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Frame Arms Girl – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「Tiny Tiny」by Rie Mukawa

「轟雷/スティレットとバーゼラルド」 (Todoroki Kaminari / Sutiretto to Baazerurado)
“Gourai / Stylet and Baselard”

Initial Expectations

What I have learned is that funny looking crows are meant to symbolise something. So based on that premonition, I decided to give Frame Arms Girl a chance.

My nostalgia for Small Soldiers created a fragment of hope that Frame Arms Girl would be the story of toys rising up to take over society, with our female protagonist heroically standing in their way in order to prevent their evil plans from coming into fruition. You could say, I was hoping for a socio-political commentary providing a parallel with first world issues in the 21st Century.

But alas, it was not to be. I also heavily suspect ZEXCS would have been in some trouble with Hollywood had they pursued this route of inspiration. Instead, Frame Arms Girl is what you get when your collection of mecha musume come to life.

First Impressions

If the highly sophisticated delivery drones were no indication, I would say that the setting takes place in a world slightly more technologically advanced than ours – a familiar setting that allows for the plausibility of sentient, artificially intelligent figurines. In addition to this, there were particularly interesting aspects in this first episode that are worth examining.

CHARACTERS

The Frame Arms Girls themselves were cute and fun. Gourai is a kuudere who wants to learn about human emotions, Stylet is a competitive tsundere who dislikes losing, and Baselard is a sleep-loving ball of fluff who loves stirring up trouble.

Their human overlord Ao is quite a likeable protagonist, from character design down to personality. Her low energy but genki approach to life is somewhat endearing, and she is unexpectedly relatable in many ways. When Ao sent the model part flying across the room during building, she got on her hands and knees to search for it. I really could not help but laugh. It was like seeing the story of my life unfold before my eyes whenever I lose my stationery or a video game cartridge, which happens more often than I would like to admit.

ANIMATION

ZEXCS definitely put a lot of effort and commitment into animating the characters, real life locations, and food (toast, inarizushi, cake, etc). Speaking of food, though F.A. Girls themselves don’t eat, they have other forms of (errr) sustenance that can be delved into another time. The real question is, how far can they go without going too far?

Action is present in the latter part of the episode, though I would say that there was more focus on providing a comprehensive introduction to the battle system, rather than extensively going into detail on the fighting. The CGI is not incredible but still serviceable, considering that ZEXCS aren’t a high budget studio. Not to mention, the video game type of setup where the battles take place are a natural environment for the CGI to be integrated.

The Legendary Kotobuki Nippers

When the nippers appeared, I had no idea what I would be in for. But whatever that was, it deserves its own special segment. Who wouldn’t want to buy the legendary kotobuki nippers, made from Japanese steel that has been folded over 1000 times? From the praise lavished by Gourai, you would be led to believe that the renown swordsmiths Muramasa or Masamune must have forged the nippers themselves. Infomercial aside, the entire excerpt was truly an earnest tutorial on how to assemble a Frame Arms Girl. Might have to page Pancakes on that one, since he’s the expert on model building around these parts.

Having said that, there is no doubt that even if the blurays don’t sell well, Kotobukiya can at least fall back upon the extra revenue generated from increased sales of products thanks to the show’s advertisements.

Concluding Thoughts

If you are the kind of person who enjoys shows like Busou Shinki, Strike Witches or Kantai Collection, then Frame Arms Girl might be worth picking up. However, if odd panty shots and cute girls doing cute things put you off, then I would recommend steering clear. Rest assured, Gourai corrects our misunderstanding about the visible pantsu at the end of the episode – it’s part of her bodysuit.

ED Sequence

ED: 「FULLSCRATCH LOVE」by FA Girls

April 4, 2017 at 10:18 am
42 comments »
  • April 4, 2017 at 10:42 amtheirs

    I take it it’s more Busou Shinki than Angelic Layer?

    Already immune to panty shots, and I sometimes like cute girls doing cute things. The pictures on the main page actually piqued my interest, but now not so sure. Hence the question.

    • April 4, 2017 at 10:47 amWorldwidedepp

      there were even an US CGI Film with Navy War bots against an Cowboy.. i think… So these little Mecha female dolls that always shows pantsu is not new

      But perhaps the time is right… but i do not think so

    • April 4, 2017 at 10:51 amZaiden

      Can’t really comment on Angelic Layer, because I haven’t seen it. But I would imagine that Frame Arms Girl belongs to a similar category.

      This anime is basically Busou Shinki, but with a highschool female MC rather than an adult male one. As for the battles, they seem more similar in style to Angelic Layer.

      When it comes to pictures advertising my review, it is natural I would pick the most aesthetically pleasing photos to try and get people to read what I write. Then my goal is to objectively deliver my honest thoughts and opinions, so as to guide a reader into making as free and deliberate a choice as possible, rather than misleading them into watching something they might not enjoy.

      theirs, hope that reading my review and this reply help you make a decision in the end!

      • April 4, 2017 at 11:16 amWanderer

        You should give Angelic Layer a try. It’s a classic. Also it’s cute and fun.

      • April 4, 2017 at 4:23 pmZaiden

        @Wanderer, will think about it. I’ll have a lot more time this summer to potentially check out series that have gone under the radar for me.

      • April 4, 2017 at 6:09 pmiron2000

        Angelic Layer is like Gundam Build Fighters with Dolls to me.
        This Frame Arm Girls is more like Busou Shinki to me, Dolls in daily life.

      • April 5, 2017 at 8:09 amtheirs

        @Zaiden,
        Helped quite a bit. The pictures did its purpose in getting me to read the review. Don’t worry, never felt mislead.

  • April 4, 2017 at 11:06 amstarss

    So hold on. The humans are hand-drawn animated but the toy figures are in CGI?

    • April 4, 2017 at 11:11 amZaiden

      Something like that. Probably want to make that a singular human, because Ao is the only person to have properly appeared in the show so far.

      But otherwise it is as you say, starss . Personally, I think the CGI works in the video game setting, where the action takes place.

      • April 4, 2017 at 4:05 pmFaolin Eye

        I haven’t watched this (and probably won’t, thanks to this informative post), but what’s up with the more and more frequent usage of CGI in anime. In this season alone, there were examples of weirdly animated horses from SnK, some crappy CGI monsters from Granblue Fantasy and the godawful CG rendering of that car chase from Alice to Zouroku (and I didn’t even count the zombie hordes from Gin no Guardian). I get that shows, like this Frame Arms Girl won’t have the budget for hand-drawn animation, but in the case of these aforementioned shows it’s more confusing and totally breaks the immersion. Did the producers get the wrong idea from the success of Kemono Friends and now they’re telling animators to rely more heavily on CGI, or are the work conditions of animators getting worse and worse?

        And also it seems that after a fairly peaceful winter season, the shows airing this spring have a tendency towards physical violence and fighting: every show listed above have something to do with combat or other forms of hostility. I’m not against of these types of anime, but I’d like to see more shows about mind games, and other types of conflict, so I really do hope that the tournament arc of BnHA will be more along these lines and that there’s more emphasis of the underlying conspiracies in SnK instead of the usual shouting and people getting gruesomely eaten.

      • April 4, 2017 at 4:11 pmFaolin Eye

        Wow, almost the exactly same comment is below my question about CGI. I really should at least skim through the comments before posting to avoid this kind of double-posting.

      • April 4, 2017 at 4:20 pmZaiden

        Faolin Eye, nothing wasted here. What you said was detailed and insightful, to the extent it offered a different thing from the similar comment made below by Nikki, so don’t beat yourself up too much!

        I don’t think the issue is so much the success of Kemono Friends inspiring the industry. Rather, I think Kemono Friends used it for the reasons I’m about to go into. My theory is that CGI is a crutch that can be depended upon when the budget is tight. Not as much need for animators, rather someone working on moving around a 3D model in a computer program. Much easier than drawing the animated sequences by hand, frame by frame, and the labour/manpower required is substantially less at the cost of quality that is justified by monetary savings.

        It also makes sense, when considering that the anime industry could be potentially suffering a shortage of staff, if the rumours of the reasons for Shingeki being a single cour are to be believed.

      • April 5, 2017 at 8:03 amstarss

        @Faolin Eye – I’d reckon the latter. While I don’t know if it is a direct cause for studios relying more and more on CGI, hand-drawn animators in anime studios are shrinking in size leaving the shows in crisis, because the working conditions are some of the most horrible for any type of animator on the planet.

  • April 4, 2017 at 11:17 amNikki

    Why has every show I’ve watched this season has had extremely tacky CG? I can understand needing to use CG for actions scenes, such as the horses running in Attack on Titan, but to differentiate dolls from humans is dumb.

    • April 4, 2017 at 12:10 pmZaiden

      The average CG is not quite there yet; not every studio has the money to achieve the kind of CG presented by Ghost in the Shell: SAC and Fate Zero.

      I’m actually of the opinion that Frame Arms Girl has pretty decent CG compared to your other average shows in the industry. I mean, you only have to look at Handshakers or Berserk to see what could possibly go even more wrong.

      An example of CG working in this episode outside of action would be when Ao touches Gourai’s cheeks. I’d say that while the CG is tacky as you have said, it did allow for some of the better moments in this first episode to be possible.

      My other theory is that ZEXCS wanted to cut corners with the budget by not producing a separate set of non-CG designs. After all, it’s easier to manoeuvre a model in a program, as opposed to producing frame by frame hand-drawn animation. If the series is going to focus on the battles between the Frame Arms Girls, then it also makes sense to pool more resources into the CG aspect.

  • April 4, 2017 at 11:18 amWanderer

    While the Frame Arms Girls are adorable, I think I’ll keep watching this for Ao. Her personality is really relatable.

    • April 4, 2017 at 12:12 pmZaiden

      If I were to keep on watching this show, I have to agree it would simply be because of Ao.

      She is a low-energy, inarizushi-loving glutton, who winds up being late for school. That’s not too far from what I’m like.

  • April 4, 2017 at 11:41 amLonghaul

    [x] Guilty pleasure.

    • April 4, 2017 at 12:58 pmZaiden

      We all have our own guilty pleasures. There is no shame to be had, Longhaul :3

    • April 4, 2017 at 3:48 pmVelvet Scarlantina

      Cheers to that.

  • April 4, 2017 at 11:50 amChris hall

    Moe moe action

  • April 4, 2017 at 12:20 pmsithstormjedi

    I love this. Those frame arms and the battles reminds me of my younger days of playing Custom Robo on the gamecube.

    Also mecha musume, its a favorite of mine.

    • April 4, 2017 at 1:01 pmZaiden

      Funny you mentioned Custom Robo. Not that I ever owned it, but I have fond memories playing it at a friend’s place, and it certainly came to mind while I was writing this post.

      Can’t quite say that mecha musume is a favourite of mine too, but it’s fun and entertaining!

  • April 4, 2017 at 3:47 pmVelvet Scarlantina

    When Infirst saw FAG’s trailer premire at 2016 AFA SG, I was rather upset that itwas a repeat of Busou Shinki and I still am rather upset about it. I was hoping for it to be more combat centric like Busou Shinki Moon Angel or a reimagining of Shimada Humikane’s Sky Girls. But, I take what ZECXS has offered. The mech suit girls bonanza continues on! From 502 Break witched to Youjou Senki to FAG! I’m really being spoiled here.

    http://randomc.net/image/Frame%20Arms%20Girl/Frame%20Arms%20Girl%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2023.jpg
    I really REALLY love the drone delivery. It’s truly a nod to what is being out on trial and/or we currently have. Though if Amazon really rolls out drone delivery, what measures are put in place to safe guard from bird attacks?

    http://randomc.net/image/Frame%20Arms%20Girl/Frame%20Arms%20Girl%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2009.jpg
    As a modeller, that’s exactly the face that I have when I get home and open the box. Anyway Zaiden, all the assembly scenes in the 1st half, that is true. That’s what us modellers go through. And yes, the ever so omnipresent carpet monster is always there to send our parts into an alternate world line. Even your clothing conspires against you. Ao is just lucky to have found it. The pain of having the “stragglers” is true as well. Although what’s worse is having parts that don’t fit or have wide gaps and seams. Again, Ao is just lucky. Pfft.

    http://randomc.net/image/Frame%20Arms%20Girl/Frame%20Arms%20Girl%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2015.jpg
    ZEXCS pretty have that accurate down to the detail. That’s the very instruction manual for the Gourai kit.

    http://randomc.net/image/Frame%20Arms%20Girl/Frame%20Arms%20Girl%20-%20ED%20-%20Large%2005.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/Frame%20Arms%20Girl/Frame%20Arms%20Girl%20-%20ED%20-%20Large%2006.jpg
    Once again ZEXCS has it right down to the detail. Gravity fed double action airbrush with controllable air pressure compressor, toothpicks for mixing and pouring, 0 or 000 point brush or smaller for detail painting, #11 blade xacto knife; blade made of nippon steel folded 10 000 timrs making it sharp like katana; (I don’t know if Koto has hobby knife) and the legendary Tamiya side cutters Koto nipples nippers.

    And I thought Akiyama Yukari was a walking advertisement for model brands. Can we have Ao x Yukari doujins?

    • April 4, 2017 at 4:35 pmZaiden

      Velvet Scarlantina, thank you for the insights! It’s very helpful coming from an expert, and enables me to better understand my viewing experience of Frame Arms Girl. Glad to hear that the anime faithfully reproduced your hobby. Just a few replies here.

      Though if Amazon really rolls out drone delivery, what measures are put in place to safe guard from bird attacks?

      Simple. Disguise the drones as scarecrows. Or equip it with laser blasters.

      the ever so omnipresent carpet monster is always there to send our parts into an alternate world line.

      Sounds like my experience with Lego

      ZEXCS pretty have that accurate down to the detail. That’s the very instruction manual for the Gourai kit.

      ZEXCS are being sponsored by Kotobukiya, so it makes sense that they would have the exact instruction manual on hand if the animators requested Kotobukiya for one.

      As for the rest of what you said in regards to technical jargon, I’ll definitely page you as well as Pancakes when it comes to model constructions XD

      P.S. Nice embedded images. You are really nifty with HTML XD

    • April 4, 2017 at 4:55 pmPancakes

      Don’t remind me of the bloody carpet monster, I’ve wasted more hours searching for 0.5mm parts the same colour as the carpet than I care to remember lol. Also anyone who actually buys those hobby blades and nippers is doing it wrong, all you need is a small Xacto box cutter and a fingernail filing stick; that does everything those expensive hobby specific tools do and then some :P

      I’m also a traditionalist when it comes to painting. IMO if you’re going smaller than 0 point brushes for detail work, you need practice. Smaller brushes in my experience never hold enough paint, and are especially bad for figure work (i.e blending). Oil and acrylic painting in particular suffers the smaller the brush point you use.

      • April 4, 2017 at 8:08 pmVelvet Scarlantina

        Well Pancakes, model building is 15% searching for your tools, 15% internet research, 15% finding where the part is on the runner, 50% fighting the carpet monster and 5% building.

        I wanna see how FAG teaches modelling skills through anime. I’m rather curious.

        Anyway, do you or any of you guys have the FAG models?

  • April 4, 2017 at 3:49 pmVelvet Scarlantina

    By the way, it’s not pantsu, it’s bodysuit.

    B O D Y S U I T

    • April 4, 2017 at 4:15 pmZaiden

      The last sentence of my post ;)

      • April 4, 2017 at 8:02 pmVelvet Scarlantina

        Totally missed that.

        I got Gourai sleeping in her box under my bed.

        Gonna give her a new “bodysuit”

  • April 4, 2017 at 5:44 pmET

    As someone who builds plastic models, I really liked this first episode. Ao’s brush with the carpet monster is a real nightmare faced by modellers everywhere. I liked Busou Shinki too, so Frame Arms Girl was an easy pickup for me.

    I liked Ao’s character as well, she’s a refreshing change from the usual hot-blooded or intelligent MCs. Seeing her get bored from long-winded explanations twice in the same episode was just too funny.

    • April 4, 2017 at 6:12 pmZaiden

      ET, sorry to hear about the terrors of the carpet monster. Sounds similar to my struggles with Lego construction, and I can only imagine it would be even more horrendous with something as expensive as model building.

      Seeing Ao get bored was indeed hilarious! And then when she bought all that food for herself, knowing that even in the unlikely case a Frame Arms Girl could eat their size would mean they would not be able to eat much… such gluttony!

  • April 4, 2017 at 5:55 pmloplop

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen a mecha musume anime that interested me outside of KanColle. Based on the first episode, I think it’s time to watch one again.

  • April 4, 2017 at 7:44 pmIncognito

    “The Legendary Kotobuki Nippers”

    Aw man… The only plastic nippers I currently use are the ones from Bandai! (Granted, it’s part of a small Gunpla assembly tool set, but still…)

    http://randomc.net/image/Frame%20Arms%20Girl/Frame%20Arms%20Girl%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2025.jpg
    Baselard cosplaying as Murakumo when?

    http://randomc.net/image/Frame%20Arms%20Girl/Frame%20Arms%20Girl%20-%20ED%20-%20Large%2002.jpg
    Discount Rem and Ram (Re:Zero) / Rom and Ram (Neptunia franchise). *ding*

    While I don’t mind if this show would be basically “A girl and her cute, sentient figurines doing cute things,” part of me is still expecting to see her duel with other Frame Arms Girl owners (though the intro has hints of “rogue” Frame Arms Girls). We’ll see.

    Also, if some portions of the FA Girl’s assembly were incorrect (like Gourai’s shoulder cannon), does Ao have the option to get spare parts? (I mean, the company behind the FA Girls is willing to pay Ao to test their products.) Or does she have to learn to fix them herself? And should plastic cement be used if needed?

    I’ll probably be watching this to lift my spirits up after the bittersweet ending of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans. It helps that the show appeals to both my plastic modeller side and the (reluctant) side that likes cute anime girls.

    • April 4, 2017 at 8:35 pmVelvet Scarlantina

      “Also, if some portions of the FA Girl’s assembly were incorrect (like Gourai’s shoulder cannon), does Ao have the option to get spare parts? (I mean, the company behind the FA Girls is willing to pay Ao to test their products.) Or does she have to learn to fix them herself? And should plastic cement be used if needed?”

      What she can do is to use the LEGENDARY #11 XACTO KNIFE; made by folding glorious Nippon steel 1000 times, sharp like katana, can slice through everything; to carefully take it apart, file it down with a needle file and put it back. Voila! Sounds simple but…

      As for the kits themselves, it’s snapfit so plastic cement is not required.

  • April 4, 2017 at 9:47 pmNishizawa Mihashi

    Small Soldiers Zaiden? Really? Never would’ve expected that in 12,000 years… Used to watch it 50 times back when I was 3-6. By then the video tapes are dead where I live.

    Based off what you’ve said here, I can easily see how this show can be rather enjoyable to its target audience. I mean, the lead character is pleasant enough to watch her do stuff episode by episode and the character interactions with the FAGs as well but it really ain’t for me.

    Speaking of the FAGs, you know Danny Choo? Apparently Kotobukiya requested and gave him the license to produce Smart Doll versions of their FAGs. There’s even a Lelouch Smart Doll on the way, ALSO by request from Sunrise.

    • April 5, 2017 at 4:15 amZaiden

      Can’t say I’ve seen Small Soldiers many times, but it was definitely what came to mind in terms of toys and action.

      My first episode introductory posts are generally meant to identify the target audience, and explain to them what they can expect to enjoy from this series. It’s also meant to help people who are on the fence come down to a decision, and if that would be that the series is not for them, to each their own.

      When you speak of Danny Choo, would that be the one of Mirai Suenaga fame? A smart doll Lelouch would be too much for me XD

      Hoping that Key can get around to requesting a Yumemi Hoshino smart doll. She deserves a warm home, and a place where she can continue to serve her beloved humanity.

    • April 5, 2017 at 11:16 pmNishizawa Mihashi

      Ahh, at least I now have a general idea of how you’d like to proceed with your posts, something that I greatly appreciate thinking about it yesterday night. And sorry for the late reply, it was night time where I live yesterday when you replied and I was getting ready to unwind and sleep. As for Small Soldiers, I guess it really has a similar feel going on even though they’re already fully fabricated instead of having to assemble them once you open the box.

      And yes, THE Danny Choo, Jimmy Choo’s son. Danny’s been making regular annual visits to Malaysia for the past half decade now in some convention or gathering event. If you’ve been keeping up with his products and company, well I’d have to say that if you ever come down to Malaysia hoping to score anything Chitose-related then you’re hopelessly outta luck as Chitose is MIGHTILY popular down here. EVERY. SINGLE. Chitose-related item sells out near instantly it’s insane. The Lelouch Smart Doll is still in it’s prototype stages, it won’t be ready till at least near the end of 2017 if I remember correctly from his panel at Comic Fiesta last year. Smart Doll’s are ~2,200+ where I live so only the lucky few can even hope to possess them, AND YET those Smart Dolls tend to sell out at Comic Fiesta.

      A Yumemi Hoshino one would be very, very fitting indeed. Assuming that they’re willing to let him make one. It’s the first step to a Chobit Persocom, I mean if it ain’t the tourism sector or the military then some ordinary doll maker will find a way- SOMEHOW right? Wahahahahaahah

  • April 4, 2017 at 10:25 pmTorus

  • April 5, 2017 at 7:20 amArche

    Came for the Busou Shinki, stayed for the Ao

    • April 5, 2017 at 3:15 pmZaiden

      I’ll probably stay around for the Ao too!

      Too bad Rito weren’t keen on the idea of Ao Shin.

  • April 5, 2017 at 11:14 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Already love Ao <3

    The battles feel like a slight mix of Angelic Layer and Gundam Girls, lol.

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