Genre(s): Drama, Comedy
Aired: Oct 2016 – Dec 2016
Also Known As: ガーリッシュ ナンバー
Summary: College student Karasuma Chitose is determined not to do boring things as she enters the adult world. To this end, this bad-mannered beauty barges into a facility that trains would-be voice actors and actresses, somehow landing a job at “Number One Produce,” a seiyuu agency managed by her older brother, Gojou. In Chitose’s mind, she’s poised for greatness, but finds herself at a loss when she continues to only get minor roles. As she clashes with other girls in the agency, including a cunning airhead and a girl with a Kansai accent, Chitose is about to learn that there’s more to succeeding in this competitive industry than she imagined.
Review: First of all, that bit about Chitose being a college student? You can forget about it since it never comes into play during the story. I feel like that little detail about our lovable heroine was thrown in so we don’t think she’s a complete bum outside of her voice acting job, but she kind of is.
Speaking of Chitose, she is (initially) not poised for greatness. In fact, she starts off as a mediocre voice actress with an inflated ego as well as the potent ability to tune out and ignore criticisms. As a result, the viewers can find the first few episodes grating to watch because Chitose seemingly never learns or tries to improve.
But if you stick it out and continue watching, you’ll realize there’s more to this adorable yet stuck-up voice actress than what meets the eye. Chitose’s actually aware she’s not particularly talented and she tries to chase away said doubts by claiming the opposite and acting confidently. When she’s finally forced to confront these fears, we don’t see a person who has baseless confidence. We see a fragile girl who is trying to become special. And even if she isn’t special, she decides that she’ll keep trying until she eventually does become special.
To me, that’s a beautiful message. Sure, Girlish Number spent 10 episodes showing us the extent of Chitose’s stuborness (8 if you exclude the episodes focusing on Momoka and Kazuha) and the method of communication is quite heavy-handed as a result. But I found myself drawn to Chitose because I could relate to her. I think a lot of viewers could emphasize with her desire to be someone special, of her willingness to ignore her short-comings in order to feel better. If you can see yourself in Chitose and keep watching until she finally realizes she has to work hard because she isn’t special, then I think you will enjoy the show and its ending (which was actually happier than what I had expected).
While Chitose is arguably the main character, the other characters get significant screen time, too. Well, some of them do, at least, while others remain rather undeveloped. A bit of a shame, but it can’t be helped. After all, everyone is the main character in their own lives (please don’t sue me, Akamatsu Ken). Girlish Number just happens to be Chitose’s story, for the most part.
The animation varied between being beautiful or downright shaky. Expect a few off-model faces as you watch this series. There was also this interesting “blurry edges” lens effect that was probably an attempt to make the audience feel like they’re watching something unfold on-camera or something? That’s just a case. Personally, I found the effect to be a bit too distracting.
I honestly couldn’t tell you if the instrumental OST is any good since I can’t remember any notable pieces. But I really liked “Bloom,” the OP! It’s so catchy and I just get very emotional listening to its lyrics about being number one. It’s a wake-up call for everyone to try hard and not to be afraid of failure, I guess. The ED was a bit annoying; anyone who has heard it will know what I’m talking about, so I’ll leave it at that.
As for the yuri, I ship Yae x Chitose and Koto x Kazuha. But there’s case to be made for Chitose x Nanami, Kazuha x Koto, or maybe even “3-player modes.” The yuri subtext doesn’t dominate the show, but seeing voice actresses really get concerned about other voice actresses is a pleasing sight (for both casual viewers and shippers).
Chitose is the centerpiece of this show. I think it’ll be hard to enjoy the show if you don’t see yourself in Chitose (who eventually matures slightly) or if you don’t like cute and rude girls.
What started off as a cynical satire and commentary regarding the anime industry ends with an idealistic message. Give this show a shot if you want to see if you can be considered patient (it’s worth it at the end, in my opinion), or if you’re interested in seeing the many faces of the mean meme queen known as Chitose!