Do you know what is more absurd than sending hardcore drillers up into space to destroy an asteroid before it hits Earth? Why, send a group of girls to play a crane game and have their beam from every successful game to push away the asteroid! No joke! Serious! I mean, this is actually the premise for Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Game Girls! I’m not kidding! For some obscure reasons, a group of idols wannabe have been scouted to drive away impending asteroids on collision course with Earth just by playing crane games!!! Absurd, am I right? Hell, at least it is a hundred times better than training drillers to go into space and detonate the asteroid. You know how much money that will cost? Thank goodness the producers didn’t see that Hollywood disaster movie… I think.

Episode 1
Agent Fox is called by her superior that an asteroid will crash into Earth and destroy life. Their only hope lies with these 3 high school girls. Sure they can save the world? F*ck logic! Just get them! And so, Asuka, Kyouko and Mirai thought they are being scouted by an idol agency. But something sounds fishy when their recruiter has a gorilla avatar. They are then made to wear a funny outfit and their next location is the video arcade. Is this a joke? Keeping their hopes high that they will become top idol, they start practising their (weird) dance. Fox isn’t amused and takes them into a secret room. This crane game is a training simulation that will turn them into top idols.

Episode 2
Fox disguises herself under the name as Saya. She is as sceptical for the girls to save the world as the girls are if she is really a talent agency president. Saya lies that all top idols have one thing in common: They were good in crane games! Enough motivation for the girls to get a move on. Their first training is to grab a gorilla plushie. Failed. Saya shows it how it’s done. They thought she too failed but she manages to get it by slowly sliding it out of the hole. After the girls reflect and ponder her technique, they realize what needs to be done. Trying again, they now know they must not grab the centre but its side so as to move it slightly until it drops. With this task done, some power beam beams away a couple of asteroids! WTF???!!! You mean this is how they’ll save the world???!!!

Episode 3
Now the girls will have to pick up a gorilla plushie in a box. But they are suspicious what the crane game has got to do with being a top idol. Well, if they can’t even handle this well, do you think they will have what it takes to be top idol? That doesn’t make sense but that will do as motivation. Saya guides them to place the hook precisely over the box holes to get a better grip. When they’re done, there is no effect. It seems Mirai ditched her game to call her dad just to buy her a gorilla figure! You can’t be a top idol if you don’t put in the effort! So after the girls successfully clear the game, a couple more asteroids are deflected.

Episode 4
The girls get their pay. Mirai being the rich girl finds it not enough to feed her (ugly) cat. But for Kyouko who is so poor, she finds the amount huge! Kyouko explains her mom died and now she plays that role to take care of her many siblings. Such a touching moment for the girls to rally and become top idols. And also a touching moment as they molest Kyouko?! Saya then shows them how to knock off many prizes in one go. The girls brainstorm and then apply what they have discovered. They shove the hook into the middle of the pile near the hole and knock them off. Saya is impressed and will send those prizes to Kyouko’s family since she can’t get a pay rise. And the day is saved with a couple more asteroids are repelled.

Episode 5
Asuka brings a fish that her fisherman dad brought to her as present to be a top idol. Today’s crane game is to pick up prizes with tags on them. Sounds easy? Nope. During the break. Asuka tells how her dad has always been supportive of her on just about anything. It might sound embarrassing but it proves he is a great dad. He was even happy when she was scouted but Asuka felt otherwise as she didn’t believe she could live up to expectations. After all, when she was young, her dream was to become a fisherman and her dad taught her various fishing techniques. Then it hit her. Different fish use different tactics. So when they apply this in the crane game, they win it using a bit of physics and common sense to fish this one out. Just before they can celebrate, the news flash that there is a huge group of asteroids heading towards Earth.

Episode 6
The girls learn when Mirai was playing a crane game, she was being hit by a guy. However she brushed him off because she won’t date cheap looking guys! Saya heard this and lays down the rules of no dating and love for idols (since it’s their job to save the world). Did something inside her triggered? Because she is taking out her frustrations on the machine when she can’t get a prize with a string. By this time the girls are tired of playing crane games. They want to do real idol stuffs like singing and dancing. Well, they’ll do it one day. Suspicious… When is that? She promises to tell the truth if they win this one. So they manage to do so and as promised, Saya reveals the asteroid danger and how the trio are the only ones who can save the world. Surprise!

Episode 7
The girls can’t believe what they’re hearing. It’s time for Saya to explain a load of BS (which is supposedly the truth in this anime). She is an agent from WSA (World Space Agency) tasked to find people with the ability to save the world. Due to the girl’s wavelength, their desire to become idols, their heart’s purity, each time the girls successfully learn a new skill, WSA confirms several asteroids changing direction. Only they can do this. Thus this training is the thing that brings out their power the most. Mirai is sad she can’t be an idol but if there is no Earth, you can’t be anything! Naturally the girls are dejected and losing motivation. Mirai then walks out on everything. She isn’t doing this sh*t. All she wanted was to become an idol. Kyouko also follows suit. If the world is getting destroyed, she’d rather spend her last moments with her family. What about Asuka? Thinking how they’ve been put into such awkward position by the agency, she’ll try to talk to the girls to come back.

Episode 8
Asuka finds Kyouko playing a crane game. Prizes for her siblings? They realize they love the game. Now the hard part is Mirai. She is going to fly away in her gold helicopter! She calls Saya a liar and her friends traitors for siding with her now. She doesn’t care about Earth. She just wants to be an idol. Well, Mirai isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Her friends first blame Saya for not thinking about their feelings. Then they make her promise she will get trainers for acting, dancing and singing to become top idols. So stop thinking too hard on this and let’s just aim to become idols. And so the trio are a whole again. Now they put their skills to the test of needing to get a prize that is hanging on the ledge without knocking it over. Not sure about this tactic but they knock off the part hanging on the ledge and push it down. Isn’t that the same as knocking it? Anyway their success means more asteroids change its course. Saya apologizes for being insensitive and will arrange to keep her part of the bargain.

Episode 9
Beach episode! After all their hard work I guess the girls deserve some rest and relaxation. Just to make sure the girls know… Saya is funding this trip with her own money! So please Mirai, shut up about your experience of hotspring in Dubai. Also here is Tokiko (the newscaster) who is Saya’s junior in college. She admires her a lot and can’t believe Saya is now working behind the scenes in a talent agency. This gives Saya motivation to make sure the girls become top idols. Then she ushers the girl for their next training at the beach. So are they going to watch the fireworks? Nope. She even brought the crane machines here! You were expecting something else? With the sexy gorilla figure as its prize, they get it out using some gap technique. I’m not interested since sexy gorilla isn’t my thing. With more asteroids averted, Tokiko sees this familiar beam. Saya has an idea to use her.

Episode 10
Tokiko reports this scoop to the world. With the buzz it is creating, the girls are now world famous! How does it feel to bask in the limelight? Saya shows them a crane puzzle but does not show them how it is done. She believes they have enough experience to think on their own. Asuka and Mirai fool around as being famous now is getting into their heads. When Kyouko chides them to take it more serious, they tease her for being serious like a school teacher and even mock her accent. This makes her mad enough to flip the table! But this gave them an idea for their problem. A large crowd and news reporters await the girls outside the video arcade. Hey, why don’t they have their own escort and security into the building?! What if there are crazy stalkers trying to kidnap them?! I don’t know how but they managed to get into the building after the press pester them for comments. Although Saya isn’t around, the girls use their flipping method to show the world that they are the real deal in saving Earth from asteroids. Take that! Everyone, start believing!

Episode 11
The world is cheering for the crane game girls’ success. Meanwhile Saya visits Dark Gorilla, the perpetrator who has been hurling asteroids on Earth. It seems Dark Gorilla’s mission is to protect his species that has been under constant abused on our planet. Despite the crane game girls’ success, he still will not back off. He won’t even grant Saya’s wish to make those girls’ dream of becoming idols come true. He uses his ultimate trump card. The biggest mother asteroid ever! Meanwhile the girls are celebrating a victory when they get a call whom they think is from Saya. However it is Saya’s boss, Earth Gorilla. He tells them Saya has been missing and she probably went to see Dark Gorilla. He shows them the biggest asteroid coming their way. No problem, right? However Earth Gorilla thinks it is impossible as a massive amount of energy is needed. It may cost them their life. This doesn’t dampen the girls since they will continue to do what they have always been doing. They’ll save Earth and bring Saya back. So after using some tactic to pick up heavy prizes, it seems the asteroid’s course isn’t changing…

Episode 12
Finally the crane game girls get their singing stint. Dark Gorilla hijacks the broadcast to announce his intention to take over Earth. Earth Gorilla had to interrupt our girls’ celebration to tell them their power had no effect on the asteroid. Of course there is another way. To push away such huge asteroid, they have to accumulate their powers. This can be done so by applying all the crane game techniques they have learnt together. However it is risky and puts player’s life in danger. The survival rate is only 20%. Hey, at least it’s not 0%. Thankfully the girls are looking forward to the future. They’ll save the Earth and become idols. The more techniques they apply, the more they could feel the strain over their body. Can’t give up now. They muster up all their strength for the final technique and put in all their emotions. Tokiko barges into the building to find Saya but sees the crane girls in action.

Episode 13
Their beam is so powerful that it rips their clothes!!! Don’t worry, we won’t see anything thanks to the beam’s blinding light. Dang. So powerful enough that it breaks up and scatters the asteroid. Earth is saved! But Earth Gorilla sheds a tear over their ‘sacrifice’. Dark Gorilla is still unsatisfied with his loss. He will come up with a new plan and find the secret behind the crane game girls’ power. Saya pleads to send her back but he will not comply. Once he learns the idol thingy that the crane girls are, he becomes more interested and wants idols for his planet. He wants Saya’s help and if she agrees, he will agree to leave Earth alone for now. No choice, she agrees. Apparently our crane game girls are still alive. Yeah, you can’t kill off Earth’s saviour and top idols, right? Tokiko visits them in hospital and she is worried they are being discharged quickly. No rest for an idol? Tokiko says they shouldn’t be in any hurry to become idols since they have already become one from saving the world. The girls are sad that Saya is still missing. But they believe that she will come back. For now they have to go out there and show her they have become top idols.

And I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing
Hey. WTF is this ending. It doesn’t feel like an end at all. Like as though there is going to be another season… It is kinda odd that Saya and the girls do not reunite at the end and thus end the mother of all separations but instead we have her whisked away to an alien planet to train gorilla idols. Serious. I mean, can you imagine seeing gorillas singing? F*ck, it would be Planet of the Apes parody by then. But as far as this season is concerned, we can all breathe easily and sleep comfortably at night knowing that the hard work of our crane game girls-cum-idols have saved the day once more. Good job girls. Really.

Now, I can’t help poke at how silly everything just is. Yes, it is just freaking silly. Just trying to think about how the mechanics work (just for the fun and sake of it) can only result in my laughing and going WTF. You see, firstly I don’t even fathom how by playing a crane game can shoot out beams. I mean, is the crane game connected to some laser beam? In that case, why not just rigged the damn machine? Just think about it. If the beam only appears once they drop the prize into the hole, what kind of mechanism and trigger does it take to fire the beam? And who sets up the prizes in such a way that allows the girls to practice and hone their skills? If you say those crane machines come from outer space, man they must have dropped thousands to let our girls practice and give Earth a chance to survive. How kind of them. It’s just so freaking illogical.

And why does it have to be a crane game?! I suppose it has got to be the hardest ‘family fun’ games at the carnival. Much harder than the pinball or the traditional shooting or goldfish scooping event. Because we all know how sneaky crane game machines are especially how they could be tampered to ‘cheat’. Extra hard and near to impossible rigid controls plus the short time limit makes the player have to constantly feed their quarters to continue trying or else risk being labelled as uncool and pathetic by their watching girlfriends who need this plushie oh so badly because why the f*ck didn’t they just go buy it at a store. Cheaper? The smell of victory? Well, if you’re good in crane games.

Therefore I have a feeling that this series also tries to teach us the several techniques in playing crane games. Well, it looks simple as shown but you know how tough it is in real life. This should only appeal to hardcore crane game enthusiasts and especially those who are just at beginner level trying to master and perfect their game. Otherwise such techniques aren’t really applicable in anywhere else. No, please don’t say it is the same as handling a construction crane.

So while we ponder at the absurdity of crane games being the sole tool to save the Earth, it is never in question about the crane game girls anyway. Sure, we have a little bit info of their family life like Mirai the rich girl, Kyouko the poor girl and Asuka from the middle income group if you consider her fisherman life isn’t a tough one. Anything deeper than that, feel free to cook up your own fan fiction theory. Good times, bad times but more importantly they stick together with their passion to become top idols. Ah, the power of friendship.

So what is the next step for these girls? They have already achieved their dream as top idols and at the same time become experts in crane games. In no time they might be scouted by other arcade game modes just to save the world. Don’t laugh. It happened before. Remember that arcade obsessed girl, Yamamoto Yoko? Yeah… So good she was in her arcade shooters that she was drafted into the future to fight space terrorists! And don’t forget that Fubuki girl from Arcade Gamer Fubuki. Remember how she used her arcade gamer skills to save the world from an evil organization? And all she got was her Passion Panty! No kidding! So don’t laugh the next time you see different alien invaders invading our planet and our crane girls are called in to stop their advancement by playing arcade games. Oh wait. They did something like that in Pixels, didn’t they?

I don’t know why they pick a gorilla as the antagonist or even the head of WSA but to have some sort of monkey related creature heading the world’s top space agency which is supposed to be under the domain of humans to be completely ridiculous. Yeah, everything doesn’t make sense but you’ll laugh and cringe at how silly everything is. So what is Saya’s connection with the gorillas? Did she sleep with them or something? And Tokiko, she came in late into the series but I figure she is Saya’s substitute now that she is temporarily not around to look after the girls and teach them more crane game techniques. Maybe Saya have taught them all she knows. There is no more she could further teach… Say, how the hell did Saya got kidnapped by Dark Gorilla anyway? Assuming she was taken away in the first place. But if she went to see him on her own will, don’t you think it is kinda dumb that she managed to go there but cannot get back down? It’s like a cat stuck on a tree, know what I’m saying?

The art and drawing is definitely Flash based. Produced by Kyotama, their other work was JK Meshi as you can see characters from the latter series making their cameos albeit just confined to the opening credits animation (though I believe there is one episode whereby there was a very short homage to JK Meshi). So it is a blink or you’ll miss type. One thing I want to point out is that their quality for this series seems to be a lot better and improved compared to JK Meshi which was just horrendous. At least the girls here look decently kawaii and the animation smoother.

One thing nice is the opening theme, Dream Climber by Rico Sasaki. This is quite a catchy rock piece if I must say. The relatively small casts are Sora Tokui Asuka (Niko in Love Live), Rico Sasaki as Kyouko (Michiru Kimura in Omoi No Kakera), Natsuko Hara as Mirai (Reina in JK Meshi), Sarara Yashima as Saya (Kurami in Hacka Doll) and Aina Suzuki as Tokiko (Shiori in Joukamachi No Dandelion).

In conclusion, you are not supposed to be stressed up watching and thinking at all the silly and illogical things that happened throughout the series. You’re supposed to laugh at them. Thank goodness each episode only lasts 4 minutes otherwise any longer and we might go crazy by all the ludicrous cringe worthy elements. Because idols, crane games, asteroids and gorillas, weird combination indeed. Despite all that, it still beats the logic of sending miners up into space anyway. Our girls stay safe and feet grounded on Earth. Literally. Okay, sing along with me now. Take it from the top. I could stay awake just to hear you breathing…

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