What is Japanese Culture enamored with? Certainly robots. Certainly figurines. Certainly flirty girls in flirty outfits. Well, what if you could combine all three into a trifecta of perfection? They have, with the release of “Frame Arms Girl” (“Frēmu Āmuzu Gāru”), a series based on a model kit line. Don’t laugh. “Mars Attacks!” was based on trading cards, so it’s not all that weird…..ish.
Ao Gennai (sorry, she isn’t up there) is sent a prototype F.A. Girl known as Gourai (covering the eyes). At first confused as to why she has received this item, this is an AI construct. What is being asked of Ao? She is to help Gourai gather data on both battles and emotions. The two soon encounter more F.A. Girls, who Gourai battles against, while also having various adventures alongside them. And they battle each other as well.
It is a rather capacious cast, as it slowly grows in number. Left to right:
The Materia Sisters, Black and White, they like big weaponry.
Jinrai (eyepatch), specializes in ninja techniques.
Architech, the prototype for all F. A. Girls.
Baselard, aerial type with laser weapons.
Stylet, she’s got wings as well.
We have one more, but she hasn’t gotten in yet and that is the hard-to-pronounce Hresvelgr. This little grouping learns to battle one another, as they amass data on a variety of things about life in general.
The hard thing I had with this show is to understand that these are, in a sense, a mini Lt. Cmdr. Data: they have enough awareness with their AI to be sentient. So you look and think of them as living, although that is a flexible point overall. You certainly do not want to hurt or damage them, but their size (I would say they are about six inches tall or thereabouts) make it imperative that they stay out of harm’s way, whether it be from an errant dog or an errant Roomba.
They also act like school girls rather than combatants and the show where they move into a doll house to call their own is typical of any rom-com you encounter. They are friends off the battlefield, but fierce fighters on it, as they learn how to make the most of their talents and abilities.
It is an odd show, even by anime standards. They are living robots, but are still robots. And what happens at the end of all of this? Are they merely given to our beta tester? Are they going to be recalled, dissected and discarded? Do AIs have anything that resembles rights? What if I accidentally step on one? I found these questions far more interesting than the almost endless combat sequences and ‘marching orders’ that they are given. This is another example of being able to do more with a series, but not, preferring to let flirty girls in flirty outfits do flirty things.
Yeah, sure, OK. Although this can be binged, it’s just that the endless battle aspect of it might wear thin. The more intriguing stories are how they all get together, in one big girls’ dorm/share house, where their interpersonal stories play out. The fights are OK, but I think that distracts from the real stories that are lurking beneath the surface. I know Ao needs all the data she can generate, but we don’t (honestly) have to see it all. More like the Fight of the Week than All the Fights, All the Time. Next!
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (A cute bunch of cuties)
Plot 7 (More could have been done with it)
Pacing 7 (There is a feeling of uncertainty)
Effectiveness 7 (There’s something missing)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability 8 (It’s all the fights)
Overall 7 (Needed a better, real, end goal in mind)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I’ve come to realize that emotions aren’t something you learn.