I’ve lost track of the number of shows I have been tortured with since starting the Chii/Kira watching club (aka the” misery loves company” crowd), and it’s really not getting any better. Subjecting ourselves to titles we wouldn’t normally watch and praying for the slim chance of finding a rare gem, it usually becomes nothing but a show to make you appreciate just how satisfying the real good stuff is. However, when it comes to Super GALS I should expect the worst after the “bwahaha” disclaimer uttered by my partner in crime.
Do trendy teenagers make you cringe? Were you one of the un-popular kids in school? If you answered yes to either of these, you will *hate* Super GALS. Simple as that. Focussing on a trio of girls who value fashion above anything else and follow trends like oblivious sheep, the series gives an insight into what the cool kids get up to. Featuring a crash course in the lingo, with awesome phrases such as “uber” and “GL” (or good looking for normal people who don’t feel the need to txt spk), you find yourself in an annoying lesson learning how to become a GAL. Now, I’m still not sure what a “GAL” is exactly, but I’m pretty sure it means chasing after boys, wearing the shortest skirt possible, slacking off in school and acting like a general ditz.
My main problem with this show is probably due to the fact that I'm not part of the target audience. Although shown through the medium of animation, something usually reserved for younger males, I would lean more to Super GALS being for the “Bratz” demographic – for those who don’t know what Bratz are, be thankful for small mercies. Instead of the usual geeky otaku, this series will amuse the simple minded 6-12 year old female who will idolise the prissy protagonist, Ran. Aiming to please parents by instilling a sense of right and wrong, it feels like the writers failed miserably by shamelessly pronouncing education to be a pointless endeavour.
The “story” of Super GALS reminds me of teenage magazine, Just Seventeen’s, problem pages. Tackling life changing issues, such as which boy to date, or getting a part time job to pay for a manicure, the trite fluff doesn’t dare to address anything more mature than a trip to the water park. It is a shame really, as the show had a lot of potential. Had it taken a more tongue-in-cheek approach to the feeble minded protagonists, then the viewer may have been rewarded with some chucklesome moments. Instead, my will to live is slowly saps away as Ran and the GALS invoke many face-palming moments.
Bold and brash, there is something quirky about the animation style used in Super GALS – it perfectly matches the fashion victim highschool girl theme of the show. As far from cutting edge as you can get, the older characters look more serious and feature typical designs from the turn of the century. Although the main cast look much younger than their apparent sixteen years of age they are extremely trendy, wearing bright colours and drenched in leopard, tiger and zebra designs. Shame the art department didn’t spend as much time working on the fluidity of movement. Amongst the list of overly repetitive scenes, Ran boxing out some shapes in a dance-off is possibly one of the funniest, and at the same time gratingly annoying, things seen in anime.
He’s always there inside me, me, me, me.
Aside from the seriously questionable lyrics, the opening and ending tracks are pretty dire. Dabbling with the Japanese love for Ska, the opening track is an upbeat ditty, which is in stark contrast to the vomit inducing lullaby that will put you to sleep at the end. The incidental music was surprisingly what I love, exploding with campy eurobeats and it is a blast back to the Move riffs in Initial D. Although I know this is certainly not to everyone’s tastes, it helped to bump up the audio score for me.
Unfortunately, the voice acting makes me question how certain seiyuu still have a career; although they fit the characters, the high-pitched and whiny noise that spewed forth from my speakers made me want to hurt people. Going against my better judgement, a switch to the dubbed version was infinitely worse than my already low expectations. Just imagine some, like, stereotyped Valley girls, who ,like, completely love to get their, like, nails done, and you’re on the money. Although the script differs from the original, some of the “get lost fart catcher”-type comments are utterly hilarious, and the name pronunciations are smile-worthy: Ran becomes Ron, and Mami turns into Mommy. After the talk of various torture techniques at Guantanamo, perhaps the GALS dub could be a new addition to the cruel repertoire.
You know that constantly perky person that you just want to punch in the face? That would be Kotobuki Ran. Somehow, she magnetically attracts people; girls want to be her and boys want to bed her, even though she is extremely high maintenance bitch who uses her friends to help with homework. Of her two followers, Aya lacks the bolshie precociousness of her peers, which is probably why she is the most likable of the trio. Very shy and actually concerned about schoolwork, it seems like she is dragged into some awkward situations by the leader of the GAL pack. A rundown on the rest of the pitiful cast highlights that even variety cannot save this car-crash anime.
Summing up Super GALS, I would call it the bigger, sluttier sister of Kodomo no Omocha; it is almost like Sana grew up and became a tart. One episode goes as far as featuring Ran proclaiming that anyone who wants to be her boyfriend can “come have a go” in the Date Ran Competition. Giving out the message that beauty is superior to brains and fashion more revered than an education, the series highlights what is so wrong with the world at the moment: Paris Hilton.
Kotobuki Ran has a whole family line of relatives working in the police force. Her aunts and uncles are officers, her dad is a police chief, and even her brother is a working policeman. Ran has no interest in being a policewoman; she has problems of her own, and her own style of dealing with them - the GAL way! Friends need boyfriends, shoes need to be bought, and nails need to be done. Despite Ran's wreckless and troublesome behavior, Ran has a strong sense of justice, and she's always willing to help her friends out of trouble. With her two best friends Miyu and Aya, they live life as GALs, building romance and creating memorable fun!
As a not-so-closet perv, I love watching anything involving panty-shots, handfuls of cleavage and an innuendo fuelled plot. Although most of my reviews will err on the risque, I also love the obscure, the twisted and things that make you think - drop me a line if you want to discuss any of them!