The story begins when Ao opens a package that arrives at her doorstep. Inside the package is Gourai, a Frame Arms Girl: a small robot capable of independent movement. Gourai is a newly-developed prototype: a Frame Arms Girl equipped with an "Artificial Self," an advanced AI that gives her a personality. Ao is the only one that has activated her. Gourai begins to gather both battle data and emotions, starting a day-to-day life with Ao, who knows nothing about Frame Arms Girls.
Frame Arms Girl is an advertisement. It exists for one reason and one reason only, to sell those toys. But in that, there is magic that can happen. For the process of selling toys is not a simple one. Toy line anime can't work like normal commercials. They can't just shove in the product in the viewer's face and yell at the top of their lungs, "BUY OUR TOYS!" They have to make them special and appealing. They have to draw the viewer into the world of the toy and get them to want them. And it is this mindset that makes Frame Arms Girl
In the case of Frame Arms Girl, it isn't a show that wows the viewer with any part of itself. While the animation can look spectacular at times, it's only in comparison to the 3D models that really it shines. What Frame Arms Girl does really well is making itself as fun as it can. It splits its episodes into two parts and each part has it's own little skit that it does. This can range from a whole variety of topics and each of them is given a flavour that goes with the theme of the frame arms girls. The unconventionalness of the toys allows them to tackle the settings of the parts in a unique way, creating an experience that sets it apart from other shows. While the parts do have borrowed some tropes from Western animation it does so in a way that enhances the show and enables it to be kept fresh. Furthermore, in these skits it allows itself to go in a natural yet unpredictable way, favoring the story in a nice way. And even more than that the show also likes to pull out an occasional surprise episode that shows the full creativity of the team that writes the show.
The characters are not groundbreaking but they are fun. They don't have much depth but they aren't restricted just to a gimmick. While they all have their first and foremost personality traits, they have other traits that they exhibit and do feel like organic characters, even if they are toys. This ability allows them to feel fresher and more original even if they don't stray too far from conventional archetypes. The best of the lot is Ao, the main girl, who is a very relatable. Not only does she stray from any archetype but she acts in rational ways that are easily understood. Her intentions aren't always pure, nor does she care only about the toys with a heart bigger than a thousand suns like we'd expect from the main character. Rather her love for the toys is built slowly with time, in a realistic manner.
The sound quality is pretty good overall, it's nothing special but can certainly add to the battles and SOL. Oh did I mention, there are some cool battles!? While I'm not the biggest fan of action or mech battles, the mix between mech battles and fluffy daily life episodes makes for an interesting and fun combination that is rare to find.
Frame Arms Girl first and foremost is a toy commerial. But it's a pretty good one that just wants to have some fun. And for that I think it's a really good watch.
Frame Arms Girl began as a standard snap fit model kit line made by Kotobukiya, featuring Armored Girl versions of their Frame Arms line. Now, despite being a little small for a figure line, Frame Arms Girl is one of the most popular model kit lines Kotobukiya has ever made, gaining a huge fanbase and a lot of buyers. So naturally due to it's success, they take pride and confidence in their creation.
Now, of course, it's lowkey obvious that this line really appeals to otakus, with them being model kit girls and all, not to mention all the showing skin and fanservicey bits. Yet anything
can become more popular with the right exposure, and what's a good way to increase the huge popularity to otakus?
By making a TV show out of it of course.
The story of FA Girl is both simple and non existent. We're introduced to our female protagonist Ao Gennai, who is pretty much your standard high school girl living alone in her apartment alone. One day, a strange little box arrives on her doorstep, and opening it, she finds a little figure of a girl sitting in there with runners. Accidentally activating the figure, we are introduced to Gourai, a brand new model of Frame Arms Girl. Soon, more different types of FA Girls start arriving and Ao's house, the reason being that Ao's Gourai is the only one running, and the company who makes FA Girls want to collect data on Gourai from her. To do this, they send other FA Girls to Ao's house so that they can battle Gourai to collect combat data, in turn, Ao gets paid for her "efforts" for that. Simple concept right? Well the anime actually doesn't always focus on this aspect.
Each episode is divided into two sessions, with a story taking place in each. Only about a third of these sessions contain battles, and they aren't really exciting or time consuming either. Outcome is painfully predictable for almost every battle, and the rest of it is slice of life/random mayhem with FA Girls. It's not a very cohesive plot by any stretch, as it's mostly just that slice of life show where the characters have dumb fun with each other, and that's pretty much it. However one might be able to find some charm in these dumb misadventures that these characters take part in.
There is also some bits of interesting areas for those that are fans of either model kits or FA Girls. Other than the blatant advertising of Kotobukiya and their products, the show has bits where they teach you the basics of building model kits, as well as how they are made, which can definitely add a unique sort of appeal to the model kit builders like me out there.
The art is a little bit on the interesting side. One of the first things people will notice is the use of CGI animation for all the FA Girls. Now while I don't mind CGI animation if it isn't horrible (which it really isn't here in my opinion), I am aware that some people might not be fans of the CGI animation is used in the show. Now personally, I think it blends in quite decently into the 2D animation, and one positive I think the CGI has is that it gives the FA Girls make them look more like the plastic mechanical beings they are, instead of something that looks "human". Another unique trait with some of the CGI is that the 3D rendered battle environments actually look like a real 3D rendering, for better or for worse. Some areas of really good use of the CGI animation would be the "armor up" sequences of the FA Girls, which are both fun to watch, and have a lot of movement too.
Now, while the CGI is used quite a bit, and actual animation is quite average in most areas, when the show tries to animate well, the animation can actually be quite impressive. Take for instance the second version of the OP, where they replaced the CGI animation with more standard 2D animation, and in all honesty, the result is almost astounding. Lots of minute details like shading is done surprisingly well, movement is also both really fluid and plentiful in a few areas. For a good example of what I mean, pay attention to the hair of FA girls in that OP, the animation is both clean and plentiful, everything moves and it's almost sakuga. So while overall animation is just passable or standard with CGI, when the studio does try to animate well, they can really make some magic. A bit of a shame that it wasn't the mainstay throughout the show, but despite this missed potential, i'm happy with what we got.
The sound does the job quite well, but nothing really stands out to an extreme. Most sound effects and folley are well done, with bits reused here and there, but nothing really sounds bad. While some things like Gourai's tank treads sounds more like a toy car than a plastic tank rolling around, other sound effects like Stylet and Baselard's flying, and the effects in the armor up sequences do their job well.
The OP and ED are both nice, both sounding happy and upbeat, matching the tone of the show. There isn't really a lot of "dramatic moments" in this series, it's mostly quite relaxed, and the OST matches these fun little moments with little tunes and jingles. However for the moments that do have some form of impact, they do have OST that fit the bill, and overall the sound is good for the show.
Now, the thing about most of the characters in this show is that asides from Ao and Gourai, each character follow a single one dimensional trope or personality type, and they embody it completely. We have some of the very common ones like Stylet the tsundere and Architect the robotic kuudere, but at the same time there are some of the more bizarre tropes in the mix, an example being Jinrai as the girl completely absorbed by feudal japan culture and style.
Ao and the FA Girls pretty much make the entire cast alone, with only the minor exception of Bukiko as the recurring sidekick best friend. Otherwise there are barely any other characters or even people's faces seen. We don't even get to see the face of the Building Manager, who is not only best character, but is also a god with an infinite supply of love and happiness. Bless you building manager, bless you.
Something interesting we do see in terms of characters is that we can see growth in Gourai as she learns more about human emotions. As her own love for her friends and Ao grow, she also grows as a character to shape her own personality and become a person of her own, and that was really nice to see from this show. It was honestly one of my favorite aspects in terms of the characters, and a breath of fresh air with the rest of the one dimensioned quirky cast of a slice of life anime, aside from our lord and saviour the Building Manager of course.
While I didn't necessarily enjoy the show as much as I would've liked myself, I cannot bring myself to say that it wasn't an entertaining ride. It certainly was a bit of a nice little way to pass the time, and for fans of frame arms girls, you'll probably enjoy it. It's a dumb fun little slice of life show with geeky model kit humour and facts thrown into the mix. It'll certainly appeal to both those who enjoy slice of life shows and maybe to those who are fans of Frame Arms Girls.
I'm personally not usually a fan of slice of life, and that played a role in my overall enjoyment. But despite this, seeing the characters interact with each other was amusing to watch despite my usual disinterest in the genre, so this might appeal to fans of the genre even more. Alas, this is my review and I have to review it how I see fit, and personally i'm not a huge fan of the whole slice of life thing. In the end, what kept me most interested were the Frame Arms Girls themselves who I personally really find charming.
Frame Arms Girl is overall is just a really average show in almost all aspects. It does not aim to exceed any expectations, and in the end it's just one huge advertisement for the Frame Arms Girls line, and in the end that's all it is. But does it stand up as a show on it's own overall? Honestly I think it does. Some will not like it, it's got no real sense of true plot, and it's really just slice of life misadventures and mayhem with the Frame Arms Girls, however personally I found this show to be uniquely entertaining in a way compared to other slice of life that i've seen.
The characters, while mostly one dimensional and simple, are charming once you get used to them and hang around them more. They have unique charms and quirks to them, and it's entertaining to see them mess around with their misadventures and days together. The actual battles aren't very great, they are both too short and too uneventful to really extract true enjoyment out of it, but it's more about the dumb fun that these characters have, mixed with model kit know-how is what gives the show it's unique charm. This show will appeal to fans of FA Girls and to those of the slice of life genre. While it has it's issues like the CGI animation, mostly one dimensional cast, and lack of any truly exciting or even good battles, the show is still a nice watch and an entertaining way to pass the time, especially if you're a fan of model kits or FA Girls.
TL;DR Section at the end of the review. This review may or may not contain minor spoilers.
"I've come to realize that emotions aren't something you learn – they have to be experienced." —Gourai
Frame Arms Girl (F.A. Girl) is a show that had potential to be something great, but unfortunately fell short.
Ao Gennai receives a package from her father one day, which it's contents are revealed to be Gourai, a Frame Arms Girl. From here, their friendship grows as Ao teaches Gourai the variety of emotions humans feel. Along the way, they meet many friends and foes alike.
This story and setting had vast potential to be
something so beautiful, but it ended up turning out poorly. Not only is writing fairly subpar, all the characters are really flat (in more ways than one). They each have the unique trait (Gourai is a hard worker, Jinrai is way too into ninjas, Base is childish, Materia twins are cunning and suggestive, etc etc) but it doesn't go any farther than that, with the exception of Ao and Gourai. The show is based around these two and their relationship, but it really feels like you're just watching a small robot learn to express emotion, which is pretty bland most of the time.
F.A. Girl constantly switched between 2D and 3D aspects, along with showing a lot of 2.5D shots. This worked for and against it, with the majority being against, unfortunately. Every now and then, they'd have a well animated scene (some fight scenes, like Ao / Jinrai vs. the Materia twins), but then other times it just felt awkward and out-of-sync (the finale live show in the last episode). As for the soundtrack, there's nothing really going for or against it. Both the OP and ED aren't awful, but there are plenty of other better ones.
TL;DR: F.A. Girl had the potential to be a great show, but didn't quite make it by a rather large margin. While there were some nice scenes and times where the show was enjoyable, you wouldn't miss out on anything should you choose not to watch.
I thought it was a PR stunt that ran for 12 episodes; then at the end there's a cliffhanger WTF
lemme get this out there though; IT IS A 'PR' STUNT (￢_￢)
first of all, no base story line whatsoever; it revolves around an all female cast (which doesn't really matter once you get into it), of which most of them are in mini skirts
"like really mini, and for some reason always has some sort of pants angle"
again, don't really mind
so... story line. its just a show where female action figures are geared with artificial intelligence and they're pitted against each other
in a holographic world.
so they battle each other to gain data for themselves and the factory that is going to produce them -they sent prototypes to be tested
its not the sort of thing where it is good vs. bad, just something you'd watch for fun.
and this is funny, but not in the way you'd expect... it's 'dumb funny'
most of the characters were a CGI style; this was so that they could be separated from the humans present and all the toys went through a process of evolution in emotion and behaviour
oooh yes, the characters were all initially diverse to begin with; this anime gave the masochists, the sadist, the dumb, the tsundere, the childish, and the egoists... moreover they gave the god archetype and the clever but socially dumb type.
the character build ups are so good that you dont even realise there arwe no prominent male figures
there was a protagonist and deuteragonist... but the lack of an solid antagonist kind of broke down the prior two's purpose
If it was CGI, it wasn't slow and the movements were quite fluid at the crucial times
the end was weird, like really weird; somehow the show turned into some idol concert and they're dancing aroung with those hunks of armour on.
all in all, this is the sort of thing you'd watch when you're not looking for anything specific so you just want to laugh e.g. sitcoms etc. (like the big bang theory)