Gi(a)rlish Number (2016) – Throwback Anime Review

Author: Wataru Watari

Genre: Slice of Life

Episodes: 12

Production Studio: Diomedia

 

Introduction

I’ve always been interested in voice actors and actresses (seiyuus). We never see their faces, only their voices which helps to portray the emotions of the character they’re playing, so I decided to give Gi(a)rlish Number a try! Plus, it’s slice of life! I was even more intrigued when I found out that the author of Gi(a)rlish Number, Wataru Watari is also the author that wrote Qualidea Code, which I followed in the previous season as well as Oregairu. At first sight, the characters looked really cute. I thought that this would be an easygoing series and that the main character would probably have a smooth-sailing journey in becoming a voice actress. However, I was proven wrong and I love being proven wrong!

 

Storyline Premise

This series follows a bad-mannered girl called Karasuma Chitose who has been working in the voice acting industry for about a year. As she has only been getting minor character roles so far, she believes that it is not her fault, but that it’s the fault of the industry, which is rotten. One day, she receives an opportunity to voice act in a main role for an upcoming anime adaptation with four other girls. In Chitose’s mind, she thinks she is talented, but as she meets the other seiyuus, she is starting to discover that there is more to succeeding in this competitive industry than what she expected.

I’ve learnt a whole lot more about voice acting and what happens behind the scenes. We get to see what goes on behind the scenes of not only the voice acting scenes but the production scenes too (albeit minor parts). For example, there were a few scenes where the production team sat with the author to discuss about the anime adaptation. Not only that, we get to see who, other than the seiyuus, are involved in producing the anime series such as the line producer, music producer, director, the authors and several more.

What I like about this series so far is the fact that it is very realistic. We get a sense of realism and cynicism from this anime. The show also gives us a glimpse of the darker side the industry that we all know exist but have never seen, such as voice actresses gossiping and talking behind another’s back, and showing underhanded, not professional attitude in order to gain more profit. I’m glad they didn’t make the industry look all good and perfect in this series. Furthermore, they also managed to show realistically what potential popularity can do to a rookie voice actress which was what happened to our main character, Chitose. She became more arrogant and stuck up, thinking that she was the best when in reality, she was the worst of them all. Them showing this character flaw created a good opportunity to show great character development when she starts to realize that she herself is the problem and she starts thinking of ways to improve herself.

The series is well-paced and natural, a little slow at times. We are also introduced to the other characters in a way whereby it was easy to remember their names. So far, the show seems to be quite character-focused. Some of the characters we were introduced to, other than Karasuma Chitose, include Katakura Koto, Sono Momoka, Kugayama Yue, and Shibasaki Kazuha. All of them end up working together on an anime adaptation called ‘Millenium Princess x Kowloon Overlord’. The show also incorporates the idol theme whereby the characters are asked to form idol units to perform as well. Basically, the whole show is about voice actresses who also become idols at the same time.

 

Animation and Art

Animation wise, everything was well done. Rich in details and facial expressions for the characters. The characters were able to express everything they were feeling well. The colours were vibrant and there were no problems with the movement fluidity. In terms of the art, everything was simple and nice, not overly static. Other than the fact that the characters look way younger than they are, everything looks good.

Verdict: No complains about the art or animation at all. 

Look at how expressive Chitose is! Source: reddit.com

 

Sound and Music

I am really in awe of the seiyuus behind Gi(a)rlish Number as I felt that they managed to express the right emotions for their characters. We have Sayaka Senbongi (Karasuma Chitose), Ishikawa Yui (Katakura Koto), and several more. Most of them seem to be very young and new to the voice acting industry, but they should not be underestimated. For example, this would be Sayaka Senbongi’s third main role, however, before becoming the seiyuu for Karasuma Chitose, she voice acted in Koutetsujou no Kabaneri as Mumei. In Gi(a)rlish Number, there were a few scenes that featured Karasuma Chitose acting really terribly and Senbogi (Chitose) managed to act so well that even us, the viewers, could feel that Chitose’s voice acting really sucked, which was so amazing. I think that It will be so ironic if the voice acting in a seiyuu anime turns out to be bad. However, all is good.

Not only do the voice actresses of the characters in the anime series have to voice act, they have to sing at the same time. Both the opening (“Bloom”) and ending (“Ima wa Mijikashi Yume Miyo Otome”) songs are sung by Girlish Number, the five female voice actresses in the series! However, in my opinion, both songs are just average. Nothing too special. Other than the opening and ending songs, the girls will be releasing songs as well upon forming their units.

Verdict: Awesome voice actresses, and average OP and ED songs.

 

Characterization

In terms of the characterization, all five girls have their own special traits and personalities. However, their personalities when grouped together are kind of a cliché. We have the typical quiet serious girl, the cool onee-san, the worrywart, and the younger sister of the group. However, our protagonist is extremely unique. I was expecting a main character that would be gentle, well-mannered, respectful and all that trope, but what we got was the exact opposite! Karasuma Chitose is bad-mannered, disrespectful, and to put it simply, fake as hell. She acts nice in front of others, but her thoughts and monologues aren’t nice at all. However, this is really refreshing as this was a good chance to see her grow and develop as an individual.

Another aspect that I like is how each and every character is full of interesting, little flaws. All of them are not perfect and it is quite obviously shown in the series. It makes you wonder who in the voice acting industry is a friend or a foe, if they actually want to help you or mess around with you. Also, every character, by the end of the show seem to have made great progress in terms of their character development, which makes you feel really satisfied.

Conclusion

I found this anime series to be very interesting and I got to learn more about the voice acting industry. Enhancing my knowledge + watching for enjoyment, what a win-win situation. We also get high quality animation, awesome voice acting and decent songs. Give it a try and I’m sure you won’t regret it.

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