Review/discussion about: Oshiete! Galko-chan
When people look at me, they cannot believe that I love to listen to heavy metal.
The most recent disbelief actually came from someone close: my brother-in-law. We were talking about bands and music in general when I brought up Metallica, both my favorite heavy-metal band and my favorite music group ever. I rattled off some of my favorite songs – “Disposable Heroes,” “Blackened,” and so on – and he was taken aback at my adoration.
I don’t blame him for his surprise because, as an unassuming nerdy white guy, I don’t “appear to be” a fan of that kind of music. But that’s why we talk and listen to others in order to really understand them. In other words, interests, personality, and actions mean more than some jeans and a polo ever could.
And Oshiete! Galko-chan agrees.
Oshiete! (for short) takes a somewhat unconventional route: girl talk.
Make-up, breast sizes, and periods are the norm from episode to episode. For example, one scene has the girls checking out whether they should purchase pads or tampons while a later conversation has them discussing the difficulties associated with bra purchasing. Embarrassing discussions (usually posed as an opening question), but they provide a peek into a part of life that does not usually get publicly paraded.
Of course, the topics, while still stemming from the girls’ talk, do not strictly stick to just them. Earlobes aligning with nipples. The reason for varied bladder sizes between sexes. The absence of melanin in private places. All examples of Oshiete! continuing with the girl-centric motif while also broadening its reach into more semi-educational material.
In what can only be called a clever move, the anime also introduces a group of boys. They not only mix up the formula but also provide an outside perspective. Much of that perspective revolves around their libido-driven imaginations – they get excited when Galko talks about breasts being as soft as bread dough – but they help to accentuate the girl talk from the boy talk in a simple yet direct manner.
Simultaneously, much of the content, while serious or factual in its presentation, aims for comedy. Galko taking a euphemistic psychological test becomes a comedic scene when she gives her answer in an obliviously sultry way. Or Ojou mistaking a “rubber” for a bracelet as opposed to a condom puts her in quite the promiscuous-sounding situation.
And as can be gleaned from almost every example, sex has a lot of prevalence. Otako bringing up a “long-held belief that lips represent a person’s genitals,” an intense love scene during a movie, and one of the boys seeing the (to them ironic) white panties of Galko when she bends over to pick up a dropped pen. Sexual but contextual – these are boys and girls going through high school. So having material related to their natural, hormonal feelings only makes sense.
Besides the motif, the comedy, and the sex, Oshiete! even contains a prominent theme: It’s what’s on the inside that matters most.
Bomuo, the bedhead boy, views Galko as nothing short of annoying for her incessant hair-care complaining. But, once she helps him out, he develops a small crush on her. Similarly, Iinchou, the student council president, initially believed Galko to be too carefree. But, after watching Galko take part in an essay-writing contest, Iinchou partially regrets thinking of Galko in that way.
The final episode of the season cements this idea as the show’s main focus. Galko and Otako first meet here in high school. However, they do not originally get along – mostly because Otako prematurely judges Galko, going so far as to insult her. But when Otako finds herself in a personal dilemma, Galko arrives to aid her without a moment’s notice. Afterwards, they make up and become best friends – with Ojou joining their group in an unexpected, comedic fashion and these nicknames for all.
The entire narrative is not exactly complex, but it’s consistent in its content and surprisingly smart in its presentation. Plus, at roughly eight minutes an episode, the show is quick and to the point.
One can’t ask for much more.
Oshiete! stays mostly within its school setting, leaving little room for experimentation in terms of its art. Other places, like a public pool or Galko’s house or the local mall are visited, but those places are definitely not the norm.
Instead, the norm consists of a feminine color palette to fit the feminine show. Lots of pinks, yellows, and lighter variations of greens, purples, and blues paint and dot the anime. More specifically, they make up the anime’s common technique of turning the backgrounds into more stylistic drawings of lines and shapes.
It’s also worth pointing out that the OP’s visuals are reused scenes (with a small handful of original material) from the season itself. An unfortunate decision that only hurts the show.
The character designs, however, receive a nice amount of attention. Galko’s long, blonde hard, big bust, and tallness, with many accessories ranging from earrings to bracelets, paints her as the gyaru she is. Otako’s unkempt hair, glasses, and short figure, plus her plain clothing and freckles, give her an otaku look. And Ojou’s straight-and-braided hair, proper attire, and beaming smile make her out as the likable, wealthy airhead.
To put it differently, Oshiete! designed the cast (including the side characters) with an “all types” mentality. In this way, the anime adds variety to its jokes and its ideas in a natural fashion.
As for the animation, it does not hold up as well as it could. Characters often stand around as they make their quips without much body movement. Episode four has a particularly slow-moving and un-animated basketball – an indicator of the anime’s low level of actual animation.
The main girls of Oshiete! – Galko, Otako, and Ojou – are usually pigeonholed into their respective, encompassing trait for comedic purposes. For example, the class misunderstands Galko when she calls her father “Papa,” believing that she prostitutes herself. Otako brings up niche, old wives tales whenever she can. And Ojou joins conversations halfway through, misinterpreting most of what was said.
In other words, the characters behave in a manner that their appearances would seemingly dictate. Surprisingly, however, the characters manage to successfully tackle a sweet, if not cliché, theme that goes against this notion. A theme seen throughout the events of the story: It’s what’s on the inside that matters most.
This theme is readily apparent just by describing the characters. Galko is classified as gyaru – gaudy looks and a penchant for debauchery. While she does put extra care towards her appearance, she, more often than not, takes part in recreational activities. She likes to cook. She enjoys watching films and anime. She hangs out with her friends in class and at the pool and mall.
Beyond her interests, her personality also contrasts with how people may see her. She lends her materials out to those that need them. She is extremely friendly to everyone, even strangers. And she has a tender side when it comes to romance and motherhood.
Otako is similar. Deemed an otaku, many people view her as someone too entrenched in her personal hobby. Namely, books. But those bindings and pages say very little about Otako as a person. She likes to tease (especially Galko). She cares deeply for the close relationships she shares, making sure to think before she speaks in a given situation. She gets the most embarrassed about sexual topics despite her allusions to them.
And, perhaps obviously, the same can be said for Ojou. As an airhead, she has trouble keeping up with Galko and Otako’s banter. And her wealthy status, where chefs and tailors wait on her hand and foot, only continues the idea that she is not independently strong. Yet she does not let this direction deter her. With childlike wonder and happiness, she constantly seeks to learn more, giving her a set of observational skills that the others do not necessarily have.
While the cast all represent the same theme, a negative does manifest: Otako and Ojou (and the majority of the side characters) hardly get to demonstrate this idea. While the anime is titled Oshiete! Galko-chan, everybody but Galko rarely gets to act differently from their supposed stereotypes. Especially so in Ojou’s case since she has a smaller amount of screen time than both Galko and Otako. As such, the characters’ theme ends up only moderately strong.
While the opening track for Oshiete! is quite quick and upbeat, even catchy, it tends to be too long. The show is short, so when the OP sometimes lasts upwards of two minutes, it takes up precious time that the anime could be using to provide more of its comedy and scenes.
The ending track consists of (mostly) just an acoustic guitar. It’s short, sweet, and simple. Exactly what the ED needed to be for this kind of anime.
Perhaps expectedly, the rest of the original soundtrack is nothing to praise, consisting mainly of simple slice-of-life tunes that fit the silly and laidback nature of Oshiete!. But while the OST may be lacking, the other sound-effects are not.
Many times, the anime includes silly sounds, like a whip cracking to censor a dirty word or a tiny bell for each major question asked. The anime even uses narration for a lot of the sound-effects, like when the boys whiff the scent of the girls as they walked by or the bouncing of breasts when Galko was running, adding further to the comedy of the anime.
Lastly, voice acting performances are slightly above average. Azumi Waki as Galko, in one of her first main roles, gives the girl a sexy and energetic voice. Miyu Tomita as Otako, also in one of her first main roles, uses a quieter, tomboyish voice for the small girl. And Minami Takahashi as Ojou nails that airhead way of speaking.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this one.
Galko, Otako, and Ojou were fun to watch on-screen. Galko blushing at the prospect of reading a kissing scene in a literature book. Otako reading up on areolae to cheer up her best friend. Ojou being amazed at everything that happened in front of her. They each had their moments, and they each made me laugh.
Other segments had me smiling wide or nodding my head in approval. The small aside when Bomuo dreams about living out the rest of his life with the sea urchins, and the sea urchin not empathizing with him, made it obvious how snappy and funny the anime could be. Or when one of the boys had his hand used by Galko to prove how small her hands were brought even more hilarity.
My favorite moment from the whole season, though, comes from Galko in episode seven where she, Otako, and Ojou go to the pool. A couple of girls heckle a young boy because his mother dotes on him. Que Galko wrapping her arm around the kid, pulling him close, and staring directly at the hecklers. They storm off (a later scene implies that one of them has a crush on the boy – hence the heckling) thanks to her quick thinking. She read the situation perfectly, making her and that tiny scene awesome to watch.
Oshiete! Galko-chan winds up being a rather solid experience. Music and animation may have troubles, but the unconventional topic, the thematic cast, and the nice character designs make the show a simple yet fun outing – even without any heavy metal.
Story: Great, girl talk galore that contains different perspectives, nice comedy, sexually relevant material, and a theme about “it’s what’s on the inside that matters most”
Animation: Fine, colorful art, nice character designs, and below-average actual animation
Characters: Fine, Galko, Otako, and Ojou continue the theme about “it’s what’s on the inside that matters most” but only mostly with Galko
Sound: Fine, bad OP, okay ED, bad OST, nice sound-effects, slightly above-average VA performances
Enjoyment: Good, silly characters, fun comedy, and some awesome moments
Final Score: 6/10
Thanks for taking the time to read my review. If you want, take part in the discussion below! :3