Freezing was a bit of an unknown for me going into this season. I’d seen the PV, which kick-started a mild anticipation, but beyond that I hadn’t really looked into it, either in terms of the staff involved or the original material. I basically just pinned it as the AT-X battle-ecchi anime of the season.
This first episode sort of proved me right, but sort of proved me wrong. On the one hand, it definitely fits the battle-ecchi description, but on the other, it’s not really a typical Ikkitousen alternative. Along with the panty-shots and occasional tits, there is a surprising amount of violence! These girls aren’t just hitting each other to remove clothing, they’re doing some serious damage, and the action sequences have a genuine sense of tension to them. This is largely thanks to the cinematic production approach. Kind of like Highschool of the Dead did, Freezing uses excellent post-production effects and camera-work to bring energy to the sequences, rather than relying only on good animation (although there are a couple of moments of good animation too!). The inspiration for Freezing’s approach almost could be traced back to the Bourne movies (but toned down), with the relatively fast editing and shaky camera! Of course, I could just be thinking that because of the spy-thriller-esque BGM, which keeps the heartbeat going as the girls brutally clash with one another.
The reason for this brutality, which has already given the anime a gory reputation, is that the girls are essentially superpowered, which grants them a degree of regeneration. Echoing elements of Raxephon and Evangelion, these sexy warriors are trained to throw themselves against mysterious attackers that apparently want to see Japan destroyed. The plot is a fairly cliche setup, an excuse to get a bunch of girls and guys together in a school-like situation and have crazy action at the same time, but it is delivered in a sleek and interesting fashion. In all respects, it is Freezing’s delivery that makes it, to my mind, a pretty decent show! The director, Takashi Watanabe, is prolific and occasionally mediocre, so it’s hard to say where this show gets its extra touch of quality from, but so far, it’s definitely there! That said, the potential for strong story or character development isn’t really there, so this anime could wear thing quite quickly, much like HotD did.
It’s fun and well-done, but approach with caution! It’s like a superior version of Ikkitousen. It also happens to have my favourite ED of the season so far (in terms of music). If I had one complaint it would be that there isn’t enough variety to the chest sizes? Would a slightly flatter chest or two go astray?