- Titles: Gyakuten Sekai no Denchi Shoujo
- Genre: Action, comedy, sci fi, mecha
- Episodes: 12
- Studio: Lerche
Censorship is a terrible thing. Especially for us fun-loving Otaku who rely on anime, games and apparently idols to add a little sunshine to our dreary lives. How can we possibly go on and face this cruel world without the warm embrace of lovely anime girls to keep our passions burning? And what’s more important than passion? Nothing! It was a trick question. But you know who doesn’t want us to watch anime, listen to music and play games? The Japanese, that’s who! What…wait… No that’s right, it’s the Japanese, they’re also the ones who want to preserve all that stuff and of course, the two groups are going to fight it out with adorable giant robots powered by the emotions of young girls. Yeah, that checks out. Oh, and it seems an ex-host is the perfect candidate as a pilot.
Sometimes I go through the upcoming anime and I read up on the titles. I retain those that have summaries that pique my interest. Maybe I’ll check out what the people involved in the project have done before or I’ll read up a bit on the source material. I’ll see if it’s being compared to something I enjoyed. Even though I’ve learned to be wary of comparisons. I’ll get myself all hyped up for a show that hasn’t even started yet! And sometimes I just look at the key visuals and go – Pretty Colours!
Rumble Garanndoll has some pretty colours. Especially in the altered universe of the Garandoll cockpits where everything takes on these pastel neon hues. Pastel Neons are a thing! They are! I also happen to like this style of character designs. All rounded and fluffy looking. It’s cute.
And because I don’t know where to put this, the first mechas we see on the show are basically True Army footmen and I thought it was a Samurai Pizza Cat. The design is way too reminiscent to be a coincidence. That’s fun! Basically, all the mechas in this show look like chibis with disproportionately huge heads that give them this cute appearance.
The animation could get a little bit jagged in some parts but in general, Rumble Garanndoll is a well-made anime. Honestly better than I had thought it would be. And that’s always a nice surprise.
However, don’t expect anything out of the ordinary either. I doubt there’s much about the production I will remember a year from now. The biggest risk taken was the aforementioned change of colour and let’s face it, that’s not exactly an exciting new technique in anime. So it looks fine but that’s about it. And that’s enough for a lot of anime.
Story & Characters
Here’s the deal, for me Rumble Garanndoll was trying to be two things at once and never really made up its mind.
On the one hand, it’s a parody of Mecha anime, referencing openly other shows and poking fun at the viewer base. It also has this slightly forced premise where the Japanese government has more or less outlawed most forms of “otaku” entertainment as unproductive but they never really tell us why. From what we know not all entertainment is outlawed and there’s no indication of what the government would like people to do instead of watching anime. It’s the basic premise and it’s largely unexplained which makes me think we were supposed to understand the analogy, but I kept wanting more info. I also don’t really know who the critique was aimed at. I know Japan had strict decency laws but otherwise doesn’t seem that harsh on censoring non-sexual elements, especially when compared to China right next door. So was the reference that obvious or was the show throwing jabs at reviewers, online outrage, that sort of stuff. I’m really not sure.
I thought a lot of the meta gags worked pretty well. It got a few giggles out of me. They were fairly obvious but there’s no harm in that. However, it did occasionally feel like Rumble Garanndoll thought it was doing something way more clever than it was. I could be wrong but it’s the impression that I got from the delivery and pacing of certain moments. There was a feeling of being winked at and all.
On the flip side though, Rumble Granndoll is still a 12 episode series with an overarching action plot and a lot of dramatic elements. There are entire episodes that are clearly meant to be taken at face value and you have to be connected to the characters to enjoy them.
In all fairness, they do a pretty good job at fleshing those characters out. I can see an audience cheering for them and wanting to know their fates. They all have distinctive personalities, goals and strengths. They all have different motivations for their actions and those actions largely make sense in context. I honestly don’t get to say that that often when reviewing anime.
So the characters are decent. I will admit they are a bit stereotypical. There’s a slight harem dynamic going on as the main character and pilot, Hosomichi, has to bond with the three different girls in order to be able to use the Garanndoll with each of them. In the last part of the show, there is an upgrade installed to “allow him to switch between girls at will”. And the girls do fall into the usual harem personalities.
Actually, this is a good example of what was my main concern with Rumble Garandoll. Like I said, there’s this silly little harem-like structure going on. By itself, this element could easily fit into the parody side of the show. It’s ridiculous, it serves no real purpose in the storyline but it really invokes classic anime tropes and when I saw it that way, it was almost endearing.
But, it really got in the way of truly connecting to the girls in question. And they made a lot of effort for us to do so. Ultimately though, because of the structure, it never felt like their story and that took a lot away from the emotional impact of the show.
This was a problem that I found throughout the series. These silly elements or tongue-in-cheek running gags were added in, but the show never leaned into full comedy and it often felt like we were left hanging. However, these elements also took away from truly just taking in Rumble Garandoll as a pure action drama. For me, the show just never got the balance right.
All this said, there were enjoyable moments. And it’s not like I thought it was a chore to get through. Because of the mecha design it reminded me a lot of Granbelm and I think I enjoyed Rumble Garanndoll more. If that tells you anything.
You might like this anime if:
You’re in the mood for a slightly messy parody that isn’t sure what it wants to be. You like cute mechas
My favourite character:
It ended up being WerdCat I think.
Tropical Passion (there’s a mocktail version for the kids!)
- Every time Rin gets embarrassed – take a sip
- Every time Balzac laughs – take a sip
- Every time someone mentions Hosomichi’s debt – dodge
- Every time Hosomichi takes his glasses off – roll your eyes
- Every time anyone mentions Zaburn – clap
- Every time Hosomich won’t look someone in the eye – take a sip
- Every time the leader of the resistance shows up – raise your glass
- Every time you catch a reference – take a sip
- Every time anyone mentions Asakusabashi – take a sip
- Every time WedCat mews – dawww
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.