Girlish Number confronts our heroine with the reality of the industry as she faces her first big role. With the demands rising, her confidence faces its biggest test yet.
Maybe she can find solace in her not being the only person struggling, however. After discussing the PV at length, the first key visual is the subject of debate between the studio and the original creator’s representatives. It’s quite different from the PV, and the novel’s editors express disappointment at the directors’ promises being mere talk so far. Yet Kuzu reassures everyone: this is just a PV, what they need to focus on is the anime itself! And so everyone moves on, dismayed as the writer may seem.
Though that’s not the only thing dismaying him. While one may feel him under pressure during these meetings, it turns out he can’t even properly greet the seiyuu before they start recording. He appears as an archetypal light novel writer: an introvert who can’t write more than clichés precisely because he can’t even go out, talk to people, observe the world around him.
What’s worse, the relativeness harshness of some on his work probably doesn’t do him any good. At one meeting, an old woman outright told him she didn’t understand his work’s interest! Once again, Girlish Number isn’t out of parodies of the industry and its members.
Going back to Chitose, despite being a newbie, she shows a relaxation that’s unbecoming; and although, pressed by Yae, she ends up exchanging politeness, she approaches her work in laidback manner… which is especially laughable when anyone can tell her voice acting is appalling. In fact, while she looks so satisfied, Goujo comes to inform her that she’ll have to stay behind to retake some lines. Back at home, she doesn’t understand why; and it comes as a blow to her confidence when, after going on about how she was chosen and society is at fault, her brother reveals that she wasn’t chosen by anyone. She was picked because the opportunity was there and she had the prerequisites; the writer never went out of his way to single her out. Furthermore, given her position as a newcomer, she has to show results; Goujo knows that, being the one who asked to allow for retakes.
She understands everything on the next day. She struggles, and her lines are kept simply because “it doesn’t seem like she’ll be able to do any better”. Goujo pounds the reality into her; she’s not so smart, and lacks both ability and experience. Her only strength is her fighting spirit; but then again, as soon as he asks her to talk to the sound director who goes on long speeches about how to improve her acting, she says it’s too long and incomprehensible.
All of this has been a good summary of her personality. She’s proud and hates doing badly, but is hardly willing to delve into the technicalities the job entails. Her overconfidence was always going to prove fatal; in the end, it’s good the reality check comes so early for her. This is an aspect in which, despite its constant mocking of the industry, Girlish Number shows it’s not a dark show: it doesn’t go out of its way to torment Chitose, and allows to develop steadily by forcing her to face reality from an early point. She’s disappointed, but in this moment it’s not too huge a setback; she’s able to get back on her feet quickly.
She then turns to Momoka. With her experience and talking skills, she easily gets to the heart of the thing: Chitose needs to find a character similar to the one she’s acting and use it as reference to grab her char acter’s distinctive features. She also tells her that when she has more experience, she’ll be able to carry over things she did for an older character onto new ones.
Chitose comes home from this discussion pleased and motivated; she intently watches some videos for reference, and on the next day, she comes to the studio a completely different person. Her acting has improved impressively; both Yae and Koto are stunned by this sudden progression, and even Momoka acknowledges her.
In fact, she even invites her to drink along with the introvert Shibasaki; and although their relationship is awkward, being able to have a drink along with everyone is a huge improvement on the last two sessions.
Yet after all the fun, and an episode largely focused on Chitose’s innocent struggles, we must go back to the industry’s dark side. Everyone will have noticed it already, but this anime isn’t the best. Goujo is a former actor himself, and he tells Kuzu-P and the shachou that, while Chitose’s progression is pleasing, this kind of boring performance in what is a mere parade of clichés will not help her have a long, fruitful career. It’s not demanding enough: she’ll be lost when having to act a more profound character. But of course, the money grabbers that surround him don’t have a care.
Momoka and Shibasaki close the episode on the exact same conversation. We once again see their contrasting views: while the former seems absolutely tired of such dull roles, the former, who accepts the industry as it is (probably because her parents were in it), wonders what’s wrong with just doing what the public desires.
Girlish Number is as good as ever. It never drops the tone which makes it special; and as the ending proves, it doesn’t fear exploring the less ideal aspects of the seiyuu business. But what makes this episode stand out, amid these usual aspects, is Chitose’s evolution. The ending hints she probably has more disappointments ahead, but she takes the important step of grasping the basics of voice acting, and being essentially good enough for a subpar harem. That isn’t much, but she must start somewhere as a voice actress; and after this episode it seems like her ship has finally set off for the vast and deep sea of the voice acting industry.
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