The team is made up of some wildcard characters.
Leader Maki Kawazaki (voiced be Beth Wernick, Saints Row series), a policewoman with a tragic past; main character and Team Warrior newcomer Rio Kinezone (Amanda Winn Lee, Rei Ayanami, shouldn’t have to say more), who is constantly hurting for money; eccentric tech genius Nanvel Candlestick (Allison Keith, Gravion); computer expert Lilica Ebett (Kimberly Yates, Devil Hunter Yohko); marksman Maya Jingu (Lani Minella, over a decade voicing Nancy Drew in video games!), she gets sexually aroused when unloading clips of ammo, and lastly Yuji Naruo, the resident horndog and vehicle extraordinaire (Jason Lee, Read or Die).
Preceded by two OVAs, 1996’s Burn Up W (a prequel of sorts, even though it doesn’t really connect), and the original, unrelated Burn-Up! (1991), Excess stands out from them as it is the first to be a full length series at 13 episodes, running from December 12th 1997 to July 1st 1998. Enough episodes to thread a thin plot, explore the cast, and strip down series lead Rio Kinezono as often as possible. Excess would be followed by 2004’s Burn-Up Scramble spin off series, re-imagining the characters.
By today’s politically sensitive standards, Excess is far from safe entertainment as it serves up heaps of fanservice (ADV DVD releases had the trademarked Jiggle Counter to tally individual character’s boob bounces), battles with a transvestite gang of diamond thieves (Chiimama is a work of art), and the portrayal of peace officers, for the most part, in a good light.
A comedy at its core, Excess is not taking itself or its loose story-line too seriously, only taking the time to remind us that there is one by dropping in Harry’s recurring evil hench-woman Ruby (Paula Tiso, voice of Lulu from Final Fantasy X) for an appearance from episode to episode. Meanwhile, the show lampoons other anime, Evangelion in unique fashion via a holographic “Dieting Machine” at one point. In fact, if one looks on IMDB, they will find most of the English vocal cast was carry-over from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
The show also takes a sly dig at Magical Senshi fair (Epi. 4 – Rogue Father) by having Maya unloading Rambo film quantities of bullets into the night sky over Osaka (of course, ‘Neo’ is appended) with a full moon glowing behind her… all the while she’s wearing a Playboy Bunny style outfit! She’s pictured in the newspaper the following morning, described as “Bunny Moon” as a riff on the Sailor Moon theme is briefly played.
Excess isn’t high art, but whole heart; earnest and sincere in its endeavors to entertain, with no other pretense in mind. It is hard to find anything so honestly brain popcorn in the present environment. So, find Excess, and grab some actual popcorn when you do.