Title: Hi sCOOL! SeHa Girls
Production: TMS Entertainment
Director: Soto Sugahara
Episode Reviewed: “Your always 10 years to early!”
Today we’re doing something a bit different here in the APGNation as we review Sega’s new anime, Hi sCOOL SeHa Girls!
Gaming and anime have always had quite the overlap in terms of fanbases, and for decades adoption of popular video games, such as Street Fighter or Final Fantasy, have garnered anime adaptions while popular anime, such as Sword Art Online, often have video game spin-offs that allow gamers to experience the world of the anime in an interactive medium. SeHa Girls, as I will refer to it in the rest of this review, is a bit different in that it is not a strict adoption of any existing video game, but rather a completely new property that draws upon the rich history of Sega as its inspiration.
SeHa girls, which is actually a term derived from smashing together Sega with the word “Hard”, begins its run with the introduction of three heroines. Saturn, a self-conscious girl based on the 4th gen system of the same name, Dreamcast, an energetic and cheerful girl, and Mega Drive, a bookwormish girl whose name is derived from the Japanese name for the console that is known as the Sega Genesis in the west. Together they all attend Segagaga high school where they must learn through experience by navigating the worlds of classic Sega video games and clearing some goal within those worlds.
As this is the first episode, a good amount time is spent introducing our heroines and making sure we know what they are like as characters. Dreamcast, for example, is an energetic and good-natured girl from a poor family, referencing the financial difficulty associated with her namesake, while Mega Drive is a smart and stoic girl who carries a book emblazoned with the word “16-BIT” in large letters and who is prone to referencing games from the Genesis era. This amusingly comes into play in the first episode when the girls discuss Saturn’s taste in men, and Mega Drive uses the male cast of the original Golden Axe, and then the faceless player character of Outrun, as examples.
The rest of the episode is devoted to setting up the main premise of the anime, that the girls’ “classes” will consist of entering the world of various Sega games and tackling challenges therein for class credit. Each episode, beyond the first, seems from promos to follow this formula, with the second being devoted to the original Virtual Fighter, and the second to Space Channel 5. Each of these shifts to a game world is done in the graphical style of the game itself, making for an interesting contrast between the girls, who are rendered in modern CG, and the games, which are low-rez and amusingly dated.
So is it any good? While SeHa Girls will not win any awards for story or plot, it serves as an amusing and incredibly fun tribute to the history of Sega and its games and even goes out of its way to explain the historical magnificence of the games mentioned in each episode as well. You can tell that the creators of this show really love video games, and it shows both in the design of the girls’ school, which is decorated with various objects referencing Sega games from nearly every console generation, including an oversize Omochao doll, from Sonic Adventure, the main character from Nights: Into Dreams, and demo stations of every game system mentioned in the anime. Also notable is the fact that the school’s theme song is simply the boot up noise from the original genesis of a male voice saying “Sega” in various tones.
Aside from being a loving tribute to old school gaming, SeHa Girls features cute and brightly colored CG animation that looking excellent in HD but rather bland in standard definition, but also that could appear a bit plastic and overly gloss at times as well. The voice acting is decent enough as well, with Dreamcast being a standout with just how fast her voice actor can speak and how well she conveys the tone of a girl who can go from depressed over having a poor family to being happy about meeting new friends at the drop of a hat. Overall, SeHa girls is a cute and well made tribute to the storied past of Sega as a company, and serves as a reminder that they used to be more than that company who puts out a dozen Sonic the Hedgehog games a year.
I give SeHa Girls first episode, 7.5/10.
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