EDIT: This post was recovered from when my webhost broke my site, I’m gonna focus more on podcasting for weekly content and written content will be different.
This is a blind rambling summary and impression of the first episode of High Score Girl.
I read bits of the manga through scanlation pages I found online so I feel slightly informed but not enough to call myself a previous fan.
To start things off, first impression is the 3DCG. I feel like 3DCG anime is at a point where it looks natural if you are used to anime frame rates but the backgrounds still suffer because of budgets. High Score girl definitely has a lower-than-normal budget to it but most of the characters and animation feel better compared to 3DCG anime from not even half a decade ago. For examples look up World of Golden Eggs and more recently World Fool News. These were 3D anime that I did like but were obviously really not up to par on the animation aspect. Where High Score Girl doesn’t stand up is the backgrounds. It’s mostly a dark anime when it comes to settings due to the fact that most of the show takes place in arcades. When you finally see the characters in more well-lit environments you can see where only some of the background was paid attention-to and then the rest is kind of just flat textures. We can contrast this with another 3DCG anime Kemono Friends. Kemono Friends had a vast array of beautiful landscapes and locations that would vary drastically from episode to episode and really helped cement the characters as living in a believable world. I’m not going to say High Score Girl looks ugly or boring at all – just that there was an obvious way to cut corners to stay on budget for the show. I won’t mention much of the 3DCG in later episode impressions unless I feel it gets in the way or improves the anime.
So obviously an anime’s strengths will be in the story to keep you watching and I feel like I won’t likely drop this anime anytime soon. It’s very relatable with the real-world video game references. And by references I don’t mean: say the name of a video game – bazinga! – there’s your punch line. High Score Girl actually gets into the real history and explanation of a video game that old school players and newbies can relate to and follow along with the story. By the way, this story takes place in 1991, shortly after the release of Street Fighter II, which is the main focus of the episode. In the first half of the episode our main characters are introduced through the backdrop of an arcade where SFII is popular and has crowds forming just to play. The main character is great at Street Fighter II and has a deep understanding of the game’s mechanics; this allows him to monopolize the time spent at his arcade cabinet keeping others from playing until someone he knows from school defeats him from another cabinet. This brings us to our next topic: the characters.
Our main character in this anime is Haruo, an average underachiever who only cares about video games and doesn’t have much going besides that, especially at school. Back at school, everyone in class picks on Haruo for having such a lack in skills and talent in every school subject, unlike Oono, who everyone fawns over. Oono is a rich girl with natural talents and is the admiration of the class besides being quiet and never saying a word. A secret to everyone except Haruo, Oono seems to be infatuated with arcade games.
Our first episode focuses on their newfound rivalry at Street Fighter II, which comes to a head with Haruo decides to play cheap and turtle against Oono after losing to her multiple times and ends her almost thirty-round win streak against the whole arcade player-base. When confronting her over her loss, she beats him physically and easily, putting Haruo back in his place. Haruo spends the rest of the episode following Oono around after school to see his new rival in action and finds out she’s no con, she’s the real deal, except for the fact that she doesn’t like scary games. They bond over beating an annoying teen couple at Street Fighter and hitting a high score in Streets of Rage during a sudden rain shower. Haruo buys Oono some lollipops and she eats them both at the same time, this cements their friendship and the episode ends with Haruo getting run over mercilessly by Oono’s chauffeur and they drive off without a second thought, leaving Haruo’s mangled body in the alleyway.
So yeah, I’m definitely feeling very positive about this show and I hope to watch more episodes as they air. Episode 2 is already out which I will watch. I really like the main characters and I hope to see more of the romance aspect to come through, especially since the opening credits show them in middle school uniforms and Haruo hanging out with another girl, as-yet named in the anime. When I write more about the episodes I’ll focus less on the summary and more on my impressions and review of each episode.
Feel free to comment and hit me up on social media. Until next time my dudes.