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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 「FULLSCRATCH LOVE」by FA Girls