Before I get into this review, I have one disclaimer: I never grew up with Sega. I’ve done as much research as I could about what this series has to offer, but to Sega fans out there, please excuse my naiveté.
Regardless, it is fun to watch. Truth be told, Sega is still making games, but this anime is based on the light novel series, Sega Hard Girls, which imagines all of Sega’s consoles anthropomorphized as girls. Sega Hard Girls would later become part of a crossover with Superdimension Neptune, but never mind that. This is an anime review!
So with that, grab your controllers, bring some extra change with you, or download those mobile apps. For this review, we will be revisiting Sega’s library of games with the Sega Hard Girls (and their chibi counterparts) as they take on one last task: to graduate high school!
Hi-sCool! Seha Girls features 3 of Sega’s major consoles from the ’90s –Mega Drive, Saturn, and Dreamcast respectively– as girls trying to survive high school life at Sehagaga Academy. The academy itself has its own quirky nature, where the curriculum is all about playing video games, and has the shortest alma mater in the history of alma maters! There, they must each earn 100 medals in order to graduate, and to earn medals, they must win challenges by playing games from across Sega’s library. And quite the eclectic library indeed!
The girls are super cute, each with their own personalities and designs, featuring characteristics of each respective console. For example, Dreamcast’s brick of a controller becomes the butt of several jokes for her killer headbutt, or Saturn’s got twin stick peripherals to match with her twin tail design. My personal favorite, Mega Drive, is a shy intelligent type who relies on analog encyclopedic knowledge, given that the age of the Internet didn’t catch on for another few years since her debut as a console.
Maybe old school fans are the only ones that can appreciate a time before the Internet was a huge deal, but let’s face it: the online world has its unfortunate quirks, too.
While I can’t say for all of them, the Sega games that are prominently featured in this anime were all hits produced by the company. From the canonical titles that the average person would know, to the obscure titles that don’t quite hold up as well as they used to, a true Sega fan can easily spot the games, characters, and perhaps the easter eggs in every episode!
Something I did love about this series is just how creative they were at crossing over multiple generations of games into this series. The girls play games from each of their respective consoles, with some obvious CG updates, as well as challenge Sega’s other ventures in arcades and smartphone apps!
Did someone call for a hero? Sonic the Hedgehog is here to prevent Dr. Eggman from hacking further into the arcade world of Border Break!
*sobs* We will never forget you, Segata Sanshirō. And for that, we salute you.
I don’t know, Space Channel 5. If Japan were to get ahead of Brazil at the World Cup, I’d probably be watching that instead!
Puyo Puyos have to do what for the guy in Roommania #203? NEVER!!!
Keep dreaming, Mega Drive. (I still love you though) — wait! What am I saying? These are fictional characters, am I right?
One of the most obscure things I came across while doing research for this show was Sega’s Robo Pitcher. Featured as one of several other console girls that didn’t get a speaking role in the anime, Robo Pitcher actually comes from a toy in the ’80s developed by Sega, before the company’s focus turned exclusively to video games. She may be but a footnote in Sega’s grand history, but I have to admit, her design is pretty impressive.
Of course, none of these games and references compare to Sega’s original mascot, Professor Asobin. Known in the series as Center-sensei, Professor Asobin is the avatar that interacts with the girls the most, giving them the challenges and a few words of advice as they traverse through the history of these games.
Center-sensei may be hiding his true identity behind a digital avatar, but the girls always show utmost respect for him, even if he is kind of silly himself.
Hi-sCool Seha Girls is a loving tribute to a company that has made a lot of games and memories to a generation of gamers. I’m sure some gamers out there would have preferred the series to have looked at the broader spectrum of video games by including titles from other companies, but I think that adding more franchises would have hurt the spirit of this anime. The consoles of Sega’s golden years are beloved by fans as pieces of Sega’s history, and frankly it is rare to have a conversation these days about Sega without getting bogged down by its longer-enduring competitor.
One limitation I should point out: this series is loaded with a lot of Sega references with brief explanations, which means it appeals to a very specific audience. If you are a newbie when it comes to Sega, I suggest watching it with a friend who is a Sega fan, or at least has the time to sort out some of the fun things about this series that you may have missed if you knew nothing about them.
And even though the series is very Sega-centric, I think what can be said about the girls’ experience through Sega’s history is true for a lot of media. For the good and the bad, the characters and references here are all part of their history, and all of it was made possible by the love that the creators — the staff that made these games possible — have put into giving us a product to love.
I, for one, may not be a true Sega fan, but in a rather unique way, I can understand what kind of impact these games have made on my own peers. And with that, it is our turn to create those memories to inspire our next generation.
So if you love Sega or ever wondered what an anime that pays homage to this gaming company might look like, check out Hi-sCool! Seha Girls!
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