Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girls
July 18, 2015
Remember those good ol’ days when video game consoles were the thing that kids love and had when it comes to electronic entertainment? Not to say they are dead by now but if you are old enough (like yours truly), I am very sure you would have very fond memories of early game consoles way back in the 90’s. Yup. Does it bring the nostalgia back? And for those who still remember, Sega was a company that also had their own video game console till they decided to stop that and just concentrate on games. Boo hoo for Sega fans. Therefore, what better way than to bring back the glorious days of Sega during its console days via an anime, Hi-sCoool! SeHa Girls. Three old Sega consoles anthropomorphized as cute girls enrol in a Sega academy and need to graduate by completing assignments that include entering the worlds of old Sega games. Sounds like fun? Oh yeah. Time to relieve the nostalgia… Bring it on!
Sega Saturn makes her way into SeHaGaGa Academy. She enrolled here only because it is close to her home. She is joined by Dreamcast who can’t stop talking about her naruto and Mega Drive who believes it won’t be easy graduating from this place. And you thought Sega games are going to be easy, eh? They try to find out more information about this school but Dreamcast’s modem isn’t WiFi or wireless LAN. Remember those old noisy types? Yeah… Can’t connect… Mega Drive then shows a radio cassette player containing the school’s theme song. So short… Only 2 seconds. Yeah… Remember that “Segaaaaaaa” jingle? Yeah… Mega Drive goes on to explain the other various (ridiculous) versions of this theme. The conversation changes to what kind of guy Saturn likes. Strong guys, eh? They try to find suitable macho guys for her and they turn out to be that old dwarf from Golden Axe game. Then there is that guy from Outrun game whom you can never see his face till his car crashes. When it is time for class, they are greeted by some pixelated bunny on screen who only identifies himself as Centre sensei. They are told they need to get 100 credit medals to graduate. Their first task is to jump into the fighting game of Virtua Fighter. Oh, that Akira guy… So manly, so strong, so angular… Well, it was released way back in 1994. Once the trio dive in, they transform into their bishoujo form (if I should call it that).
To earn medals, they need to win 100 matches in a row. Isn’t that going to be tough? I thought it was pretty stingy for them to only be given 1 signature move each. Akira doesn’t hold back his punches in beating up Saturn. No mercy even if you’re a lady. They discover that if they combine their special attacks and do a combo, they can beat him. So for the rest of the opponents, you can see a similar winning pattern. Mega Drive does her knee kick, followed by Saturn’s multiple punches before Dreamcast’s head dive that totally knocks out the opponent. The trio are on a roll as they fight the rest of the fighters. If they run out of fighters, just change their name to some silly name. If it is getting too easy, extend the opponent’s life bar, make the space smaller or higher! However it is Dreamcast’s head dive that always knocks out her opponent in a single hit! She can even do KO before the match starts! More weird fighters they have to face so much so you think if they are even from fighting games. Heck, no! Flicky bird?! Those fat guys from Golden Axe? Green palette swap of those fatties?! Yeah. Nothing like a head dive to just kill the game. They meet their ultimate match when they have to fight a beetle from Mushiking. Because it is so small, their attacks cannot connect and miss. The beetle flies away and summons a giant one (his father, I suppose). Dreamcast’s head dive is all it takes to defeat it. Not so tough as it looks, huh? But the final opponent is tough. Isn’t that Sakura from Sakura Taisen???!!! They can’t beat her in her mecha! Mega Drive is defeated. Dreamcast’s sword skill is only on par. If all else fails… Head dive! Oh sh*t! That did the trick?! When they return, Centre only credits Saturn with 5 medals. Mega Drive lost her winning streak so it is understandable but why didn’t Dreamcast get her medals? Because she cheated by breaking the rules of attacking before the fight starts!
The girls are talking about their future. It doesn’t hurt to just discuss what they’ll do when they graduate. I’m not sure about the rest trying to guess a suitable job for Saturn like being a newscaster and then score with some famous baseball player. Sometimes it felt like they’re teasing her with all the ridiculous propositions like the baseball player is a foreigner who is on a decline and she’ll go back to doing poor part time jobs to support herself. If it is not a newscaster, then she might be a sleazy bar hostess or a weather forecaster. They let Saturn act like one but why does she need to forecast the weather of Sarajevo?! Oops. Wrong map. Saturn sounds fine but Dreamcast thinks something is missing. This has Saturn challenge Mega Drive to try out being a weather girl. However she is stiff and over-thinking things. Trying to get her to act cuter, Mega Drive freezes and breaks down. I guess she’s not cut out for this. For their next class, they are to dive into the game of Space Channel 5. Dreamcast is happy she gets to dance along with the legendary space reporter, Ulala. Also, 2 of Centre’s friends have been captured by the Morolian aliens and they are to rescue them. Oh, don’t forget to dance and earn ratings for their footwork. Inside the game, Dreamcast and Saturn are natural in their dance but Mega Drive is so stiff that they think it’s some new robot dance. Mega Drive isn’t confident in dancing. It’s not her thing as she is the brains type. Then she breaks down… They put a box over her to make her look like a robot. Now do the robot! However she starts hiding in it and her self confidence all-time low that she can’t do it. Dreamcast is excited that Ulala is here.
The girls join Ulala in dancing save a couple from the aliens and also to improve their ratings but it all goes down when it is Mega Drive’s turn. Still doing the robot? In the end, Ulala saves them and the couple joins them on their journey. The first friend to rescue is Jeffry from Virtua Fighter. Soon he joins the gang and ironically, their ratings increase because of his appearance. Thinking how popular he is with others, Dreamcast thinks the same and proceeds to strip Saturn down to her bikini to appeal to viewers. Yup, ratings going up. Another of Centre’s friend is spotted. Isn’t that Gilius from Golden Axe? I don’t know that dwarf guy takes a liking for Saturn… But he starts swinging his axe around till Jeffry holds him down. Hey, he is from some action game, right? Mega Drive speaks to him in his language and he agrees to dance with them. Because she also told him Saturn will marry him! Now he is showing off his cool dancing moves to appeal to her! Now they arrive in a space where there are 10,000 aliens and human hostages among them. More are coming in and there is the huge big boss. Jeffry enlarges himself so big that you could only see his feet! Don’t worry. Gilius will also grow big. However it is only his axe! Saturn is fed up and will do it herself. I’m not sure what wind move she did but Ulala’s skirt was blown up and Gilius couldn’t stop staring. He faints from this ‘shock’. Saturn is made to go wake him up (their ratings are already 100%) but Gilius doesn’t want her and loves Ulala! He’s dancing before her! Dreamcast and Mega Drive are prepared to console Saturn but she isn’t pleased that they’re making it sound that she got rejected. Once they return, only Dreamcast and Mega Drive are awarded 5 medals. Because there have been complaints from PTA about Saturn trying to use her sex appeal to increase ratings, she doesn’t get any!
Saturn is sighing not because she can’t get over that dumping incident! She wants to forget that nightmare. What she wants is a pet so the rest take the chance to suggest some mammoth from Space Harrier and a shiba dog from Shadow Dancer. For the latter, since it is from America, they even go as far as to suggest-cum-tease Saturn that she needs to go there, though she asserts she is not going anywhere. The girls are summoned by Centre for their next class. The game of Puyo Puyo is about clearing 4-in-a-row lines of those little blobs of the same colour. This time they need to think of a new game that uses the Puyo Puyo character. Be warned, a good idea earns you 1 medal while a bad idea takes away 1 medal. Think carefully. Despite Dreamcast and Mega Drive coming up with absurd genres, Centre approves it! But when Saturn gives her suggestion, her medal is taken away! I mean, fighting game utilizing Puyo Puyo? How can you end that? More seemingly absurd suggestions by Mega Drive and Saturn earn them extra medals but before jealous Saturn can even say hers, Centre takes away a medal! She hasn’t even spoken yet! Well, they claim he is kind enough to stop her before she reveals her fail idea. WTF. Finally Saturn nails a medal by suggesting some waterslide theme. Centre stops it here for today and has the girls have fun inside the waterslide. They clean up before they leave but Dreamcast may have stacked the blobs in some wrong combination and thus it is raining grey Puyo Puyo all over.
The girls will be taking an exam by playing an online mecha shooting game called Border Break. Winning this earns them 25 medals but doing so without a robot will be 50 medals! Game on! Dreamcast and Mega Drive create their robots but Saturn somehow didn’t. They think she is desperate to get 50 medals. So as they explore the place, an enemy turns up. Dreamcast is a noob with the controls and talks with the enemy? What kind of function is that? Leave it to Mega Drive to finish it. Saturn then suggests using a bait to lure the enemies and when they are in the correct spot, the rest will take them out in an ambush. Great idea. Now who will be the bait? Saturn is upset that she is chosen since she is the most vulnerable! They think her protest is just her being tsundere. The enemies show up as Mega Drive kicks ass but Dreamcast is still a noob with the controls. Heck, is she trying to kill Saturn or something? As they are destroying the enemy’s core to complete the game, suddenly Centre announces an emergency that somebody is hacking into the system. They must get out now or be trapped here. All communications is cut off and the hacker reveals himself: Dr Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik! He takes away their mecha and turns the girls into their chibi form. Just when they think doom is them, then appears our blue hero, Sonic!
Sonic is too fast for Eggman’s robots to deal with. Now that Eggman is left, he won’t give up and runs away. How will our girls ever get back? Sonic allows them to ride on his back as he chases the doctor. Eggman fires missiles back but Sonic is quick to avoid. Then they jump through some portal and we revisit some of the Sonic games and levels before the face off with Eggman. Because Dreamcast fell off during the fight, Sonic goes to rescue her and Eggman uses this advantage to whack Sonic. They return back to the Border Break world. Dreamcast fell on Mega Drive’s book. She gets an idea to look for Sonic’s invincibility power up. With this Sonic is able to defeat Eggman once and for all. The hacking is gone and good news is that during the attack, the core is destroyed so they accomplished their mission and return home. As communications is not fully restored, the girls think they might have seen Centre’s true identity (some old guy?). Then everything returns back to normal as he awards them 25 medals for passing the test. But Saturn wonders about her 50 medals because she beat the game without the mecha. Really? He doesn’t remember because of the hacking. WTF?!
The girls will have to participate in a cultural festival. Saturn suggests doing a haunted house so Dreamcast suggests looking at House of the Dead for reference. Mega Drive even suggests some bunny that suspiciously looks like Centre who is actually some sort of game advisor but dishes out general comments instead of real advice. That’s scary, right? Not! In that case, Saturn thinks of doing a band but the rest can only play suspicious instruments (if you can call it that). How about becoming idols and dancing on stage? Did you forget Mega Drive’s trauma during Space Channel 5? Dreamcast then has an idea. Why not do a haunted house with Mega Drive dancing? That’s scary, right? Yeah. Funnily scary. Centre then announces there is a beauty contest in which the winner gets 10 medals. But if you get some spillage, you get 100 medals, enough to graduate. The girls look through the profile of other participants whom I believe are personification of other Sega systems or game characters that I am not familiar with. But how come that Golden Axe dwarf is participating?! As rumoured, he didn’t hit it off with a certain space reporter and joined because he heard his ex was in it. He even traded his axe for a microphone to sing! It sounds horrible by the way. Saturn is unhappy because what the heck is this age hurdle thing in this gender contest?! And so on the day of the cultural festival, the winner is… Drum rolls please… That pixel bit female gorilla from Congo Bongo?! WTF?! Of all the kawaii and cute girls and this ‘ugly’ monkey is the winner?! Technically she is naked and this spillage means she earned 100 medals. WTF?!
The girls will be playing the RPG game of Chain Chronicle. For every Spirit Stone they win, they get 15 medals. However they won’t be jumping into the monitor this time. A Smartphone. This game is made for your iPhones. However the girls have this feeling that they don’t like the existence of Smartphones. Yeah, it drives their system to extinction, eh? At first, logging in is slow and they thought Saturn is making some pun of the game’s name, chien (lag) and kurou (trouble). They are given their classes (why is it Saturn always gets the low class?) and head into their first battle whereby earning their first Spirit Stone. Knowing they can’t fight more hordes with just the 3 of them, they head to the tavern to recruit allies but all they see are other weird Sega characters like a pair of not-so-great thieves, some action guy who keeps failing his cram school, a rich guy trying to hit on them with drinks and a young kid who likes old man’s food. And soon it turns into some izakaya party with other Sega characters. Frustrated, the 3 of them will just do. They fight the next wave of enemies who seem to be lining up in a single file. Dreamcast says this is not some ramen line and they obediently go away! Next, they face the dragon boss. Dreamcast and Saturn have a hard time and although Mega Drive as the priestess heals them, it is just by a single point! The duo are taken out and Mega Drive is left facing the beast alone. Scared, she throws her book and defeats it! They obtain a Spirit Stone but that is when the Smartphone’s battery gone out flat. They are frustrated it isn’t charged properly and couldn’t get their Spirit Stone. Their hate for Smartphones just gone up.
It is the inline skating game, Jet Set Radio this time. 5 medals for an awesome trick and 15 extra medals to the one who writes her dreams on the post first. Mega Drive isn’t good and wants to sit this out but is forced to play. Arriving at Shibuya, Dreamcast suggests going to take sticker photos. She has everyone pose in funny faces (Mega Drive is a real natural even if it wasn’t intentional) but she herself pose in a cute look. She then uploads them on her blog. She might have gone for karaoke too had not Saturn remind her of their task. As they get started, Saturn and Dreamcast easily pull off a cool stunt but the former got a medal deducted for that fanservice pose at the end. As for Mega Drive, she falls flat on her face but when she tries again, it turns out more like figure skating. Since this is somewhat hard to pull off, she is also awarded medals! Now it’s a race to the post but Mega Drive knows she is severely at a disadvantage. Don’t worry. Centre gives her training wheels. This is more embarrassing than anything. The race begins and it seems those training wheels are equipped with turbo booster! She is confident of winning this but cannot control it. She crashes into the wall… Flies into the sky… Ends up in some river… Dreamcast distracts Saturn with some hot guy (which isn’t by the way) to make her bump into the cone. Dreamcast reaches there first and writes her dream for all of them to be friends. Awww… How sweet. But does she have to put up that embarrassing sticker photo?! As bonus, Mega Drive and Saturn are also awarded 15 medals.
The girls will handle 2 big RPG series: Phantasy Star series and Shining Star series. They are going to wear costumes from the former series in the latter series’ world. Defeating the boss in this suit will earn them 15 medals. Once in the world, Dreamcast has Saturn pose like a model while she takes pictures like a perverted photographer. After changing into their costume in a ridiculously small changing room (who are they afraid will see their naked pixel bodies?), there are surprised the costume is some monster chick, Rappy. Though, the can move quite flexible in it. Saturn thought she was talking to Dreamcast but it is actually a real Rappy! There are many of them too! They discuss what weapons should be best and it goes out of hand to being a topic of family members. Drunk husband can’t beat wife can’t beat mother in law can’t beat grandson? Now they face off with the big monster boss. Is it sleeping? They thought of sneaking on it but it wakes up and attacks them. At this rate, they’ll be chicken kebab! Dreamcast thought she could sing her way to victory but was blown away. Saturn and Mega Drive attack but are ineffective. Then Dreamcast returns and do some super combo to defeat it. The duo are praising her but realize something amiss when she can’t take her suit off. It’s a real Rappy! So where is Dreamcast now? She’s fighting some badass space monster at this moment. In space, nobody can save you… Anyway all of them get 15 medals.
Centre is about to talk to them about their means to graduate when he is hacked and taken over by a tanned version called Black Asobin. First, he won’t let the girls graduate and steal their medals and leaves only 1 medal to Saturn. Then he tells them to fight the floors and reach him in his castle. So the girls go through all the retro Sega games and it was funny reading the summary of this because it says how assassins were hired to fight the girls in exchange of a popular seiyuu’s autograph, Saturn’s boobs popped out, Dreamcast feeling homesick and nothing interesting happened to Mega Drive. When they reach the final floor, there is an arcade game of Space Harrier that requires medals to play. Since Saturn only has 1 left, I guess it is up to her. The rest control her and they must be careful with the limited lives. The final face off with Asobin begins and he is a tough boss to fight. But Mega Drive notices a mixing pixel in his ear and thinks it is his weakness. Saturn fires into it and defeats him. Asobin then turns back into Centre. He reveals he was Asobin all along and this was a test to see if they have what it takes to graduate and to always put on their best performance. They earn 20 medals each. Dreamcast and Mega Drive have more than enough to graduate but Saturn is short of 3. Is she doomed to repeat class? Mega Drive suggests giving their spares enough to cover for the shortfall. But Dreamcast will not because it means they will graduate and their fun school life will be over. Thinking about it makes her sad. Mega Drive proposes to be friends even after they graduate. Emotional Dreamcast agrees. Everybody now has exactly 100 medals.
The girls are in their graduation ceremony. First they have to sing Sega’s theme. So short… But how many versions do they need to sing?! Then they have farewell speeches that feel like pointing out the obvious from the games they have played. Saturn finds it odd the rest mention being in games that they have not played. Go with the flow? Are they lying?! Centre now tells them the true meaning of their graduation. They will disappear from this world and be reborn in the real world. This world is just a place for ideas of Sega’s creators to play. So to say that they are just existing in the minds of their creators? But now is the time for those ideas to bear fruit and become Sega’s new hardware system. He believes they will bring joy and smiles to the gamers of the world. The medals they collected will allow them to step into the real world. Mega Drive is first to go (because she is the first in the series to be released) and they say their goodbye, blah, blah, blah. Next is Saturn. Bye-bye. Finally when it comes to Dreamcast’s turn, she feels unconfident she can bring happiness. To her surprise, Sonic and the other Sega characters provide her the much needed support to become a good hardware. And off she goes. And there you go people. The story and journey of how 3 girls became popular gaming hardware around the world that is love by many. Yeah. How long was that ago? Feels like history now… Come on, be honest. Do you really still think about them? Not when you have your Smartphones keeping you company these days. Damn you, Smartphones!
Game Over. Thank You For Playing!
Sniff, sniff. I guess all games eventually had to come to an end. Once you’ve started your journey and make your way to achieve your goal or defeat the final boss, you watch the ending and end credits then it is all over. And if you can’t get enough of it, you play again. Play numerous times until you get bored, get another new game or let it slowly fade and die when something new replaces it. Just like how Smartphones are replacing handphones and literally killing off fixed line telephones. Oops. Got a little distracted there. Ah but yes. This short series did really bring back the nostalgic memories of my childhood years playing such games. Well, it seems Sega isn’t coming back into the console market and joined the ranks like Atari, cease to exist and extinct into history. Oh gosh. Still remember that really old game console?
It was fun seeing some of the retro games featured here and due to this, it was even funnier how the girls played it to comedic effect. Thus the antics in games like Virtua Fighter had me laughing so hard that I could burst my belly and die of loss of blood. The punch lines and witty remarks the girls said may not be much but at least they’re funny enough to keep you entertained, whether or not it is related to games or something else. But unfortunately for many of the games featured and that I am not familiar of, it somewhat takes away the enjoyment. But nevertheless it was great to see the girls getting into that world albeit it is not much. So if you have fond memories of playing these games, you can have fun spotting lots of trivia in it. Or just go down nostalgia lane indulging in that world with the girls.
I am not sure if the characters of these girls reflect the kind of consoles they are in real life. Because the only Sega console that I actually owned during my childhood was the Game Gear. Oh yeah. Forgive me for feeling nostalgic again because it does bring back lots of memories of me playing that handheld. Uh huh. I can still remember bouncing around with Sonic in various zones, helping Michael Jackson save kidnapped children in Moonwalker, slashing things with Ninja Gaiden and beating up the baddies with Axel Stone in bare Knuckle. I can’t take it out and play them again even if I want to because it was broken and thrown away a long time ago :'(. Thus I am unsure if people who own Saturn, Dreamcast or Mega Drive are the kind of character that these girls are. For example, as we know Mega Drive is not keen on games requiring lots of physical movements, does it indicate that Mega Drive was a system that didn’t do well with action or fast moving games? And since she too is prone to freeze when things get crazy, does this mean the system was prone to errors and bugs when it heats up? A probably big no but I just can’t help ponder about it.
Because the girls personality are the same as start till finish and it stays that way till the end. Like Dreamcast who is the liveliest of the pack may something be an airhead and carefree person, making some playful jokes and teasing here and there. Saturn on the other hand is confident and relaxed but at the same time feels like the one who always draws the short end of the stick and easily pushed around because she often gets teased. Mainly it is because she can’t help get caught up in their antics and usually play the rebutting part. It seems like a mini running joke teasing Saturn about that older black foreigner guy making cameos here and there. He is supposedly to be her ‘love interest’. Not that dwarf. But this guy. Finally there is Mega Drive who is cool, smart and analytical. Just that she doesn’t show lots of emotions and aren’t good with activities that require lots of moving about. More of the brains kind of person. I’m sure with the trio’s ‘perfect’ combination, they can become great stand-up comedians and jokers if they fail to make the cut in the game industry. Just saying…
Another interesting aspect of the series is the mid-intermission whereby a short paragraph of the game or even characters featured for that episode is narrated with some little interesting details. It is good insight and trivia while watching the episode and those who are more interested could take the initiative to find out. However there are a few and particularly one that actually bugs me. How come there is one about Bosnia and Herzegovina???!!! It was just a random topic on that weather of Sarajevo but putting it here had me thinking, did Sega own or create Bosnia and Herzegovina???!!! I mean, you would think about it, right?! If it is true (which of course it is not), then it would like, oh sh*t, don’t you think?
Graphic wise, it is all animated using CGI so I think for someone who has been watching too many 2D anime or CGI effects, having watched one being animated entirely this way feels refreshing. Of course it is only right to have games being animated using computer graphics as it shows us the original way they are instead of being converted into typical 2D anime style. When not in games, the overall feel of the 3D art and drawing of this anime feels simple and bland. What I mean is that the graphics aren’t that polished or superb but you don’t need such great graphics to watch this anime, right? After all, the Sega girls are cute enough in their chibi form as well as their gaming adult version. Their designs are okay although you can see some of the trademarks of the consoles on them like the familiar 3 button” A-B-C” as Mega Drive’s hair accessory. Animation is also feels a bit not so smooth but like I said, you don’t need awesome effects for this simple show. It is all about retro and your nostalgia will magically turn it into awesome.
This has got to be a series with the least voice actors because the entire show is confined within the academy. Although I saw there are lots of other seiyuus lending their voice to other Sega game systems, I don’t remember when they made their cameo. Did they ever appear? Don’t remember hearing them although some of them did appear in that beauty contest episode but I believe they do not have lines. So we’ve got Mao Ichimichi as Dreamcast (Renge in Seikai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda), Minami Takahashi as Saturn (Masako in Majimoji Rurumo – I thought it was Eri Kitamura behind Saturn’s voice) and Shiori Izawa as Mega Drive (Tanpopo in Witch Craft Works) providing decent voices for their character. As I found out, the computerized voice of Centre is played by Yuji Naka who is actually a game designer and programmer of Sega.
The opening theme is SeHa Gagaganbacchau by the Sega girls trio and its lively techno beat is great in befitting the pace of this series. The ending theme sounds more like generic pop. Wakai Chikara Sega Hard Girls Mix is sung by Naomi Oozora, Yuu Serizawa, Mai Aizawa, Minami Tanaka and Haruna Momono who are the supposed voices of the other Sega game consoles. In the ending credits animation, we see Dreamcast and Saturn doing simple dances but Mega Drive is just standing there like a rock.
The last time I saw video game consoles personified as cute girls was Hyperdimension Neptunia The Animation and the more serious Aoi Sekai No Chuushin De. The former had a Sega representative in a world where other game consoles are also present and the latter is about Sega fighting against the oppressive Nintendo. This series might feel like a blatant advertising for Sega and perhaps to promote their games in other platforms. But if you are a Sega fan, this is definitely a show that you need to watch. Older generation of course for the nostalgia and the younger ones should see this and experience how we old people play our video games before it got too sophisticated and complicated.
Therefore old gamers who used to play a lot on this system should appreciate and get nostalgia watching this show while it could prove educational for younger gamers. Well, it is sad that Sega isn’t coming back into the console business. At least not in the foreseeable future. This for an ‘old’ guy like me to be watching this, the idea of how the girls become console hardware feels like the setting was made a very long time ago. I supposed we should have got the hint when many of the Sega titles featured in this anime are those playable only on those consoles. And I am guessing from this theory, this means no other girls actually graduated from the academy since Sega dropped out from the console race! Oh, Dreamcast, Saturn and Mega Drive, you’ll definitely live in our gamer hearts forever. Until the next Smartphone game apps take over and become the next fad and crazed sensation. And you’ll all be forgotten, relegated into distant memories. Damn you, Smartphones!