Daisuke OnoAyaka SuwaMamiko NotoKaede Hondo
Please tell me! Galko-chan
Also known as: Oshiete! Galko-chan
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2016
Writer/director: Keiichiro Kawaguchi
Original creator: Kenya Suzuki
Actor: Azumi Waki, Minami Takahashi, Miyu Tomita, Ayaka Suwa, Daisuke Ono, Juri Kimura, Kaede Hondo, Mamiko Noto, Shizuka Ishigami, Takahiro Sakurai, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, Yuko Iida, Yuna Yoshino
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 eight-minute episodes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=17788
Website category: Anime 2016
Review date: 31 January 2017
Galko chan
It's nice and funny. I'd recommend it. It's just a bunch of schoolgirl conversations (with boys occasionally), but it's also likeable, educational and tackling material that almost never appears in TV shows of any kind, anime or otherwise.
It has girls about talking girl things. I don't mean cute girl conversations written for a moe-fetishising male audience. No, I mean the kind of discussions that boys don't normally hear, about body hair growing in surprising places, horses vs. hymens. whether it's okay to wear a tampon in the swimming pool, genital and areola shape, your earlobes being in line with your nipples and why girls have smaller bladders than boys. Sometimes they talk utter rubbish and get shot down. Sometimes they say things I'd never known before. It's explosively vulgar, but in a way that feels real and more closely observed than the girls' conversations you'll see in almost any scripted drama or comedy.
It's also warm. The main characters are Galko/Gyaru-ko (a gyaru), Otako (an otaku) and Ojou (an ojou, i.e. rich girl). Those aren't their real names, by the way. We see them giving those nicknames to each other in the flashback introductory ep.12. A gyaru image suggests someone gaudy, shallow and likely to be obsessed with boys or fashion, which is indeed how Galko tends to be perceived. Her manner towards her teachers doesn't help there. In reality, though, she's motherly, easily embarrassed and certainly not the good-time girl everyone thinks she is. She just likes gyaru fashion. She also doesn't take offence at continually being stereotyped, both by boys and by other girls.
Otako is small, scruffy and freckled. She's the deadpan straight man, but she also enjoys winding up Galko and Ojou with loaded questions. Her victims never spot the hidden traps.
Ojou is an airhead. Even the narrator says so. She has permanently wide, slightly brainless eyes, as if someone painted a happy face on a balloon. However she's much better at schoolwork than Galko and Otako, even if she does seem to drift through life like an exceptionally pleasant, good-natured soap bubble.
These are archetypes, even if Galko's subverting hers. The show's not even trying to hide it. Look at their names. However they're a lively combination who have fun conversations and can't be classified according to the usual classroom cliques. It's also worth pointing out that despite its abbreviated running time, everyone in the class has been given characterisation, a distinctive character design and at least one line of dialogue at some point. There must be about a dozen of them, including at least two groups of three who are capable of briefly inheriting the conversational lead. There are male counterparts of the main trio, who even get a moderate amount of screentime, and three outsider girls who don't mix much with their classmates.
The show's also showing flexibility over body types. Galko has big boobs, yes, but she doesn't have the kind of body that might normally suggest in anime. She's big. Not fat, but she wears men's shirts because her back's too broad for blouses. Their class does contain a fat girl, as it happens, but the anime simply accepts her too without making any jokes about it. (She's also really athletic.) Similarly, body issues aren't the usual cliches. Galko's insecure about her big hands.
It's a happy, charming and often very rude show, with a message of defying prejudice, seeing past stereotypes and embracing people for who they are. Admittedly it's mostly just conversations, but they're funny. Besides, there are one or two episodes that contain little character-based stories too. Galko protects a young boy from two bullying girls at the pool in ep.7, driving them into thunderstruck retreat just by putting her arm around him and smiling. Everyone's first meeting in ep.12 is sweet. And I'm not joking when I call it educational.