It’s unclear what exactly this new Internet anime series is about, except, of course, panties.
It’s no secret that anime artists liberally sprinkle panty shots throughout their works. Granted, with the medium’s penchant for tossing characters clad in short skirts into action adventure scenarios, sometimes there’s a bit of logic behind it. Heroines pulling off high kicks or backflips are going to occasionally reveal an eyeful of their undies simply because of physics, for instance.
But at other times, the panty flashes are a bit more gratuitous. This brings us to the first Henkei Shojo (“Transformation Girls”) anime teaser, which starts off with a young woman in a sundres standing in the middle of a windswept field of grass. This seems like an obvious panty shot opportunity. A strong gust of wind is coming, and it’s going to lift up that gossamer dress, right?
But no, Henkei Shojo is taking the high road here. All the wind does is blow the straw hat off her head, which prompts a schoolgirl named Haru to shout “Let me take care of it” and leap after it, stretching out her hand in a pose evocative of anime director Mamoru Hosoda’s The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
OK, this must be where the panty shot is coming, right? Maybe she’s going to lose her footing as she comes back down, tumbling into a heap with her backside sticking up in the air as clumsy anime girls are so apt to do, right?
But it turns out that Henkei Shojo isn’t interested in such tired, cliched ways to show the audience panties. Instead, it’s interested in bold, unprecedented ways to show panties.
Just as it seems like the wind is going to carry the hat out of Haru’s reach for good, she transforms into a fighter jet reminiscent of the F-15 Eagle. It’s not a complete transformation, though, as she retains certain aspects of her human form and attire, such as her schoolgirl-standard loafers and the pleats of her skirt. Oh, and of course, figter jet-version Haru still has her striped panties.
Aside from her haunches, the only part of Haru’s human anatomy represented in her post-transformation state is, perhaps not surprisingly at this point, her cleavage.
▼ The logic is puzzling, but at least constant.
The mechanized Haru hits the afterburners and catches up to the errant hat in no time, catching it deftly on the tip of her left wing. However, rather than come back and return the hat it its owner, Haru just keeps flying off into the horizon, making this one of the most complex and confusing thefts ever animated.
▼ This cannot be the easiest way to obtain summer fashion accessories.
Another head-scratcher is just what exactly Henkei Shojo is supposed to be. The above video is the only content currently available, aside from an official website that shows four other characters who presumably transform into ordinarily inanimate objects thoroughly enough to perform said items functions, but not so completely as to conceal their lingerie preferences.
The most likely scenario is that the video is the opening salvo of an aspiring character-driven multi-media franchise of the sort that’s become increasingly common in recent years, with producers no doubt hoping to create enough buzz for a smartphone game, late-night TV anime, and/or mountains of associated merchandise. Whether any or all of that pans out, though, likely depends on the success of the web shorts, which are scheduled to be released at a rate of one a month between through August.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s guessing that unless all the Henkai Shojo change into airplanes, the demure-looking one on the far left transforms into a hot water dispenser for making green tea.