In today’s world of bland and copy/paste stories, it’s nice to see something that tries to deliberately be different. The Rolling Girls is a new series based on a manga written by Yosuke Miyagi. It’s a mix of adventure with some coming of age elements. It’s a nice change of pace as well despite the tendency to have some very flashy action sequences. It also has a strong emphasis on more than just action as well.
The story takes place in Japan 10 years after a great war referred to as “The Great Tokyo War” where in all of Japan fought for dominance. The end of the war brought division of the country into different city-states with their own form of governing. The defenders (and sometimes rulers) of these city states are known as “Bests”. Bests have super human strength or abilities, and often form a vigilante squad to help them protect or rule respectively, they are known as “The Rest”. This is a common theme throughout the show but the results vary in the best way possible. We begin our journey in a small town where we meet our four protagonists. One of their sisters is the president of a vigilante squad, Matcha Green. Shortly after joining the vigilante squad, she encounters Matcha Green fighting a foe in an intense battle. This is where we get a taste of what makes this show both creative and fun. The battle is fast, furious and explosive metaphorically and literally. At the conclusion of the second episode, we have everyone meeting up and going on a journey to help in Matcha Greens place. My only issue with the sotry is I didn’t feel like everything was all tied up by the end of the last episode. It felt as if they attempted to connect everything (like how one character knows everyone but not vice-versa), but did so in a rather flimsy way.
The story in Rolling Girls is kinda average or rather, the overall arch is average with some great individual bits. The overarching themes of “coming into your own and really grasping what you can do for the world” are hammered upon time and time again. Though Rolling Girls never made it bland. The structure to each location setup is laid out the same way. Arrive at new destination, establish locations unique quirk, learn who the best is, etc. The defining factors are the theme of the location (which most of them are quite cool and some are downright artistic) are pretty varied. In the span of a 12 episode anime you get to see a giant Con-style town, a town dedicated to Rock and Roll,a Geisha themed area, and plenty more. Of course, the locations can only be so interesting with out the unique characters that add to the flair. The main group is an interesting bunch. They’d all technically be called Rests, but through their perseverance and wit they are able to succeed. The all girls cast is also very diverse in both character and design. Makes for an easier story flow over all.
The animation is really something. The good people at Wit Studio (Attack on Titan, and the upcoming Seraph of the End) worked on the production of this show and the animation really sings. There are some moments that almost mimic the frantic energy of Kill La Kill. What I am referring to is in some of the fights they use what is an artistic systle known as “rough”. This is done as an emphasis for some of the harder hits and man you can feel it. I love how when two Bests go at it they often end up blowing everything else away. The sue of color in both character designs and when it comes to things like explosions and effects really bring some variety. It was rather hard to take my eyes off the screen. Everything flows quite well, nothing is choppy. All of the characters are very unique (especially the four main girls) and everyone has some polish to their rather practical designs.
The way The Rolling Girls sounds is every bit as good as it looks. The characters are all voiced by an actor that really hits the right notes. When you have an all female cast that are mostly young girls it’s fairly easy to get a few that grate like a train with failing brakes. Thankfully this has been sides stepped and no one is non-deliberately flat. Masaru Yokoyama (You Lie in April, Freezing) brings the good vibrations with a light rock sound track that is often sung by the main cast (Whose band credit is also listed as The Rolling Girls). The opening Song “Hito ni Yasashiku” is performed by the Rolling Girls themselves along with the very catchy ending “Tsuki no Bakugekiki”. The over all sound for the show was fairly average, but it’s a non-issue.