Series Review – Girlish Number

Written by Bananaowns

Images courtesy of Diomedéa

It is inherently interesting to view a series that goes into the making of anime.  Shirobako remains the golden standard for an anime about making anime.  Girlish Number initially starts out in a similar vein, but quickly becomes a character centric piece.  I’m Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth anime review.

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Story and Characters

The story features Chitose Karasuma, an aspiring voice actress that has recently begun working in the anime industry.  Despite strongly believing in her talent, she mostly has been voicing minor characters.  However, she gets her big break when an opportunity arises for her to become an idol voice actress in an upcoming anime adaptation of a popular light novel series.

Girlish Number initially starts out as a very tongue-in-cheek look at the pitfalls of the anime industry, most notably the commercialization of the voice actors and the treatment of light novel authors.  This early tone is where the inherent strength of the series lies.  The early episodes that chronicle Chitose’s foray into being a lead and an idol proved an interesting look into the industry.  However, the show quickly turns away from looking at the industry and simply looks at the characters themselves.  This is definitely where the show gets weaker.  There was some real heart to the earlier episodes, but then it simply devolved into a rather generic show about a cast of cute characters.  That is not to say that the latter half is bad, it’s merely disappointing compared to the start.

The character Chitose is the driving force of the series.  Scenes without Chitose are not as interesting.  There is even an episode that does not focus on the character and it is definitely the weakest episode.  Chitose is great because she is an atypical protagonist.  She has a rotten personality that is filled with self-confidence that seems to arise from nowhere.  Of course, the series places a large emphasis on giving Chitose a wake-up call.  The second half of the series mostly focuses on Chitose coming to terms with her lack of worth ethic and lack of talent.  While not as good as the industry related stuff at the beginning, it’s a solid character arc.  Overall, the story for this series is a mixed bag, but features a strong protagonist.

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Animation and Sound Design

Certain sequences of Girlish Number feature outstanding moments of animation.  The series starts off with a great musical number that really sets the tone of the series.  After that sequence though, the animation is mostly average.  The aesthetic is bright to match the mostly comedic moments.  The largest strength is with the character design.  All of the characters possess striking designs that I loved.  From Chitose’s egg white sweater, to Momoka’s cute, but refined attire, the design of the characters does not disappoint.  It’s a shame that the rest of the animation is rather average.

However, the sound design does not disappoint.  The main plot point of this series is all about voice acting, so it makes sense that the voice acting is very well done.  My personal favorite scenes involve hearing how awful Chitose’s acting is.  Her actual voice actor captures this awful style of acting to perfection.  In regards to Chitose herself, the voice actress also has a masterful performance.  Chitose’s laugh, self-confidence and even lack of confidence all come across perfectly.  As for the music, it’s mostly solid.  The standout tracks are the idol performances of the group.  My personal favorite display is in the first episode which I mentioned earlier.  Overall, there are some strengths with the animation and sound design, but it’s mostly average.

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Final Thoughts

Girlish Number is an entertaining show, but it’s not special.  There are strengths, but the series is mostly average.  I give Girlish Number my Watch rating.  I wholeheartedly recommend checking it out, just know that it’s not amazing.  I’ll be back next week for another review and thanks for checking this piece out.

Watch Rating

Fall 2016 – Anime Recommendations Part 1

The 2016 Fall season has had some solid hits so far and like always, I am probably watching too many at a single time.  This recommendation piece will be split into many parts on account of my pending law school finals.  As a result, these pieces will be shorter than what I normally write.  The full length reviews will come back in full force after the holiday season is over, but for now, let’s take a look at what I am watching at this time.

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Sound Euphonium: Season 2

This is the only sequel on my watch list for this season.  I have already reviewed the first season and by all accounts, this season brings more of the same.  The story manages to ramp up as the band tackles the goal of making the national competition.  There seems to be more of a focus on some of the older band members in this season as the incidents that plagued the band in the previous years finally come to light.  There is a significant amount of band drama is this season to the point where it’s beginning to become a little overbearing.  This has been tempered somewhat with storylines involving Taki-sensei’s past and and Kumiko’s older sister.  Again, the yuri-baiting maintains a solid presence, albeit it’s not teased as heavily this season.  The animation retains its outstanding quality and I would categorize it as the best of the season.  The music also remains a stand out in the series as well.  I wholeheartedly recommend Sound Euphonium to everyone that has not checked it out yet.

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Girlish Number

Written by the man behind My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, comes this excellent show about aspiring anime voice actresses.  Girlish Number retains a rather sarcastic tone about the anime industry in general and often criticizes it quite a bit.  This message has been toned down in recent episodes though, so it remains to be seen if the season will maintain the quality that the start possessed.  The series focuses on a cast of young ladies as they work on a frankly awful show.  There is a tinge of Shirobako here, but the story places a large emphasis on Chitose.  Chitose is one of my favorite characters in recent memory, mostly due to her flamboyant narcissism.  The rest of the cast is great as well and they manage to put these characters into all sorts of awkward situations ranging from fan events to promotional video filming.  The animation is pretty great.  One of my favorite details is intentionally animating the anime within an anime with a poor quality.  The singing sequence in the first episode remains my favorite piece of animation though.  Overall, Girlish Number is a solid show so far that hopefully finishes as well as it started.

I’ll be back next week to continue my Fall recommendations.  Due to my law school finals, it is going to be a shorter piece than this one and will only discuss one show.