Akitaro DaichiMasami SuzukiAyaka SaitoReiko Yasuhara
Grrl Power
Also known as: Makasete Iruka!
Medium: OVA
Year: 2004
Writer/director: Akitaro Daichi
Actor: Akitaro Daichi, Ayaka Saito, Hisashi Eguchi, Kaori Nazuka, Kaori Shimizu, Maria Yamamoto, Masahito Yabe, Masami Suzuki, Natsuyo Atarashi, Reiko Yasuhara, Shin Tamura, Taro Yabe, Tetsuo Komura, Yoshiaki Matsumoto, Yuko Sanpei, Yumi Higashino
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: One 25-minute episode
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=3458
Website category: Anime early 00s
Review date: 11 July 2022
I looked for this because it's by Akitarou Daichi. It's just a one-episode OVA, but it's lots of fun. It's also, interestingly, a self-produced anime. Daichi didn't do this with a studio (either on the production or financial side), but instead assembled the production team himself. It's also an adaptation of a short manga that he himself wrote, although he wasn't the artist.
I'm boggled by the English title, though. Wildly misleading.
Three small girls (Umi, Sora and Ao) run an odd-jobs business. (They don't go to school, though. They're too busy.) They're about 11 years old and they'll do all kinds of improbable jobs. Deliver a packed lunch to a fisherman at sea? Where's my sea scooter? Help a boy to break up with his girlfriend? Defend an immigrant called Gomez who's at risk of being sacked by his boss? All those and more. The only gig they refuse is a request from a rich old bloke to look for his diamond ring, because he's pompous, he wears a bow tie and his moustache curls up at the ends.
One day, a worn-out mother asks them to help persuade her son to go to school. They'd forgotten that going to school was a thing and we'd just seen them giving the brush-off to their class representative asking them to do exactly the same thing, but hey. Sora preaching to Loser Boy had me almost crippled with laughter.
Riku (as they call him) soon realises that the girls are living his dream life. No school! Doing whatever they want! He declares that he's going to join them. Naturally, he's about to discover (for comedy) that the girls go full blast every day from sun-up and do all kinds of jobs you'd never imagine. The chimney sweeping made me laugh, for instance. Sora wraps herself in fuzzy material, then jumps down it. By the end, Riku's half-dead and getting an unexpectedly serious re-examination of the platitudes he'd been spouting earlier.
I'd point out, though, that the girls' compost-generation methods aren't recommended by everyone. Human faeces can be turned into compost, but there can be health and smell issues if you're not careful.
The episode's basically a laugh. It has a serious core, but mostly it's funny. It's also the only anime I've ever seen to make significant use of sign language, with one of the girls (Ao) being deaf and only communicating like that. (At one point, Sora scolds Riku for trying to talk to Ao while she's facing the other way.) The art's broad, cartoonish and full of energy. Daichi's comic timing is as strong as ever. It's lovely. If he made more episodes of this, I'd watch them all.