Series description (From Funi): Gun your engines and get ready for the full-throttle adventure ofThe Rolling Girls, the first original anime from the studio that brought you Attack on Titan! In the wake of the Great Tokyo War, Japan, as the world once knew it, no longer exists. What remains is a fragmented network of independent nations ruled by heroes known as Bests. Each Best commands an army made of the Rest as they seek to conquer anyone in their path. Enter Nozomi, Yukina, Ai, and Chiaya. These four intrepid and adorable girls are ordered by their Best to travel across the country by motorcycle, keeping a watchful eye on the field of battle wherever they encounter violence between warring nations!
The first episode of Rolling Girls is the type that throws you into a world with an explanation of events that you have no chance of understanding. I mean, the show tries to explain the Great Tokyo War nonsense but just barely and for like 4 seconds. Then it expects you to get it, and accept it, as it throws you straight into battle. That having been said, my first impressions review for Rolling Girls is going to be put into categories to make it easier to digest.
Art/Animation: I really enjoy the way this show looks. It’s not plain or overly detailed. Each character has a unique design and everything looks clean. This show definitely has an atmosphere going and one that I hope they continue to show off. The current location isn’t anything out of the ordinary but other locations promise to be quite different. There are a couple moments where some small details look wonky but really I only noticed them because I watched the episode twice. The animation is definitely good. The fights are clean as well as the motorcycles. Overall, you could say I’m pleased.
Sound: Uh, honestly I didn’t really notice the background music. I assume it was there but it didn’t make an impression. The opening fight scene had a song playing behind it that was nice but other than that I didn’t even remotely note the music. The ending theme, which is the regular opening theme, was pretty nice. I don’t yet know if I like it but it isn’t something I hate. My favorite part though was the animation for the ending. I really liked that and hope that when this comes back as the opening it still has that clip with it. Sound gets a firm ‘meh’.
Characters: This show features a cast of 4 girls but you will only get introduced to one of them, Nozomi. She appears to be the general airhead type, not dumb just not exceptionally smart. I’ll reserve placing judgment on her because so far all we’ve seen shows us an average girl and I expect that she will get a better personality in the next few episodes. The other three girls are glimpsed but that’s really it. The main focus of this episode is a fight going on between the Bests of two areas—Masami (a girl Nozomi is very attached to) and Kuniko who fights with a giant safety pin. These two get all the real development of the episode and their story is pretty good. Both fight for their areas, Masami who takes the identity of Maccha Green and Kuniko whose only goal is to steal the power of Maccha Green. The two clearly have some history as we see a couple of flash backs but more than that is not revealed in this episode. Characters also get a solid ‘meh’ from me solely because we have yet to be introduced to the main cast.
Story: This probably what you really want to know about. This episode starts with a fight between Maccha Green and Kuniko. It appears to be a pretty even fight and in the end Kuniko’s forces retreat. Then we get some scenes with Nozomi and find out that she is impeccably average. Nozomi, though, is determined to join the vigilante group of her state and has finally gotten permission from Maccha Gre—I mean, Masami. Masami is the captain of the vigilante group known as the Hiroshi Town Propellers. Nozomi ends up at the fight, gets blasted away (just like Team Rocket), gets scolded for putting herself in danger, and yeah, basically what you would have predicted. We then skip time a few days to Masami eating lunch when, get this, Kuniko comes in. This leads to a ramen eating contest that Kuniko wins. She leaves Masami with a very interesting statement “See you at the amusement park.” Ok? I wasn’t really planning on going there but hey, cool.
Meanwhile at the Propellers’ Headquarters we see Nozomi bouncing around. This is the moment where I ask the completely necessary question of why one of the characters has an alligator mask on his head. No seriously. Why? Ok, I guess I’ll ignore it for now because right in the middle of their conversation a girl on a moped crashes into their building. They bring her inside and we find out that hey, she was trying to the Propellers headquarters. Everyone needlessly cheers for her and then they immediately assume she’s trying to sign up to join them. She, or rather, Yukina Kosaka, can’t get a word in edgewise and ends up joining their ranks, at least for now. And then a bus pulls up to take the Propellers to…you guessed it, the amusement park.
Broadcast dub: Since I am reviewing this because it is a broadcast dub it is time we go over the English dub cast as well as the script. This script is definitely better than the one for Laughing Under the Clouds. I’m not saying anything bad about LUTC but it did have some weird changes in the dialogue. So far, Rolling Girls has not had that problem and I hope it keeps it up. As for the characters we shall only cover 4 today—Masami, Kuniko, Nozomi, and Yukina.
Felecia Angelle as Nozomi: I’m pretty neutral about this voice. I wasn’t impressed with it nor did I dislike it. If I had watched this show prior to the Broadcast dub I might have more of an opinion but I didn’t so I have one episode to go off of. Currently Felecia is doing pretty good as Nozomi and I have no complaints.
Monica Rial as Yukina Kosaka: We get only a few lines from Yukina in the first episode but so far I think its ok. Monica gets to do a softer voice, which is nice, and it sounded good. I will watch out though because the possibility does exist that this role could sound too much like one of Monica’s other Broadcast Dub roles as Kaede in Assassination Classroom, which is also a softer role.
Colleen Clinkenbeard as Masami Utoku (AKA Maccha Green): This role reminded me a lot of Haruhi Fujioka (who was played by Caitlin Glass) in Ouran High School Host Club. It’s not a copy of the voice, just a similar sound. Masami’s voice is a little less deep and more mature than Haruhi’s but if you’ve heard both you’ll probably understand why I think they’re similar. I actually didn’t realize at first that this was Colleen. I’m used to Colleen playing really mature voices so this was a surprise. I really liked the way it turned out.
Jamie Marchi as Kuniko Shigyou: This is, in my opinion, the best cast decision this show has made thus far. Jamie Marchi’s voice is nearly perfect to what Kuniko sounded like in Japanese and I was quite surprised when I first heard it. I really like this voice and loved how Jamie Marchi portrayed this character. Good job.