Girlish Number further establishes itself as the season’s best, as Chitose’s first major finally appears on television, marking the definite start of her story.
But first, a premiere for the show’s first episode is organized. Chitose dreams it up as something lofty: her popularity established, she’ll show all her misericord to Goujo as she keeps him by her side despite his own admission that someone as successful as her may not need his guidance anymore. But the reality is much less glamorous: she’s found dozing off backstage after pulling an all-nighter. She was rehearsing for their performance of the OP: her efforts impress fellow newcomers Yae and Koto, but Momoka and Shibasaki, to whom such simple songs are nothing, are distinctly less awestruck. This shows Chitose’s naivety: she has no idea of how to manage her energy (or herself in general), and seems perfectly satisfied to bask in the praise of people just as clueless about this business’ true nature as her. Her confidence is entirely misplaced, and her attitude a thing of mediocrity.
Still, this is enough to succeed in this kind of small-scale gather of creepy otaku, for even the lowest of the low can please them.
In fact, while this event is supposed to be a premiere with a performance of the TV size opening thrown in for good measure… the plans are changed when Kuzu-P reveals to Goujo that they aren’t actually ready to air more than a new PV (which will turn out to be essentially as the same as the first one). What’s more, the girls will have to perform the full opening song to make up for this! Goujo is stunned, especially as Kuzu-P adds that they’ve made the last-minute decision to show this event online.
It’s all a mess, but Kuzu-P doesn’t mind: after the first episode airs, he’s seen happily drinking with the shachou, sure of the work’s commercial success and gloating over his plans to promote the seiyuu in big ways. And Chitose doesn’t mind, either: she’s ready to improvise, and in fact does so, an attitude which seems to annoy both Momoka and Shibasaki (proof she may not be as smooth as she believes, though she gets away with it in this case), ultimately propelling the whole crew to a successful performance.
The problem is… not everyone within the staff walks away as happy as the audience. Shibasaki, for instance, goes as far as criticizing the way they seem to get excited over whatever is offered to them. Even after they’d expressed disappointment over the lack of the premiere they’d come to see, they had fun with the performance, and went back home as if they hadn’t come for something else. Shibasaki is tired of working for this kind of treacherous product, and is even glad that the original writer didn’t come: she wouldn’t want her to see his product desecrated in such a way. Momoka replies with the usual resignation, which Shibasaki goes along with for now; but, although her personality is hardly attaching, we can’t help but find interest in her honest desire to lend her talents to genuinely worthwhile anime.
Our three newcomers are another story, though. Chitose knows she has an image to build, and in fact that’s her main focus. Though she seems to have honest fun while hanging out with Koto and Yae, as the first episode airs, she’s more focused on her twitter follower count and what people are saying of her performance. Koto is extremely dissatisfied with the anime’s abhorrent quality, Yae needing to calm her down with fantasies about the staff’s hard work: meanwhile, Chitose is perfectly happy… because everyone is praising her. This is why she has more disillusions ahead: while she’ll be basking in her newfound popularity, the industry’s cynicism will catch up to her and force her naïve self to see reality.
Because we must mention the staff’s hard work: while we haven’t seen much of that (though Kuzu-P is probably representative of the general mindset under which this sort of anime is created), an early passage revealed that all those working on the animation were sleeping on the job. The result? The light novel series’ editor, who was supposed to verify the storyboards, didn’t receive anything. And though he received and watched the shirobako with the original writer, all it did was leave the latter so depressed he didn’t have the courage to watch the show’s debut on TV, preferring to stay alone in the dark instead. Clearly this production isn’t going too well; it’s late, not well organized, doesn’t mind taking its public for fool, and reeks of cynical money-grabbing at every corner.
And so ends another episode of the brilliant Girlish Number. While the progression into the industry is slow, it’s only natural given we mainly follow newcomers; and the show never stops its funnily sarcastic approach to industry insight, anyway. A good thing about this episode is that we see more sides of the business: how things are going backstage for instance, notably from Goujo’s point of view. We also see how the original work’s side is going; the author may seem unimportant, but he’s always here, and his state is most definitely a result of Kuzu-P and friends’ blissfully oblivious money chasing. With all this, and Chitose’s constant progression, we can hope for much more from this show. As long as the ship remains steady, there shouldn’t be anything to worry about: four episodes in and the series has been very successful while retaining enough promise to sustain the nine remaining episodes.
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