Genres: Comedy, Slice-of-Life
Aired: Oct 2014 to Dec 2014
Also known as: Girlfriend (Kairi), GF Beta
Summary: A TV anime adaptation of the Girlfriend (Kari) a mobile game where players can have girlfriends through playing the game.
Shiina Kokomi is a hard working and even tempered high school girl who is the lead performer in her school’s rhythmic gymnastics club. The story follows her and her growing circle of friends as they support each other through the various trials and situations that comprise high school life.
Review: The summary implies that the show revolves around Shiina Kokomi and I suppose this is true to an extent. However, Sakurai Akane, Chloe Lemaire, Mochizuki Erena, and Murakami Fumio also occupy significant amounts of screentime, so I would actually say there’s 5 main characters. Personally, I find this to be a relief since I think Shiina Kokomi is a boring, generic nice girl who happens to do gymnastics. But there’s also tons of other girls, and they do get their time to shine here and there as acquaintances of the main characters.
That’s the thing about GF Beta, as well. It gets hard to keep track of the legion of characters even though, for the most part, they all look unique. I would say GF Beta is a series to study if you’re interested in seeing the different ways the same school uniform can be worn. That is definitely a good thing since I personally think their uniform is kind of ugly as stated in an earlier post.
At any rate, I think Silver Link made the right decision in making the show completely about girls interacting with other girls. If there was some popular male main character who was catching the eye of every female student (which seems to be the assumed role for players who play the mobile game), then I would be at a loss for words since there’s just so many girls. The possibility of all of them falling for the same guy would be rather unlikely.
And if GF Beta went with the Amagami Route, then only a few girls would get screentime unless every route was reduced to a part of an episode. Well, all of this is moot since this is a show about girls making friends with other girls (even though the setting does involve a co-ed school, but the amount of relevant male characters can be counted on one hand).
The features which distinguish the show from all the other “cute girls go to school” shows are the aforementioned large cast of characters, the decent jokes, and the meme character. With so many characters, viewers have trouble remembering names and faces (personally speaking) and screentime is split amongst the girls, but it’s neat that viewers aren’t forced to watch the same few characters over and over.
I found the jokes to be pretty on-point, especially compared to those found in Anne Happy. However, the punchlines revolving around the memetic character, Chloe Lemaire, not understanding Japanese culture got a little stale after a few episodes. But let’s face it: most of the viewers watched the show to see and hear Chloe Lemaire.
The music kind of has that homemade feeling, I guess? It sort of reminds of some amateur doujin circle’s work, to be honest, which is both bad and good. Both the OP and ED lacks polish, but they also stand out, if that makes sense.The first few seconds of the OP really sticks with you, at least.
The animation is acceptable, which is to be expected. There’s not intense battle scenes here, after all. However, sometimes the characters look a little off-model with weird proportion sizes (Shiina Kokomi in her gymnastic’s uniform during episode 2 was particularly suspect).
As for the yuri – there’s a kiss on a cheek and some hand holding. Erena, who really appreciates taking pictures of cute girls, declares that when she experienced unrequited love at first sight when she first met Fumio, her best friend.
The advantage of having so many characters within the setting is that girls bump into and get to know other girls. If you’re like me, you start to imagine each one of these fateful encounters to be the start of a potential relationship between two girls. As a result, tons of ships are possible given that your imagination runs wild.
GF Beta‘s claim to fame is the humongous cast of characters and Chloe Lemaire. If you’re interested in watch a goofy blonde girl, then the show will be a fun watch. Do note, however, that this sort of character can be found in other shows, such as Karin in Kin-iro Mosaic. And to that we all breathe a sigh of relief since GF Beta, as a whole, is disappointingly average.
Perhaps the upcoming second season of GF Beta will be better. I believe it’s featuring new and different characters, so we shall see during Fall 2016.