Opinion time: Wakaba Girl for Anime of the Season

Currently on episode seven of its 13 episode run, the sugary sweet short-form comedy Wakaba Girl has cemented its place firmly as my week to week favorite of the current Q3 anime season. My wife has even taken to teasing me for it – “Why do you like this show so much?”, “You’re all about Wakaba Girl” she says as she laughs, both at me and at the show.

Based on the four-panel manga of the same name by Yui Hara and animated by Nexus, Wakaba Girl is a short eight minute slice of life comedy following the scatter-brained and slightly out of touch Wakaba Kohashi, the daughter of a rich family who goes to an ordinary high school and admires the ‘Gyaru‘ fashion subculture.

We quickly get to know Wakaba’s new friends – The innocent Moeko, outgoing Mao and fujoshi Nao – and we’re off. With little time to spare the show dives straight into its premise. The comedy generally comes from the differences between well-to-do Wakaba and her friends, her wanting to be ‘gyaru’ or her having little idea of how things work in the real world. She gets unreasonably excited about going for ice cream after school and suggests, with all honesty, that their next after school outing should be to France. In another episode she gets her hands on a galge, expecting it to be a video game for gyarus but finds it is something very different to what she expected.

Each episode is well paced as the little everyday events unfold and the four girls personalities play off each other. While the focus is primarily on Wakaba we still get the chance to delve into the life of each friend to get to know them better – We see Moeko’s modest home, we get to know Nao as a purveyor of all things yaoi and we see Mao crushing on a boy on her train. All events which play into establishing each girl’s personality and their relationship with Wakaba.

Baking cupcakes, going to the pool, going to a festival to enjoy games and fireworks – Wakaba Girl is checking all the usual slice-of-life boxes, but these standards are delivered with the show’s own spin and at such a perfect pace for the short running time that you’ll smile and laugh the entire time. In a season with some real heavy hitters, this eight minutes of sugary fluff has completely stolen the spotlight for me. This is the cute girls doing cute things genre of anime at its finest.