Back Street Girls – Episode 1 [First Impressions]

After reading the summary I was expecting this show to make me laugh a lot, not necessarily due to good comedy, but just because the setup itself is really funny! Back Street Girls follows the situation of three men who were underlings of a yakuza boss and messed up at a job. Instead of being killed, they are forced to become female in Thailand and then are turned into idols. Doesn’t that sound crazy hilarious?

There’s very few details of a background story here. We don’t really know much about the mission they messed up or why they’re in danger of being killed and we don’t see the process of these men going through sex-reassignment surgery or any preparation for it, next this we see them after they are forced to choose between death and becoming idols, they are already on stage in front of a crowd. As the girls are introduced so are their former identities as yakuza members: they are Airi, formerly Kentarou; Nari, formerly Ryu and Chika, formerly Kaz.

This first episode is divided into 5 parts or sketches that seem to occur in chronological order. The first sketch narrates the moment when the three underlings are given their options, fade to black during the trip and then a show. Soon we see them after the show, feeling miserable and remembering the hellish training they went through after coming back from Thailand when they were forced to watch feminization videos and sing and dance under a waterfall. It’s funny to see the change in their demeanor and behavior when they’re in idol mode vs. when they’re offstage.

The second sketch shows that the boss believes himself to be a bit like a producer for Gokudolls and the song they sing is filled with implications related to the very famous yakuza tradition of exchanging sake cups.

The third sketch involves another character that’s like a manager, Mandarin Kinoshita. He watches a performance of Gokudolls and then tries to give them some pointers on what’s wrong with them. I really enjoyed the inner narration of the characters during this part!

The fourth sketch continues on with Kinoshita trying to bring out the inner cuteness in the member and it’s really hilarious how they managed to make a comparison between the values idols and yakuza adhere to. The way they are encouraged and gently scolded by their manager and how they remember similar words from a previous superior in the yakuza world is a little ridiculous, but at the same time it also feels like the kind of thing you can imagine being truly spoken in those worlds.

Finally in the fifth sketch we get a bit more of the feelings of the Gokudolls members regarding close contact with their fans as well as a taste of what idol fans are like in real life. Surprisingly enough one of the die-hard fans of the group is a member of a rival gang that was the responsible party for them ending up being turned into idols and as Airi struggles not to get revenge, idol karma strikes and the guy ends up being caught anyway!

I honestly found a lot of the moments in the episode laugh out loud-worthy! In that regard it was quite a pleasant surprise. I read around that it’s pretty much a panel by panel adaptation of the manga so far, but there’s only been an episode so far. One thing I must applaud is the voice acting as it is one of the things that carries the rhythm of comedy in anime and in this case it’s very well-timed. The use and change of different voices for the characters for inner and outer voices as well as the female voice actresses doing yakuza style speaking is all very impressive!

That said, there are two things that make me quite concerned about this show. The first one is very obvious from the opening and on, the animation is very minimal and static so a lot of the heavy-lifting is up to the VAs, but this also makes the show a little boring. The art is simple, too which works against the character designs and how memorable characters are. The second thing that worries me is this show becoming repetitive and old pretty fast, but although I know that this is a possibility, I’m willing to see where it goes for one more episode.

Possibility of blogging: Moderate

Possibility of watching: Moderate


I'm a huge fan of stories of all kinds and I've been an animanga enthusiast since 2007. I don't see that changing anytime soon!

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4 Responses

  1. zztop says:

    I suspect the animation team were trying to/told to adapt the photorealistic manga art and designs, but weren’t given the budget/timing schedule to give the anime that deserved quality.

    Backstreet’s creator, Jasmine Gyuh, comes up with some pretty weird ideas for stories.
    Case in point – they wrote a recent oneshot about a depressed dog exposing its junk to the world, and a female fly in love with said dog.

    • Tsuyoku says:

      That would explain the difference between how much better the opening credits sequence looks in comparison to the designs in the actual show, but yeah, trying to aim for more realistic art with not a good budget is a bit too ambitious imo.

  2. Valvatorez says:

    Good thing I viewed comments on other sites before I wasted my time on a power point anime. The manga has a hilarious premise and if the anime just takes the gags from the manga without animating most of it. One could just go read the manga. tries to suppress urge to make Back Street Boys joke like everyone else has

    • Tsuyoku says:

      Very true, although I must say that for me the voice acting really makes the gags way funnier!

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