Chitose is a voice actress still trying to get a foothold in the industry. It looks like she may finally get her big break when she's selected as one of the lead characters of a new anime. In fact almost everyone involved was enthusiastic in the beginning, but as the production gets farther along its clear everything about this project will be a train wreck. Can Chitose make the best of this situation? She thinks she can, although she's as much of a problem as all the other issues in this mess.
Girlish Number seemed to be yet another "anime about anime", but the basics in this show are fairly universal. It gets pretty meta in some aspects. Imagine a real life voice actress talented enough to land a role for a lead character in an anime, who is a voice actor for anime who is not that talented. Yeah, think about that one for a while. That aside, it's an anime with non obvious strengths; of which the story isn't one of them. That puts Girlish Number in an odd spot since it's not an easy recommend, but if you're interested in the voice acting industry, with a character focused anime (with strong characters) this might be enough to tip the scales in its favor.
It begins with an ill conceived adaptation of a light novel into anime form. There is a divide among the voice actors. The new girls are enthusiastic to finally have a lead role in an anime, while the experienced pair quickly see the warning signs and know how this will go down. In fact the show isn't so much about an anime disaster, as it is ANY project disaster led to its doom by management incompetence. This leads to the exploitation of pretty much everyone involved (not just the girls) as everyone is resigned to working on a show they know is crap, but.. it's their job. Actually if you've ever had to endure this kind of situation, you might find that part rather depressing. I especially felt bad for the light novel author who finally got his work made into an anime, only to have it go horribly wrong, and even worse doesn't even stay true to his work!
If there's a problem with Girlish Number, it's that nothing stands out. It has attractive artwork, and decent music. The story isn't bad, but only carries the characters from point A to point B and isn't a feature on its own merits. What makes the story work are the good characters, which pull this anime up from mediocrity. They have solid defined personalities, and aren't the usual assortment of anime tropes and thus it takes a little time to get familiar with them.
That makes it a little hard to describe why they're good however. Chitose is the best example. Through most of the anime she's noted for being sub-par in talent, and not especially good at anything. Her personality isn't the best either. However she does have guts, which is an oddly useful trait in an industry where things can suddenly turn against you, allowing her to persevere in many situations. Later on, the anime takes an odd turn into a less cheery direction. Chitose falls into a slump when a talented, energetic and highly magnetic rival appears. Chitose thrives on praise, but this is a double edged sword as she also takes criticisms to heart as well. The continuous onslaught of online bashing finally gets to her. She's the kind of protagonist who is fun to watch, but has subtle flaws which are well integrated into her personality.
Is that enough to recommend Girlish Number? It's a tough call, because few people are willing to watch a show solely based off of strong characters. There are a number of factors which also help this anime, such as the voice acting angle, and the project disaster which is interesting in its own right. If any of that interests you, definitely check this anime out, otherwise nothing is strong enough to win you over. Although maybe not appropriate, this show would have been hilarious if they were voice actresses for a hentai anime.
Chitose: If I could become who I wanted to be, I wouldn't be who I am right now.
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