As Expected, Nobody Understands Girlish Number

When I watch Girlish Number I think I understand the story from the point of view of a seiyuu otaku. When I read this post I’m not sure what is going on. But rather, let me consider this hypothesis: I don’t understand how non-seiota approach the show not because they don’t understand (or even care to being to understand their ignorance, and if they did know, they don’t care anyway), but because I don’t want (or care) to understand the plebs and their alternative approach to digesting something and repurposing it for their own entertainment.

Chitose may or may not be a bitch and that’s besides the point. The idea is that a heroine like her is, as the large number of Batman x Oregairu memes preordained, Chitose is the heroine this (or our, my precious) rotten industry deserves, not the heroine it wants. This is not unexpected given our passive-aggressive mastermind behind Girlish Number’s creation. Actually, I was surprised, when the dialog almost outright said this in one of the drinking sessions.

Which is just to say, it’s a form of gap analysis, to put it in different terms. I mean, that’s the essence of passive aggression as an expression after all. But it all comes down to the core ask I have: If you don’t understand what the gap is, why would Girlish Number even be interesting? Chitose embodies the broken ideals that makes Girlish Number sting, and sing, in that her strength overcomes her flaws, that she appeals to the shallow but it’s where rubber meets the road in this corrupt world she operates in. Yae, for example, is not only like a real female seiyuu in the same disposition, but is personification of this gap. So if you didn’t know or can then review your own otaku culture and digest the commentary/criticism, trying to enjoy Girlish Number is being just as shallow as Chitose? Surely not.

If anything, it’s kind of amusing to see how outsiders think. It’s like a typical staple shonen manga plot/character where the newcomer who revolutionizes the situation because she doesn’t play by the rules. Chitose probably plays by the rules too much, that she forgot some of the other ones? I don’t know. But it’s the calculations that my brain does when I watch the show. Not the fact that Chitose’s attitude bother me, but rather, what does it really mean?

And I think that’s the kind of literary analysis that should go without saying, similar to that  how Chitose is still self-aware enough about her predicaments, in that both she doesn’t give a damn (since she has no chance in hell to make her dreams true %-wise) and she gives all the damns in the world (since she’s in it to win it, it’s her dreams and passion and what her personality demands). It’s that kind of shitty industry after all.

And it’s like a beta-nerd thing to passively and pre-emptively guard yourself by saying your anime suck, Watarin. Suck it up like Chitose! I guess this is why she’s the heroine.

2 Responses to “As Expected, Nobody Understands Girlish Number”

  • omo

    I want to expressedly rebut a probably common notion (as expected):

    And specifically

    Girlish Number delves into the flipside, the underbelly of the ignorant, the arrogant, and the incompetent. Much of these qualities are exemplified in its female protagonist Chitose, a young voice actor whose incompetence is only overshadowed by her gigantic ego.

    This is a sensible statement, but wrong (and wrong about Shirobako too, but let’s leave that out for now). For starters, people don’t automagically become good at voice acting. Nanamin is probably just as bad as Chiisama at it–in fact it shows that Nanami being overeager in a way that actually bothers the other cast members when she asked fellow journeyman seiyuu for tips (to cast her as a representative of what happens in real life). The difference is just Chitose has a huge ego. This is not so much a problem–in fact Gojou said as much in the end, that it’s necessary for an actress to have an ego and she is oddly suited for her job. Just like other egomaniacs she also had her moments of personal darkness, which made for a mildly irritating plot device but it’s probably the kindest way to passive-aggressively address that gung-ho genki attitude that Shirobako is drowned in.

  • A Ninny Mous

    Well, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by reading this.

    Naturally, as I’m the only one who’s bothered replying on this post, it should be obvious that I’m here because of Digibro.

    So, a few things. First of all, your writing. It’s honestly a tad incomprehensible at times, and you tend to overuse things like parentheses, something that Digibro pointed out in his response by doing the same thing, but better. Your sentences are on the low end of readable. Though considering your niche audience, that’s to be expected.

    An example: “The idea is that a heroine like her is, as the large number of Batman x Oregairu memes preordained, Chitose is the heroine…” You’re restating that Chitose is the heroine, which is just poor writing. If you want to actually gain anything, remember to proofread your work, and maybe use Grammarly.

    Secondly, your opinion. You do an exceptionally poor job of explaining it. This is due in part to the writing, and in part due to your lack of explanation of terms and concepts. But then, that’s the point, isn’t it? You’re basically writing master classes for people who are already familiar with your own terms and points of view. As evidenced by your Gap Analysis that you oh so helpfully linked in the text. But this is all just fluff. Mostly because of the last point.

    Third, you are happily throwing bricks from your glass house, and would be just as happy homeless. You go out of your way to point out how you’re stating your opinions, and how you don’t even want to try to understand the other side’s point of view. All because your interpretation of the author’s work is the only proper one. Now, this could have developed into a debate on that much trodden subject of Authorial Intent, as you do mention interviews in your next article, and as such imply that there’s actual base in your claim that your way is the “proper” interpretation. But instead, you just went ahead and made a small public rant that was intended to start shit you had no intention of finishing. You say that your love of the show comes from your love of seiyuu, as Digi appears to love the show for his own reasons.

    But that doesn’t matter, does it. Because both of you made petty posts that missed the points of the other. Digi’s response is typical for him, as he’s a self declared egotist who has clear views on the way he views the community. That view being that he wants as many people to come in as possible so that there can be more discussion and new ideas. You, on the other hand, from the admittedly limited amount of articles I’ve looked at, appear to think that people need to understand what the fuck your saying before they even are allowed to have an opinion, however misguided. Your view, honestly, isn’t that inflammatory. Digi in his article overreacted. Whether this was because he was trying to satirize your post, or merely because he was disappointed by your stance, it’s up for debate. Personally, I feel as if you should have at least clarified more of what you meant at the end of your post.

    Now, this isn’t to say that if you dig deep enough, you don’t make some… decent points. Having not watched the show, I honestly have no clue who happens to be in the right here. Of course, that implies that there is a right and wrong side to this issue, and again, I’ll bring up Authorial Intent. The concept that author’s opinions and beliefs can affect the interpretation and true meaning of a work. But instead, you laugh down from a self erected pedestal of seiota, saying that as Digi isn’t a seiota, he has no right to comment on his exceptionally personal views.

    But of course, this is all my opinion. So who gives two fucks about someone who doesn’t give two fucks about my opinions. For the record, I am somewhat interested in your interpretation, and if I find that I actually am interested in the seiyuu industry and how it relates to Girlish Number, I might actually be a new reader, as I have google at my fingertips for when you refer to things I know jack shit about. But in the end, I’m an outlier. You cater to a niche, and it’s a niche I’m not a part of. It’s also a niche that you have applied a barrier of entry to. Which in the end, was one of Digibro’s main points. So who knows. Because in the end, this was pointless. Because I’m a box of text on the internet, and one who’s incoherent at times too. Maybe I should start a blog. You’ve certainly had success with it.

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