Combo fiends rejoice! JC Staff has announced the release date of its adaption of HI SCORE GIRL, the fan-favorite arcade slice-of-life series. The manga series, written and illustrated by Rensuke Oshikiri, is currently being adapted into an anime series by Japan Creative Staff. The anime is set to premiere in July 2018, with its formal trailer released on March 23rd.

Love and Games

HI SCORE GIRL is a story of love, life, and combos. Haruo Yaguchi, a middle school student with a passion for fighting games, frequents the local arcades, sweet shops, and general stores in search of opponents for his favorite arcade games. But one day, an opponent trounces him repeatedly. Embarrassed and hurt, he tries again and again, only to lose every time. Who is this phenom?

Unexpectedly, his rival is none other than Akira Oono, a rich girl from the nice side of the tracks. While she and Haruo would rarely cross paths otherwise, they begin hanging out in the arcade together. A sweet tale of young love and combo practice, HI SCORE GIRL is a charming picture of 1990s Japanese arcade culture and small-town life.

The anime, under the direction of Yoshiki Yamakawa, is a promising adaptation. Yamakawa, whose past works includes both HELL’S ANGELS and LITTLE BUSTERS, is leading a decorated team for the project. The team features Tatsuhiko Urahata, composition director on HAJIME NO IPPO, and Y0ko Shimomura. Shimomura, music director for STREET FIGHTER II, is a great choice to place the anime back in the halcyon days of arcade culture.

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HI SCORE GIRL: Niche Culture, Broad Appeal

This announcement comes during a time of rising popularity in fighting games. Titles like DRAGON BALL FIGHTERZ and STREET FIGHTER V have been attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators and tens of thousands of players. Although fighting games are pretty popular today, HI SCORE GIRL focuses on a very different time in gaming history. The series invokes the local scene culture of the ’90s, using arcades as a space for unlikely connections and good fun. Haruo and Akira lead wildly different lives, yet become the closest of friends through gaming. HI SCORE GIRL serves as both a nostalgia trip to the ’90s and an ode to the arcade.

Haruo and Akira of HI SCORE GIRL.
Haruo and Akira of HI SCORE GIRL. | Image: YouTube

HI SCORE GIRL, a story of unlikely and deep connections, also defends the personal in a time of increased de-personalization. After all, meeting people online is quite different from actually sitting across from them. Oshikiri touches upon this theme with the advent of the home console, an innovation as disruptive to the arcade as the Information Superhighway. Haruo and Akira already are unlikely friends; is such a friendship even possible in a world where everything, from socializing to working, can be done from home? It is one of the deeper questions backing this series.

HI SCORE GIRL is a story with great resonance, complete with deep characters and the analog charm of the pre-internet era. This anime adaptation is one more reason to look forward to the summer!

Featured Image courtesy of YouTube

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