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AKA: わかば*ガール
Genre: Moe slice-of-life comedy.
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 8 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by Sentai Filmworks, also available streaming on Crunchyroll.
Content Rating: 13+ (Mild fanservice.)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Aiura, Kin'Iro Mosaic, Is the Order a Rabbit?
Notes: Based on a four panel comedy manga by Yui Hara, serialized in Manga Time Kirara.
Rating:

Wakaba*Girl

Synopsis

It's been Wakaba Kohashi's dream to be a high school girl. Not just a high school girl, but the modern, "gyaru" kind. Coming from a well-to-do family, her dreams might be a bit strange, but she quickly makes friends there, and is about to discover that high school life is.... actually pretty normal.


Review

Determined to brave the avalance of high school girl shows, or just shows in general starring plethora girls doing stuff, I find myself at Wakaba*Girl's doorstep wondering what I'm setting myself up for. To say that earlier attempts of watching stuff like this has been a mixed bag is a bit of an overstatement, and their abundance on even internationally-available streaming services like Crunchyroll can thus become a double-edged sword.

Thankfully, Wakaba*Girl proved to be quite an alright show. The presentation is more along the lines of Aiura or Yuyushiki, but dipped in MOE sensibilities as far as character designs goes. It's very bright and colorful, and the animation is quite alright for a relatively short show. Said character designs are a bit on the generic side, with hair color and style being the main visual difference between the characters -- but they're clean and consistent, so no dings on the quality there.

This lends itself well to the expressiveness of the girls, because as far as comedy goes, overreacting and visual gags are the order of the day. Not surprising, given its 4koma origin. Wakaba Kohashi is, as I mentioned, a girl from a wealthy family, so everything about this casual, middle class life is full of novelty and surprises for her. Every day is an adventure, including stuff like "going out for ice cream after class" or "talking about videogames", all of which are new experiences for her. All of these are within reach since she made some friends almost immediately. There's Moeko Tokita, the daintiest of the lot, and a veritable icon of traditional femininity on her own. There's Kurokawa Mao, who's the energetic girl of the lot, and still refers to herself in third person because... well, she never really broke out of that habit. Lastly, we have Mashiba Nao, the class tomboy and BL otaku, who refers to herself with the word "boku", the go-to joke for portraying girls as boyish.

As comedy goes, the show balances on a knife's edge, if a bit of a dull one. A lot of the comedy works because the show simply doesn't take them too far. It's a bit obsessed with punchlines -- again, that's a 4koma conversion for you -- but that works for the show more often than not, since the girls' reactions constitutes the best part of the comedy, even if they lean a little too hard on "someone overreacting the heck out". It works, though, because the show doesn't go the "quantity over quality" route, so the show never really wears me out. Then again, a lot of the jokes are rather Japanese by nature, so just as often I feel like I might have missed something. On the flip side, some of the jokes are too obvious, like when Wakaba borrows a game from BL otaku Nao and openly starts it up in the family living room to predictable results. The show can even get a bit clever about it, like when the girls, while going to a pool, make a lemon imprint on the floor with their bodies.

The show isn't a drama in particular, but it has some fairly nice moments that aren't played out for laughs. For all the weirdness on display, there is a sense of gentleness over the show itself. It's certainly a rather happy and optimistic show -- nobody is bullied, and Wakaba's family doesn't seem too concerned with the fact that she's playing together with commoners. Nor does the others care that she's a rich girl outside of some initial intimidation of the prospect of talking with them, though Mao probably wouldn't have minded taking advantage of Wakaba's endless generosity if she could get away with it. It's a cute show, if occasionally a bit cloying about it.

It's also rather short, so you should probably consider it as more of a diversion, or a side dish. It's not particularly deep -- and annoyingly tries to play out a "Wakaba might have to go abroad" to shake things up a bit at the end, with a predictable-as-hell conclusion -- but it's cute and fun and not likely to get on your nerves anytime soon. It's basically eight minutes you can easily tack on to any viewing session you make time for, and a nice way to unwind after watching something heavier and more intense.

I decree this show to be in the fun end of the average scales. If you're into the cute, then watch with confidence.Stig Høgset

Recommended Audience: There is some relatively mild fanservice: the girls go to the pool, and one of the girls also makes comments on Nao's chest size (D-cup), which Wakaba, her mind completely on the after-school ice cream store visit, derails immediately. Any jokes about Nao's femininity -- or perceived lack thereof -- is solely based on how she behaves. This show is perfectly safe for any teens, really.



Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Wakaba*Girl © 2015 Nexus.
 
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