Freezing presents a throwback to a simpler time when boobs, blood and action lead the way. Directed by the talented Takashi Watanbe (Boogiepop Phantom) and based on the pulp manga of the same name, Freezing is easily one of the most divisive titles on Manga’s 2012 roster. On the one hand, a series taking the well-worn tropes of the traditional Ecchi Action series is certainly a welcome change from the assembly line of doe-eyed school girls. On the other hand though, one cannot help to question if the Anime landscape has changed since the days when Fist of The North Star ruled the screen.
Set in the distant future, Freezing charts the invasion of Earth by the deadly Nova an anthropomorphic extraterrestrial race set to wipe out human kind. The only things stopping them are the Pandora’s, a Spartan-like race of warriors that are as deadly as they are beautiful. Amongst the Pandora’s, there is rumour of one who is feared by all. She is known as the Untouchable Queen, a warrior of Amazonian proportions that will lead the charge in earth’s defense. The Untouchable Queen better known as Bridgette L. Satellizer is aloof, calm and collected. She is already a trained killer in her prime, but beneath her icy cold demeanor lies a chequered past. In steps the unassuming Kazuya Aoi, a Limiter by trade, his role involves working in tandem with The Untouchable Queen and disabling the Extraterrestrial Nova defense systems.
Over the course of the series audiences bear witness to Kazuya and Bridgette’s relationship both on and off the job. Viewers expecting a forlorn tale of romance however should be cautioned. Freezing is a series that delights in a display of bare flesh, underwear and teeny-tiny skirts. On its most basic level the show is beyond exploitative portraying women as nothing more than sexual objects. It’s an age old debate that has provided an undercurrent of discussion throughout many an anime’s lifespan (see also: Witchblade and High School of The Dead).
In a way though, the argument is a moot point. Freezing doesn’t set out to reinvent the wheel, it has no claims to be any more than it is; and honestly if audience’s expectations are lowered, there is certainly still enjoyment to be found in the series. The animation is silky smooth providing some stand out action sequences. The costumes whilst incredibly impractical on the battlefield will surely send Cosplayers imaginations abuzz, and overall the sheer campiness of the whole thing does take the sting out of the blatant misogyny. Praise should also be given to an otherwise sterling performance on the part of the voice cast; their ability to make a frankly lackluster script engaging should be celebrated.
Sure criticisms can be levied against the often abrasive use of nudity, but one can’t help but think that underneath all of the flesh exists an engaging series. It might be difficult to recommend to everyone but Freezing is an assured effort and an excellent time capsule to the Anime days of old.