OP: 「なまらめんこいギャル」 (Namara Menkoi Gal) by Ooishi Masayoshi
「道産子ギャルはなまらめんこい」 (Dosanko Gal wa Namara Menkoi)
“Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable!”
Dosanko Gal wa Namara Menkoi is a look into the life of a high school student experiencing change as he moves from Tokyo to Hokkaido. But as soon as he locked eyes with a gyaru girl waiting at the bus stop, he found someone who could warm up his new ice-cold commute.
SUPER ADORABLE OR SUPER COLD
A relative recommended this to me because the manga had the drama, energy, and intrigue of modern romance stories. I’d imagine this gravitas would come a bit later though because, at the moment, the anime’s first episode begins more as a lens into Tsubasa Shiki’s excitement towards his new classmate Minami Fuyuki.
It’s interesting how the first episode solidifies that Shiki’s personal interest in Hokkaido is less centered around being in his new wintery home and more towards having a gyaru who is interested in him. Aside from a cup of katsugen, the episode focuses most of its attention on Tokyo as Fuyuki probes Shiki for as many details as he can on his bustling hometown. They don’t have to have Hokkaido fun facts in every episode, but it’d be nice to see more of the town than the endless barrage of snow as the show goes on.
While the first episode isn’t meant to be a traveling guide, it puts in the effort in its lush artwork. The glossy art style compliments the fluffier character designs as they’re nestled in their warmest clothes and blushing through the cold air. It would be easy to see why Shiki would fall head-over-heels with Fuyuki with how the camera lingers on every expression on her face and every move she makes. The first episode captures the kind of magic you feel from love at first sight, especially at a time in life when you’re first making sense of what love means.
With this in mind, there is a lot of fanservice to have to truck through. It’d be difficult to compare the first episode to recent popular romance mangas based on how it insists on ogling Fuyuki from Shiki’s point of view. And why didn’t he check the rating on the horny movie he brought? This isn’t an indictment on the show since there are tons of romantic stories that come into their own after the first episode or chapter. And there are still plenty of people who appreciate the anime’s attention to detail in those regards. But for the time being, I’m hoping to see if the show delves deeper into the main duo’s mutual interest in where they’re from and how they vibe during the next few episodes.