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.
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.
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.
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.