Monday, January 12, 2015

The Rolling Girls Episode #1: "The King of Rookies" Reaction

Written By: Platitude

    Well, I was browsing around the interwebs, checking out new shows in 2015, and saw a little snippet of information on a new series called The Rolling Girls, which is apparently animated by Wit Studios, the company that animated Attack on Titan. Intrigued, and realizing that the first episode of the series had just been released a mere two hours before I started writing this article, I quickly jumped into the show knowing almost nothing about the anime beyond the fact that it looked extraordinarily colorful and upbeat, something that attracts me to a lot of series. Plus, with the incentive of more of the same great animation seen in Attack on Titan, how could I say no? This was originally intended to be a blindfold anime viewing, but then I realized that it would pretty difficult to follow through and polish off the rest of the series, as that would take 26 weeks if you readers choose for me to do a complete review. Anyways, enjoy.

No, I don't understand what that slogan means.
    Well, the narrator introduces us to this psychotically colorful world in which some sort of big war occurred ten years ago, most of the rich and powerful vanished from the Earth, and all of the districts in Japan have kind of reverted back into feudal states. So, I guess we can file the premise under the "post-unnecessarily-complicated-disaster" genre. Also, there's a picture of a guy with Space Dandy-esque hair fighting a topless red-haired street performer who's brandishing a pink cane, which is already a plus in my book.

    Wait, there are camels in Japan? Perhaps the war actually affected the entire world, but I can't be sure from the narration.

    I like to think of myself as a pretty intelligent guy, but I couldn't tell you what the fuck is happening right now. It's something about two groups of vigilantes, one with a leader dressed like a Power Ranger, and the other with one dressed like a Gothic stripper wielding a giant safety pin meeting in the field to fight over some weapons that the Power Ranger's group owns... I dunno, but it makes about as much sense as skipping 20 minutes into the Holy Mountain and then proceeding to watch the rest of the film while drunk.

Oh, look at how pretentious of a film-goer Platitude is...
    I would hazard that the green Power Ranger is a pacifist, as she proposes that this conflict at hand should be resolved with a picnic. While we're still on this scene, I would like to say that I find the background music really appealing. Yes, it is J-Pop, but it's good J-Pop.

    "State Vigilante Squad?" Isn't that an oxymoron?

    ... Well, That escalated quickly. I'm not sure if people can use magic, or if it's just artistic embellishment, but the stripper attacked the Power Ranger, and everything exploded in big pink and purple flashes.

    Our lovely narrator returns, and informs us that people with the power to cause stuff like the aforementioned destruction are referred to as the "best."

    Those who lack these abilities are called the "rest." The one-percent may have disappeared, but apparently hierarchy just can't be prevented in society.

So, be a "rest" and miss out on the power to conjure exploding rainbows, or be a "best" and get the aforementioned powers, but dress like this. Hmm...

    We briefly cut to a scene within a school, with absolutely no context for why this occurs. After about five seconds, we return to the ongoing battle between the "bests."

    These two scenes keep cutting between each other, but it appears that the Gothic Stripper has struck a decisive blow against the pacifistic Power Ranger.

    Oh shit! The Power Ranger returns!

    The title screen finally appears, although I'm unsure why it decided to pop in right at this time. We still have a battle to fight! 

    We return to the actual show with a shot of a schoolgirl riding a bike, presumably on her way home. 

    Kitty shot! This anime is good!
    ... I mean, a shot of a cat. Not a kitten getting shot. That's just fucking awful.

    I'm unsure about how this world is laid out. It seems like one minute this girl we've been watching was bicycling through the countryside, with rice paddies on either side, and now she's in a city! Either a lot of intervening travel time has been cut for the sake of the episode, or whoever's in charge of the country's planning department is doing a really inconsistent job.

    Um... Why's there a girl in a gas-mask? The air seems pretty free of chemical weapons.

    I'm going to assume that this girl, who's named Nozomi, is out main character. She apparently lives in a shop called "Moritomo Fried Dango," although they seem to sell everything from takoyaki to mitarashi, or at least that's what I can surmise.

This is mitarashi. Mitarashi is life.

    Nozomi seems to know something about Maccha Green, that Power Ranger from earlier. Speaking of which, where's the rest of that fight? The animation was awesome, and I'd like to know who won. Although strictly speaking, I doubt it would be necessary for the plot.

    From what I can tell, Nozomi is a newcomer to Maccha Green's gang of vigilantes, something which her mom seems disturbingly OK about. I'm still questioning the legality of being a professional vigilante. 

    There's this girl called Masami (Nozomi calls her Ma-Chan) that Nozomi seems really excited about going to see, although I'm unsure of why.

    We finally return to the battle, where gang members have apparently returned bearing supplies, including a rubber crocodile mask, so shit must be getting serious. Nozomi joins a group of supply-bearers, supplying them with refreshments, courtesy of "Moritomo Fried Dango."

    The Power Ranger uses a technique she call "Maccha Bomber," which results in a massive rainbow-explosion, blowing Nozomi and her little group away. Her takoyaki is sadly a casualty of the brouhaha. 

    Oh... Masami is Maccha Green. Well, anyways, Nozomi calls out Masami's name while being carried away by the explosion's shock wave, distracting Maccha for a second, giving her opponent the time to sneak around her and put her into a hold. Nice going, Nozomi.

     The stripper is apparently dead-set on Maccha Green taking off her mask, as the Power Ranger has what I can only assume is a Spider-Man thing going on.

    Ms. Stripper, who is referred to as Shigyo, is apparently very ticklish, a trait that allows Maccha to beat a hasty retreat.

    Since when was this a mecha anime? Maccha used her radio-watch-thingy to call upon this massive robot, which makes me question the need for the fisticuffs from before when you're packing fucking Megatron in your arsenal, but what do I know about combat tactics, being a SDK Baduk player and all? 

Yes, I do like to brag about my Baduk-playing prowess. Got a problem with it?
    So, a few hours have passed since the battle, and Maccha Green has changed into slightly more sensible clothing, and goes to find Nozomi lying on the ground. After scolding her for being so close to a fight between "bests," a group of her gang's followers appears. While they regard her as Masami, captain of the vigilante group, they seem to think that Maccha Green is a completely separate entity. Now, I'm just trying to figure out how the hell Masami has been able to keep up this facade. Personally, if nobody has ever seen Masami and Maccha Green simultaneously, both hold a position of authority, and both have the same body type and voice, I would start questioning things, but apparently the water system was reconstructed after the war with lead pipes or something, as nobody seems to have noticed anything weird.

    This lie apparently stems to even Nozomi, which seems fucking absurd. How can you hide the fact that you're one of the most powerful fighters in the world this damn well, even from your close friends? Vigilantes seem to be public figures of sorts, so there would ostensibly be paparazzi or something... Maybe they're all terrified that they'll be killed in a rainbow-sparkle blast if they're found out.

    Oh, it's flashback time! Grab some popcorn and pray that this anime's story will finally make some sense for once.

    Never mind. The flashback took all of three seconds, and it seems to show Masami freaking out over Nozomi nearly drowning or something, which explains why I've been getting this "over-protective" vibe from her.

    Holy shit. The Tokorozawa Executive Office of the President (no, I don't know what that is) is shaped like a teapot. Vanity is clearly a driving factor in this world. 

    Basically, Masami is called in by the Tokorozawa President to expand Maccha Green's peacekeeping influence to other regions, but Masami prefers to keep her territiory just as it is, but the President pulls the classic "it's for the betterment of those that you care about" card, and Masami seems to agree, although I can't be sure, as this scene ends rather abruptly.

    Some of the "rest" in Masami's group (the gang is apparently called the Hiyoshicho Propellers) are at their headquarters, reporting on the going-ons in the city, when a motorbike crashes out front. The blue-haired girl riding the bike seems to be alright, but asks for water.

    This girl (her name has yet to be revealed) has apparently been riding for three days and nights in an attempt to find the Hiyoshicho Propellers' base, and she can thank her lucky stars that the plot deemed it necessary that reached it at this point, because she was acting as if she was going to die from dehydration. Do they not have public water fountains in Japan, or is this just a bad case of story convenience?

    We return to Masami, who has stopped at a restaurant for some noodles when Shigyo (Ms. Gothic Stripper) also arrives. Her gang seems to be some sort of big shot around these parts, as the owner of the shop seems quite intimidated by her.

    Shigyo seems to know Masami's alter ego, by the virtue of seeing her Maccha Green uniform carelessly stowed in her motorcycle when she entered the building. Do you see what I mean? How do Masami's men not know her true identity when she's this bad at keeping secrets?  How?

    The two seem to have engaged in some sort of eating contest by unsaid agreement. I'm not exactly sure why Masami finds it necessary to leave the establishment before Shigyo, but that's the asinine reason given for the speed-eating, so we just have to roll with it, I guess.

    Masami finishes her bowl before Shigyo does, but when she's standing up to leave, she is proffered another helping by the shop's owner for no reason whatsoever. Now, considering that she not only ate her fill but also paid for only one bowl, I see no reason why she didn't just shout "screw that" and leave, but no, the lead-in-the-water-pipes-thinking rears its ugly head for another round, so she accepts, as does Shigyo, who has finished her first bowl as well. 

   Meanwhile, the blue-haired girl from before has been outfitted with a Hiyoshicho Propellers uniform. According to her name tag, she is named Yukina Kosaka. 

Yukina is best girl... So far.

    Aw... Kids need to get a permission slip signed by their parents in order to join a gang of vigilantes... I just can't stop laughing at how ridiculous that sounds.

    The eating contest seems to have ended, and we rejoin Masami, who's hunched over and thinking over the prospect of vomiting everywhere. Considering that Shigyo appears to be in much better shape, I guess she won the contest. During a short, ego-massaging monologue, Shigyo reveals that the "weapon" that their two groups they were battling over in the beginning of the episode is in fact the Power Ranger suit itself, before driving off, saying that she will meet her again "at the amusement park."

Very ominous, Shigyo.

    Another flashback begins, with one of the funniest string tracks I've ever heard in the background. Not only is it completely unrepresentative of what's going on onscreen, but you could take the song, go back to the 1970s, play it on the dancefloor, and nobody would have been the wiser. The ultra-brief shot shows Shigyo when she was younger, fighting a masked girl that is quite reminiscent of Masami, but she shrugs it off and drives down the road, heading towards a theme park, with the same disco-pop playing throughout.

    The Hiyoshicho Propellers are visiting the same park I had mentioned earlier, and Shigyo arrived just in time to see them riding a roller coaster, and pretty much captures all of the "rests" in the gang, taking them hostage against Maccha Green. Shigyo then orders a member of her group to detonate a bomb, destroying part of the track that the entirety of the low-ranking Hiyoshicho Propellers are riding on. We cut to Masami, who had returned to the headquarters, and sees the message left by Nozomi and her group. Remembering Shigyo's words, Masami immediately leaves, heading for the park.

Nozomi and Yukina at said theme park.

    Oh, why is gas-mask girl tailing Masaki? 

    It's over, with one of the prettiest backdrops to the credits I've seen in a long time juxtaposed against extraordinarily bad music.

So, we now know three out of the four girls in this picture. Well, "know" is a strong word...

    Wow, that actually felt really long, compared to what it was, and I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. The relentless brightness of the show actually makes me feel physically tired, but also rather satisfied, but I have a feeling that the anime's devotion to its quirky nature may actually be hurting the overall plot. Instead of identifying with any of the characters at this stage, I leave wanting to see more of the world, rather than learn about our protagonists' struggles and pasts. It's not bad, just... A lot less substantial than it should be. I guess a recommendation or opinion at this point in time is kind of worthless, but at this stage, I just don't really see this series doing very much for me. Also, the slogan still makes absolutely no sense.

The Rolling Girls is available on Crunchyroll for legal streaming. Please support the creators of the series by refraining from piracy and illegal streaming!

Born from a freak lab accident, Platitude grew up in an impenetrable section of the Amazon Rainforest with nothing but his wits and a flying, talking arapaima sidekick named Scuppernong.
After being discovered by South American cocaine smugglers, he managed to reach the United States with the help of a friendly local cartel and three condoms of pure, fresh-cut Colombian bam-bam. There, he financed a new life by betraying Scuppernong and selling him to an aquarist. Platitude immediately spent his $20.00 fortune on a bootleg copy of Boku no Pico, and a legend began... 
You can find his mad scribblings during his frequent bouts of insanity here

No comments:

Post a Comment