It is the year 4999 - mankind has long abandoned war in favor of intergalactic competition through athletic events. One of which is an all-female contest for the coveted "Cosmo Beauty" title. Akari Kanzaki has just entered the University Satellite in hopes of becoming the latest Cosmic Beauty - a title held by her mother long ago. On her first few days in the university, she meets new friends, encounters fierce rivals, and struggles to become the best of all the Battle Athletes.
Battle Athletes is an interesting little anime. Part "let's see how extreme we can make track and field" with dashes of comedy, drama, and some yuri subtext for good flavor. The result, while not entirely satisfying, is still worth the short watch
Considering this is the 90s, the animation is actually quite stunning and demonstrates anime's increasing ability at the time to push the limit and illustrate things that modern live-action could not accomplish. The lighting of the competition torch on the university satellite via unmanned rocket, for example, really just took me away. Though character movement is staticky, you really have to hand it to
the animators for delivering some great ideas for future sporting events.
The sound I can't comment much on. It was there, it mixed well, but overall it was just plain. I won't rate it badly but it's nothing to talk any more about.
The story is jagged, but involved. Each episode seems to focus on a different sporting event as a result of training for the big competition at the end, which takes up the last two episodes. Certain elements, such as Mylandah's extreme interpretation of competition, as well as Akari and Kris's growing friendship carry over, and the story isn't afraid to throw a twist out of nowhere either. However, because of the limited run, it really doesn't carry out as successfully as it could have. Instead it comes off as a summary, with sporting events in-between.
The characters range from bland to incredible. The most incredible character, I thought, was Kris. She was well-developed and unique enough to stand out of the crowd. Unfortunately, she's really the only who stands out. There are other characters like Tanya and Lahrri, who run on one aspect of their personality the entire run. Other characters, like Mylandah and Anna, also run on one aspect, but are saved by that aspect of their personality's influence on the plot.
Overall, I really enjoyed Battle Athletes. It's a good watch if you're looking for something that's involving enough that it doesn't put you to sleep but short enough that you only have to dedicate a day or two to watching. Though it's not the best, it is good.
One last note; From what I've heard, to really enjoy this OVA, you need to watch it before you watch the TV series, Battle Athletes Victory, which I hear is much better. However if the OVA is just a taste of what the series has to offer, I can't wait to get into Victory.
Adding up the totals, Battle Athletes comes out to an overall 7. The art and a good portion of the characters make it stand out enough that you can overlook the majority of its faults. A quick watch and a fun one.