The Rolling Girls is a picking up a lot slower this season than the other shows. Episode four follows the girls’ decision to leave or stay within the town to retrieve Chiaya’s stone. At the same time, on the other side of things, Aki Habara has decided to continue her role as Always Comima’s hero. Aki ends up enlisting the other girls to help her find Chiaya’s stone.
While it is possible to figure out the storyline judging from the general flow of events, it is VERY DIFFICULT to piece together a coherent storytelling because gang names have been dropped here and there willy-nilly without any backstory. Tying all the reasons of gang on gang conflict to merely the “Great Tokyo War” really doesn’t give a concrete enough relation between the audience and the world. As well, the names are just strange, in this current arc, Always Comima and Dynamite Bombers are causing a lot of social instability but really, we don’t know the semantics within the gang conflict.
The action is fantastically animated and executed but the slice of life storytelling isn’t strong enough for us to actually generate a connection between the audience and the characters. Rolling Girls is definitely walking a tenuous line between slice of life and action when it should really make a definite decision about one or the other because the mesh of elements between both genres confuse me…
I was also just a little confused towards the end of episode four because I initiailly thought Aki sold Chi’s stone for the statue and found hers to keep but in the end, Aki gave up the statue (and later split it in two) in the interest of destroying the bomb so that’s all fair and it all works out in the end.
Chiaya’s mother is collecting stones, why? This becomes a huge question key to the core to Chiaya’s back story and the other characters. For all of Chiaya’s mother’s calculating collectiveness, she’s quite antsy when it comes to her own daughter. I wonder when Chiaya’s back story will be revealed. After all, she also knows the childhood nicknames of the other girls which is strange…
We seem to skip quite a bit of in-between narrative between Rolling Girls episode 4 and 5 because the prologue throws us right into the throes of a random motorcycle race rather than our main characters. I mean, we flash back to our main characters right after the opening song but it’s definitely an interesting way to open up a new part of the story… I guess.
Too many supporting characters are introduced without prior warning and their sub-plots don’t seen particularly executed well. From this perspective, Rolling Girls has become something I stick to more for animation than story coherency. Its dialogue which has a tendency for slice of life veers away from much needed motorcycle-gang-world explanations that are central to the strength of the show’s plot. Without any prior warning or hints as to where the plot is headed, we seem as lost in the journey of the show as much as the girls are lost on the road.
This time, the Rolling Girls are helping solve “mysterious explosions” in town… when the plot said these girls would help “solve” the issues in each of these territories, I really thought the characters would take a superbly foreground active role in engaging with the social issues spurred by power struggles between gang leaders. Instead, Rolling Girls seems unsure with its approach to the plot. As a result of a awkwardly paced story and lack of explanations, viewers probably don’t feel as empathetic with the characters and their motivations (if they have any motivations at all). The gang conflicts also seem similarly rehashed, just in different territories with different colored side characters lol. While the side characters’ back stories are properly narrated, they always seem too disconnected from the actual main characters of the show. Perhaps if Rolling Girls had been structured as a long OVA or an animated film that it’d work better with its current collection of characters and loosely pieced together subplots. Much is left to be seen for this arc since it’s just begun so I’m hoping tings will be more interesting.
What are you pondering today?