They challenge us, they inspire us, they make us want to set our consoles on fire. Without video game villains, Read more →
Throwback Thursday: Super Gals!
We’ve taken a bit of a hiatus, but man it’s good to be back for another edition of Throwback Thursday. Last time I introduced a gal famous for swordplay. This time, though, it’s all about gals famous…for being gals! Super Gals is the story of Ran Kotobuki and her quest to be the “World’s Greatest Gal.” The carefree lifestyle sees her enjoying her time as a high-school student, hanging out with her friends, and occasionally defending her honor/title.
Ran’s plan to be a Gal for the rest of her life goes against her family history. She comes from a long line of police officers, and her brother (also a police officer,) and younger sister hope to continue down that path as well as get Ran to join them. Ran refuses though, because she would be unable to dye her hair or wear what she likes. While Ran’s choice to live like an idol for life can be seen as shallow, our spunky, red-haired heroine has a lot going for her, including a strong sense of justice, encouraging attitude, and friendly disposition. She’s like if Kanye West wasn’t a jerk.
Along with Ran, the series also features her friends Miyu Yamazaki and Aya Hoshino, who have their own struggles outside of their lives as Gals. Aya is constantly under pressure to perform well academically. Originally she worked as a sort of “escort,” going on compensated dates with men, before an intervention from Ran got her to stop and realize her own self-worth. Miyu was the leader of a former gang called The Resistance, and did not get along with Ran. Due to an intervention from Ran’s brother Yamato, she became a much more polite person and even fell in love with him.
On the outset, the characters and even the story can be seen as pretty shallow. On the surface, it’s about just living life and having fun, which is all fine and dandy, but doesn’t make for compelling television. What was good about Super Gals though is the fact that the surface was pure fun and games, and below that in just about every episode, there was actually a lot of depth to be had. From Aya and Miyu’s background, to the typical episode that saw Ran giving her aid to someone in need.
Granted, the lessons and stories told during the series could be pretty pedestrian, but the cultural differences for an American watching the series can add a bit more, when you learn about certain terms and realize what tropes characters are playing at. In addition, even at their deepest the characters are indeed tropes for the most part, though a bit of complexity shines in certain episodes.
The charm of Super Gals came from a couple of sources, including the bright and almost rubber hose-like animation style. This one is also kind of close to my heart, because it was the first time I was actually curious and patient enough to sit through a subbed series, (I don’t believe their is a proper dubbed edition.) So, if you’re not one for subbed anime, this is not for you.
All thing considered, if you’re looking for the popcorn movie equivalent of anime, Super Gals falls perfectly into that category. The characters are tropish and the stories aren’t anything terribly deep eight times out of ten. However, everything here is well-done. It’s almost a series I would advocate binging…if I was an advocate of binging. Still, go watch a couple of episodes and enjoy yourself!