By Meghan Ellis.
It’s the destruction of Tokyo, but not like you’ve seen it before. Erupting onto screens with an abundance of rayon outfits, rainbows and roundhouse kicks, The Rolling Girls offers high-octane hijinks from Wit Studio, creators of the grisly Attack on Titan and Seraph of the End. But while there’s plenty of the action scenes the studio is best known for, they’ve never quite been so colourful.
In a mad mashup of fighting styles, The Rolling Girls starts with a safety-pin-toting weapons mistress battling a superhero-suited mercenary in a turf war over an indistinct area of Tokyo. Right from the beginning, there’s definite homage to the sparkles and flower motifs of girls’ comics’ finest warriors, with multicoloured detonations (and ridiculously named attacks) aplenty – and of course, a catchy opening theme. However, staying true to the slightly bemusing subtitle of “Rolling, Falling, Scrambling Girls”, there’s no elegance to the fighting to be seen in the show. Rather, it’s filled with the over-the-top punches, wrestling moves and safety-pin swinging we’ve come to expect from shows like Kill La Kill and Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Add to that the outrageously well-animated attack combos, and The Rolling Girls makes its way onto the list of flamboyant fighting shows for the connoisseur.
In fact, I’d even say there’s more than a hint of the pinnacle of wacky anime – FLCL – in The Rolling Girls’ style. From the lovingly designed motorbikes and machinery to the sinister situation and inappropriately placed gigantic household objects (the giant iron of FLCL’s Medical Mechanica springs to mind) it’s clear that the staff of Wit Studio are fans. The Rolling Girls is even also a coming-of-age story, as it settles into following four young “mob” girls on their quest to fulfil requests sent to our suited superhero Maccha Green as she lies incapacitated after her fight.
What makes The Rolling Girls really stand out is its dedication to taking these four girls and playing them against both one another and the myriad of other characters introduced in each new episode. We’ve got kind-hearted Nozomi arguing with the brash and sometimes selfish Ai; the hopelessly directionless Yukina collaborating with the mysteriously knowledgeable Chiaya; and the weird and wonderful inhabitants of Always Comima standing in the way of our girls’ goal with their roomba-filled, otaku-fuelled antics. Set as it is against a backdrop of beautifully painted pastel watercolours and a punk-rock soundtrack, the show isn’t afraid to explore the differences between opposing styles and personalities, and make stories out of what it finds in-between.
What this all leads to is a show that’s dedicated to creating colourful characters. If you’re a fan of stories that really make an effort to give each and every person an interesting motivation, then The Rolling Girls sets out to do just that. Does it achieve it? Well, if you think that a mob girl dreaming of buying a life-size anime figurine is a noble goal, then sure: The Rolling Girls will probably resonate with something inside of you.
Did I mention that said mob girl’s name was Aki Habara?
The Rolling Girls is streaming on FunimationNow in the UK and Ireland. Coming soon to Blu-ray.