Original Run: October 3, 2003 - January 4, 2004 Number of Episodes: 15 Genre: Comedy
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Battle Programmer Shirase. Reader discretion is advised.***
Satoshi Shirase (voiced by Kazuya Nakai) is a freelance programmer who goes by the code name Battle Programmer Shirase (BPS).
A computer genius, Satoshi is contracted by a variety of organizations to perform high level cyber functions, such as hacking and security. Even though his level of skill is unmatched, Satoshi never charges money for his services. Instead clients make payments in the form of rare or high tech electronics.
Living a quiet and secluded life, Satoshi has few strong relationships; the major exception being his elementary school niece, Misao Amano (voiced by Misato Fukuen).
A few of Satoshi’s other regular contacts include the cyber-terrorist Rintarou Ose (voiced by Yasuhiro Takato), a.k.a., King of America, and US Navy counter-cyber terrorist officer Major Yoriko Yunomi (voiced by Fumiko Orikasa).
Battle Programmer Shirase was funny — for the most part.
You should know if you decided to watch this show that the humor was far more subdued then it was off-the-walls. You can expect a chuckle, but don’t go thinking you will fall into hysterics.
The best thing to come out of this show was Satoshi.
Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t it fun to see people who are the best at something, do what they are the best at.
Plus, if this series is anything to go off, cyber-battles are cool.
As an example, in the first story arc of the show, Satoshi was hired by an electronics company who recently had one of their supercomputers stolen. The culprit was none other than the self-proclaimed mega-terrorist, King of America and his plan was to bring down the giant conglomerate.
The King could remotely trigger high-powered explosions within the company’s Tokyo headquarters by exploiting the basic wired functions of a modern building, such as gas and electrical lines. He was able to do all this because he had the stolen supercomputer.
However, Satoshi, in a resounding display of his programming superiority, effortlessly blocked every attack the King made. He did this so quickly that the hard drive of the supercomputer was unable to handle the processing speed. The machine overheated which caused it to explode.
What was Satoshi’s weapon of choice? A simple cell phone.
As a byproduct of his abilities, Satoshi had a largely indifferent attitude. Even when in clear mortal danger, he was never in much of a rush or panic. His demeanor only changed whenever he saw a piece of electrical equipment.
It was Satoshi’s personality that brought about most of this show’s humor.
If I could only use one word to describe this show, then I would have to go with — underwhelming.
The Story and Character Development
How much can really happen in fifteen episodes at twelve minuets a pop?
As it turns out, quite a lot. But just because things are happening, that doesn’t mean any of it’s interesting.
This show, somehow, cobbled together five different story arcs.
The first one was really good because it, like I said, demonstrated how skilled Satoshi was with a computer, and the battle between hackers was fun to watch. Sadly, that excitement never came back.
Even though the King of America was behind most of the dilemmas in the show, there was never a repeat of that first head-to-head battle. Often Satoshi’s job was to mitigate damage control or set up a situation where Major Yoriko could take the kill shot.
And that’s another thing.
There was never a cyber-fight between Satoshi and Yoriko. Although Satoshi was unquestionably the better programmer, the Yoriko would have provided as real challenge.
This was also an illustration of how poorly this story did with everyone’s — not just Yoriko’s — character development. For instance, although we got to see Satoshi’s skills for ourselves, Yorkio’s proficiency was solely based on her confidence and the Navy’s say so.
Never once will you feel to urge to invest any emotion into this series. By the end, you not only don’t care about what’s going with the characters, but you also wouldn’t know anything about anyone if you did.
Cliffhanger Ending *Possible Spoiler*
Battle Programmer Shirase didn’t warrant much investment on the part of the viewer, However, much of that had to do with the fact that this show feels more like a foundation for something bigger.
I say as such because of this series pointless cliffhanger ending.
Throughout the show, Satoshi hinted about an organization he used to work for. In the last story arc, that same organization attempted to kidnap Satoshi in order to use his skills again. So at the last second, we were introduced to this brand new mysterious entity which ended up dropping the first interesting story element since the beginning of the show.
It wasn’t a bad way to build up excitement for a second season.
But do you see the problem with that? Battle Programmer Shirase, at the time of the posting of this review, never got picked up for a second season. Therefore, we are left with a story that is both sparsely engaging and unfinished.
Battle Programmer Shirase was just okay.
If you have three hours you need to kill, then go ahead and give this show a try. But keep this in mind: In the same way that jump scares don’t often make a horror movie memorable, the humor of this series will not last long and will quickly be forgotten.
While there are some people that may enjoy this anime for the fanservice it provides, it really doesn’t bring much else to the table. With mildly funny jokes that have been done better by other series, it will keep your attention long enough to get through it all.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? What would be your advice concerning Battle Programmer Shirase? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.