Another archival post featuring one of my reviews from a time before I lost everything I wrote due to server screw-ups! This time it’s a review of an oddly overlooked slice of life focusing on art. This has reminded me that I always loved “gals” before I really realized it, I mean I did well before this as well and there are obvious things like Super Gals, but I didn’t even know how to explain why I liked this girl or her style so much when that’s pretty much the entire summation of it. I guess the “you probably guess wrong” part isn’t really accurate with my current tastes, I love tomboys as much as ever, but if you give me a gal I’m gonna have a hard time picking – and if she’s a short-haired boyish gal then there’s no competition.
[Originally posted in 2010]
I went into this expecting another lucky star moeblob hurf durf knockoff, but what I got was much better. It’s a lot more like taking the characters and writing of Azumanga Daioh and putting them into Hidamari Sketch (minus all the weird shit in Hidamari). The ’story’ follows a group of students in an art program in highschool, as well as another group of their seniors. The art style is a lot like how Hidamari managed to be moeblobs without looking bad or sloppy at all, in this case they look a bit more like Azumanga characters made into moeblobs but yeah. On that note – there’s no lack of quality either that I noticed in the entire series, the entire thing seemed like it was I don’t know, actually worked on by people who know how to draw and not a bunch of Koreans being paid 15 cents a scene.
The writing was really good too. I never felt like I usually do watching newer slice of life and comedy shows – where it just feels rehashed and is full of stolen jokes – in the case of GA it felt fresh and even fun the whole way through. Some of this is thanks to the fact that the series has the backing of art, so while there are a few other SoL shows about this like Hidamari, there’s still a lot more you can do with it that hasn’t already been done. And I think they did really well of finding that, as well as taking an original approach by making the main point of the series art rather than character development. The story actually focuses more on their activities in class (assignments and projects) rather than ‘which side of the coronet is the head?’ or even on the characters. It really feels like the main subject matter of the series is ART and that the characters are there to help that keep moving and feel interesting and fun – rather than vice versa which is the case in most slice of life shows. So this also gave it a feeling that, while it’s similar to most SoL shows, feels different from the rest in a good way. Some examples of the stuff they do in the show (which most of the episode would focus on) range from types of art (surrealism, modern, etc) to specific tasks like making a mascot for a blood drive or making a story book for a nearby preschool.
The characters were all great, the cast isn’t huge, but it isn’t small either – yet I couldn’t find a single one I dislike or even was just ‘eh they are okay’ about. I really liked everyone in the show a lot, even the ones that usually I’d hate. I guess what I’m trying to say is like what I’ve read in a few other reviews of the show – that the characters seem a lot like ‘tools to help teach’ rather than the main point at all. Surprisingly though, while I’ve also read they feel ‘bland and not deep at all’ I felt like they were fleshed out really well via their art which shows their personalities clearly (which is another point of the show).
Try and guess my favorite out of those ones in the picture. If you know me, you’re probably wrong but maybe only by a little. Surprisingly, that super tomboyish looking one is not my top favorite, she’s second place.
My favorite character in this is Namiko, the one on the top left. I don’t know why, I just ended up liking her the most. I like how she dresses, it’s the school uniform but stylish, I don’t really care about that but it looks really cute somehow, I really like her hair as well. Her voice is also worth mentioning, it’s Yui Horie but in one of her (few nowadays) not-12-years-old voice. Really, her voice is pretty nice when she isn’t trying to play little girls with speech-impediments like uguu, auuu, hauu, and uu uu!
Her personality is kind of like the older sister, so I guess kind of like Chika Itou in Ichigo Mashimaro, she’s the “straight man” of the group. To be honest – in the first couple of episodes I thought she was their teacher or someone who was helping their teacher (mostly due to her outfit and height). I dunno, but yeah she’s awesome and was my favorite. Oh and she’s got a rather sizeable chest (which isn’t visible in any of these pictures).
Tomokane is second, which is the one you’d probably guess is my favorite if you happen to know my usual tastes. What I find interesting with her aside from the obvious looks and personality (true to heart tomboy in both ways) is her name and looks are much like Tomo Takino from Azumanga Daioh. Also, she’s the only main character with NO last name. If you ask me she’s an obvious throw-back to Tomo – her looks and personality are the exact same, but also her name is also practically “Tomo Takino” smushed into a single name. Her voice is also fantastic as it’s Miyuki Sawashiro.
I guess I’ll pick a third favorite too so it’s not two and then ‘lol everyone else’…I’d probably go with the quiet one, I forget her name. She looks stereotypical but I found that she was a lot different than the normal quiet eerie types in anime – actually she reminded me of a mix of Sakaki and Ichijou (from Pani Poni Dash). Sakaki being a good example of the stereotypical quiet but actually happy and cutesy types, and Ichijou being one of the weirdest fucking characters I’ve seen in anime who is also very active and silly as shit but always eerie, quiet, weird, and ‘dark’.
The rest were all nice too, I just don’t feel like writing about all of them. There’s the meganekko whom I don’t like the looks of (who is actually also the protagonist of Shoulder a Coffin Kuro), but wasn’t annoying somehow – the loli-lookalike who is spoiled and always messing around…she’s worth talking about a bit more i guess. Noda (the loli wannabe) is one of the big ways the show gets into art throughout the series aside from the classwork and projects – she always has them play games like ‘color tag’ and this and that, which end up being some form of something simple to understand mixed with art concepts. It’s pretty original and interesting, and also furthers the thought that this is an art-centric show, not a ‘cute girls doing cute things’ show.
Another nice thing is that the ending has changes each time, showing them in different stages of life as well as having a different seiyuu sing – though the final episode has all the life stages and all of them sing together
Anyway, I’d recommend watching it if you like art or like these types of shows. I think even if you aren’t into ‘moe’ stuff (can handle it though), but ARE into art, it’s worth watching. It’s only 12 episodes anyway and a nice and pretty original time.