Ai KayanoRumi OkuboMinami TsudaMegumi Han
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2013
Director: Kaori
Writer: Natsuko Takahashi
Original creator: Komata Mikami
Actor: Minami Tsuda, Risa Taneda, Rumi Okubo, Ai Kayano, Mana Shimizu, Megumi Han, Yui Horie
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime 2013
Review date: 31 March 2018
There's almost nothing here. The DVD front cover tells you everything you need to know. It's truth in advertising, anyway. Schoolgirls will have conversations that you'll either find empty or, if you're lucky, maybe, a bit amusing. The funniest thing about this show for me was Tomoko's merciless judgements of its voice actresses and her assessment of their working life expectancies in the industry.
The maddest thing is that I bought the discs. Yes, I know. Go ahead and laugh. Some lunatic must have written a review suggesting that this show was shelf-worthy, which was then read by gullible me.
That said, though, I did eventually warm up on the show a bit. Yes, it's just random idiot conversations, flagged up at one point by characters wondering if other people think their conversations are stupid. (Answer: yes.) It's basically just one big, rambling, very low-octane improvised comedy routine by schoolgirls who are just naturally like that. They say daft things all day. That's it. There's no plot. However after a while I did notice that the show improves if you screen out the subtitles and pay more attention to what the girls are saying in Japanese, which is rich in wordplay and play-acted genre homages. The DVD subtitles are working impressively hard to convey the puns and they often found clever English-language equivalents, but it still isn't the same.
One bit of wordplay made Natsuki laugh, for instance. This is a goofy, good-natured show that you'd be happy to let anyone see, although I can't promise that you'd necessarily get a positive response.
The cast are... um, there's not much to discuss here, actually. There's not much difference in practice between Yuzuko and Yukari, for instance, even though they're two-thirds of the core cast. They've both got a sponge between their ears and they love setting each other off on chains of nonsense. Theoretically Yuzuko's the energetic one and Yukari's the dozy one, but you could be forgiven for not noticing that in most of their scenes. That said, though, the trio also has a slightly cranky tsukkomi in Yui, aka. the one with a brain. (Technically Yuzuko's the brainiest, actually, but she seems not to want to be seen as intelligent and instead she puts most of her energy into being a loon.)
The show's full of schoolgirl lesbians, incidentally. (It's based on a Manga Time Kirara four-panel manga.) Yuzuko and Yukari will openly desire their classmates and talk about groping boobs. Sometimes they'll talk outright filth, e.g. Yui's "delicious little bean," but the show never becomes sleazy. It's all throwaway silly dialogue that means nothing. Similarly the flirting and schoolgirl crushes just feel like background context that's, at most, warm and harmless.
If high school students were really like this, Japan would be doomed. If anime were all like this, the industry would be doomed. Our heroines comprise the Data Processing Club, i.e. they look up stuff on the internet and talk about it. (This can be educational. I learned things about whales.) This is the kind of show that normal people would surely call a waste of time, but it has its own kind of understated charm that can creep up on you. By the end, I almost sort of liked it. I watched all the episodes, anyway, and I'm not even throwing them out afterwards. If you ruthlessly crush all expectations beforehand, you might find it relaxing and, at times, amusing.