Let’s Talk About Oishi High School Battle

Running on the Smosh MNC (multi-channel network) on YouTube, this live-action/animation hybrid has returned for a second season after a successful initial one (2 million+ views). So why does Oishi High School Battle seem like the kind of animation that could actually be a hindrance to the broader commercial success of online animation?

Oishi High School Battle screencap

Although it isn’t strictly animation but rather a live-action show with animated characters, Oishi High School Battle also plays right into numerous tropes (about anime, magical girls, etc.) that are aimed primarily at a highly-defined audience. Not to draw too many conclusions, but if Oishi using her ‘battle breasts engage’ command to open a jammed locker door doesn’t do anything for you,l then you’re probably not who the show is looking for.

Which is part of the reason why a show like this should be of concern. Low-brow entertainment is nothing new and goodness knows the internet is rife with it already. However, the difference is that in trying to forge some kind of commercial success from the platform, shows like Oishi High School Battle make it clear to many people that content of the lowest common denominator is what is needed to make money.

Consequently, there is a rash of shows like Oishi High School Battle (such as Cartoon Hangover’s Super F*ckers) that play to the more basic instincts of the male members of the audience and make money because of it. That would be all fine and dandy except that as pioneering shows, they will set the stage for what will come later when commercial success is more readily assured. If rock-bottom content is considered what it takes to make it in the online space, then that is more than likely what we have to look forward to for the foreseeable future.

As far as animation goes, that’s a shame. For a technique that is capable of so much, it’s nearly criminal to permit it to reside in the confines of raunchy comedies aimed at pimply teenage boys. It’s easy to forgive the quality of the animation itself, or even the fact that it’s a live-action hybrid (budgets do make a real impact after all.)

Shows like Oishi don’t advance the technique in the online space in any positive way. In contrast, look at what creator-driven shows did to televised cartoons. They blew the door open for superb animated shows and did much to inspire the next wave of creators such as Pen Ward and Alex Hirsch that are currently making waves.

Online animation is in dire need of someone who can create a successful, yet critically acclaimed and high-brow animated series that will do much to further the technique online and improve its stature among audiences.

9 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Oishi High School Battle”

  1. The problem with online animation is always budget. No one wants to pay very much to the creators/production groups that make them. The easiest way to attract attention is to be “outrageous” rather than clever or original, or God forbid well animated. But then again Broadcast/Cable Television now has both the best written dramas and most morally offensive reality shows on it’s schedule, so I guess there is room for all sorts of entertainment.

    1. Personally, I would choose to be well animated over chasing the largest audience for the simple reason that the content is more likely to remain popular in the long term. That can have great financial benefits down the road, especially if it’s a slow burner and becomes really popular later on.

      1. Sounds like the engineer in you talking. Doesn’t seem like too many people in any field nowadays take the long view. But then, the people who are interested in making animation generally speaking didn’t get into it to make money. Unfortunately most of the people willing to put up $ to help it get produced these days seem to have little else in mind. I understand that one needs to be pragmatic in business but perhaps it’s the size of the profit margin that has gotten out of hand as well as the need for everything to be an instant hit.

  2. As an online content creator who’s sole income is through his animations, it’s not easy trying to churn out something of high-brow and high quality on a regular basis. It’s easier and safer to churn out cartoons that will garner mass appeal, whilst working on something of better quality on the side.

    1. The thing is though, high-quality doesn’t necessarily equate to high cost. Even the simplest animation can be considered high-quality if it’s done correctly.

      I do however agree that it’s often more pragmatic to create one set of cartoons and use the bacon they bring in to fund superior films.

  3. Is the fact that she’s horribly drawn and unappealing to look at a part of the humor or is it just the fault of the terrible artists involved?

    1. I was wondering the same thing, until I looked again at one of the newer episodes where the opening is entirely new and the character animation is a bit different, but not any better.

  4. Stopped reading at “battle breasts engage’ command.” Went to watch the show instead.


    In all seriousness, the truth is it is extremely easy to pander to a select crowd and make a lot of money, selling your soul in the process. And some people are going to sell their souls and produce garbage. It’s a matter of different goals. If the goal is to get lots of attention/money, the quickest and easiest route is to go low-brow. People who enjoy it will share it (even with people who DON’T enjoy it, I have “that friend” who keeps showing me so much nonsense and trash online) and it’s the path of least resistance (and usually least work). It’s like how shock comedy is so much easier and so many people do it. Real, quality comedy is very hard to do, especially with so many others just throwing poo and f-bombs everywhere.

    All we can do is control ourselves, and take a different road. That’s our choice as much as the road well-traveled is THEIR choice. We have to be okay with our own choices, even if it means zero commercial success by comparison.

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