Girlish Number

May 6, 2017

Oh wait. Didn’t we have a seiyuu themed anime a few seasons ago? That wasn’t too long a time I believe. And now we have another anime series about the seiyuu industry? Just like that series about a group of young girls making video games. Similar theme but different in anything else. But there is something that makes Girlish Number a whole lot different than Sore Ga Seiyuu or Love Get Chu. Instead of all the happy-happy and bright moments in the voice acting industry, this one has darker elements. Don’t worry. It won’t go so far as about abuse of workers with long working hours with no overtime pay or sexual favours if you want to advance your career. It is about a young and new seiyuu who thinks she can take the voice acting industry by storm and be bloody famous. Reality is not so straight forward like her delusional dreams. And slowly it starts to sink in and hit her when it does.

Episode 1
There is an event for fans of some anime or game. It is ending so the seiyuus have their final say on stage. Among them is Chitose Karasuma who is a newbie in the industry. She only holds a minor role. The event ends with the 2 main seiyuus who play the main heroines singing, Momoka Sonou and Kazuha Shibasaki. At the backstage, Chitose can see all the drama and different world these people put up. From b*tching about to gossiping, this is really a rotten dark side to the industry. Even Chitose has her own sarcastic comments about everything. There is a party after the event but many big names can’t make it. Chitose wants to go although her manager who is also her brother, Gojou wants her to hold back. But they attend anyway to make up for the numbers. Then there is this music producer guy, Kuzu who waltzes in like he owns the place. He didn’t even attend the event and is already late but I guess his charisma covers everything. Back home, Gojou gives Chitose a check video for tomorrow. Chitose blames she has no major roles on Gojou for not doing his job properly to get better roles for her. It’s a reason why she isn’t famous. Yeah, she also blames the studio for making anime that they know won’t sell. So being a seiyuu sucks? That’s great hearing from someone like you who hasn’t passed a single audition. Gojou relays the good news that he has got a slightly bigger role for her albeit still a small one. However it is not based on manga but a light novel, something she isn’t quite pleased.

She goes to do her job despite there is only one line. Accidentally she crosses Kazuha’s path during the job. Kazuha calls out to her after that but lets her go since Chitose is acting all dense and innocent. Chitose talks to Momoka and finds her snooty too. When the typical otaku looking author talks to them and invites them to dinner, Momoka quickly gives lots of excuses why they can’t and promptly takes Chitose to leave. Momoka advises her to decline such things flat out. Otherwise they will never take her seriously. Despite a bit of sarcasm between them, the duo become friends. Not sure if they’re just acting either. Kuzu is talking to Gojou and the agency president, Nanba for a new project. He seems to want Chitose as a new idol despite she doesn’t sing. Why? Because his music guts tell him she is perfect. And Nanba just agree with everything he says because he is some big shot music guy. When Chitose gets called by Nanba, she thinks she has done something wrong. She learns she will be helming the role of a main heroine of an anime based on a light novel, Kusure. Although she doesn’t read light novels, Kuzu doesn’t mind as long as she has talent and is cute. Ah, those words seal it. Now she is laughing with them. Only Gojou isn’t…

Episode 2
Chitose thinks she is now a main star and acts high and mighty. Meanwhile Kuzu and his team are in a discussion with the author. It seems there is a disagreement in which the anime will design the characters. Due to lack of time, it is suggested to do a PV to hype up the audience. At the staff meeting, Chitose meets a fellow friend and newbie from the training school, Yae Kugayama and fellow seiyuu Koto Katakura. Chitose seems shocked she isn’t the only cast to be playing the heroine. If she had read the light novel, she would have known it is a harem genre and there will be 5 heroines. The other 2 are helmed by Momoka and Kazuha. Kuzu tells the trio they will be forming a unit to sing Kusure’s song and make their CD debut. While Yae and Koto are being modest, Chitose thinks she has hit it big although she is probably the biggest one who can’t sing. While waiting for taxis to head to the launch party, the newbies talk with each other. Chitose doesn’t know who Momoka’s mom and is supposedly a very famous seiyuu and her dad is a famous director. Need to Google it, huh? Chitose thinks she has won big time after learning that many other famous seiyuus will also be appearing here (although they are just cameos for one or two episodes). When all the 5 main girls are here, the staff meeting begins with Towada telling them the schedule of the PV event. Yae being her first time panics and doesn’t quite understand so she goes over everything again. But it’s just another day and another job for veterans Momoka and Kazuha. Kazuha seems to dislike talking about projects that she hasn’t record yet so Momoka tells her to get over it. They still get paid. Kazuha replies that for Momoka’s case, she never has to worry about anything. The girls go on the stage to give the fans a preview of Kusure. Although everyone loves it, is it just me that I find the animation quality to be obviously HORRIBLE!!! The event went smoothly and panicky Yae is so relieved that she confides in the arms of Chitose that it’s all over. Good job, right? Kuzu wants to go out to celebrate but gets an emergency call. Looks like somebody is mad with the PV… So while the veterans quickly take their leave, the newbies celebrate by themselves. Koto makes a toast that despite they debuted at different times, here’s to a future where they’ll disappear at the same time. Wait. You want to disappear? Oh right. Nothing lasts forever. Kuzu and his team find themselves in an emergency meeting with the author regarding the character designs. What did I tell you?

Episode 3
It seems there were no changes to the design as promised. So how is Kuzu going to fix this? This is all just promotional material! The real stuff will differ! All the seiyuus are at the recording studio. They are introduced to the author who is so soft that you can’t hear a single damn word he says. Chitose takes her lines. Despite she is confident in her work, it is obvious that she is stiff and sucks! Meanwhile Gojou hears from a colleague that the production of this anime is on shaky ground. There has been some disputes and some of the production people aren’t interested in making this series in the first place. At the end of the recording session, Chitose thought she could go out drinking with her friends. However Gojou holds her horses. They’re staying back to do retakes. Chitose has to do several retakes and personally she barely differs from one to the other. Because the veterans have other plans, they record first and Chitose usually is the last to do the retakes. You’d think she would have reflected on herself. But guess what? She thinks nobody realizes how valuable she is! She even blames society for this problem and not herself! Till Gojou tells her part of the true picture behind the scenes that Kuzu didn’t pick her for her talent but for a certain song in mind. It starts to get to her when she remembers seeing all the production people’s less than amused reactions on her work. Chitose continues to record and do retakes. The author is not pleased but the sound team knows this is Chitose’s limit. She can’t do any more than this. Just accept it? Oh well. At this time reality hits Chitose hard. She is depressed as she figures out she is the one who doesn’t get it. May Gojou add more to that? She’s talentless and she sucks. No experience, not very smart and her personality is trash. What he admires is her never give up personality. She would like to improve herself so he suggests talking to the sound director. Then she talks to Momoka for advice like drawing out similar past character roles and adjusting. Or she can just imagine a character because if she has a better idea of it, she’ll start sounding like it. Chitose does more homework by watching videos. So when the next recording is in session, she vastly improves that everyone is in shock! Like a totally different person. So much so that they’ve got free time at the end! Yeah, no retakes. However veterans like Kazuha and Gojou know that Chitose is just following things and this is making her acting dull. But Momoka doesn’t see an issue with it. If this is what they want, what’s the problem?

Episode 4
Chitose is a famous seiyuu with many fans! Ah, such angelic personality too. If it sounds too good to be true, then it is because she is just dreaming. Even more embarrassing she is sleep talking in front of everyone. There is an event that will have the girls sing the TV version of the song which will be also live streamed. Of course Gojou hears the ‘good news’ that Kuzu plans to make them sing the full length of the song with the excuse that this will increase their appeal. The reason for this is because of this bad news: The first episode wasn’t being able to be finished on time. He plans to show the PV and bits of the first episode. When Gojou relays this to the girls, the first one to baulk at this sudden change is Yae. Can’t do it? You have to. Yeah, just when you thought Chitose has learnt something from being humble, she’s back to her usual confident personality. And I mean that from an obnoxious point of view. On stage, the girls strut their stuff. After the PV is shown, the fans are shocked because it is exactly the PV they saw previously instead of the first episode they had expected. Chitose thought she could step in and hype them up but no reaction. Momoka and Kazuha help her out and soon the crowd is revved up when the girls start singing. Seeing how hyped everyone is, Kuzu and Nanba thinks this promotion method really works and should do it more often. Kuzu praises Chitose for a good job and is on her way to being famous (checking her social media right now). Gojou has a bad feeling when Kuzu comes up with an idea to do live streaming events every month. While the newbies relish in their possible future being famous, it is gloomier and heavier discussion between Kazuha and Momoka. Kazuha feels all this is stupid and is disappointed in herself. Although Momoka accepts it because this is what the crowd wants, Kazuha is glad the author didn’t show up. He would never have accepted this. Or maybe he knew and didn’t want to turn up. Chitose and Yae meet and hang out with Koto before going to her place to celebrate and watch the first episode airs. When it starts, it leaves the girls in shock. Koto is unhappy how much it sucks. Chitose is obsessed in getting more followers on her social media. Despite the fans criticizing the awful anime, they praise Chitose’s character as their saving grace. Now she thinks she is hell of a popular. Kuzu and Nanba are already talking about their next big project involving a large scale next generation audition.

Episode 5
The opening song sells for 10,000 copies. Chitose is so happy that she lets it get to her head and back to her lazy ways. Famous now, is she? She’s even calculating the royalties she’ll get. Gojou thinks it is more of the writer of the song than the one who sung it. So while Chitose brags about this achievement to Yae and Koto, the latter wonders about the most important thing: The anime. Because they hear how people are now saying the anime is crap and the opening song was the only thing good. Plus, some of them are pitying the seiyuus and those who aren’t so forgiving are calling them crap as well. When the girls record for the last episode, Chitose tries to brag to the veterans about the sales. Of course Momoka has done so many that she practically forgot about it. The author gives them a bouquet of flowers as thanks but he doesn’t seem to be quite happy. Chitose overhears the production team arguing about some problems regarding the last episode. But it’s not her problem! Kuzu and Towada have to answer to the executives as Kusure is making a loss. Kuzu shifts the responsibility to Towada to report it since this is under his jurisdiction. All eyes on him now… Chitose isn’t fond of attending an event that has them hand out DVD copies of Kusure with an autograph and handshake of the seiyuus. I mean, who is going to buy an expensive DVD with this cheap novelty, right? Surprisingly there are a decent amount of fans and they manage to sell out their portion. However Chitose isn’t too thrilled because Momoka and Kazuha has got a lot more fans waiting in line than theirs. It seems the anime production team is losing interest and can’t even finish the last episode. Worse, there is an announcement that a second season is happening! OMFG! The author has been ‘damaged’ so much that when he hears about it, he becomes happy thinking this is the first time his work is going to get an anime treatment! Yeah, that disaster was totally erased from his mind. Never happened. When Gojou returns, he sees Chitose crying. It’s real. Seems she has seen nasty comments on the internet bashing how bad she is. Can’t take the heat? Gojou has surveys from the past events in which she can go through and improve herself. But she doesn’t want to do that! She only wants to see the ones that are praising her! She even questions why she is the only one getting bashed when she did nothing. Yup, I think she answered her own question. Kuzu and Towada are drinking out their problems. Kuzu realizes with all the condemning, at this rate he can’t use up all the budget if they end up in the red. But don’t fear. He has a secret plan…

Episode 6
How does Kuzu avoid the wrath of his management? He takes the girls and his team to Okinawa to film bonus materials! Chitose fears the cameras but after learning this isn’t live stream and that means people who only pay will see the release (you’re a horrible person), she’s back in the game. So we see the girls in their swimsuits prancing around for the footage. Nothing too fancy or scandalous. That night the girls go drinking. Koto talks to Kazuha that she is already 26 and this is her last chance. If she doesn’t make it big now, she thinks of going home and getting married. Kazuha is drunk and for the first time we get to see her with emotions. She gets into a pillow fight with Momoka but Chitose joins in via underhanded tactic of throwing the sheets over Momoka and then slamming her with the pillow. When Kuzu returns, all he can get is a lousy box souvenir? This isn’t going to cut it… Momoka returns home to see her parents talking to a couple of production guys. They are planning to do a mother-daughter theatrical all-stars version, Pure Para. While her parents seem to be supportive of Momoka, she isn’t quite happy herself about this. The newbies are doing an audition. Koto has spent quite some time in the recording as the staffs want her to try out other roles. She can’t stay for dinner with Chitose as she has other jobs. Wow. She’s moving forward. Time for Chitose to do her best. However she came out of the recording room as fast as she went in! Holy cow. Obviously she lost the role and she blames political casting and death to record companies! Chitose attends a wrap up party for an anime she had a minor role in. She wasn’t too thrilled despite the lavish setting and food. Till she won the TV lucky prize draw. Then she goes to the wrap up party for Kusure. She is already having high expectations but what the heck is this small and dark hall? The food is paltry and not many people come. Do they even give their attention to Kuzu speaking on stage? Yeah, no lucky draw prize either. Kazuha gets drunk again. Kuzu and his side later have their own after party. He and Nanba are already looking at the list of seiyuus for their next generation audition. When Towada mentions what about the second season of Kusure, they leave it in his hands! You’re on your own. Literally.

Episode 7
Chitose and Momoka send a drunk and emotional Kazuha home. She doesn’t seem to have her key but luckily mom is home. Mom hopes she would treat her friends with hospitality instead of just going straight to bed but thankfully they’re leaving. Chitose notes Kazuha doesn’t have any friends. Look who’s talking. The point is, Kazuha has been like that since coming here and it proves how tough the industry is. Chitose mentions her parents were also against her going into this industry. Gojou did it but didn’t make it and they tried to use this to dissuade her. Kazuha’s mom pays a surprise visit to watch her daughter and the rest do their radio programme. Despite her being the best mom, Kazuha is very embarrassed and not appreciative of her presence. It gets worse with Kuzu trying to act like the charming gentleman. Fail. After the job, though mother doesn’t have any problems about Kazuha doing this, Kazuha still keeps reminding her that this is all part of her job. Everything was just promotion. What is worse to have your friends eavesdrop on you? Father calling at the same time. Mom wants her to speak to him but she won’t. Wait. I take that worse thing back. Nothing is worse than Kuzu snatching the phone and talking to dad on her behalf! Oh no! He thought praising every part of Kazuha would be okay (including her boobs). Too bad dad didn’t like and blows his top. Naturally. Guess what? Kuzu passes the phone to Towada to clean up his mess! Towada even has to kneel and apologize before the handphone! As Kazuha’s mom leaves, Kazuha wonders why she would go out of her busy schedule just to see her. Couldn’t she just drop a message? There are lots of things she can tell just by looking at her face. With this issue, they worry he might show up on site at Yamagata, a trip they’re supposed to take as part of the work. Who else but Koto to talk to Kazuha about her problems. Meanwhile Chitose is upset that Gojou won’t give her permission to go on this trip despite claiming she is the leader of the unit and for work. She even goes as far to say she is a crappy small fry newbie with no work and has all the free time in the world! Care to review your script if you’re so free? Yae and Momoka attend the same audition. Yae feels they have become great friends when she could call her by her first name. As Kazuha meets up with Kuzu and Towada for the train to Yamagata, she is surprised to see Momoka.

Episode 8
Apparently Chitose can’t come due to some reasons and she is blaming it on Gojou. Oh thank God. No Chitose for this episode! Arriving at the inn where Kazuha’s parents work, the moment her father steps in and before Kuzu can complete his sentence, they throw him out! Yeah, we know how he ruins things. Towada and Kazuha’s manager quickly apologize although father is still displeased but maintains his hospitality. They give him see the recently bombed Kusure that Kazuha worked in but Kazuha lashes out they should have at least got a better one. Father shoots back as an actress she shouldn’t badmouth her own work but her reply is that she has been working in this industry long enough to know their worth. In that case does she mean she is worthless? Maybe that’s why she had to resort to that swimsuit fanservice to sell it. Father tells her to go back to Tokyo since she has already assimilated there. You know what? Yeah, she’ll go back there. Bye. Not so fast says Momoka. They’ve already prepared to stay. With dad telling to leave her foolish daughter to do whatever he wants, this time mom puts her foot down. Since they are paying customers, they can’t shoo them away, can they? So the rest of the episode sees Kazuha and Momoka walking around the small town as they talk things out. Despite Kazuha’s family problems, Momoka still envies her. Yeah, she has her own problems as she is not picking up a call her manager, Mutsumi Kawahara who has been trying to contact her since. Even Kazuha had to lie when they texted her if she knows anything on Momoka. Momoka goes on to explain how her parents were decent to her but after she debuted as a seiyuu, they stopped telling her things. So what’s the problem? It makes Kazuha envious of her. Momoka finally decides to return the call but since mom is there, she talks to her. Momoka has decided to decline the role in Pure Para unless they personally offer it to her. Mom respects her wish as they are both professionals. In that case, she’ll just take Momoka’s role. When they return to the inn, Kazuha’s mom reveals father was being harsh to her because he was concerned. When Kazuha became a seiyuu, father did a lot of research on it. As parents they will always worry for their child and it is also their job to believe in them and wait. Next morning when they leave, Kazuha makes peace with her father. They realize they forgot to buy a souvenir for Chitose but that doesn’t really matter. Meanwhile Chitose’s only short appearance and she is fuming the girls didn’t reply. Maybe it is because of the time difference?

Episode 9
The recording of Kusure’s second season starts. Even Chitose has lost motivation but unlike Kuzu she can’t run away and still has to do her job. Kuzu thought he could give excuse of coming in late (or not coming at all) but Towada replies they have already wrapped up recording and are now in a party. Yeah, you’re not needed. Nobody even cares about him. At the party, Nanba brings in a new seiyuu, Nanami Sakuragaoka. She has been observing the girls at work today. Like a newbie, she treats everyone politely and with respect that it makes Chitose brag about her own ‘achievements’. Please don’t give false hope. Best of all, she sincerely talks how she loves Kusure and everything behind it. This motivates everyone to make the series great again. This should be the way. Everyone chats and gives ideas like how it should have been. As the girls continue their job, Chitose doesn’t seem happy because it looks like he online popularity has declined. The staff members wonder if they can go ahead with work without Kuzu because as long as Towada is here, everything should be okay. Towada hopes Kuzu can make it in time. He wasn’t like this. Before he joined this agency he worked very hard. He still believes Kuzu will come back to help them. Don’t bet on it because he is enjoying the company of a hostess. However he sees his former colleague, Shakujii who mocks Kuzu for becoming and failure and loser after leaving the company. The difference is obvious. Shakujii as you can see is successful. What else can a makeinu do but run away with his tail between his legs? So when Towada gives him a timely reminder call, first thing Kuzu screams out is to save him! Yeah, this guy has no backbone anymore. Chitose is certain she will pass this limited audition because her birthday is coming up and it will be the perfect gift. WTF. Sorry to rain on your parade but Nanba says that won’t be happening. He is going to give the audition role to Nanami. Remember how Chitose started out with this kind of favour? It’s time for Nanami to get hers and Chitose to fly the nest. Gulp. Gojou disagrees as Chitose isn’t even secure in anime what more do narrations and dubbing. Nanba reminds Gojou that he got a lead role at this age. Every youth has the right to dream. It is his job to sell that dream. Oh, he will assign Gojou to be Nanami’s manager and Chitose will be assigned another one. Of course despite looking very worried, what’s a self-centred b*tch to do but to complain about this ‘scandal’. Whine, whine, whine. Yeah, it’s everybody’s fault except her own. Uh huh. She thinks Gojou’s job is easy. Depressed… Too bad she won’t get her birthday present from Gojou tonight.

Episode 10
Chitose, meet Juuzou Matsuoka your new manager. He is so passionate about work and just look at her disgusted face. It feels as though he parachuted into the wrong anime. If it was a sports shonen genre it would’ve been okay… But Gojou isn’t totally going to hand over Chitose yet and Matsuoka will for now be his aide. Even so, Matsuoka loves to pound in the idea of hard work and starting from the bottom, something that doesn’t sit well with lazy Chitose. For example, if you miss the train, what next? No, you don’t call a taxi. You run! Get your ass moving! Gojou sees Nanba and they talk about the progress of the other girls. But when it comes to Chitose, you know it is real sh*t when Nanba starts talking in a serious voice and manner. Because Nanba quotes Gojou who once said it himself that Chitose has no talent and that many could replace her. He has waited long enough for her to improve and since there is none, his job is to cut out those who don’t. Get the picture? Gojou has no words for that and could only cling to the faint hope that Nanba gives that he’ll wait a little more and see. Wow. Time for somebody to wake up. Chitose and the girls are practising for an event. As usual, her nonchalant behaviour irks Gojou. You can see his very disappointed face. Chitose overheard there would be a surprise after the event and she thinks it is for her birthday. However it turns out to be Nanami’s debut CD. That is when Chitose starts to feel down. It’s starting to get to her. When she returns to the backstage room, she is taken by surprise when they give her a birthday surprise. Even so, she is still reeling from the depression and her happiness is ‘fake’. You still not happy? When they leave, fans are giving Nanami their support. They also give Chitose their cheers but because she unenthusiastically reply them, they note she has turned cold and might be better off retired. As Gojou sends lively peachy genki Nanami home, Chitose walks home with gloom doom written all over her face. Meanwhile Kuzu is doing silly things like trying to win some fish measuring competition to best Shakujii. He couldn’t. Another depressed guy. He gets a much needed call from Towada to come in to work for help. They still need him? Of course. Because now he takes this as a sign that he is NEEDED! Back to his illogical reasoning again. I don’t know what he’s saying here. Whatever. At least he is motivated to come back. Still depressed over at Chitose as she listens to Gojou’s past voice acting in the dark. She can still comments he sucks. Like herself. It makes her think why he quit voice acting despite all his bright words of hope.

Episode 11
Gojou reads a letter supporting him and Chitose. He narrates about the different excuses people have when they quit. Meanwhile Chitose continues to be depressed. During the recording session with everyone paying their attention on Nanami, this even makes her more so. It is so obvious that she doesn’t want to join the girls for dinner. Yae can tell and talks to her that she is also working hard. But I guess that’s not enough to pull her out of depression. So much so Yae goes talk to Gojou and hopes he could tell Chitose she is doing her best. It would be better if she told Chitose herself but she thinks her words are cheap and as her brother he would have better impact. Even Koto talks to Gojou about her own past with changing managers and agency structures that she made her thought she might quit. But thanks to a great manager, she is able to still be here. The girls feel awkward at dinner without Chitose. Obviously they have to discuss about her because they know something is bugging her. They fear she might quit but keep their hopes up that Chitose is erratic. After Yae speaks up her support for Chitose that she might be just dense in a professional sense, Nanami also reveals she admires and like Chitose. Despite her earlier works are crappy, it still made Nanami fell in love with the character she played. Meanwhile Nanba, Kuzu and Towada have a drinking discussion about promoting Nanami further. However they also feel like taking a big risk to bet on Chitose. After Gojou leaves Chitose presents from others, she speaks up about how reality is hitting her. She really thought how long people will support her. Her next role is just minor and fears people will soon forget about her. She thinks people are looking at her now because she is new. What happens when she is no longer new? She knows about her own rotten personality but can’t help it. She wants to like herself. She wants others to keep liking her. I guess with those real tears, time for Gojou to play the nice big brother. After listing down her negative traits, what makes Chitose and him different is that she has people supporting her. He doesn’t when he quitted. Because he calls her amazing, she wants him to spam that line! Say it again! Now go into specifics! Can’t… We know she is back when she says this awfully familiar tone, “There is something wrong with the industry if someone like me doesn’t become popular”. Yeah… Let’s hope her vow to work hard and be popular is real this time.

Episode 12
The snow has grind all public transports to a stop. This means Chitose will be late. She is meekly trying to explain herself but all Matsuoka can say screaming at the top of his passionate voice: DO YOUR BEST!!! So Chitose screws all that crap and makes a run towards the recording studio. Everybody waiting there is anxious because if they don’t get the dubbing session started, the broadcast will be cancelled! Kuzu will have it even worse because he’ll be fired! So Kuzu tries his charming talk to arrange another date but after being reminded how this amounts to breach of contract and that sum of yen is looking to be pretty large, Kuzu assures he’ll definitely get this done! Finally Chitose arrives! Hooray! It is awkward at first facing her fellow friends. But then she starts off her apology with stating the obvious and self-realization like she isn’t anybody special and can be replaced. But she hopes that it will be a win-win for everybody. I guess to show that she is still cool, she tells Nanami not to do her best and watch her being awesome! At least Chitose’s words have given the author some hope to continue writing his material. The recording goes well as well as other production stuffs. You think Chitose would have learnt her lesson but on the day of an important event, she is running late again. This time it is purely her fault because she overslept. But she’s blaming stocks, politics and society for it! Run out of excuses, huh? Gojou has seen this coming and has sent Matsuoka to go get her. Wait a minute. I thought they’re going to run together so why the hell are they taking a taxi? Because it’s jam like hell! Same thing for Kuzu. He is running late after oversleeping but Towada expected this. He is so used to it by now. Chitose finally makes it to the event hall on time by foot and the even goes on perfect. In the end, everyone enjoys drinking at the bath, talking about the anime and the likes. Good points and criticism, all their honest opinions are in. Then the worst possible combo that could happen is that Kuzu and the author have come up with a new project. Yeah. We can do this! What crazy sh*t will they come up next? Don’t laugh. This was somewhat how Panty And Stocking With Gaterbelt was conceived!

B*tch Number Calling
I am in a dilemma to call this series boring or insightful. Maybe it is somewhat of both. Because this series doesn’t tell you the workings of the seiyuu industry which I hope I would see some but there wasn’t anything close to it. Furthermore, this series might resemble more of a ‘fairytale’ than in real life because when you have a newbie and a producer with f*cked up attitudes, causing such problems and are still around, it feels more like an insult when everything always turns out fine. I mean, no big screw ups that would have ended their careers are closed down the production house or the series being cancelled. It always works out and everyone is still happy in the end. That’s not realistic, right?

Unlike Shirobako that gives us a glimpse on how an anime is produced from start till end, this series doesn’t give us any insights on how to be a seiyuu. This is of course isn’t the plot of the series itself. But I believe that what they are trying to tell us is that this industry can also be a cutthroat competition. With so many up and coming seiyuus these days, staying relevant is very hard. Not just in this industry but the entertainment industry as a whole. I believe even in real life if a singer was famous last month and didn’t do anything to make ripples with his/her presence, he/she will be fast forgotten. That’s why with Chitose whose goal is to become famous (can’t say it is an admirable ambition but it’s natural we all want to be popular), she gets worried when she doesn’t land big roles. I believe by today’s standards, Chitose who is already sucking big time will be cut off immediately instead of being retained and waiting for her to turn over a new leaf and shine again. Only established celebrities have the luxury to do that but even so not very guaranteed. Once word goes around and the fans leave you, you’re finished.

Chitose is a character whom you’ll love to hate. However she isn’t despicable enough to make you really want to hate her. Maybe slap her a little sometimes. What makes her refreshing from many other cliché protagonists is that she is really so full of herself. Because of this less than desirable arrogant and cocky delusional behaviour, this is what makes her amusing and interesting. I can’t say that I really like her attitude but she is the main reason why this series is somewhat ‘interesting’. Had she been a typical goody-two-shoes like any other main characters, this series would have been as boring as hell. Because when you have every episode title named after her state of mood or circumstances, it tells you a lot about her. I mean what is your impression when you read titles like “Chitose the Braggart and the Voiceless Scream”, “Blasphemous Chitose and the Usual Story”, “Cocky Chitose and Shattered Popularity”, “Chitose Falls into Darkness and Disappointed Kuzu” and “Wavering Chitose and Determined Gojou”. Not very remarkable for a main character who has more than half the titles in such negative state.

Okay, so it was kinda mixed feelings when Chitose fell into depression because on one hand I was really shouting inside my heart how much she deserved it and hoped this would make her open her eyes but on the other hand I was really pitying her. I really felt bad when she actually went down in the dumps. I mean, despite her arrogance, she is still human. It is naturally for a person like her to dream of being big and famous but she doesn’t put in the hard work to justify it and often blames everything else but herself. She really thinks she is God or something. I am sure this attitude of hers we can connect in real life from the many experiences we have with such people. In the end, it took quite some time for her to realize or at least get the gist that being popular and number one is mostly hard work and perseverance. Just like respect, it is earned and not something given.

I can’t say much about the rest of Chitose’s fellow seiyuu colleagues, though. It doesn’t feel like they have a very deep storyline and it is only as though to give some sort of variety and distraction from Chitose. I mean, we have got to take a break from her whining, right? However back stories like Kazuha’s family problems as well as Momoka’s background from a family famous in the industry are just scratching the surface and provide nothing too deep. I mean, who doesn’t have their own problems to deal with? Because other than Kazuha’s inability to hold her liquor and Momoka who is cunning buy constantly worrying trying to step out of her parents’ shadows or the fact positive Koto has been in the industry for quite a while but never making a real impact, there is nothing more we know about them.

Most amusing one is of course Yae because of her very nervous and timid nature. At first she loves cowering behind Chitose for just about anything that scares her. It makes you wonder why she is in this industry in the first place. Because of that, Chitose loves teasing her sometimes with really mean sarcastic words leaving Yae to be even more ruffled than before. It feels like Yae is being masochistic for Chitose’s mockery? Though Yae does improve and doesn’t get anxious too often, she still maintains her trust and believe in Chitose. A true friend indeed. That is why Chitose should be thanking her lucky stars for having such support. Even if Kazuha and Momoka are bratty like her (but to a lesser degree because at least they are responsible), they still value her as a seiyuu colleague.

Ah, there’s always the new girl in town like Nanami because with all the hot attention on her but it’s like a new toilet seat. Not to be insulting but you understand the hype when someone new, fresh and promising breaks into the scene. I believe Nanami is very genuine in wanting to work hard and all that but sometimes I have this sceptical feeling if all that passion will fizzle out through the years. I mean, most of us started out like this positive outlook, lots of hopes and dreams only for reality and life to f*ck us all and bog us down to be cynics. Because of her super positive tones, it really makes me wonder the magnitude of her becoming like Chitose once she realizes she has fallen out of favour. I know all this won’t be happening and I hope it won’t but I’m just curious to know since she is so innocent even way past Yae.

Because take a look at Gojou. He was once famous and now what happened to him? I don’t think it was that bad to leave him in some sort of trauma because otherwise he wouldn’t let his sister be in this industry then. He must have realizes something and perhaps cut his losses before it got worse. Who knows? He might have been worse off had he continued being a seiyuu. Therefore Chitose as I have said is blessed to have such people around. Without Nanami entering the scene, she might have continued being a b*tch whom she plays to perfection in real life. Nanami literally and indirectly hit her where it hurts most: Her popularity.

Even more despicable than Chitose is of course Kuzu. Ah yes. Ironically his name already means crap and his attitude even reflects it. This is the guy whom all of us have met at least once in our life. The kind of guy who uses smooth words to make it sound like everything is alright. Nice words to paint a very bright picture and future. But when the real work comes around, he shoves that responsibility upon others and goes to be merry all by himself. The worst kind of person to work with. Thankfully Towada is competent and responsible to clean up his mess. Things would have fallen apart real quick if this guy isn’t around. At least with this experience I believe Towada has levelled up in dealing with this kind of sh*t.

Kuzu is like Chitose in not putting in effort into his work. Unlike Chitose who falls off the popularity radar, Kuzu falls out of favour from his colleagues as they can work and go ahead without him. Fall into depression, need some encouragement to get back up his feet and although changed but still largely the same person he is as we know. Don’t you see a pattern with Chitose and Kuzu here? Nanba I thought he was just some sleazy higher up who knows how to only laugh and agree with everything but as we see that he is also a serious guy and closely watching his talents in his agency. He lets the young ones take control of their destiny and when they sometimes go out of orbit, he has a little advice that guides them back to Earth. He is not the big guy in his agency for nothing.

While the art and drawing may not be that outstanding and your typical Japanese anime standards, if you want to compare it to other similar seiyuu themed animes, this one is of course the better looking one. The girls here have this bishoujo look unlike Sore Ga Seiyuu or Love Get Chu whereby they lean more towards the moe and kawaii look. Therefore I want to say that beneath all their cute pretty girly faces lies scheming b*tches that could be worse than the modelling industry. Animated by Diomedea who did anime series like Shinryaku! Ika Musume, Mayoiga, Akuma No Riddle, Kantai Collection, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu, Handa-kun and Kodomo No Jikan.

Many of the main voice acting casts aren’t household powerhouse names. At least not in my books. We have Sayaka Senbongi as Chitose (Mumei in Koutetsujou No Kabaneri), Eri Suzuki as Momoka (Milinda in Heavy Object), Saori Oonishi as Kazuha (Aiz in DanMachi), Kaede Hondo as Yae (Miyoko in Handa-kun), Yui Ishikawa as Koto (Mikasa in Shingeki no Kyojin) and Amina Satou as Nanami (Yuuka in AKB0048). Kazuya Nakai is recognizable as Kuzu. Hearing him as this slick lazy producer is refreshing as it is odd. Because hearing him in roles like One Piece’s Zoro and Gintama’s Hijikata, serious and no nonsense (almost) characters, hearing him as Kuzu just makes him sound so gay. Really. I’m not sure if it is intentional because it sounds like Yotshitsugu Matsuoka is playing a character with the same name like as though he is playing himself (no, not masturbation lah!!!!) but I haven’t hear him go into such passionate mode for a long time. The other recognizable one is Sho Hayami as Shakujii whose low voice still gives off that assertive and dominant impression. The rest of the other casts are Yuichiro Umehara as Gojou (En in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love), Takuya Eguchi as Towada (Koikawa in Mushibugyou) and Kenyuu Horiuchi as Nanba (Kinemon in One Piece). Too bad no famous seiyuu cameos like in Sore Ga Seiyuu.

The opening theme, Bloom is sung by the main female quintet of the series. This makeshift band is also named after the series too. Sounds like a typical all-girl anime pop music and nothing too special. The same quintet also sing the ending theme, Ima Wa Mijikashi Yume Miyo Otome. I find this song to be quite weird. Especially some parts of the song I am not sure if they are making some sort of sound effect with their voices despite the rest of the song is more of rock. Then there is this strange dance that the girls do in the ending credits animation. Well, they’re not so much dancing since it is still pictures of them in weird poses. It feels like they are in some cheerleading squad or some sentai victory group pose or something. At least the song for the final episode, Ashita E No Tochuu De doesn’t sound weird. Just a typical all-girl group anime pop song.

Overall, this anime might look like some sort of warning to budding seiyuu wannabes. You might have a great voice but if you aren’t so great if your personality stinks. You can go out of the industry as fast as you come in if you do not stay relevant or even push the wrong buttons. Casual viewers might not really find this to their liking since the main character is already so b*tchy and by the time she turns over it is already too late. The damage is done. And in the end, she is still basically the same person. That is why Chitose can only be Chitose and excels at being herself. Because if you really want to see real b*tch drama, look no further than today’s reality TV. All is not nice and glitter as it seems.