Choukadou Girl 1/6
Haruto Boudia is a hardcore otaku who has no interest in three-dimensional women. One day, the figure of his favorite character, Nona, begins moving and talking. Like a dream come true, Haruto’s perfect girl sits before him. But, as they say, be careful what you wish for.
Choukadou Girl ? was somewhere between a forgettable footnote of the 2019 spring season and a hidden gem of an anime. It was strange. This series fluctuated from being surprisingly good to being so dull I had to replay scenes because I caught myself zoning out.
On the whole, though, I would have to say Choukadou Girl ? was more enjoyable than it was not. Unfortunately, this show isn’t doing me any favors. A person might be assuming I’m crazy if they decided to give the first episode a try, and then gave up. I understand why someone would have done that since this series’ charm doesn’t become apparent right away. It did take time for everything to find their proper place.
Luckily, Choukadou Girl ? does get better once more characters start to get introduced. For you see, it was them, the characters, which gave this series its winning edge. Granted, when I use the word “characters,” that is not an all-inclusive term. There were exceptions, but we will save the details for later.
At the heart of Choukadou Girl ?’s success were the titular ?-size figurines. It was astonishing how much life they brought to this series. Not only that, the amount of character building was impressive when it came to the three central figures – the aforementioned Nona, as well as the RPG hero Belenore and the fighter Subaru. Of all the things which could have grounded this show, I would have never guessed it would have been this trio.
For a quick rundown of each of the girls:
Initially, I thought Nona was going to be a stale leading lady with a paint-by-numbers personality. Instead, she had a presence that was always around. Her influence was never lost in the fray no matter what was happening. That remained true even if she wasn’t the primary focus. Nona never let herself be replaced as the central heroine of this show.
Of the three figurines, Belenore was probably my favorite. It’s hard to explain, but I think I liked Belenore because she had a simplistic, straightforward mindset and she was also a complete wildcard; if that makes any kind of sense. What I’m trying to say is, Belenore was a perfect counterbalance for Nona’s more subdued demeanor and Subaru’s go-with-the-flow attitude.
Speaking of Subaru, she was the far better otaku character than actual main otaku character Haruto Bouida. To her immense credit, Subaru was able to hold back Haruto’s overwhelming, not to mention, needlessly hyperactive nature. Simply put, it was nice to have someone who could thrive when interacting with the other figurines, as well as the geeks.
More importantly, while Nona, Belenore, and Subaru were individually strong, their real power came out when they were together. That was when Choukadou Girl ? became something worth watching. This wasn’t a one-person show. When the characters were interacting with each other, this series was a ton of fun.
Now, I have to come clean. If it is sounding like I am reaching for positive things to say about Choukadou Girl ?, it’s because I am, and that bothers me.
I didn’t dislike this show. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it knew how to grab hold of my attention – most of the time. The problem: There was nothing specific this series did so well it is worth highlighting. That’s a shame since the opposite is not true. There were a lot of things wrong with this show, and they are going to be much easier to vocalize.
However, I don’t want to do Choukadou Girl ? an unnecessary disservice. There have been plenty of other short-form anime that have come out in 2019 (so far) that were way worse than this. The issue is, this series’ best feature was how unexpectedly serviceable it was, and a shining review that does not make.
The animation of the figurines didn’t work.
Don’t get me wrong. I can rationalize a reason why Nona, Belonore, Subaru, and the other figures were done in CGI, and everything else was not. In my head, it was Choukadou Girl ?‘s way of conveying the plastic, non-human characteristics of the dolls. That idea, if it was what this series was going for, wasn’t a bad one. Sadly, it was a poorly executed one.
Nona and the other figurines looked lifeless; which I am saying was not the goal. The whole point of this show was these anime/video game collectibles coming to life. This series, on several occasions, made it clear how un-doll-like these characters were.
Or maybe, just maybe, the illusion would have worked had it merely been done better. There were plenty of moments when actions and lip movements didn’t match up. Plus, since there was nothing visually spectacular about Choukadou Girl ?, the animation style used with Nona and the one used with Haruto were so far apart, they didn’t complement each other.
This series looked off, but it was off in the way that would have been harder to notice had there been a more exciting story. However, since Choukadou Girl ? was more personality-driven than it was narratively-driven, that wasn’t even a possibility.
Regardless, this show still found ways to be confusing. While you could argue the leaps in logic and flimsy justifications were a tongue-in-cheek joke, what happens when the joke isn’t funny? Well, if you’re anything like me, your mind tends to wander and when you snapback, you realize ten minutes have passed, and you need to rewatch an episode.
That happened more than once with this series.
Finally, I want to touch on something I brought up earlier. I said that not all the characters helped Choukadou Girl ?. I also said you would need to get through the first episode before you start to see any of this show’s charm. Those two things were what they were because of Haruto.
This was a hard-to-stomach character. At first, Haruto was the very definition of the word “obnoxious.” Then, as the show went forward, his apparent niceness towards Nona and the other figurines felt hollow. Although Choukadou Girl ? claimed he had feelings for the girls, his sudden personality change from irritating weeb to hard-to-believe reliable partner painted a different picture.
Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for Haruto, once more and more figures were introduced, the less Haruto’s character stood as the face of Choukadou Girl ?.
If there is one thing I want to stress with this review, it’s for you not instantly to disregard this series. It has earned a chance.
Although it is true, there were a ton of problems with this show – poor CGI, confusing plot lines, and Haruto – there was still charming elements. There is fun to be had with this one, mainly in every character – that wasn’t Haruto.
Choukadou Girl ? does get my recommendation.
Choukadou Girl 1/6: Series Review
Writing - 6/106/10
Plot - 6/106/10
Character Development - 6/106/10
Production - 6/106/10
Music - 6/106/10
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