Najica Blitz Tactics – Girls, Guns, and Smooth Jazz
January 27, 2012 Leave a comment
Najica Blitz Tactics is a series that originally aired in 2001, and is one of a collection of fanservice orientated anime series based around a strong female lead. It also has a jazz soundtrack, which automatically makes it cool.
Najica Blitz Tactics follows Najica Hiiragi, a beautiful businesswoman, working for a big perfume group and also a secret agent in her spare time. The series follows her as she is sent on a series of missions to collect rouge ‘humaritts’, android with enhanced combat capabilities. The series takes quite an episodic approach, with Najica getting a new mission each episode (until the end) to foil the plots of various bad guys, and invariably that mission also involves retrieving one of these ‘humaritts’. Neither we now Najica really know much about these humaritts, they are clearly immensely powerful and have mysterious origins. To make matters more complicated, Najica, who has always worked alone, gets Lila, a humaritt as her partner, in order to groom her as a secret agent, and perhaps teach her how humans work.
From start to finish this series has a classic 1960s/1970s feel to it. We have the wonderful opening sequence that uses silhouettes, and overlapping pictures, which reminds me of the Avengers TV series and classic James Bond. Najica is the beautiful secret agent who has 100% success rate, along with being a successful and much admired businesswoman, who has created many wonderful, and immensely successful perfumes. Another example of that classic 60s vibe is Najica’s clothes; that brilliant white tuxedo jacket, the rose in her breast pocket, the black mini, and the ever present gun and gadgets. Her car also reeks of 1960s style, red and looking like a culmination of all that was cool about 1960s car designs, perfect secret agent material. The animation style, while having a few moe elements is very similar to a lot of 90s animation, with less cute girls, and more badass women, which makes a nice change from current animation trends.
Najica Blitz Tactics is also one of a number of anime series that heavily uses fanservice, and in particular, panty-shots, there are so many panty shots in fact that it would be accurate to talk about ‘ppm’ (panty-shots per minute). In the first episode Najica infiltrates a mansion on her mission to recover a humaritt, only to encounter the entire place full of maids toting machine guns, that they miraculously pull out from under the mini skirt uniforms – a sight to behold. Every maid defeated naturally falls down with the bums facing the camera, this presenting their white panties for the entire world to see. It is a common theme throughout the series with Najica joining in on the flashing action on more than one occasion – ie, almost every scene. The fanservice is pretty intense sometimes and I can see how it might be difficult for some people to watch a show that is so heavy on the fanservice.
What’s fascinating about this series is that, for all its fanservice, we have an incredibly strong, individual, female lead, who is perfectly capable of thinking for herself. Najica has her own suspicions about the humaritts, and only takes on Lila as her partner after much persuasion. She is suspicious of her constant missions to bring back these rouge humaritts, and begins to investigate for herself. Furthermore she is perfectly capable of handling a mans advances, and constantly turns down one particular individuals advances, and yet isn’t afraid to use her looks to get what she wants. As a female character, she has traits that are often lacking in other anime, and she is also perfectly capable of defending herself and making up her own mind about what’s going on, something that I feel is missing in many other current series. Fascinating to find such a brilliant character in a series that probably boasts around 20 ppm in places. Najica is the female James Bond, someone who is clearly amoral in places, and quite willing to use whatever she as at her disposal to get the job done, even if it means using Lila as bait for a perverted millionaire. The animation is astoundingly good for the time and for the kind of series, with brilliant action sequences, and beautiful backgrounds. While there is a lot of detail placed upon the female characters, which essentially means the entire cast, excluding a few individuals, the overall quality of animation is brilliant.
Now we get onto one of the main of this series, the soundtrack, and my god is the soundtrack good. I have always thought that a good soundtrack makes an anime and have watched many series that are aesthetically good, with an interesting story, but the soundtrack has been appalling, thus ruining some of my enjoyment. On the reverse side, there have been series that are clichéd (cliché isn’t automatically bad of course), and perhaps have lacked some innovation in story, or exemplary animation quality, but the soundtrack has been excellent, thus increasing my enjoyment of the series. Najica Blitz Tactics is a perfect example of that; an anime series with more panty shots than you can shake a stick at, but with a spectacular jazz soundtrack. Give an anime a Jazz Soundtrack and it is almost certain that I will enjoy it, Cowboy Bebop – my favourite anime series of all time – had a jazz and soul soundtrack for example, which gives you some indication as to how important a good soundtrack is.
The soundtrack of Najica Blitz Tactics fits it perfectly, with some excellent bar room jazz, cool trumpets, sexy base rhythms and the almighty saxophone producing some beautiful solos. It oozes 1970s jazz cool and fits the image of Najica as this beautiful, dangerous woman who will, and can, do anything to achieve her goal. I don’t mind other soundtracks, and have recently started listening to more J-Rock, Visual Kei, J-pop and so on, however there are so many opening songs, and overall soundtracks that just don’t work for me (I’m looking at you Ali Project). I wont dismiss them outright, I just prefer Jazz and Soul in my soundtrack, its cooler – this may of course have something to do with me being a Jazz Musician as well actually. Simply put, Jazz makes things sexy and sensual.
Najica Blitz Tactics is a great, enjoyable series, and while it may be quite simplistic in nature that didn’t matter to me while I was watching it. We have a phenomenal amount of fanservice, with every enemy seemingly wearing the same pair of white string-panties and no one appears to get killed. Najica is paying homage to James Bond, the Avengers and other such classic secret agents; we have the cool 60s/70s aesthetic, the sexy outfits, the gadgets and the car. Add to that a brilliant soundtrack and some pretty good political espionage with a conspiracy surrounding androids who are apparently almost human and you have a thoroughly entertaining series. This entire series reminded me of watching old James Bond films on a Saturday and thinking that Sean Connery as 007 was immensely cool. It is full of little references from the music to the look and even how the characters act, wrapped up in a sea of panty shots and machine gun toting maids. I do however acknowledge that for many people Najica Blitz Tactics simply has too much fanservice, an unavoidable fact. If you don’t like that sort of thing, I am not sure this series would be for you, which is perfectly understandable.