What… Is… Going… on… Here...
- Episodes : 10
- Genre : Comedy, Ecchi, Seinen
- Airing Date : July 2018 - September 2018
- Studios : J.C. Staff
Back Street Girls: Gokudolls Introduction
Kentarou, Ryou, and Kazuhiko are three chinpira under a yakuza organization. They are more or less grunts that do day to day jobs, but when things go south, they REALLY mess up. The head of the organization is terrifying and he is really fuming mad about this one. No amount of dogeza will save them and so, with a glint in his eye, the boss says, “become idols.” The yazuka look confused and ask what he means. The boss responds telling them that they can either spill their guts here and now on the floor or go to Thailand, get a sex change, and come back to debut as idols. The three reluctantly go through it and come home as Airi, Mari, and Chika.
The Gokudolls, as they are known, debut as expected, but suddenly explode as underground idols. They have legions of fans and a manager who claims to be a pro at idols. Trying all he can, he pushes them to do more shows and more interviews. The gokudolls are becoming famous but not without stepping on a few toes. All the meanwhile, we get to watch as these three yazuka try to understand things from a woman’s perspective.
1. Gokudolls Is Actually Pretty Funny
True, the premise does sound a bit out there, but oddly, Gokudolls works. The main thing that really helps the story along is the fact that we see all of the interior monologue from the men, but as the girls. The production company really must have put in a lot of overtime to make the voiceovers flow as smoothly as they did. Their song lyrics are also hilarious and full of yakuza practices and references that if you knew nothing about Yazuka, you certainly will after this show. Something that really overall helps the story is the fact that they have to keep everything a secret from even their own manager. Still, the expositions about missing being male and having freedom make for amusing dialogue.
2. Yakuza Anime Are Rare
Sparing Hinamatsuri last season, yakuza anime are rare. This anime provides a great look at what life can be like under a yakuza organization. Loyalty is everything, but messing up is much worse. In general, Yakuza series aren’t too common due to the fact that they end up being a slight taboo. It’s no news that Yazuka tend to be part of seedy organizations and commit crimes constantly, so some fear retribution while others just don’t know enough about the Yazuka to make a series like this. While it may not be 100% Yakuza all the time, the series does try to highlight as much about Yazkuza customs, rules, and actions throughout Gokudolls.
1. The Art Isn’t “Unique,” It’s Bad
Gokudolls, most likely in order to cover for the fact that there are two seiyuu whose voices need to overlap seamlessly throughout the series, has bad art. This looks a lot like what happens in Yamishibai, and while being trapped in a gender against your will sounds like a nightmare, the art could have been improved upon. Tons of pans of static shots, flashes of text or movement rather than showing it and more are what plague the adaptation. It’s nothing as bad as what Studio Deen pumps out on a regular basis, but this will not be taking home awards anytime soon. J.C. Staff really missed the mark here.
2. The Series Is Flat Out Problematic
We knew going into it that Gokudolls was going to be problematic. In an era where self-expression is heavily encouraged and those with backward views are heavily chastised, Gokudolls feels very out of step. You have BL or GL airing on the same season that this is airing and it just feels… out of place. This isn’t 20 years ago where you could be horrible to minorities and it be funny in Japan, this is 2018. It’s almost shocking to see something like this getting greenlit especially with the advances that MOGAI individuals have made over the last 10 years or so. True, Gokudolls does do a good job of trying to be light-hearted about the fact that it forced four, later five, men to undergo gender affirmation surgery, but to some extent, it is just awkward and can leave a bad taste in your mouth. Still, it becomes a sort of guilty pleasure if that matters to you at all.
Back Street Girls: Gokudolls sounded way more problematic than it was going to be, but thankfully, it did afford us plenty of laughs along the way. While we aren’t really sure if we want more, or even if there will be more, we hope that for J.C. Staff’s sake, the producers tread carefully. That aside, the show was very funny and kept things moving along by making all of the idols complain about what it was like when they were men or issues within the organization. All in all, this gets a B- from us. Nowhere near as bad as other shows this season, but certainly not the creme of the crop. What are your thoughts? Be sure to let us know below. Till next time!