Who needs the near-future? It seems like every time we let a few years go by, trans-dimensional aliens show up to mess with mankind yet again - - and just when we were starting to all get along. That’s certainly the case in FREEZING, a series where our fate rests on the shoulders of super-powered schoolgirls called "Pandoras" who've been tasked with defeating giant, Earth-threatening beings named "Novas."
No, it’s not the most original premise, but it’s not like they’re going to spend more than a few minutes actually dealing with these Novas anyway. Most of the time, the girls of FREEZING are too busy facing off against each other to worry about anything else.
Satellizer el Bridget is one of the strongest of these girls - - she's a skilled fighter, but also a social outcast. Some childhood abuse has given Satellizer an intense hatred of human contact and made her prone to reacting to any touch with extreme violence. This unique combination of traits has earned her the nickname “Untouchable Queen,” and the other students know to avoid her at all costs.
However, nobody has a chance to tell this to transfer student Kazuya Aoi before he ventures to touch the untouchable... and accidentally start a friendship that will slowly bring Satellizer back into the fold.
However, not everyone is as eager to have Satellizer around as Kazuya is, so the pair have to earn their position among the school’s hierarchy the hard way: by fighting for it. Often.
Were that not bad enough, they’ll also have to endure some seriously creepy stuff, most notably a series of sexual humiliations and painful molestations that push the limits of fan-service and stretch the ecchi genre to its breaking point.
Where other shows titillate through the threat of nudity, FREEZING piles on the full frontal, time and again. Every single fight results in the destruction of a Pandora’s clothes, releasing their comically enormous breasts to bounce and jiggle through scene after scene. None of them seem all that surprised to be naked; and why should they be? It happens so often that it’s a wonder they even bother getting dressed once a confrontation's over.
While putting together this review, it was a challenge to pull a single screenshot of an action sequence without capturing some R-rated exposure. And this show has a lot of action.
Even a guy like me - - who's no stranger to fan-service and in no danger of being called a “prude” - - found the level of frisky business in FREEZING to be unnecessary and, at times, disturbing. It’s simply too frequent, too graphic, and just not fun. Female characters are portrayed as shallow and monstrous, and sex is proudly used as a punishment, resulting in a universe that feels like MEAN GIRLS meets LA BLUE GIRL, without the slightest hint of humor or irony to be found. This isn’t IKKI TOUSEN - - it’s just plain icky.
It’s a shame when so much hard work is put into a show as dreadful as FREEZING. Despite the characters’ improbable proportions, the show has a solid design sense and its animation is high quality. The action is fast and fluid, with interesting effects used to convey the girls’ various special attacks and super powers. Lens flares abound, and the world is soaked in a hazy golden hour glow that does well to convey a fragile, youthful beauty (even as dire circumstances abound). If you can wade through perverse torture of the characters, there are some dazzling visuals associated with the various stages of a Pandora’s evolution.
And if you like cartoon boobs, it has those too. Lots and lots of those.
Alexei Bochenek is a lifelong tech nerd and film buff based in Los Angeles. He writes for various online publications and edits the Los Angeles events website LALookout.com. Follow his Twitter: @alexeigb.