Arcade Gamer Fubuki

Arcades were once a way of life for middle school boys. I know I'm dating myself with that statement--and having now passed the 30 year mark, I understand the significance all too well--but I remember spending a fair share of my paper route earnings plunking quarters into the latest and greatest machines. I personally preferred the "destroy all the aliens" leanings of Space Invaders and Galaga, though anything was fair game. Saturday mornings were spent in pursuit of high scores and the hopes that somebody who knew all the patterns might actually win Dragon's Lair.

By now, I'm sure you're wondering what this has to do with anything. My regular readers know (and hopefully appreciate) my ramblings, but what's the point today? It's that Arcade Gamer Fubuki pretends to respect those old memories. In fact, it's a cynical attempt to cash in with gratuitous fan service in place of a decent story, believable characters, or any actual comedy. I am frankly more embarrassed about this title than some of the raunchier stuff I've seen in the past. It's crap.

But now to the plot...Fubuki is a champion game player, having defeated all challengers in Tokyo numerous times. But now she's heading to the next level, a massive tournament to decide the best player in all of Japan. As she gets to the semifinals, an entire side of a building is taken up showing the competition over the classic game Crazy Climber. But Fubuki's nervous, having never played the game before. So what does she do? Does she rely on her skills? Does she fall back on years of game-playing practice? Does she try to mentally psyche out her opponent?

No. She's wearing passion panties. Said panties, when activated by blowing winds, channel to her the spirits of gaming so that she can defeat all her challengers. This, of course, requires a two-minute upskirt camera shot.

This is just the start of it, friends.

Add to this combination another gamer with evil passion panties, a bouncingly free-spirited American Dance Dance Revolution player, a mystery man in his skivvies, and a group of marauders ready to take over the world, and you've about got it.

This show really isn't about gaming at all. It's a magical girl show set in the world of video games. Now magical girl shows often have transformation sequences with blink-and-miss-it nudity or fan service. But here, it's all about the fan service involving little girls barely in their teen years. Now I may despise shows like Colorful! and Guy, but they at least are made for adults and are intended for adults. US Manga Corps advertises Arcade Gamer Fubuki for 13 year olds and up. I would be ashamed to let anybody watch this show, let alone a 13 year old! Some may think me an old stick in the mud, since there's no true explicit nudity, but I still find it exploitative. It's also a slap in the face of any educated woman that says, in essence, you don't have to practice your sport or study your craft or attempt to excel at anything as long as you can shake your butt effectively. And that's degrading.

Now there are even some exploitative shows that I have a small amount of respect for, like Kite, because they are well-made and have serious themes to back up their stories. But Arcade Gamer Fubuki is a failure because it doesn't accomplish its one purpose: to entertain. It's not funny. We're supposed to think that these folks who want to take over the world are hysterical, but they aren't. The Mystery Man(tm) that helps Fubuki along the way is supposed to be funny when he breaks through the window at her apartment to help her out and starts bleeding everywhere. He's not. You can tell they are trying desperately to be humorous, but all I got was a long protracted yawn.

I had toyed around with giving the show a passing grade based on the little nostalgia it generated for me. I enjoyed seeing games like After Burner and Pole Position featured if but briefly. And, of course, I know why: every boy my age wanted to be The Last Starfighter, the one chosen to defend the world from unseen evil forces. But that nostalgia is even tainted now, with the thought of classic games alongside girls' underwear.

The recently released Angelic Layer is a clean, wonderful story about similar themes that is this show's polar opposite. Let me ask you a favor. Pick that up and leave this one to rot on the shelf.

Arcade Gamer Fubuki -- fan service exploiting young teen characters, violence -- F