Gi(a)rlish Number – 04

gn41

Now that she’s preparing for voice roles and singing like a professional should, Chitose gets way ahead of herself in a daydream where she, not Momoka or Kazuha, is the top star beloved by all whose fans wear robes that say “Chitose Is Life.” In reality, she still has a very long way to go, but as her brother suspected, her guts are helping to carry her along, making up for her lack of talent.

gn42

The anime she’s working on is seemingly doomed, as the first episode preview is replaced with a slightly altered repeat of the PV, as the first episode is nowhere near done and no one seems to be in a hurry to finish it. This ain’t KyoAni, folks. Though she’s nervous, Chitose is still able to wrangle the understandably frustrated crowd with her charms, as the five cast members sing the long version of the theme song.

gn43

It goes pretty well, but by the time the awful first episode actually airs, even Chitose has to struggle to find the good in it: adoring Twitter followers, another sign that she’s “WINNING” at being a seiyu idol. She knows how to be all buddy-buddy with Kuzu-P, but he’s already planning to use her and the others as a tool for recruiting more talent, all of whom will likely be so excited to be working, they won’t feel as Kazuha feels, that this all feels very stupid.

16rating_7

Gi(a)rlish Number – 03

gn31

Chitose, having judged others harshly and beleiving she’s God’s gift to voice acting, gets a rude awakening as the honeymoon ends and the actual voice acting starts. In the first sesson, she walks in the studio like she owns the place, but comes out, after many re-takes, feeling considerably less confident.

Her official stance is the line above, and while she drank the Kool-Aid of the glad-handing execs, her brother Gojou is all too willing to bring her back down to earth, and as dense as she is, even she knows she didn’t do a very good job.

gn32

Her second session goes even worse, to the point we get to listen in on the producers talk about how they’re probably not going to be able to get anything more out of her than what they’re getting.

Whether Chitose has any future at all in this industry depends on how she responds to the realization that she’s not All That, or even Anything At All. She must identify and acknowledge her flaws, and work that much harder than everyone else in order to improve.

After a talk with Momoka, Chitose hunkers down and starts taking this gig seriously. Her bro is surprised but also probably relieved to see her at the TV researching and taking notes, rather than out drinking with Koto and Yae (who are better than her by every measure).

gn33

The result of actually putting in effort, and in capitalizing on the “spunk” her bro said was one of her few redeeming qualities, Chitose knocks the third sesson out of the park, impressing everyone, even Momoka and Kazuha, with her rapid improvement and showing them that she might just belong in there with them after all. Koto and Yae also look proud of her. More importantly, she’s proud of herself, but not overly so.

gn34

Rather than staying late for endless, futile retakes, the group actually finishes early due to Chitose actually being a pro. This way, everyone can go out drinking without reservation, even Kazuha. There, Kazuha laments that the work they do can barely be called “acting”, but Momoka is less cynical: If it’s what they (the producers) want from them, it’s good enough, right?

It certainly seems to be enough for Chitose, for now. A lead role, even a cliched one in an increasingly troubled (at the top) anime production, is still a lead role. And it’s clear Chitose would much rather be a seiyu than another, more conventional (read: dull) profession.

This was an episode that definitely didn’t go easy on its protagonist, which worked out for the best because as confident as she was at the start, she wasn’t approaching her work the right way, and it was suffering as a result.

It’s not that she has NO talent; only that she had to figure out the way to unlock it. To channel her spunk into a job well done, in an industry that seems at times to be far harsher to the seiyus than to the often subpar works they lend their voices to.

16rating_8

Gi(a)rlish Number – 02

gn21

Senbongi Sayaka’s Karasuma Chitose continues to lead the way in Gi(a)rlish Number as a sardonic up-and-comer who is always taking the measure of people around her. That applies two her new co-stars Yae (see Chitose’s inner thoughts in pic above) and Koto (who has a Kansai accent and knows a lot about anime but doesn’t seem very “interesting” or “useful” to Chitose. That being said, Chitose never lets too much of her inner self spill out, so she gets along with both girls fine.

gn22

Unfortunately, I’m starting to feel like they’ve been tethered to a sinking ship, even though they can’t exactly turn down good voice acting work because the producer Kuzu is a buffoon who is almost totally non-detail oriented, even insisting “passion” is what’s most important in anime. Not, you know, silly little things like character design and animation quality.

gn23

Chitose, Yae and Koto team up with veterans Momoka and Kazuha for a kickoff event during which a very vague PV full of half-formed ideas is presented. Chitose helps keep the on-stage banter among the newbies interesting and the crowd engaged.

Kazuha is the most concerned about the fact the show they’re in doesn’t even have a key visual, but Momoka thinks the five of them should simply focus on doing the voice work and leave the other matters to those responsible for them.

The vets also file out, leaving the three newbies to celebrate a successful kickoff, at a restaurant, blissfully unaware of the mounting turmoil in the studio’s conference room.

Chitose was hoping to be the only heroine, and later, that they’d sing the OP rather than the ED, but she’ll adapt and work to distinguish herself under these revised conditions, all while never doubting for a second that she belongs here, and that she’s winning.

16rating_7

Gi(a)rlish Number – 01 (First Impressions)

gn11

The Gist: We follow Karasuma Chitose, a hungry rookie seiyuu in the anime industry who finds said industry very weird and difficult to navigate smoothly. After a series of bit parts, her older brother and manager Gojou manages to get her a leading role as an “idol seiyuu”, though not altogether intentionally.

gn12

I’m not sure if you remember Sore ga Seiyuu! which documented the days in the lives of three seiyuus who got along swimmingly as their careers gradually rose. GN is a lot like that, but without all the edges smoothed off.

There’s a nice bite to this show that gives it a realism and cynicism the other show lacked. It’s less concerned with the process and players and more interested in all the clashing personalities and their various insecurities.

gn13

Chitose may be a rookie in this industry, which nearly leads to her ending up having dinner with the author of a light novel, but she’s not a total naïf, nor is she a perfect earnest person.

She, like everyone around her, is full of interesting little flaws, which makes me want to root for her all the more in such a competitive industry, where you never know who’s a friend and who’s just messing with you for their own amusement.

gn14

I especially liked the portrayal of the industry higher-ups, who give Chitose a leading role based…on nothing at all, besides gut feeling. The scenes of their glad-handing and boisterous laughter give Chitose’s brother Gojou pause, and he looks very concerned indeed when Chitose accepts the role and joins that chorus of laughing.

She’s so excited by the prospect of making it big, she may not realize she’s being used, and any failure will be blamed on her, marring her career before it had the chance to get off the ground.

Or, maybe she’s well aware of the risks and is going for it anyway.

OR, maybe everything actually will work out the way everyone hopes with no problems at all! After all, Chitose’s seiyuu did voice Mumei in Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. We’ll see.

16rating_7