Holy crap! I mean who thought that an anime with poor CG graphics, bland setting straight out of saturday mornings girls' cartoon and an animation studio nobody has ever heard of, could actually be kinda... good?
In my case, it all begun with a youtube video "Piku Shiru Can't Stop", which is a mash-up of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song and gdgd Fairies. I found it strangely entertaining and annoying at the same, and after a while I noticed that the 2nd season was among the on-going series. I watched some random episode and was pleasantly surprised how amusing it was, and right after got
hooked on the 1st season.
To make it clear, this is no My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic kinda series that was targeted to little girls, but somehow grown men got around watching it. Gdgd fairies' forte is the constant flood of references and humour, most of which younger audiences wouldn't get in all its Japanese weirdness.
Most episodes go by the same formula: The opening, sitting around a table chatting (plenty with sit-com humour and tsukkomi), the room of might and magic (I think it was called something like that), where the fairies e.g. invent new sports such as bungee jumping from space and trying to catch a bread roll with your mouth at the same time. This represents the more physical and weird type humour much like the one you see in Monty Python.
Then there's also the magic spring that serves as a Teletubbie Screen that shows us another worlds that bear frightening similarities to Garry's mod videos. Then the seiyuus try to improvise and dub over these videos of naked old men soaring through the sky. This is literally improvising so the characters' ways of speech chages notably. The voice actors do a great job.
Finally, after the ED, is the next episode's preview, which actually is just a spoof of some popular anime such as Haruhi, Higurashi or Oreimo. It's way too easy to miss these, considering the relatively high entertainment value they have.
Overall, this is a better anime that anyone could reasonably expect. It's strange and funny as hell, but the animation is nothing to speak about and storyline non-existent. Many will definitely think gdgd fairies is just plain awful, but as many or more willl find it strangely addicting. Just watch some random episode like I did and find out.
gdgd Faeries is a bizarre comedy. In the sense that I couldn't find a Studio listed for it. It was directed by Sugahara Souta, who's done some stuff I've never heard of & written by Ishidate Koutarou, who has also done some work on things I've never heard of. I have no idea what to expect, so let's dive right in.
We follow three faeries, Pikupiku, Shirushiru & Korokoro as they boldly hang around a forest and chat. There are four basic types of gags in this anime. In the first, the three faeries sit around a stump with tea and just have strange comedic conversations
on random topics. In the second, they go to the hyperbolic time chamber... I mean “room of mental and time” which resembles but is legally distinct from the similar area of empty space from Dragonball. In this room they basically play around with magic in absurd ways. The third type of comedy we get is the faeries gathering around a magic pool that let's them see into other worlds. And then the actresses ad lib responses to the random CG videos they're shown. The final type of gag comes with the next episode previews. Basically, instead of doing an actual preview they parody some other anime.
The comedy in this tends to be of the really rapid fire variety. Whatever's happening on screen, the japes come out at a pretty continuous pace. The comedy is also very hit and miss. When it's working, it's amusing enough but when it doesn't work it drags. During the conversation segments, for example, they might just ramble about something that isn't funny but you can tell they're trying to have some punchlines in there. The saving grace, when that happens, tends to be Koro coming in and just derailing the whole thing with a comedic non sequitur. You might get four minutes of a kind of boring conversation before that happens but it's something. The magic practice suffers a slightly different hang up. In those segments, they like to have more elaborate set ups leading to bizarre outcomes. The problem is that sometimes they just go on with one beyond the point where there was any good material for it. There are other times that the jokes end up being pretty obvious which isn't something you want in comedy that heavily relies on absurdity. The ad-libbed segments are actually my favourites. The actresses are quite clever at coming up with things to dub over the videos with. They're also clearly having a good time doing it and their cheer is more than a little infectious.
This is one of those comedies where the characters are very simple but they complement one another pretty well and there are plenty of comedic opportunities to explore with their interactions. Which is good since this anime is mostly spent on the interactions.
There's no denying that this anime is pretty damn ugly. The CG looks like something you'd find from a particularly lazy Newgrounds animator. I thought Kemono Friends looked kind of bad, but compared to this it looks pretty decent. At least that series had more movement and more varied backgrounds. Then again, it probably wouldn't be practical to have the ad-libbed scenes in a work that put things like time & effort into the animation. So, maybe it's worth looking like they could have bought a single pack of gum if they used the entire animation budget.
The main actresses of this give some good performances and not just with their improvisation skills. We've got Akesaka Satomi, Mizuhara Kaoru & Mimori Suzuko. The music is... it's okay. It's not a soundtrack you're likely to listen to outside of watching the anime but it serves its purpose.
There really isn't any. None of the conversations the trio have ever indicate anything that might be beyond friendship.
So, that's gdgd Faeries. Overall, it's a series that looks pretty shit but it's not bad at all. It has its funny moments and both the characters and actresses work off of each other well. Is it one of the funniest anime you'll ever see? No. It's not an uproariously funny anime in general, to be honest. It's more one where the comedy is enjoyable and you can chuckle at it, when it works. My final rating is going to be a 6/10. If it sounds like it could be your type of humour, I'd encourage you to try an episode or two. It may well work for you better than it did for me. Next Week I'll look at Twilight Q, no relation to a certain notorious book series.
Comedy in anime can feel tired at times. Even the best series the genre has to offer will sometimes fall back on tropes that have been done a thousand times, whether in parodying them or outright playing them straight faced. That's not to say comedy anime is bad for this reason (it's one of my favorite genres), but sometimes the idea of watching a series completely out of left field in its comedy and presentation can feel refreshing and be a nice break from the same old stuff.
And this is why I love gdgd Fairies, a show that has legitimately made me laugh out loud
harder and more frequently than any other anime series out there. The simple episode structure, excellently crafted jokes, unique visual style, likable characters, and overall fun atmosphere of this series work towards my considering gdgd Fairies a 10/10 show, meaning I love it on every conceivable level, which I will discuss here.
Each twelve minute episode of gdgd Fairies follows a three-part formula: the opening conversation bit, the Room of Spirit and Time, and the Dubbing Lake. The show follows pretty closely to this structure, though there may be an episode or two where one segment is cut out to make room for another one to be longer, and the final episode is completely fucking insane and does not follow the structure at all: you are not prepared for the final episode of season 1 of gdgd Fairies.
A typical episode of gdgd Fairies starts with the three main characters—the innocently dumb pkpk, quiet and mysterious krkr, and the more extroverted and cheeky shrshr—sitting around a table, drinking tea, and talking about some mundane topic, such as sleeping, sneezing, etc. While these conversations usually start in a reasonable place, they inevitably spiral out of control into hilariously imagined scenarios, which are visualized by the bizarre cast of background characters (which I will discuss later).
While the scenarios in these segments are funny in their own right, what really sells them is the chemistry of the characters. Despite being in a “cheap kids show”, the three main fairies are all adorable and lovable, each with a distinct yet realistic personality (none of the characters have gimmicks—they're all just dumb kids that feel real, not gag characters). Much like in a show like Lucky Star or K-On where a lot of the appeal is watching cute, authentic characters interacting with each other, pkpk, krkr, and shrshr are always a joy to watch on screen together, with dynamics that feel more realistic than many other more gag-oriented comedies.
The second segment of an episode of gdgd Fairies sees the three characters go into the “Room of Spirit and Time”, where their magical powers are greatly enhanced, allowing them to play batshit, absurd games that often reach massive scale. The scenarios presented in the first segment may be out there, the absurdist humor is pushed even farther in this segment, with some of the most unforgettable scenes in any comedy anime out there (shrshr launching herself out of a cannon to knock down over 600 old men stands out in my mind).
And finally, an episode of gdgd Fairies ends with the Dubbing Lake—a segment where the three fairies watch a short, silent, and strange clip and then make dialog based on what is happening in the clip. These scenes are often the funniest and some of the most memorable of the show, as the dialog here is actually improvised by the voice actresses themselves.
Watching the voice actresses fall in and out of character, playfully jab at each other's good or bad attempts at comedy, and often make genuinely gut-busting dialog makes the whole show feel like it was fun to make and work on in a way no other anime can. The voice actresses themselves almost feel like characters themselves, and learning about their own unique personalities and habits inform how we perceive the characters they portray. This extra bit of metanarrative makes the experience feel completely unlike any other anime out there (well, I say “unlike any other anime out there”, but there have been other series in this vein that have tried the same style of voice actresses improvising, like Straight Title Robot Anime and Tesagure Bukatsumono, but to a much lesser effect—I did not find either of these anime to be nearly as engaging as gdgd Fairies).
Now, if you've even looked at the poster for this show, you're probably thinking that there is one glaring aspect to this anime that I have yet to talk about in depth, and that is the way this show looks. Yes, gdgd Fairies is a low-budget CG kids show, but the fact that it is a cheap-looking CG show is part of what sells it so hard for me.
A lot of the comedy of gdgd Fairies is absurd, surreal, and just fucking weird, and the uncanny and unconventional artstyle of the show is able to capture the insanity of what is happening on screen better than any more traditionally styled show. While the main girls all manage to be adorable moe characters in their own unique ways, the “background characters” (stand-ins during games, “actors” in the Dubbing Lake, etc.) are all weirdly realistic looking, and the contrast between these real-ass looking people in their weird-ass situations makes the comedy that much funnier. Watching shrshr mow down 600 anime-looking old men is not as distinct and instantly memorable as watching her mow down 600 realistic old men. Absurdist comedy anime like Nichijou are funny in their own ways, sure, but there's just something about the contrasting, uncanny visuals of gdgd Fairies that really stands out to me.
Overall, gdgd Fairies is a unique anime that I love in every way. Sometimes anim can feel monotonous in terms of its visuals and content, and gdgd Fairies just exists in its own little bubble that feels untouched by anything else anime has ever tried to do. It's its own beast, and whether you absolutely love it like I do or just find it weird and offputting, I definitely think checking this show out worthwhile, just for the novelty of it. There is no other comedy anime out there that I have found to be so consistently funny, creative, and unique. It feels like gdgd Fairies has a goal in mind—to be an insane, absurdist clusterfuck of a comedy series that will leave you completely baffled by what is happening on screen, but not at the cost of sacrificing fun likable characters or solid comedy—and not only accomplishes it, but goes even further to add little details that aren't needed and metahumor and 4th wall breaking character depth.
If you are in the market for an original, hilarious comedy anime, definitely give this one a watch.
(note: I've given the Story a 10 and Sound an 8, but I'm equating story to content and therefore comedy and including voice acting in sound because the score is nonexistent, or at least I never noticed because it's not really necessary to fully enjoy this show.
Nobody does strange quite like the Japanese do, especially when it comes to their unique brand of comedy. We take a look at some of the weird anime comedies Japan has produced over the years, from deranged clowns to Freddy Mercury in high school.