Kaito IshikawaRie TakahashiAtsumi TanezakiKenji Nomura
Tomo-chan Is a Girl!
Also known as: Tomo-chan wa Onna no Ko!
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2023
Director: Hitoshi Nanba
Writer: Megumi Shimizu
Original creator: Fumita Yanagida
Actor: Atsumi Tanezaki, Kaito Ishikawa, Kenji Nomura, Kohei Amasaki, Kumiko Watanabe, Rie Takahashi, Rina Hidaka, Sally Amaki, Yo Taichi, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 13 episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=26002
Website category: Anime 2023
Review date: 3 January 2024
Tomo chan
She's in love with her childhood friend, Jun, but she's also a hyper-competitive gorilla who does karate and is always punching him (hard). Her idea of fun is climbing, fighting, sprinting, etc. When considering more feminine clothing in ep.6, she describes this with a word ("josou") that usually suggests cross-dressing. She thinks she needs to be more girly to attract Jun, but this always crashes and burns and of course she's great as she is (pretty, good figure, irrepressibly cheerful and positive, will forgive anything without a thought, becomes a knight in shining armour if she sees anyone in trouble).
But all her energy goes to her muscles. She's no brainbox.
TOMO: "Hey, Misuzu, did you know we have midterm exams tomorrow?"
MISUZU: "The shocking bit is that you asked me if I knew."
TOMO: "I completely forgot! I'm in so much trouble!"
MISUZU: "Let's have a study group today, then."
TOMO: "Really? Don't you have to study too?"
He thought Tomo was a boy until the age of 13 or so. His reaction to her love confession was "you're my best friend too!". He's basically terrified of reacting to a girl and behaves around Tomo like a boisterous mirror of her.
3. Misuzu Gundou isn't an idiot at all. She knows exactly what's going on with Tomo and Jun... but she's also mildly evil and will meddle for amusement and/or misguided ideas of what's good for Tomo. She's their best friend, but she's trouble. It's also possible that she's secretly in love with Tomo, although it would be impossible to make her admit that.
4. Carol Olston hardly even seems sentient. You'd think she was made of marshmallow. Her doll-like face has only one facial expression (except when under extreme stress) and her social skills suggest that she was raised by chimps. She's more aware and manipulative than she looks, but she's still a long, long way from normal. (Her mother's even worse and barely qualifies as human, but I loved her for speaking Japanese in a foreign accent that feels real and won't make you want to murder the anime industry.)
The show's lovely. Tomo is adorable and you'll want everything to turn out well for her and all her friends. She's also a hopeless twonk who's her own worst enemy at all things romantic, but that's where the comedy comes in. She and Jun are the perfect couple already, albeit an unconventional one. All they need to get together is to stop being idiots. (So that's a long road, then.)
However, the show will also make you tear your hair out. This gets worse towards the end. The idiots are funny when they're just being their usual selves, but actual romantic progress is very much one step forward, three head-bangings back. I could barely watch ep.13, in which Tomo's dad regresses to the mental level of plankton. He'd never been a mastermind, but bloody hell. Also, my patience was wearing thin with Mizusu's bad suggestions to Tomo on how to be more feminine. Tomo should just relax and let herself be Tomo. Attempting anything else is a 100% guaranteed recipe for disaster. (Although at least the show itself is aware of this and turning it into a message.)
This show is brilliant. I often laughed aloud, which is rare even with good comedies. The dodgeball tournament in ep.6, for instance, is genius. (Tomo gets kicked out of the girls' team because she's too scary for them, hitting so hard that the anime depicts her serves as laser cannons. Then the dodgeball starts parodying war cliches.)
It also, though, tested my patience.