“Galko: A bit sharp tongued, but a good natured, popular girl in the class. Her hobbies are watching movies and cooking.
Otako: Likes to be in the corner of the class, bus she’s somehow friends with Galko. Her hobby is messing with Galko.
Ojou: An airhead who hangs out with Galko and Otako. She has multiple hobbies.”
(“Is It True You’re a Gyaru?”)
I know I’m late to the game, but my recent viewing of the 2016 show Oshiete! Galko-chan made me realize that I still have a long way to go in trying things outside of my comfort zone. Initially, there were several factors that convinced me that this was not a show that would interest me. It’s a short with only seven minutes per episode. The titles and subjects are questions frequently sexual in nature. On the surface, Galko-chan herself looks like some creator’s masturbatory fantasy of the unattainable. On the surface, that is.
In reality, that image is exactly what this show is all about. We’re supposed to relate with the characters’ misconceptions about each other, starting with Galko-chan. The stereotypes that exist for understandable reasons are displayed then picked apart. Once we take the time to really get to know them individually, our assumptions start to feel hasty and at times completely backwards. Just look at her: that hair, that tan, that makeup–she’s obviously a shallow bimbo who cares only about herself. Except that’s wrong on all fronts.
As mentioned earlier, the show formats itself around a series of questions like “Is it true that people with big boob have big areolas?”, “Is It True that You Can’t Help Moaning?”, and “Is It True You’re Scared of Holes?” The questions sometimes sound too ridiculous to take seriously, but many of them come from honest curiosity and coincidences. For most of them, Galko steps in as our answer. Every single person who makes a groundless assumption about her is surprised at how kind, caring, and open she is. While others are busy making up facts about her, she goes about her life trying to make every moment a happy one for herself and those around her. As more of her peers are confronted with their biases and mistakes, the more they learn to get along and focus on the things that truly matter to them.
That such powerful lessons can be imparted in this limited space full of misconceptions speaks volumes of the care put into crafting the characters. Since I was able to watch the series all in one go, the shortness of the episodes never seemed a weakness. Perhaps I would have felt differently had I watched this week to week, but I think the strength of the writing would have carried through regardless and my opinion remained the same. If, like me, you were deterred by the synopsis and visuals, then I strongly encourage you to try the first couple of episodes before making up your mind.
Rating: 1 dango
- 0 dango – average and forgettable.
- 1 dango – very good in its category.
- 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
- 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.
“Is It True You’re a Gyaru?” Please Tell Me! Galko-chan, written by Suzuki Kenya, directed by Kawaguchi Keiichirou, Crunchyroll, 8 Jan 2016.