Back Street Girls
Kentaro, Ryo and Kazuhiko are low ranked members of the Yakuza who messed up big time. While prepared for the worst, the boss makes them an offer: either sell your organs or take a trip to Thailand and get a sex change. The boss has taken an interest in idol groups, seeing the potential for big profits but doesn't have any girls to start one. Thus the three take the Thailand option and form pop group Gokudolls.
They are still Yakuza and have the meager lifestyle as before, along with the crazy training, beatings and bosses weird ideas about idol behavior. Hardest to cope with are their new identities. Thailand does good work and they're very cute now... not the kind of thing thugs from the streets are used to.
This is a lower budget anime, getting close to animated comic - and while faithful to the source designs, doesn't look that good art wise. That aside this is a good watch provided you want something a bit more on the crazy side, but I was also impressed that much of the other core fundamentals are good too: fairly uncommon for comedies.
What hooked me the most about Back Street Girls were the fairly deep back stories behind the characters. Each had a rough life leading them to become Yakuza, and had a rough time in the organization too. The gangster life isn't just a shallow prop, it thoroughly encompasses good old fashioned Yakuza style drama. I found having its heart in doing it all the way really appealing. By merging this with an idol theme, the comedy basically writes itself - and Back Street Girls does a great job with the material. I didn't find everything funny, but most of it I did, with some hilariously awesome punchlines.
Back Street Girls is a manga adaptation, but the pacing is pretty good. Each episode has about 6 chapters/stories, so it packs a lot in half an hour. I figured it was doomed to fall into a rut with such a gimicky concept, but not so. Back Street Girls has a lot of regular fish out of water stories, but a few side plots evolving in very weird developments. A guy from America is adopted into the group to learn the "ways of the idol", a manager who is an expert on idols is brought in to boost their success but can't quite figure out their unusal behaviors among other stuff.
Comedies with a simple concept like this are common, but Back Street Girls rises above the rest with some great characters and back stories too. And I found it funny as hell. Well worth picking up!
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