Figure 17 Tsubasa & Hikaru (フィギュア17つばさ＆ヒカル?) is an original anime series created by Genco and OLM, Inc. and directed by Naohito Takahashi. The series featured character designs by Yuriko Chiba and music by Toshihiko Takamizawa (of the rock band The Alfee). The series is unusual due to it having an hour time slot per episode (46 minutes of actual episode) rather than the standard half hour time slot.
The anime covers a small portion of the life of the timid, shy, Shiina Tsubasa, a grade schooler who is forced to move to Hokkaidō from Tokyo with her father as he pursues his dream of becoming a baker. At her new school, she is so shy and unsociable that her classmates ignore her at best, and abuse her inability to defend herself at worst.
But her life changes when an alien spaceship comes crashing down to earth in the forest behind her house. There she discovers the pilot, unconscious and wounded, and a monster who is trying to kill him. When the monster attacks, the alien wakes and tries to fight off the monster. Tsubasa, in her fright, runs for the ship to hide from the monster. The monster quickly takes care of the alien, killing his Figure, and then tries to reach into the ship to get at Tsubasa.
In its effort to reach her, the monster accidentally cracks the container of a Figure, the contents of which leaks out onto the floor next to Tsubasa. Moments later, the liquid converges with her, joining with her, transforming her into Figure 17. Together, Tsubasa and the Figure fight and defeat the monster.
When the battle is over, the Figure, its holding case destroyed, separates from Tsubasa into what appears to be an exact duplicate of her in both appearance and memories. The Figure introduces herself as Hikaru. The alien awakens, but his Figure was destroyed protecting him. Together, all three return to Tsubasa's house and stay the night in her room.
The next day the alien introduces himself as D.D. and explains that he was transporting the seeds of a monster called a Maguar, when suddenly one of the seeds hatched and attacked him, causing him to crash his ship on earth. Unfortunately, the Maguar that Tsubasa defeated was only 1 of 6 that he had been transporting, and that the other 5 have escaped the ship and are each scattered somewhere throughout Hokkaidō.
He tells the girls that he needs them to help him destroy the remaining 5 Maguar since the atmosphere of the earth has enhanced both Tsubasa's Figure and the Maguar in a similar way, while he waits for reinforcements.
To facilitate the problem of suddenly having a twin that no one knows about, D.D. decides to modify the memories of Tsubasa's father, making him think that he had twin daughters all along, and that Hikaru was simply living elsewhere with an aunt. So, while D.D. continues to monitor the Maguar from his ship, Tsubasa and Hikaru live together at Tsubasa's house, go to school together at Tsubasa's school, fight together as Figure 17 against the Maguar, and essentially become twins in more than just the appearance.
Each episode consists of about 35–40 minutes of Tsubasa's & Hikaru's school life, and is typically concluded by about 5–10 minutes of Maguar fighting. In the end, this series is more about Tsubasa growing up and learning how to cope with what life deals her and becoming more mature, than the alien-monster fighting which is present throughout each episode and drives the plot.
|Character||Japanese Voice actor||English Voice actor|
|Tsubasa Shiina||Akiko Yajima||Kay Jensen|
|Hikaru Shiina||Fumiko Orikasa||Willow Armstrong|
|Shinji Ogawa||Takako Honda||Dave Lelyveld|
|Sho Aizawa||Kyoko Tsuruno||David Duncan McNeill|
|Isamu Kuroda||Houchu Ohtsuka||Steve Kramer|
|Orudina||Kikuko Inoue||Mia Bradly|
|Hideo Shiina||Masamichi Sato||Ron Allen|
|Noriko Itou||Naoko Takano||Olivia O'Conner|
|Mina Sawada||Rie Kugimiya||Sue Beth Arden|
|D.D. / Daisuke Domoto||Rikiya Koyama||Lex Lang|
|Asuka Karasawa||Ryoka Yuzuki||Julie Ann Taylor|
|Kenta Hagiwara||Yuko Kato||Jeff Garcia|
|Rin Ibaragi||Ai Satou||Barbara Goodson|
|Akiko Hibino||Yuko Kato||Lynn Fischer|
|Toru||Shinji Kawada||Liam O'Brien|
|Principal Hayashi||Shinji Kawada||Steve Kramer|
|Haruo Taki||Toshihiko Nakajima||Doug Erholtz|
|Kyoko Ibaragi||Kyoko Tsuruno||Sue Beth Arden|
|Sakura Ibaragi||Yui Horie||Julie Maddalena|
|Shinichi Ibaragi||Toru Ohkawa||Michael McConnohie|
|Tokio Aoyama||Yoshiko Kamei||David Duncan McNeill|
|Atsushi||Yukimasa Obi||Dave Lelyveld|
|Narrator||Miki Itou||Julie Ann Taylor|
Figure 17 first aired on TV Tokyo's satellite anime channel AT-X. This anime is unusual in that the episodes are about twice as long as most standard TV anime broadcast episodes, at 46 minutes per episode.
The music was composed by Toshihiko Takamizawa of the band The Alfee, which recorded the opening theme "Boy" and the ending theme "Fairy Dance" (both songs available on their 2001 album Glint Beat). In an interview, Takamizawa was told that Figure 17 was a mix of John Carpenter's The Thing and the J-Drama series Kita no Kuni Kara (From a Northern Country).
Bandai Visual distributed the series on DVD in Japan in single-episode volumes, totaling 13 volumes. It was licensed in North America by Media Blasters (under the AnimeWorks label) and released in six DVD volumes from 2003 to 2004, as well as a boxed set in 2005. This version was also licensed in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment.
A manga adaptation of the series was illustrated by Guy Nakahira and published in the magazine Dengeki Daioh. Spanning only two volumes, the adaptation is considerably shorter than the TV series, condensing most of the series' storyline, removing some of the supporting characters and shortening the fight scenes to only a few pages. The manga was licensed in North America and translated in English by ADV Manga.
The series' soundtrack, released by Lantis, consists of the background music. The opening and ending themes are not available on this disc. In addition, an image album was released, featuring songs performed by Akiko Yajima and Fumiko Orikasa.