Review

by Rose Bridges,

Please tell me! Galko-chan Episodes 1-12 Streaming

Synopsis:
Please tell me! Galko-chan Episodes 1-12 Streaming
Galko, Otako, and Ojou are three high school girls who have become best friends, despite coming from completely different worlds. Galko is a boisterous and pretty gyaru, whose peers often mistake her friendliness and sense of style for promiscuity. Otako is a nerdy girl, quiet and respectful but with weird hobbies that she soon finds can be shared with her friends more than she thinks. Ojou is a proper but very ditzy rich girl, with occasional pearls of surprise wisdom. Together, these three unlikely buds navigate the murky waters of puberty, exploring questions about tampons, nipple sizes, and underwear, all in under eight minutes each week. As they make their way through high school, the girls learn that appearances can be deceiving, and the best friendships can come from unexpected places.
Review:

When I was in high school, there was one huge girls' bathroom in the main hallway. For some reason, there was no such equivalent for the guys. This place became a sort of social gathering spot for all the girls in school, regardless of grade or clique, to discuss stuff we couldn't talk about around the boys. We swapped make-up tips, borrowed tampons, and swapped stories about which dreamy upperclassmen lived up to their reputations and which were worth avoiding. Watching Please Tell Me Galko-chan! reminds me a little of those days. It's a fun look into the private lives of girls and their friendships that we so rarely get in anime.

Anime does love to focus on high school, but most often it's through the idealized lens of nostalgic young adults. While most of us remember our adolescence as a time when emotions were heightened—every bad grade was the end of the world, every crush was the love of our life—high-school anime tends to keep things soft and fluffy, focusing on fantastical versions of students, who fit into clearly defined but unrealistic types. Please Tell Me Galko-chan! also divides its characters into types, but mostly to show us how unrealistic those assumptions are, and it does this in the form of a sex comedy.

Please Tell Me Galko-chan! focuses on the really gross parts of female puberty that don't get discussed much outside of the girls bathroom: stuff like periods, hair in weird places, bodies that are growing too fast or slow. It may as well come with a sign that says "For Girls Only." It's hard enough to find anime sex comedies that feel like they even consider that girls might be watching. Western movies feature a spare few raunchy female-targeted comedies like Mean Girls and Bridesmaids, but even there, the grosser jokes form just a couple odd one-liners, whereas Please Tell Me Galko-chan! makes these topics the focus, always with a smile on its face and a big heart. The show has a lot of affection for its characters and the teenage viewers struggling with similar questions that they can't ask anyone else. Please Tell Me Galko-chan! is like a how-to guide for teenage girls and their embarrassing body problems. It tackles common teen body myths (can you wear a tampon if you're a virgin?) and walks the characters and the audience through them.

Please Tell Me Galko-chan! has another thing in common with Mean Girls. It also discusses how girls stereotype each other (and are stereotyped by boys) based on their bodies. Main character Galko was blessed with large breasts, and when paired with her bleached hair and tight clothes, she must deal with classmates' assumptions that she is sexually active and constantly out partying with different boys. Even Otako uses this against her during a fight, even though she knows better. In fact, Galko's late nights usually come from staying up late to watch anime or hang out with her girlfriends. Sometimes a fashion preference is just a fashion preference that says nothing else about the person wearing it.

The whole experience amounts to an anime like nothing else out there. Aesthetically, of course, Please Tell Me! Galko-chan isn't much more sophisticated than most other short anime. It has a bright pastel color scheme that adds to the "affectionate comedy" feeling and the friendly appeal of the characters. Other than that, it's pretty average artistically and animation-wise. The music is also your standard bouncy soundtrack for slice-of-life comedies. The look and feel of Please Tell Me! Galko-chan neither add nor detract from the quality of the series, they just reinforce your expectations. This series is one to watch for its writing rather than its looks. Like the characters in the show, it helps not to judge a book by its cover.

Beneath its slightly generic exterior, this series is one of the most realistic takes on how high school girls talk to each other that I've seen in anime. Female viewers will find a lot to relate to, and male viewers will get a peek at the kinds of conversations that happen out of earshot, during sleepovers and behind bathroom doors. The show seeks to help all kinds of teenagers learn a lot about their bodies and how to be less judgmental of others, making it feel freshly honest in a genre dominated by simple archetypes and idealized high school characters.

In short, Please Tell Me Galko-chan! is not only a fun and educational weekly distraction, it also shows how much potential short gag anime can have. It manages to develop three distinct main characters, two of them with character arcs, across just a little over an hour and a half of total runtime. It also delves into their relationships with other classmates, giving them (especially Galko) friends outside their main peer group, including boys. The dialogue and characterization are refreshingly realistic for high school anime, a genre full of understated escapism. Plus, it's just really funny if your sense of humor trends toward the scatological. If there's any one short anime you check out from this year so far, and you're not too grossed out by girls talking about their periods, Please Tell Me Galko-chan! is more than worth your while.

Grade:
Production Info:
Overall (sub) : A-
Story : A
Animation : B-
Art : B
Music : B-

+ A rare sex comedy for female audiences, sharp jokes about topics not usually covered in anime, fun characters
Unremarkable aesthetics, frank discussions of teen girls' bodily functions may be too gross for some viewers

Episode Director:
Takafumi Fujii
Shūhei Matsushita
Yoshikata Nitta
Masahiro Okamura
Dai Seki
Original creator: Kenya Suzuki

Full encyclopedia details about
Oshiete! Galko-chan (TV)

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