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Tomo-chan Is a Girl!
Episodes 1-3

by MrAJCosplay,

How would you rate episode 1 of
Tomo-chan Is a Girl! ?
Community score: 3.9

How would you rate episode 2 of
Tomo-chan Is a Girl! ?
Community score: 4.1

How would you rate episode 3 of
Tomo-chan Is a Girl! ?
Community score: 4.1

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© Fumita Yanagida・Star Seas Company/Tomo-chan Is a Girl! Production Committee

Have you ever seen a show that really wants to get you invested in one thing but you find everything else about the show outside of that one thing more interesting and humorous? That's kind of how I feel about the first three episodes of Tomo-chan Is a Girl! The overall premise is about a tomboy, Tomo, who really wants her best friend Junichiro to see her as a girl and acknowledge her confession to him. I'm not the biggest fan of these types of premises because, on the surface at least, they seem to be informed by some dated assumptions about femininity and masculinity. Thankfully, the characters' gender doesn't seem to be the focus of Tomo-chan so far, but it is a bit frustrating when the show kind of implies that you can only really be seen as a girl by doing certain things. Maybe this is all set up to subvert those assumptions later on, as Tomo-chan also makes it very clear that it isn't strictly going to be a show about a dense boy constantly mistaking his best friend for a different gender.

If anything, Junichiro seems to very much be attracted to Tomo both romantically and physically. The problem is that the show is sometimes really vague and inconsistent about how he's processing it. He can get flustered about Tomo's bodily attributes in one scene and be very casually physical with her in another. I think the implication is that he just doesn't really know how to process how he actually feels about her for reasons that have yet to be revealed.

Did he actually take Tomo's confession at face value and he's just pretending like he doesn't understand or is he only just starting to see her as a girl after the fact? The show is not very good at portraying the passage of time super well, because we don't get a good sense of how long has it been since Tomo's confession. Either way, it doesn't necessarily make some of his casual physical actions against Tomo ok, like when he smacks her on the butt like a lot of guys do. If he is aware that she is a girl then that does get a bit uncomfortable, but the show doesn't really try to frame him in a mean-spirited way so I'm not sure if this is just the show doing a poor job of showing a proper progression of events or if it's just inconsistent writing. Regardless of these questions, I'm going to give Tomo-chan the benefit of the doubt and assume that those questions will get addressed as the show goes on.

When it comes down to it, Tomo herself is actually the least interesting thing about Tomo-chan Is a Girl! I was actually surprised at how little these episodes show things from her perspective considering that she is the show's titular protagonist. However, Tomo-chan seems to be more about everybody else having their own agendas that involve Tomo but she's usually the last one to figure out about those plans, if at all. In that regard, Tomo kind of reminds me of a shonen protagonist, not just in how dense she can be with regards to reading the room, but in the sense that she seems to be just an overall good person that attracts or brings out the best in other people. It's implied that this has already happened with Tomo's best friend Misuzu, and we actually see a little bit more of that in episode two, which was by far my favorite because I feel like its comedic timing was perfect. Part of that could come down to the introduction of Carol, whose very high-pitched yet almost monotone way of speaking let a lot of punchlines land very well alongside Misuzu's almost Wednesday Adams-esque attitude. It's also interesting that I was watching the English dub and Carol was played by Sally Amaki, who is cast in the same role in both versions of the show. She has a very distinct voice, and I think it works to the show's benefit even though it is a little bit weird that the one Japanese actress that is also participating in the English dub of the same show is playing the one non-Japanese character in said show.

Outside of that, Tomo-chan is also incredibly well-animated and has a great presentation. I love the way that a lot of the colors pop here and the amount of cartoonish movement on display really does help everything feel alive. This show definitely has a trepidatious start for me with strong comedy and presentation combined with rather questionable character actions and narrative progression. However, the manga is fairly popular, so let's see how the rest of this adaptation handles things.

Rating:

Tomo-chan Is a Girl! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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