Girlfriend BETA (Girlfriend – Kari)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a mobile dating sim videogame.

Characters

The game boasts OVER 100 GIRLS YOU CAN DATE, and this first episode makes a point of introducing several dozens of them. Of course, since they get about 30 seconds of screentime each, they’re pretty much all one-dimensional entities ; most of them can be summed up as “the quiet one on the library committee”, “the way-too-promiscuous photographer” or “the ditzy student council president”.

What’s conspicuously absent, though, is any kind of male lead. There ARE boys in this highschool, but they’re all background extras. (I think we can hear ONE line of random chatter out of them throughout the whole episode.) All the attention is over the girls.

Our de facto protagonist is Kokomi, from the rhythmic gymnastics club. Not that she has much of a personality ; she’s nice and the straight guy in most conversations, and that’s pretty much it. She’s a plot device on legs whose purpose is to meet with tons of other girls over the course of the day.

ChloĆ© Lemaire, the French exchange student, is the pretext for what little of a plot there is here : she left a macguffin in Kokomi’s clubroom, who proceeds to spend the rest of the day looking for her so that she can give it back. Thrilling stuff. ChloĆ© may be the most developed character here, and she’s still a walking stereotype : the Foreigner who speaks Weird, has trouble with proverbs, and loves all things Japanese.

Production Values

Decent enough, although you kinda get the impression that the game designers ran out of ideas and ended up making some girls looking a bit too similar. While this wouldn’t matter too much in the original context, it’s a bit distracting when they have to be in the same scene like here.

Overall Impression

I can sort of get the reasoning behind this series. The source game is relatively popular, so an adaptation got greenlighted ; but since the game has no canonical depiction of the player character and any path he might chose might be rife with disappointment and fandom flamewars, why not just do away with him entirely ?

The problem is that now that you’ve taken all potential “dating” out of a dating sim adaptation, you’re left with pretty much nothing. A generic “cute girls doing cute things” show, except the characters have paper-thin personalities and were never design to interact together.

This isn’t a complete disaster. It’s still watchable, and mostly inoffensive. But it’s the epitome of content-free comfort food, and I have way more interesting shows to spend my time with.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 6.

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Jhiday

I've been kinda blogging about anime for years... but mostly on forums (such as RPG.net's Tangency) and other sites. This site is an archive for all that stuff, just in case.

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