Additional Thoughts: Space Patrol Luluco’s Production Committee

I won’t always do this “Additional Thoughts” thing, but in this case, I felt there were a few things about this show that I wanted to talk about, that wouldn’t have fit too well in the review (without making it super-long). To that extent, allow me to dump some of these words here.

There is one big thing I want to mention. For those of you who paid close attention to my review, you’ll notice I used the animation studio’s name, Trigger, more than I usually do for a review. This is actually intentional. Trigger’s co-founder, Hiroyuki Imaishi, not only directed this series, but also wrote it too. As it’s an original series, he had more control over what direction this show could go than one would for an adaptation; thus, the presentation of this show fell more onto Trigger’s shoulders than it usually would for an animation studio. Thus, I felt justified in using its name more in my review. This is not a common occurrence for me.

Trigger, though, despite animating and writing the show, still does not have full control over the series; everything they do still has to get approved through the other members of the Production Committee.

What is a Production Committee, you ask? For every anime series out there, there is a Production Committee. A production committee is made up of various companies that come together to make a particular show: the essential members are a music production company (such as Lantis or Aniplex) to provide the music for a show, and a publishing company (such as Pony Canyon or Aniplex) to handle the intellectual rights of the show and generally work to bring the show to the public. Usually, for an adaptation, the book/video game/whatever publisher is on the committee, but not always. Each member company of a committee puts forth a certain amount of money to help produce the show, and in return, they get partial ownership of the show, and get to promote it in their own way.

A music company gets to make and promote the show’s music, a merchandising company gets to make and promote merchandise for the show, a DVD/BD authoring company gets to make and promote the show’s DVDs, and so on. However, in many cases, the production committee does not contain the animation studio. In this case, the animation studio is simply contracted to draw the anime, in the same way that you would contract someone to remodel your kitchen for you.

(Also, another thing to mention is that just as an animation studio is not a must-have for a production committee, a TV station isn’t either. If an animation studio is on the committee, we know that studio will be animating that show, and likewise, if a TV station is on the committee, we know that TV station will be airing that show. If a TV station is not on the production committee, this means the production committee has to shop around and find a TV station to air their anime on.)

So, let’s look at the Production Committee for Space Patrol Luluco:

Good Smile Company (merchandising, leader of committee)
Flying Dog (music production, branch of Victor Entertainment)
Crunchyroll (international rights/publishing)
Bilibili (Chinese online distribution)
AT-X (Japanese TV station)
Ultra Super Pictures (publishing company, joint company held by various animation studios (including Trigger))

The first thing I’m going to be bringing attention to is Ultra Super Pictures. This is the (joint) company behind the ULTRA SUPER ANIME TIME block, which Space Patrol Luluco aired as a part of. Trigger is one of the owners of Ultra Super Pictures, and thus, it was one of the various companies that helped bring Space Patrol Luluco to fruition. However, as Ultra Super Pictures is at the very bottom of the committee, this means that all the other shows contributed more money to producing this show, and also get a bit more of a say in the show’s direction.

Thus, despite being the animation studio behind this show, employing the head writer for it, and being one of the various companies that even helped produce this show, Trigger still doesn’t have absolute control.

However, there is another thing I want to bring attention to in this production committee list, that you probably noticed too: Crunchyroll is on this committee.

For those of you who have never heard of production committees for anime before, you may be like “So? What’s the big deal? Crunchyroll is streaming this show in the West, so doesn’t it kind of make sense their name get put somewhere?” However, that’s not actually true.

I’ll be talking more about the roles of Western anime distributors some point later, but the big thing to know is that, up until 2015, all these Western companies ever did is just license a bunch of Japanese anime shows, and bring them to the United States (or Europe, or Australia, or elsewhere). They don’t actually own the rights to anything in the show (including the dub), they just have the permission of the Production Committee to sell the show in their own region. When it came to making an anime, that was always just something that occurred in Japan, without the say of non-Japanese companies.

This is no longer the case, and Crunchyroll is one of the companies making this happen. By being in Space Patrol Luluco’s Production Committee, this means that Crunchyroll is actually one of the various companies that helped make this show. They didn’t just simply license the show to bring it to the rest of the world, they were with this show from the very start.

It’s actually pretty exciting to see Crunchyroll and Funimation (who is on the Production Committee for My Hero Academia) going to Japan and getting involved with creating anime. These two companies are no longer just licensors or anime streaming sites: they’re now anime producers, they help actually make the stuff. There has been a growing trend within the past year to get Western companies more involved in anime and manga production (as Crunchyroll and Kadokawa has also made an anime co-production deal earlier this year, and Kadokawa bought a 51% stake in Yen Press).

As a Western anime fan, I think it’s pretty cool.

Review: Space Patrol Luluco

As mentioned in my Please Tell Me, Galko-chan! review, I love short-episode anime. It allows me to get my anime enjoyment in a quick drop, and it’s a drop that’s undiluted. So, when I heard that Trigger, of Kill La Kill fame, was going to be making their own short-episode anime, I jumped onto that train so hard, they had to go on an interplanetary adventure through Trigger’s past works to get that train back on course.

What am I talking about? I don’t know, whatever, let’s get going! JUSTICE!

An Introduction

Luluco is a completely normal middle-school girl, living a completely normal life, and that’s all she wants: to be normal. However, she is surrounded by abnormality. She lives in the city of Ogikubo, which Japan sold in an auction (to help its national debt), and now it is the one place on Earth where aliens of all kinds get to live peacefully alongside humans. Her father works for Space Patrol (kind of like an intergalactic INTERPOL), and her mother… well, let’s not talk about her.

Her normal life suddenly comes to an end when her father accidentally swallows an experimental pill from work, and it causes him to literally become encased in ice. Luluco, panicking, brings her dad over to the Space Patrol office, where she becomes enrolled in the Space Patrol herself, to finance the costs of defrosting her dad. Now, whether she likes it or not, she’s a fighter for justice!

The Plot and Characters

Even if you just watch the first episode, you can tell that Space Patrol Luluco is fun, wacky, and will prove to be a journey unlike what we usually get. The first few episodes sets up the show as a silly adventure of Luluco and new-coworker Alpha Omega Nova fighting random space criminals in Ogikubo, and I would’ve been perfectly okay with this show continuing this way to the end. However, Trigger isn’t Trigger if they don’t one-up themselves every new episode. After the first three episodes focus on bringing down a criminal within the school itself, Midori (who later joins the Space Patrol herself in a hilarious dialogue exchange), we get locked into this grandiose plot as Ogikubo gets stolen by space pirates, and this newly-formed trio ends up on a space chase trying to find it and bring it back to Earth.

However, halfway through this arc, the anime puts everything off to the side to spend a few episodes revisiting the worlds of past Trigger-animated shows, such as Kill La Kill, Little Witch Academia, and more. On one hand, it was pretty cool to have these cameos appear and to see the other characters interact with Luluco and the group, and frankly, it was rather hilarious at times. I also can’t say they didn’t have at least some effort to tie these cameos back into the main plot. On the other hand, though, I do wonder if perhaps they spent a bit too much time doing these cameos. That being said, they did wrap it up and bring us back on track relatively quickly in the last cameo-planet-episode. In rewatching the series, though, I’ll probably skip over those episodes.

The last four episodes were made to feel big, cool, and exciting, and that is precisely how they felt too. Everything is on the line and the biggest plot twists are revealed, and it’s honestly kind of amazing. I’d talk in more detail about it, but… spoilers. What kind of surprises me is that the last episodes were able to continue Space Patrol Luluco’s wacky tone, while also having it be emotional too. However, despite how the emotional ending it had, it still felt like it was missing… something.

Whether I didn’t feel as closely connected to Luluco as I thought I did, or there wasn’t that big impact that would’ve really helped, I’m not entirely sure, but as cool as the ending was, I came away from this series thinking that something could’ve made it better. Perhaps it is just a consequence of having the episodes be so short in length.

About the short lengths, Trigger did a pretty good job, in my opinion, of being able to make a comprehensible and fun anime with such a short length. One can’t necessarily expect writers to always be able to squish and fit their ideas into such a short period, but this format worked really well for Space Patrol Luluco.

Overall, the show is a blast. Although it’s at its funniest in the first half as they’re setting up the whole story, Space Patrol Luluco is wacky and humorous throughout; their sense for comedic timing in the first few episodes is pretty great, and even some of the smaller things got me to just fall over laughing. For example, when Luluco, Nova, or Midori are about to capture or pursue a space criminal, their Patrol Suit transforms them (literally) into a gun, magical-girl-transformation-sequence style, and the phrase “Fight for Justice!” being exclaimed every time one of the guns are fired. I had a lot of fun watching the show, from start to finish, and with how short each episode is, I’m beyond eager to share it with my friends by pulling up the first episode. The pacing is a bit fast, but most people should be okay with it.

The anime features a colorful, fun cast of characters, and they do well at having their personalities shine through their words and actions, rather than simply having it be told to the audience (a relatively easy crutch for short-episode anime). Luluco is the innocent, nervous, “normal” girl who finds herself dragged into all these situations, whether she wants to or not. For Nova, everything about him just sparkles; there’s a choral piece that plays whenever he’s in the spotlight, and that song just describes him. Midori is snarky, and usually plays the straight-man in the comedy bits; I’m sure you’ll come to love her by the end of the series. Last to mention here is Chief Over-justice, the chief of the Space Patrol – Ogikubo Branch. He’s… passionate. I’ll give him that.

The Atmosphere

The art and animation for this show is particularly cartoonish; proper anatomy (and physics) goes out the window to create the distinct style of this show, and I think it looks pretty nice. For how wacky and weird this show can be, the cartoonish style works out pretty well, as well as allowing the gun transformations to not look as creepy as they may otherwise be.

This being said, the animation tends to take some shortcuts, having characters stay still except for moving particular parts, or using effects rather than hand-drawn animating to make animation take place. It’s not really a complaint though, as I feel in this case, it’s more of a stylistic choice. Short-episode anime (generally) don’t have the highest of production quality anyway, so it’s even more allowable here. Trigger most definitely upped the quality for episode 13, though, quite fitting for a series finale.

The background art of the earlier episodes tends to be images pasted together in Photoshop with a color washout applied over the whole thing, and although I tend to enjoy the photorealistic backgrounds as a style, I dunno how much of that I would’ve been able to really deal with if the entire series went on like this though. Luckily, as Trigger started the big get-Ogikubo-back arc, they moved away from that and used more hand-drawn backgrounds and such. The background art, like the animation, isn’t exactly the best, but it definitely works for this show’s style, and thus there’s nothing to really complain about at all.

The music of the show tends to be pretty good, if nothing else. There’s about a good five tracks that tend to play a lot throughout the entire series, although you wouldn’t really notice it unless you really paid attention, although episode 10 is in stark contrast to that statement. For me, though, the song I loved the most was the ending theme, Pipo Password. I’m definitely going to buy it on CD. I also really liked the ending animation, even though I usually like flashier things. I also really enjoyed the remixed version of Pipo Password that was played on episode 12. The opening song is also not bad, although I wouldn’t generally listen to it on its own. The opening animation is pretty cool though.

The art and music of Space Patrol Luluco also help with its comedic timing, cutting to a different frame and muting the music altogether to allow a comedic moment to take place. The first episode of the show is particularly good, in my mind, with the comedic timing, and the writing, visuals, and music were all in on the jokes.

Final Remarks / TL;DR

Space Patrol Luluco: it’s cool, it’s wacky, it’s everything you wanted out of a Trigger-animated show, and more, and with only eight minutes per episode, it’s also easy to consume. Fans of past anime that Trigger animated will also appreciate this show, with the various episodes dedicated to cameos, even if these cameos may have gone on just the tiniest bit too long. Overall, this show was a lot of fun, and was definitely one of my favorites for the Spring 2016 season.

With the short length of each episode, I really recommend each person at least watch the first episode, and see what you think. All that’s really at stake for you is just losing eight minutes of your life, it really isn’t much. To be honest, though, if you watch the first episode, I feel like you’ll probably end up watching more. Space Patrol Luluco isn’t a deep, emotional drama, but it’s a lot of fun, and at the end of the day, that’s all it needs to be.

Rating: Great
Recommendation: Watch It
+++ comedy is pretty good, Midori, art style works for this short-episode show
— cameo planet episodes may have gone on a bit long, ending lacked just a tiny bit of substance, opening theme was meh

Review: Deadman Wonderland

There’s been a number of shows that I’ve heard generally positive things about, but yet, I’ve never taken the time to sit down and watch. This is certainly one of them, although there are others that are mentioned more around me than this one. Within the past few months, I finally got the chance to sit down and watch the series, and I wrote this review then. Today, though, I had a conversation with a new friend about this series that brought it back into my attention. So, why not post my review for it while it’s still on my mind?

An Introduction

Our main character is named Ganta. When we first meet him, he seems like your stereotypical high school boy: more of a pushover, generally nice to everyone, becomes the butt of a couple of jokes but somehow keeps himself happy. However, this doesn’t last long, as before the first episode is halfway over, a mysterious (floating?) person appears outside his classroom’s window, and murderizes them all! (with impressive efficiency and destruction) Ganta, somehow the only one in his entire classroom to not have died, finds himself the prime suspect for this mass killing.

After being declared guilty, Ganta is shipped off to Japan’s only privately-owned prison, Deadman Wonderland. Angry and confused about being in this position for a crime he didn’t commit, Ganta tries to acclimate himself to the unusual way this prison works, with only moderate success. Here, he also makes two “new friends”, Yo and Shiro. Yo isn’t so much a friend as someone who’s paid to keep an eye on him and go along for the ride. Shiro, who always wears an outfit consisting of white head-to-toe cloth with random red circles, proclaims herself as Ganta’s closest childhood friend, and while she has an extremely innocent way of thinking, she is unbelievably strong and powerful.

This prison is efficient in killing its inmates, scarily so; there’s really no winning formula to survive. It subjects them to perform in spectacle events for the entertainment of crowds, such as theatrical performances, endurance challenges, obstacle courses, and so on and so forth. But each of these events are modified to allow a systematic murdering of the inmates that participate in them. The obstacle course, for example, has archers shooting at the runners, deadly acid pools, and falling platforms that lead to a spiky demise.

However, this prison has something even more insidious: an underground (literally) fighting ring. The fighters consist of inmates that have a special blood-based power called “Branch of Sin”. These fighters are constantly pit in battle after battle, with the loser being subjected to a “penalty event”, where they lose a randomly selected body part (arm, foot, eye, kidney, voice box, etc.), and are never given the chance to see the light of the sun. Ganta finds himself thrown into this ring, only quickly after learning that he himself has a Branch of Sin power, and meets up with other fighters who are beyond disgruntled with the position they are all in.

The Plot and Characters

It is the fourth episode when Ganta begins to get himself involved with this underground fighting ring. The anime doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s dragging before it gets to this point (as some animes do before they reveal the real meat of their plots), but all the same, I failed to get hooked by this plot. This anime seems to just keep continuing with no sense of purpose, no matter how far I got into the series.

In fact, one of the biggest questions I had about Deadman Wonderland was “What was it trying to show us here?” Was it trying to show us a prison more focused on deadly spectacles than correctional practices? Or was it trying to show us the struggles of being a fighter in this underground ring? Or was it trying to show us the Branch of Sin, what it is, and what it means for humanity? The show ended without developing enough of anything for me to feel like the story had any sort of focal point, or end goal in mind. It was similar to a bus tour: it was going in a set direction, but it felt like we just saw the pretty pictures and people just go by us as we drive on, rather than stopping at any point and letting us sink our teeth into what we saw there.

However, the smaller details kept me from dropping the show. While the overarching plot walked towards some unknown destination, the small scenes and interactions were where I got most of my enjoyment out of this show. Hummingbird quickly became my favorite supporting character, along with Seiji and Karako (all three being fellow Branch of Sin fighters), and Ganta’s interactions with other characters in general were just fun to watch. My most favorite character of the entire show, though, was of course Shiro, with her child-like temperament and weird outfit. There was not a moment when she was on-screen that I didn’t enjoy.

While I first saw Ganta’s reactions to him being suddenly thrust into this prison environment rather realistic, his personality and whiny-ness began to grate on me a little bit by the end of the entire series. He never crossed that threshold from being “just a character” to becoming like an actual person to me. The anime attempted, with little success, to show us some of Shiro’s backstory and give her more character, but in general, she’s basically just like a child in a teenager’s body, in mind and spirit, and she just happens to be at the right place at the right time for her super-powered abilities to come into play.

For pretty nearly all of the supporting cast that receive a decent amount of screentime, each one of these characters act or appear differently enough that none of them can really be confused for one another. Some of them have some interesting gimmicks to them, and any time spent on any of them is generally not any time wasted. The ones we spend more time with definitely get to be fleshed out, to my enjoyment. Archetypes are present in this show, but they’re not anything we see that often. Overall, I have no major complaints about the supporting characters, beyond simply not being able to see them more.

I’ve heard people complain about the ending because it left them with questions unanswered. I was fairly satisfied with the ending, as it was about as deep as the rest of the show: not very deep at all. It does, of course, feel like this anime really only scratched the surface of what the original material may or may not get into, but this show has not left me compelled to seek out and read the original material.

The Atmosphere

Frankly, I don’t have much to really talk about, visuals wise. When an action series doesn’t leave me with anything I wished it had improved upon, that’s pretty good. But as well, this show doesn’t really have anything that blows me away in terms of quality, nothing that makes me say “whoa, now that was cool looking”, which isn’t as positive a thing. The only exception may be the very final scenes of the anime, with Shiro and Ganta sitting together, which I was impressed by. The color scheme was generally a bit darker than I would’ve appreciated, but at the same time, it’s not out of place.

Of course, there is the gore and such in this show. Things can sometimes get a bit violent, and the show is selective about its censoring. Even with the amount of blood and gore you get shown though, you’ve become adjusted to it by the time you reach the ending, and it doesn’t really affect you that much anymore. There’s not really anything past episode 5 that really stands out as worth mentioning, blood and gore wise (and things in episode 5 that I would mention may count as spoilers).

For the voices, I watched the show in English, with Funimation’s dubbing continuing to be of decent-to-great quality here. Monica Rial’s performance as Shiro deserves special attention, with her voice really making the character sound great. The performances of Aaron Dismuke as Yo and David Trosko as Rokuro also warrant a mention here too. Any issues I have with the dub is not so much the sound of the voices, as much as it is the script itself. Whether it’s something I didn’t notice as much starting off, or they changed the style of the script partway through, I don’t know, but in the second half of the show, the words/phrases being said just seemed quite cheesy to me, and it was just the slightest bit off-putting.

I really enjoyed the opening song and animation, although I probably wouldn’t listen to the song much on its own. The ending animation, I appreciated a lot more than the song; I really liked the choice of showing pictures of Ganta with his high school friends, all smiling, while there is a giant ferris wheel in the background. It reminds us of a simpler time.

The background music of the show, though, was impressive to say the least. They did more than just fit the scenes they were placed in; they sounded awesome and got me pumped. The music tracks sound like they came from an instrumental music album (rather than that of a TV show soundtrack), and I would be the first in line to buy this album.

Final Remarks / TL;DR

I can’t really consider this show exceptionally good or exceptionally bad; like most shows, this one has its positive qualities, and its negative ones. However, the always-moving but purposeless plot and good-but-unremarkable visual quality kept me from really seeing the greatness of this show, despite its good characters and great music. Overall, this show doesn’t get much above a “meh” from me.

This show has its fans, that is for sure. Me not being a fan makes this whole “who would I recommend this to” part a bit harder though. Lovers of action series will probably get quite a bit of enjoyment out of tthis, especially if you like a bit of blood mixed in there. Its plot issues continue to irk me though, so for those looking to get a great story out of a show, I would suggest you look elsewhere.

Rating: Average
Recommendation: If You Like This Genre
+++ great background music, fun character interactions, Shiro
— plot has no real purpose, somewhat cheesy script, Ganta is a bit annoying at times

Review: 5 Centimeters Per Second

I watched Kamigami no Asobi while it was airing. I didn’t enjoy it. (That’d be a thing to review at some point.) Anyway, Crunchyroll likes to give you suggestions of shows it thinks fits into the same genre as the show you’re currently watching. So, in that “Other Romance Shows You May Like” section for Kamigami no Asobi, they put this movie there (although Kamigami no Asobi was about as romantic as diarrhea).

See, before then, I heard about this movie every now and then. I knew it was something I had to get around to watching at some point. So on that night, I decided “what the heck”, and went and watched it. But my goodness, I wasn’t expecting the feels train (heh heh, get it? Train?) that I ended up getting. And how glorious it was.

An Introduction

Not meaning to repeat the actual promotional summary, this story gives you three rather small windows into the life of one Takaki Touno. Takaki moved into Tokyo when he was still in elementary school, but moved back out into the country while he was in middle school. (His constant moving is thanks to his parents’ work.)

The first part of the story takes place when Takaki is in middle school, and traveling on the train to visit, finally, after all this time, his elementary school friend Akari. She’s someone that he hasn’t seen for nearly an entire year, and despite how many letters they send back and forth, he still misses her an incredible amount. All he needs to do now is ride the train over to the station that Akari and him agreed to meet at.

The second part takes place while Takaki is a senior in high school. In this part, another girl from his high school, named Kanae, is the narrator, as she struggles with trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life, and with her feelings for Takaki.

Finally, the third part takes place a good few years later, when Takaki is a grown man, back in Tokyo, with a programming job. He’s been having a hard time, though, with his years-old feelings for Akari still present within him. Everywhere he goes, he lives on that small chance of hopefully, somewhere, some day, seeing her again.

The Plot and Characters

You won’t be watching this for its fast pace or thrilling action. There’s none of that here. Instead, what you get is a nicely-paced story where the scene unfolds around you as you continue further and further into the movie. I find this movie kind of entrancing. I don’t know if it’s the dialogue or the way the story is laid out or what, but once I start watching, I just get sucked right in and you lose me until those 63 minutes are up.

The story of each of the three parts are mostly self-contained, but they do piece together to form more of a larger image. Takaki is present in all three parts, as he is indeed the protagonist, and as he grows, we get to learn quite a bit about him. All in all, he becomes a very fleshed out character. Kanae, as the narrator of the second part, gets her own time to shine too, and she gets developed quite a bit. This is a movie about romance, but it’s not quite as much about two people getting together as it is simply about romance itself being a thing that exists in human life. Probably a bit more specifically, this movie shows a lot more of the wanting, the longing to be with a person, and the dealing with the inability to do so.

The part that got to me the most, honestly, was the first one, with Takaki on that train ride. I found the entire part very moving, with the story switching between his ongoing ride to the station where he planned to meet Akari again, and between his times in elementary school and middle school where he was with Akari, and also when she wrote him letters after she moved away. Everything that happened in this first part just really left this huge impression on me, and as we got closer and closer to the ending, I got drawn in more and more, taken by the tension as to when he’d finally reach that station. I would say this first part was strongest one out of the three.

The second part was also quite the story though, with Kanae as the protagonist. Seeing Kanae follow him around and her trying to get closer to him, was really quite heartwarming to see, only to lead up to the climactic (but a bit underwhelming) ending. I really like Kanae here; of all the characters we see, she is my favorite. As much as I like this second part though, it has the unfortunate luck of being after the strong first part, and doesn’t seem as good in comparison.

The final part again switches back to Takaki, but rather than there being a consistently-paced start-to-finish storyline here, it shows bits and pieces of Takaki’s life (and that of Akari) after he graduated high school, and what kinds of things he’s done and not done. It didn’t capture my heart in the same way the previous two stories were able to. It felt like it jumped around a lot more than the first two parts, and it made it hard to really get myself into. I’d also say this part has the least dialogue. The final minutes of it, there’s no characters talking and a song plays, while Takaki does his thing, more or less. I frankly wish this final part was more dramatic and had a more emotion-grabbing ending.

Overall, the story starts off a really high note, with a really captivating and strong first part, but the movie ends with a whimper more than a bang.

The Atmosphere

Probably one of the best things about this entire movie is its artwork. Especially during the first part involving the train ride, so many things look and act so realistically, I feel you could almost nearly mistake these objects for the real thing. While the artwork and animation is pretty amazing throughout the entire movie (the scene with the rocket blasting off in the 2nd part comes to mind), nothing really speaks out to me as much as the things we see during that train ride. Either way you look at it though, the art for this was definitely very carefully crafted and formed, and the hard work definitely pays off.

In stark comparison though, the character designs seemed a bit simple. Part of me wished there was a bit more to these characters’ faces or bodies, especially when the camera zoomed in on them more. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the character designs here seem out of place, but I’d say that other designs may have been a bit better suited, given the amount of detail used everywhere else.

This is one of the few shows I’ve seen both in Japanese and English. When it comes to recommending one over the other, I would say either is pretty good. However, I’ll add this: there is the aforementioned song in the 3rd part (and on-screen text in the 1st), and if you watch it dubbed on Crunchyroll’s website, the dub version doesn’t have any of that subtitled. The dubbed version on the DVD does. If you’re watching the show on Crunchyroll, I would almost recommend watching it subbed simply because we see a translation of the song and on-screen text. If you’re watching it on the DVD, either will do (just be sure to turn on the “Signs/Song Subtitles” option if you’re watching it dubbed).

Music-wise, there’s that song that I actually really, really like on its own. Of course, this is me and my own personal life talking here, so it may not resonate as much with everyone else. Other than that, the soundtrack is pretty good, if not a bit too subtle, relying on piano and soft sounds to back the impressive visuals on screen. It’s fitting for the series, which is about as much as you can ask for. Beyond that one song though, I don’t see this movie’s soundtrack as something I want to listen to on its own.

Final Remarks / TL;DR

Like I said, despite it being called a romance show, we don’t see two characters end up together and start having a relationship; instead, we see more about other concepts of romance, like the longing. I feel this isn’t something we see that much in anime nowadays, and while I know this movie is a tad old, I still think it stands very well today. The visuals are drop-dead gorgeous, and that alone would make up for just nearly any shortcoming in my mind.

This movie is for those who like romance shows, most obviously, even without the solid relationship. I feel this isn’t exclusively for lovers of that genre though, and I would say that anyone who doesn’t require a show to contain action, give this movie a shot. I think that, even if you didn’t get as emotionally tied into everything going on as I did, you’ll still find yourself enjoying or appreciating this. Worst come to worst, you’ve only wasted an hour of your time.

Rating: Great
Recommendation: Watch It
+++ great romance-related story, artwork is simply amazing, song at end is great
— first part is the best, third part is rather confusing and jumbled, character designs were a bit odd

Review: Please Tell Me, Galko-Chan!


This opening song will be stuck in my head for a while. As I will certainly get around to discussing at some point soon, I’m a huge fan of shorter-episode-length anime shows (I generally just call them short-episode anime). This is one that piqued my interest in the Winter 2016 season, and so upon completing it, as I’ll usually do with all shows I watch, I wrote a review for it. This show isn’t special enough for me to really stand out as being the first one for me to review, but it was a recent show that I felt like not too many would be talking about.

An Introduction

The show centers around a small group of characters in a high school class. Most of the time, three girls receive the attention – these girls being Galko, Otako, and Ojou. Based upon appearances alone, I believe you can tell what’s so special about Galko: those assets of hers on her chest. Stepping beside that point though, the anime likes to ask some pretty important questions about life.

Some of the questions asked include “Is it true that girls with big boobs have big areolas too?” and “Is it true that virgins use pads, and non-virgins use tampons?” As you can tell, it’s mainly rumors and urban legends related to sex and other more taboo topics. This quintessential knowledge is wrapped up in a slice-of-life-esque show, showing these characters have fun with each other and have their friendships blossom.

As a result, this show a good go-to guide for dispelling a variety of misconceptions, or at least giving another interesting trivia fact for you to talk about at parties.

The Plot and Characters

Those that like to talk about these topics will probably get more of a kick out of this show, but that doesn’t mean that those who shy away from it won’t get anything out of this series.

The three main girls of this show each bring something rather different to the table, personality-wise. While the anime takes about a minute to name and describe each of these girls in every episode, I feel its descriptions aren’t really spot-on with what I got out of these characters.

Galko seems to be more of the airhead, talking about whatever comes to mind always two levels of volume louder than appropriate; Otako is smart – at least street smart – and kind of a bit more bratty; she usually picks on Galko in that lovable way friends do, but it seems more a shell to hide her own insecurities. Ojou is… just kind of there? Confused, maybe? Confusing, I guess. If it weren’t for the fact that the anime tends to use her in jokes where she is mishears stuff, I’d almost classify her as the smartest of the bunch. Honestly, the final episode of the show nails down pretty well who these girls are and what they mean to one another (along with giving that always welcome backstory as to how they all met). That episode shows their relationship to a T.

Part of me feels bad in saying that the show “uses” Ojou to make jokes, but unfortunately, that’s kind of all she’s there for. If she’s not in a scene to be the punchline or otherwise involved in a joke, she’s usually just not there at all. It honestly just seems like Ojou was there to round up the “me and my two best friends” cliché that we see in media. In general, it almost feels like the characters are all just used so the writers can make jokes; while all of the characters do have at least some semblance of a coherent personality, I kind of feel it wouldn’t be wrong to say it seems the punchlines were written before the rest of the scene.

Beyond just Galko, Otako, and Ojou, sometimes we get to see three other characters (or Galko and two other characters) receive a lot of the focus for an episode. There’s the boys Charao, Otao, and Supoo, who are honestly just stereotypical anime boys (always talking about girls, their breasts, and oogling over them), although Supoo is interesting at times. There’s also the girls Okako and Nikuko, who seem a bit cardboard-cutout-like at first, but the show has them subvert tropes where it feels like it to make a joke; for example, Nikuko, despite being one of the most overweight girls in the classroom, is super-fast and thus dubbed “Sonic Meat” by the boys. It’s interesting to see more of the members of Galko’s class get attention, but I wish these characters were slightly more interesting.

This show isn’t not entertaining, but it’s not… not not? entertaining either. It honestly is a bit more of a mixed bag, depending upon the episode, but it honestly only made me actually laugh maybe once or twice throughout all 12 episodes. Perhaps it’s my sense of humor not really gelling with this show’s too well; it did take me a few episodes to “warm up” to this show, if you will, before I even really saw any entertainment out of it at all. I wouldn’t say I regret this experience, – it really is not all that bad – but I do feel like I could’ve found a funnier short-length anime to watch this season.

The Atmosphere

Throughout the entire series, there was one thing that always… bugged me about how the characters looked. About how everything looked, really. It took me some time to figure it out: all the line art is done in blue. I don’t really get why they decided to make it this way; I don’t really see any reason why so… I tend to enjoy line art being in different colors, but even so… it didn’t always strike me as good. However, it really isn’t bad-looking either; honestly, it does make this show stand out. Generally, all the colors in this, while feeling a bit weird and jarring, don’t feel out of place.

Overall, moving away from the line art and color work, this show honestly is pretty alright in terms of quality of art and animation. I won’t say I’m the biggest fan of the character designs, blue color notwithstanding, and the animation quality isn’t going to blow anyone away either, but it is pretty serviceable to what this show is: a comedy focused upon its words more than its actions. While we could’ve gotten something that looked a few notches better than this, we definitely could’ve also seen something a heck of a lot worse.

The show’s background music tends to rely upon the comedy/slice-of-life staple of inoffensive piano music interspersed throughout the episode, and, well, it honestly is inoffensive. It doesn’t particularly stand out in any way, good or bad. It kind of just feels like it’s there to put music there. It’s serviceable, I guess. The show’s opening theme, “YBMA Girls”, is super energetic and cheerful though, and it’s bound to get stuck in your head by the time you finish the series. The opening animation usually feature snippets from the previous episode, while a narrator gives us brief details about the main characters; the animation/song will last anywhere between 20 seconds to a minute.

When it comes to the voice work, I feel that Otako’s voice is done perfectly, so here’s a special shoutout to Miyu Tomita. The other voices used here feel alright, as none of them don’t feel out of place, but they don’t feel like they’ve really improved the character by themselves either; they fit the show fine.

Final Remarks / TL;DR

Please Tell Me! Galko-chan is hard to put down in a single sentence. It’s a comedy anime about high schoolers sharing “rumors” and tales that they’ve picked up, or otherwise just fitting the mold for what they need to be. This show had some amusing and nice moments, although it’s likely its humor was just wasted on me, as it tended to talk about more mature topics than I usually care to think heavily about. I can’t say I regretted my time watching it, but I probably won’t return to it again for a long while, if ever at all.

For recommending this show, it’s something that you’d have to try for an episode or two to see what you think. It’s humor may work a bit better with other people, and so some may really get some enjoyment out of this, while it may also cause some other comedy anime fans to turn away from this show. I’d say to give it a try if it sounds interesting to you, but if you decide to skip it, I won’t blame you.

Rating: Average
Recommendation: Give it a Shot
+++ Otako is entertaining, opening song is energetic and addictive, Galko also has her fun moments
— everything Ojou, humor just didn’t gel with me too much, supporting characters could’ve been more interesting