Produced by: Wit Studio
Genres: Action, Adventure, Supernatural, Slice of Life
Number of episodes: 12
Ten years after the Great Tokyo War, each prefecture in Japan has split up into independent nations. Each nation is ruled by a prophet known as “Mosa” and an army called “Mob” as they start to compete to take over other countries. Four “Mob” girls from the Saitama clan – Nozomi, Yukina, Ai and Chiaya – are ordered by their “Mosa” to mediate battles between nations and clans all over Japan.
From left: Ai, Nozomi
From left: Chiaya, Yukina
Overall Rating: 2.5/5 moons
Story – 4/10
“OMG, SO EPIC!” — That was my reaction upon watching the first few episodes and rightfully so. The first few episodes of the anime shows us an almost futuristic Japan with all of its regions being governed by independent bodies instead of the Japanese government. The representative for each region is known as the ‘first’ or ‘best’, backed up by ‘mobs’. The battle scenes between ‘bests’ to defend their respective regions’ rights caught my eye instantly, and also reminded me of Gurren Lagaan or Kill La Kill, with its over-the-top animation style, witty dialogue and epic power clashes.
Sadly, that’s pretty much where the hype ended. The first few episodes of it reminded me of a food commercial, showing you the best within the first 10 minutes and catching everyone’s attention, only to flop in the end and fail to deliver to the viewers’ expectations.
Firstly, the story of the anime was all over the place. Over a span of 12 episodes, there were around 4 arcs but neither of them really affected the over-arching story or the characters’ development. Moreover, the main story line wasn’t even half as interesting as the background story. The latter brought up a war that broke Japan into multiple sections, the war having involved an epic mecha of some sorts, and the yakuza-like organisations warring over their next in line to lead. But instead what the main story line decided to focus on was how four girls travel around Japan trying to help people without really doing anything, since things ‘miraculously’ seem to keep going in their favour.
Character – 3/10
But while I thought the story was bad enough, let me talk more about those four girls. They’re all on the journey to find a heart-shaped jewel that is said to contain powers that can make someone into a ‘best’. Each girl has a reason to tag along on this crazy quest, and yet, neither of them had growth throughout the entire series.
Even though Wikipedia labelled Rolling Girls as a ‘coming-of-age’ genre, they couldn’t have been further from the mark. The only small moment of character development was when there was a conflict between the main characters, but even that was poorly executed. Without spoiling anything for you, it essentially boiled down to a ranting session, followed by the “oh, I was an idiot before so I have to apologise now” moment.
Needless to say, it didn’t give any worthwhile impact on me as a viewer. I was even more interested by the side characters’ development, which reminded me of Death Parade
where the side characters had great development. However, Rolling Girls
still managed to fall short since the side characters in DP
actually helped the main character grow. Nothing like that happened in this series.
Visuals + Audio – 9/10
While it’s characters and story are sloppy at best, it has amazing animation and audio. It’s bright colour scheme accompanied with its over the top action sequences reminds me a lot of Kill La Kill, and in a good way. It’s art style also really fits the anime and gives it a very happy-go-lucky kind of mood. The character design is really great as well; considering that there weren’t too many typical character designs, like the big-boobed blonde girl or spiky-haired dude, every single character design was memorable.
Besides that, the audio is also spectacular, especially when listening to their full length songs which give me the same vibes as a really good K-On! song.
The anime was like a firework – looked nice, sounded exciting, but didn’t really have any meaning to it. Even though I found myself enjoying some moments in the anime, it didn’t change the fact that the series had little to no story development and character development. Whatever present was cliche, even for the Slice of Life genre. However, I think it still can be quite enjoyable as long as you don’t expect much from it.