Reviewby Rebecca Silverman,
Gonna be the Twin-Tail!!
BD+DVD - Complete Collection
Soji is the ultimate twin-tail otaku – not only does he love pigtailed girls, he also can wax eloquent on the different styles of twin-tail and their varied appeal. He is, in fact, the strongest holder of the “Twin-Tail Attribute,” and that brings him to the attention of mysterious alien Twoearle. Twoearle's world fell prey to a group of evil beings known as Elemelians, who destroy planets by stealing all of their “attribute strength” and rendering the people boring, and now they've set their sights on Earth! Only someone who shares Twoearle's love of twin-tails can don the magic Tail Gear armor and fight the Elemelians, each of whom have their own preferred fetishes. Soji is that guy (or girl, when he dons the armor), and now he and his friends will suit up and fight the monsters to save all the pigtails on the planet.
How much do you like pigtails, or twin-tails as they're known in anime? Probably not as much as Soji, the protagonist of Gonna be the Twin-Tail!!, one of the weirder otaku parodies to come out in recent years. Soji is obsessed with the hairstyle to the point where he can categorize every variation of it and aspires to start a “Twin-Tail Club” at his high school. This might make him a weirdly specific otaku, but it also makes him perfectly qualified to don the mysterious Tail Gear and become the crime-fighting (female) hero Tailred, defender of twin-tails everywhere!
Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! is actually a decently clever parody of otaku fetish culture. Yes, it's ridiculous on the surface, but it has a lot of fun using its material to poke fun at the specificity of otaku fetishes. The villains of the show are a race of animal-like aliens known as Elemelians, creatures who destroy planets by taking away peoples' delight in their fetishes, here called “attributes.” They presumably grow stronger with each one they steal, and the only way to fight them is with other attributes. Soji is recruited to the fight by Twoearle, a humanoid (and busty) alien whose world was destroyed by the Elemelians. She used her own twin-tail attribute to create Tail Gear, a supersuit that allows people to use their love of twin-tails to create weapons to take down the monsters. The catch is that because Twoearle is female, the Tail Gear also makes Soji female when he dons it. This leads to some amusing jokes about the rapid rise of Tailred's popularity on a global scale, with Soji commenting that he feels objectified by all of the attention, which definitely feels like a commentary on idol culture. The reverse side of it, picking a different idol to be the “rival” of the first, is also played with when Soji's friend Aika becomes Tailblue – she's ridiculously powerful from her martial arts training, and when she first appears, she's seen as the violent potential opponent to the adorable Tailred.
Aika is actually one of the best characters in the show. Technically speaking, she's the typical “violent childhood friend” character who can't admit her love for the protagonist, so she beats him up. Well, she may not be particularly open about her feelings for Soji, but she doesn't spend her time smacking him around – she actually brings that pain to Twoearle, her “rival.” (Soji never seems interested in Twoearle and is actually creeped out by her suggestive statements and actions.) When she pounds Twoearle it isn't necessarily because she's jealous, it's because Twoearle's actions really are unacceptable and flat-out sexual harassment. This is a welcome change-up to character type, and pointing out that Twoearle's pursuit of Soji isn't okay serves as a good counterbalance to the overall silliness of the series. We can also see sexualization of the female characters made fun of in Tailyellow, the third fighting twin-tail. While Soji turns into a girl and Aika largely stays physically the same when she transforms, Erina's transformation makes her taller with bigger breasts and a more prominent behind, and her attacks are far more sexualized than either Tailred's or Tailblue's, including the semi-inevitable boob bombs. This is totally at odds with Erina's personality – at one point she goes around interviewing boys at school to find out what porn is. (It's a great scene.) Erina is the “repressed ojou-sama” type in contrast to Aika's violent childhood friend and Twoearle's “oversexed (older) woman,” and Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! achieves its best parody in playing with these personality tropes.
Of course, the Elemelians can't be overlooked as a source of otaku comedy. Each Elemelian has a very specific attribute strength, from bathing suits to legs to girly-boys, and they attack Earth at the site of their fetishes. (Yes, Earth, not Japan – in another strength of the series, the Elemelians don't focus their attack on just one country, and we see Tailred and her crew traveling the globe to take out the bad guys.) Humanoid villain Dark Grasper is obsessed with glasses, and her plans involve having the glasses fetish overtake the twin-tail fandom, while Spider Guildy, an arachnid foe, transforms all the men on Earth in BL uke lookalikes for his girly-boy attribute. The use of these obsessions as weapons is particularly funny in the bad guys, although there's also a disturbing element to painting otaku as less than human.
Of course, all of this analysis may be taking this show far too seriously. At its heart, Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! is just as ridiculous as its name, and it never lets you forget that. That is both its strength and its weakness, as twelve episodes is about six too many for such a thin storyline, and everything begins to get grating simply because we see it too much. Twoearle and the phrase “twin-tails” both suffer the most from overexposure, although all of the jokes eventually get old. The show looks pretty good, with hair especially being nicely animated, and the character designs are very appealing, from the cute girls to the weird Elemelians. Both English and Japanese vocal casts do a good job, with standouts being Leah Clark's Dark Grasper and Barry Yandell's brief appearance as Owl Guildy, which has an interesting similarity to the Tootsie Pop Owl. In the included commentaries, one for episode one and the other for episode eleven, the dub cast sounds pretty enthusiastic about the show, and that enthusiasm does come through, a bit moreso than in the sub track, which plays it a tiny bit straighter.
Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! is a fun show, better in small doses than all at once. As a parody of otaku culture, fetishes in particular, it has its moments, and if you're a fan of girls in skimpy mech suits or bouncing boobs, this delivers. It's not a particularly intelligent show, but it really doesn't need to be – all Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! really wants is for you to have fun watching it – and at that, it mostly succeeds.
Overall (dub) : C+
Overall (sub) : C
Story : C+
Animation : B
Art : B
Music : C+
+ Some good parody of otaku culture, Aika and Twoearle play with their character tropes pretty well, the Elemelians have fun designs, generally enjoys itself.
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