Possibly the easiest show I’ve had to review in a while it’s Girl Friend BETA.
Genres: Slice of Life, Comedy, School Life
Themes: Bishoujo, Yuri, Moe-cational
Number of Episodes: 12
Plot Summary: Cute girls doing cute things.
Never in my life have I been able to sum up a Girls Club SoL anime as simply as this one. That is literally the premise of this show. There are no gimmicks that accompany GFb other than the number of girls on screen being large. There is no definitive gimmick. It is not centered around a light music music (though there is one), a dance club, mountain climbing, studying how to pick up guys, celebrating the wonders of the countryside, cultural studies (Though there are two foreigners), etc. It is all about cute girls doing cute things. If one could come up with a gimmick it would be a mesh of previously used gimmicks with actually effective, albeit incredibly simple morals thrown in. It is the way they are presented that come off as most informative. One example is the “otaku favorite” weight loss episode. Believe it or not the episode teaches very valuable dieting tips that can be easily overlooked by many people struggling to lose weight through dieting. The show is more educational than it is given credit for.
GFb is based off a mobile dating-sim game where the invisible MALE avatar is given the option of numerous girls to court and in the process win their love. However, like other anime based on games with a male lead and several girls such as Koihime Musou, Kantai Collection and Sengoku Collection, the anime version has no prominent male lead in sight. Instead it takes place in a regular co-ed school. The show centers around the daily lives of numerous female students who are all adorable and come in varying shapes and sizes. On the down side because of the large cast and the show only being 12 episodes long some of the girls do not much screen time for viewers to get to know them better outside of their established stereotypes. It doesn’t drop the show’s entertainment value but it could be seen as a bummer for viewers who were interested in a particular girl but sadly do not get to see much of her. Keep that in mind before choosing to pick this up.
Almost forgot to mention there are episodes that are legitimately heartwarming. One in particular that legitimately gave me an epiphany was the one about “Novel Girl”.
The animation quality is relaxing and surprisingly not low budget for a show with a simple premise like this one. It is genuinely pretty to look at. The soundtrack is adorable and comforting, especially the fluffy OP and ED.
There are FAR too many girls to talk about so I will simply mention the ones that stuck close to my heart.
#1 is Chloe Lemaire. A French foreigner whose gimmicks are speaking Euronese (Adorably botched Japanese), and confusing/exaggerating Japanese phrases, customs and metaphors. She is as easy to love as she is to hate…apparently. She’s still my #1.
#2 is Isuzu Shiranui. She’s a short, soft spoken yamato nadesico and is voiced by the love of my life Aoi Yuuki. As a bonus Aoi voices her using her toned down voice, imo her best voice. The sad part is she does not show up often.
We even got the surprise casting of Miss Monochrome who is not a one-shot character AND has lines perhaps to draw in players to the game in hopes of hooking up with her or something. Whatever. She’s in the show and that’s awesome.
Like the shows I mentioned above the amount of yuri ships in GFb are numerous. One episode starring a certain girl who I will get to in a bit is so yurirific it made my heart pound. By show’s end nation members will at least have found five pairings to ship…or twelve.
There is one girl however whose antics can even have casual anime viewers coming to the conclusion that “Yup, this girl’s a lesbian.”. Erena “Camera Girl” Mochizuki. She’s my #3 btw. Her face alone should tell viewers what kind of girl she is or even the show’s cover. She’s a photographer who likes girls. The first episode blatantly introduces her as such.
Overall Girl Friend (Beta) is a straightforward anime with a large female cast doing cute stuff while often sharing simple and valuable morals with occasional touching moments. As always viewers who are not into Girls Club anime should skip this one. Others are free to bask in the cuteness.
PS: Unfortunately no swimsuit episode was included. Biggest, missed opportunity, EVER!