Genre(s): Slice-of-life, Sci-fi, Mecha, Comedy
Aired: Apr 2017 to June 2017
Also known as: フレームアームズ・ガール
Summary: The story begins when Ao opens a package that arrives at her doorstep. Inside the package is Gourai, a Frame Arms Girl, which is a small robot capable of independent movement. Gourai is a newly-developed prototype: a Frame Arms Girl equipped with an “Artificial Self,” an advanced AI that gives her a personality. Starting a day-to-day life with Ao, who knows nothing about Frame Arms Girls, Gourai begins to acquire battle data and learn emotions.
(Paraphrased from ANN)
Review: First and foremost, this show is essentially an advertisement for a model kit produced by Kotobukiya. Fortunately, the show does not obnoxiously push for Frame Arms Girls to be heavily advertised as merchandise. As a result, Frame Arms Girl is a goofy slice-of-life show featuring mecha battles. However, the series is burdened with plenty of flaws.
The characters are very much flat in general. Aside from Gourai (who starts off as stoic and clueless about pretty much everything), Ao (the main human character), and one particular battle-hungry maniac, the rest of the cast are basically defined by one or two individual key traits and just stay like that. Interactions between characters may be amusing, but said characters really don’t develop all that much throughout the series. It doesn’t help that Gourai, the Frame Arms Girl who undoubtedly develops the most as a characters, is rather boring compared to the other Frame Arms Girls even though they’re all primarily static characters. In short, it’s a disaster. But othed than Gourai (and the Materia Sisters), the other girls are fun!
If I was forced to summarize the writing with a single phrase, then I would deem it as “half-baked.” Almost every episode included a silly slice-of-life segment without fail. Said segments would conveniently end whenever things started looking shaky (almost as if the studio hoped viewers wouldn’t think too hard about what just happened and its implications). As a result, viewers never received an explanation about how Frame Arms Girls are allowed to just purchase foods and goods from grocery stores, for example. Are you telling me no one cares that little robot girls are walking around with all of these bags of consumables? How are they even paying for the food? The fact that each episode is split into two segments further helps the studio in this regard – this allows each segment to end after 10 minutes instead of being forced to drag on and allowing viewers to find more holes to poke at.
Even the more poignant scenes are mired with things that are simply not explained. As an example, I found episode 8, where Ao and Gourai dig up Ao’s old time capsule, to be rather sentimental and touching. Yet I was given no explanation regarding why Ao’s old Guriko doll was human-sized and moving. But, hey, don’t worry about that! The episode ends before any answers are given! Don’t think too much about what this all means, viewer!
Even the battles are predictable. Gourai usually ends up winning her fights due to others giving her additional weapons to use in order to turn the tide of battle. I guess that’s just the natural advantage Gourai gets for having an actual operator/partner for her fights. Another advantage Gourai has over the others is that she receives plenty of equipment from Factory Advance since the company is interested in her development. As a result, it shouldn’t be a surprise that she wins all but two of her on-screen brawls.
The animation style alternated between being traditional 2D and 3D CG. I think the 3D CG parts were handled relatively well, but I can’t deny that the scenes where the Frame Arms Girls were drawn looked absolutely beautiful.
I gotta admit, I really love the OP, “Tiny Tiny,” and the ED, “FULLSCRATCH LOVE.” Tiny Tiny is so upbeat and beautiful in how it essentially talks about the relationship between Gourai and Ao (I may dislike Gourai, but I think her bond with Ao is really great!) The OP also eventually incorporated additional handdrawn scenes and moments starting from episode 8 onwards. Meanwhile, FULLSCRATCH LOVE is just a cheery way to conclude an episode and is sung by different girls in each episode (viewers can see who is singing for a particular ED right before the song/ED hits the chorus).
As for the yuri, I think this show was the gayest show in Spring 2017 for about 5 episodes. It then basically died down if you excluded the incestous Materia Sisters. Wait, why am I shipping little robot girls with other little robot girls? EDIT: Actually, upon further review, the shiptease continues well past that and persists until the end of the series. Jinrai and the Architect are rather close. How subtle!
Poor and predictable writing for a show that revolves around a weak character (Gourai). The other characters are decently amusing, however. Only mecha fans who are starved for slice-of-life shows should consider Frame Arms Girls. That being said, there’s plenty of other better slice-of-life shows and other better mecha shows out there. For what it’s worth, the show is kind of entertaining at times. Nevertheless, you won’t be missing much if you just ignore this show despite the great OP and ED.
Season 2 seems imminent due to the one particular Frame Arms Girl waking up in thr very last episode.