After Chitose got her first major role, Girlish Number decides to explore the industry’s many struggles. Hypocrisies, impossibly tight schedules, conflicts with the creators: no issue is spared.
In the case of people like our heroine, success always means unwarranted arrogance. We see her strutting her stuff like she’s a big shot, her attitude no better than that of the cynical producers who get her there. Maybe this is what they call the “Girlish Number”: an act of lovability hiding a terrible nature?
Speaking of producers, they’re having a meeting about the anime. There’s a conflict with the original creator: designs were changed for the adaptation, and his side doesn’t accept that. We may say “the creator”, but “his management” is more accurate. The creator himself doesn’t say a word, and appears to be traumatized by the sheer pressure.
It all revolves around the word “schedule”. The editors want changes, but the anime production needs to get a PV out soon. In the end they find an arrangement, but Kuzu-P’s attitude in the face of problems, the way he relies on “enthusiasm” rather than seriousness, is far from reassuring. In both name and attitude, he is a parody of the kind of money-hungry man that plagues creative businesses.
It aligns with a perception of the industry Girlish Number has presented from the beginning. Vultures latching onto anything that smells money (idols, light novels, harem are all neatly packed together) but that aren’t even organized enough to release a key visual before the first PV… there’s a ridicule to it all that’s frankly more amusing than upsetting.
The sentiment is reinforced by how unlikeable Chitose is. She’s talking to her good friend Yae, and guess what she does? Put on an act of false modesty, of course. Oh, and let’s not forget the obligatory courtesies! Is that how a sensible person would act toward a friend? The show does well to emphasize how her mind works, too: she’s snickering within, looking down on her friend, using her to assert her own superiority. Who would feel pity at seeing such a person thrown in a merciless pit like the seiyuu industry?
There are many examples of Chitose’s terrible behavior, but let’s not spend all our time on them, for there is an event to cover. They need to present their show’s PV!
The reaction is rapturous, but for some reason the PV appears as far from impressive. Rough art, basic animation (and that’s when there is animation) … the only logical conclusion is that the awkwardness of seeing this low-budget rubbish met by applause was intended. The show’s desire in this case to bring out the poor state of the society in an amusing manner.
The event itself is largely typical, Kazuha putting on a cute smile that’s very much out of character, and the interactions being the kind of light banter that never fails to amuse the public, formulaic as it may be.
Backstage however, there’s a certain cynicism among the experienced seiyuu. The project’s state is worrying from a creative point of view, but Momoka claims they shouldn’t care: their job is always the same anyway. An interaction between Momoka and Kazuka also hints at another sensitive subject: string-pulling. Momoka is the daughter of a famous singer and a renowned director. When Kazuha tells her she’ll “never be troubled”, she likely means her privileged position ensures her a steady carrier, a situation not many have a claim to.
The episode ends in a warm moment of bonding between Chitose, Yae and the newcomer Koto. Speaking of her, her introduction is smooth: for a newcomer, she comes off as plenty confident and comfortable. Chitose even notes that her “character is well-established” when she presents herself speaking Kansai-ben.
This episode finds its interest in the way it keeps building the bases founded in the series’ debut. A new main character is introduced as more sides of the industry are explored; and as Chitose goes deeper into the industry, we see the bad sides of her personality exacerbating themselves. There’s nothing surprising about this evolution; and in that sense we’re seeing how good a job the first episode did in setting the story up. The dynamics are established, and there’s already enough to sustain a good story. Pressured creators in a business that’s focused on getting the best result with the least amount of work; rushed productions; all-round cynicism; and to top it all off, a heroine that embodies all these negative aspects. But surely the great expressiveness of every single character will tell us one thing: Girlish Number is but a circus that we should spectate in amusement. And so far, it’s certainly doing a good job at entertaining us.
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