BPS Battle Programmer Shirase: First Impressions – An Aesthetically Retro Series About a Carefree Computer Hacker

BPS: Battle Programmer Shirase (BPS バトルプログラマーシラセ) is a comedy, science-fiction series about a guy named Akira Shirase who’s a freelance computer programmer that takes on jobs in exchange for goods, usually rare computer parts. Because he’s absolutely brilliant, he’s contacted often by many individuals to complete various hacking and security related tasks.

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The very first thing that I noticed about the anime was the animation style. The show released in 2003, but the aesthetics are akin to something that would have been made in the 80s, maybe the early 90s. Yet even with this very retro type of presentation, it’s beautiful. The colours are all vibrant and the lines and drawings are crisp with an incredible amount of details within the surroundings and backdrops. The old-school quality to it is an excellent complement to the story of this breezy hacker geek. I feel like if modern, more computer-centred graphics were utilised, it would greatly take away from the cheesy comedic elements and the overall relaxed and apathetic persona of our protagonist. So, right from the start, the series grabbed my attention.

After finishing the first episode, I can safely say that one of my favourite facets of the show is Akira. I love how carefree Akira is. He’s just a dude who rolls out of his futon and does what he’s hired to do, usually in a short amount of time and while munching on junk food. Then once he’s finished, he goes right on back to bed. I relate to this sort of laziness and half-assed manner of getting by way too fucking much, which I’m not sure I should be admitting. Oh well. Anyhoo, because he’s just so average with anything unrelated to computers and technology, it makes him supremely likeable to me. He’s a Joe Shmoe moron. My perfect kind of guy to chum it with (think Eikichi Onizuka). I think what makes him even more pleasant, especially as a main character, is that he’s not super young either. From his appearance, and minor comments made by the young daughter of his landlord, he’s got to be in his late 20s to early 30s. I love seeing older characters in anime because most shows focus so heavily on the effervescence of youth (i.e.: teenagers).

The show is listed as being a TV Short with fifteen episodes, however, over on HIDIVE there are only five episodes. Since the series has five main arcs, I think each arc was compartmentalised into a single episode. Originally, I chose this title because I had never heard of it (randomly came across it on HIDIVE), and I also felt that the smaller segment sizes would make it easier for me watch it quickly. So, when I started the 27-minute long pilot, I was apprehensive about what to expect, and wasn’t sure if it would affect my ability to pay attention to it (my ADHD has been a beast lately). Yet, the characters, the artistic style, the mild use of crass humour all surprised me and I was pleasantly engaged enough to look forward to wrapping it up relatively soon, hopefully within the week.

If you’re interested in checking out BPS: Battle Programmer Shirase for yourselves, you can check it out on HIDIVE.

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