off, I'm not the typical person who recommends anime. Back in my younger
days, I used to watch a lot more anime (some old school favorites include Berserk, Initial D and Death Note).
last "modern" anime I really enjoyed (and couldn't get enough of)
was One Punch Man (patiently waiting for Season 2). In
general, I spend much more of my time trying to get better at fighting
games over watching TV or movies. However, as a
fighting game enthusiast for 30+ years,
I'm here to recommend to you an anime called Hi Score Girl.
Yeah, Guile just got
bodied.... and if you were ever a Guile main, you'll especially love this
When it's not busy being a
binge-worthy nostalgia trip, Hi Score Girl is something of a romantic comedy.
The snarky and sometimes rude Haruo Yaguchi
doesn't seem at all interested in girls (an excusable flaw for a 6th
until, of course, he gets bodied by Miss Ono in Street Fighter II.
Haruo clearly takes his fighting game skills seriously... so seeing his
bruised ego pushed to its limits after his losses (along with his
cockiness after winning) is
comedy gold. Haruo eventually comes around in some ways, but I guess
I won't spoil the love story part for you hopeless romantics.
Back to the games.... There are so many great references to small details of games and specific
characters (and I won't spoil all of them for those who haven't seen it), along
with the mention of iconic
release dates for "life-changing" consoles at the time (including a few
home consoles which were much more popular in Japan).
The show also provides us overseas fans
with a historical walkthrough of Japanese culture in the 90's (as a kid) and
its lucrative arcade scene. From the little "mom & pop
shop" arcades (with just a few sit-down cabinets), to the local
"hotspot" where all the hardcore fighting game players hang out, to the
overdone (and usually disappointing) theme park arcade... it's all very
what many of us experienced overseas with the rise of fighting games in
Among many of the
show's random funny things... one of the teachers is actually Lau from Virtua Fighter.
Time passes fairly quickly
in the show, with characters aging and new games being released... even
fighters such as Virtua Fighter 1 & 2, and my personal favorite, TEKKEN.
What the show gets very, very right is the "importance" the main
character puts on the new games and systems coming out in the near future. This struck a chord with me, as I could immediately relate to
Haruo's excitement when talking to
his friends about upcoming games (especially when those friends appear to
be much less informed). Going over to each other's houses
to play on consoles and experiencing games for the first time with friends
(because nobody can really afford to have all the systems by
were the days. Most kids of this new gaming generation will
never know the struggle.
This screen speaks to
me... This was exactly me in '95/'96.
The anime's soundtrack is composed by the
Shimomura, known for her work on
iconic and timeless soundtracks such as Final Fight,
Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, and Kingdom Hearts. Besides the original
songs heard in the intro and outro (which is especially catchy), most of the score
(and sound effects) is
resemble music specifically from games like Street Fighter and Final
Fight. Needless to say, the audio
design of Hi Score Girl is pretty fantastic all around.
You never know when
and where Akuma will appear in Hi Score Girl. 天
There are even some clever cameos by
actual fighting game (and non-fighting game) characters in Hi
Score Girl. Many of the cameos are fighting game characters speaking directly to Haruo
in his head. (Again, I won't spoil this comedy gold.) For any kind of video game fan, of any age, Hi Score Girl is a must
watch for historical value alone. I for one can't wait for Season 2. What makes Hi
even more interesting and unique is the fact that it begins in '91, with the
characters aging at least 4-5 years throughout the first season.
That said, could you imagine a High Score Girl "Season 7" with characters fully grown
and still enjoying modern fighting games such as Ultra Street
Fighter IV or TEKKEN 7? This would be an authentic reflection
of a large part of the fighting game community (and really the only piece
of media that exists to reflect this lifelong passion of ours). It's
a pretty exciting prospect that Hi Score Girl
could continue for several more seasons, as we will get to vicariously experience the excitement of
future game releases along
with the main characters. That said, there's a ton of potential for this show
on many levels. And I must say... being an adult who still loves
playing fighting games after 20 or
30 years is actually a pretty special thing.
~Frank Joseph / TFG Webmaster
Hi Score Girl
was clearly made by fighting game fans... for fighting game
fans. A must-watch!
You can watch the entire first season (12 episodes) of Hi Score Girl on
Netflix and Crunchy Roll. Three "sequel" episodes 13-15
are planned for release on Netflix and as an OVA in March 2019. Below is
an official trailer for the upcoming episodes.