Mar 28, 2019
Stark700 (All reviews)
From my first viewing of Girly Air Force, it felt like I’ve seen this somewhere before. And no, before anyone mentions “Arpeggio of Blue Steel”, it’s actually not that. What I mean is that I’ve seen similar anime like this before with the ideas of objects translated into cute girls. Kantai Collection, Frame Arms Girl, and Strike Witches are a few that comes to mind. Yet, a voice is telling me that Girly Air Force really felt lacking in terms of execution. And with regret, I didn’t really get this show.

To be fair, the light novels aren’t very popular. Before this got announced as an anime adaptation, I had no idea it even existed. But since it’s been publishing for more than 4 years since September 2014, there’s bound to be enough to make this into a fluid story right? As an anime only viewer, watching Girly Air Force felt like a challenge because of its themes. The concept of an alien invasion (entities known as “Zai” in this show) attacking a country is a copy-paste formula I’ve seen in many sci-fi shows before. Girly Air Force doesn’t exactly think outside the box with this formula as we are shown that humanity have their own weapons of defense. The advanced aircraft fighters known as “Daughters” are employed in this show. The pilots consists of the main characters known as “Anima” that resembles young women.

First impressions are important and unfortunately, Girly Air Force takes several strikes from the start. We meet protagonist Kei who encounters a mysterious girl. Oh and did I forget to mention that they kiss already? It doesn’t take long for this mysterious girl named Gripen to build a relationship with Kei. Throughout the story, they come to understand each other but it’s clear there’s a lack of chemistry between the two. Between the awkward humor, cheap dialogues, and weak emotional connection, there’s little reason to actually care about them. When I mentioned that I didn’t get this show, this was part of the reason. Why should I care about Kei and Gripen’s relationship when there’s little character development between either one of them? To make matters worse, Kei has the personality of a potato while Gripen exhibits borderline android-like behavior. The show also think it’s clever to pull out “cute” moments for Gripen to make her look more human. But honestly, it’s embarrassing to watch. How many times are going to get to see Gripen eat like a little kid at the candy store before it gets old?

Upon joining Japanese military, Kei also meets other Anima such as Eagle and Phantom. While they show more personality than our android girl Gripen, neither of them are developed enough. Eagle has a child-like personality who adores her “papa” while also being overly friendly. Yet, she can also show an irregular way of expressing herself when irritated. On the other hand, Phantom displays a superiority complex while not getting along with nearly anyone. While this show is not a harem, it has tendency to make characters be more dependent on others than they should. Gripen is a clear example of this as she begins to show way too much attachment to Kei. Eagle also trusts Kei because her papa has faith in him. Oh and of course, we can’t have a show without a childhood crush so Song Minghua is there for that role. It’s too bad Kei is laughably dense about her feelings which result in many awkward moments. Someone with a face like Kei drags down this show even more with its already degenerate cast.

When I first decided to actually watch Girly Air Force, my hopes were that somewhere along the way, the storytelling would be able to at least draw enough interest. What kind of story did we get instead? It’s a poorly made one with tongue-tied sci-fi ideas. In fact, many of the episodes hardly connects the show together such as kidnapping angle, washed down invasion plot, or even some of its slice of life content. That’s right, this anime at times feels unintentionally like a slice of life with the character interactions. Between the three main Anima, there’s also a rivalry developed between them but should we even bother to care? The main premise of the show is for humanity to survive and explore ways for them to defeat the Zai, right? Perhaps, there’s something more that I’m not seeing here. Maybe it’s a show that tries to get viewers to experience the behavior of these abnormal girls. Nonetheless, I really don’t get this show.

Who would have guessed that Satelight would be animating this? They’ve been known to be attached to projects with sci-fi themes such as Macross, Aquarion Evol, Muv-Luv Alternative, Symphogear, etc. Their experiments have shown plenty of flaws over the years and Girly Air Force is another to add to the list. In essence, the visual quality of the show only stands out the most when it gets to the action. I will admit that the aerial combat is top-tier when the momentum gets going. But when the characters aren’t in the sky, everything feels radically plain. This isn’t much of a criticism but more as the truth. Characters look too light novel fashioned with little distinction. The show also seems to love making Gripen and Eagle as cute as possible whenever they are with Kei. It doesn’t also help that Kei falls for certain suggestive scenes and dialogues like a typical anime healthy boy would. Abandon hope for a likable protagonist because Kei is at the bottom of the barrel.

After 12 weeks of mindless Girly Air Force adventure, this felt like a book that needed to be put down. Maybe I’ll give the light novel a chance in the future but for the anime adaptation, this was nothing short than a thumbs down. I was bored for the plot, felt almost no emotional attachment to the characters, and nearly zero connection to the show’s ideas. Trusting in this show makes me wonder if we even need more anime about cute girls doing…sci-fi things?