Rolling Girls – Episode 5

I felt kinda mixed on this episode of Rolling Girls, and it’s a little hard to describe why, because my biggest problem here was that the beats of this story just didn’t land in an emotional sense for me. The scenes all came in the right order, but they just felt a little too rote – I’m not quite there with Himeko at the moment. The actual story being told is a nice one, though – the rival family narrative and the father-daughter relationship narrative work very well together, there were still plenty of nicely surreal details, and the overall piece is certainly reflective of Rolling Girls’ coming-of-age focus. This was an episode I wanted to like more than I actually liked it, which I guess is still a good sign?

My full ANN piece is available here. Notes below!

Rolling Girls

So now we’ve got a weirdo combination of European and what looks like Chinese architecture, along with a race with between various silly Rolling Girls-style characters

Starting with all of them out of gas. The classic

Chiaya just attracts birds. She’s a disney princess

“No charge. It’s part of my friendship project.” The mysterious taxi motorcyclist

Himeko is the girl who was riding the taxi

She’s returning home after some time away, and seems to have an unsteady relationship with her father

Parent-daughter relationships are pretty big in this series!

Mamoru’s the dad, who refuses to talk to his daughter

His screaming to make everyone leave is really nicely animated

And then all the fish statues on all the rooftops explode. Alright!

The fish statues are “shachihoko” – animal with the head of a tiger and body of a carp. It’s believed they can cause the rain to fall, and thus they’re used as roof ornaments to ward off fires. Thus the explosions are ironic. Gotcha

“I wonder if the people from Mie did it.” More district rivalries. A constant in this world

Hime’s got something she wants to show her father

The father makes shachihoko, and his work seems to be his obsession

The “Tenmusu Grand Prix” is going on

The Aichi Tenmusus and the Mie Motors – two gangs

“To be forced to enter a restaurant if you get hit by its food” eh

They meet Himeko because Ai gets in a dumb fight with her, of course

And Chiaya realizes the koala on her arm is alive. They all have their talents. This one’s a cute moment

They’re there to deliver something to Himeko

Himeko wandered through their town in the past. She was basically a traveling salesman/handyman

Himeko has her own stone

Their dandy bartender blocks a motorcycle attack. Awesome

Nozomi tries to be the peacemaker, but gets scared and runs away. Also great

And now Dandy is resolving things in dandy fashion. Great guy

“He’s so dandy.” “Yes he is.” omg


The captain of Mie Motors seems to want peace. Dandy urges caution, but his subordinates want to settle it with a race

The country has no name. They can’t decide between Aichi-Mie and Mie-Aichi, of course

Mamoru’s arm is numb. He can no longer work

Now the Aichi villagers want Himeko to make the shachihokos. It’s the family business

This episode’s hitting the plot beats it needs to, but as with Thunderoad, it’s lacking the personal moments to really sell the narratives

Himeko says she doesn’t want to do it

Nozomi volunteers her group to help, of course

The bike taxi guy is actually the leader of the Mie Motors. Things are coming together!

I actually really like the plot they’re constructing. It’s just a little dry emotionally, which is weird for a show like this

Himeko’s very talented, of course. Mr. Dandy knows

This arc has far more plot than the last two. They were just establishing stuff, this place feels like a full world with its own drama

Mamoru was actually pretending to be injured, to force Himeko into action. But he can’t express himself, and just acts sullen

And then Himeko runs into Tomoki, who’s of course her star-crossed love interest along with the captain of the Mie Motors

This was a pretty solid episode. Really busy, but a well-constructed story. The show’s aesthetic tricks have significantly lessened, but the writing stepped up

2 thoughts on “Rolling Girls – Episode 5

  1. My main problem with this kind of drama is that I don’t buy much into this kind of conflict, because, well, Himeko is right: those things ARE just funny ugly statues and if you don’t especially enjoy crafting them, then why should you consider it an honour to do so? And her dad WAS manipulative with his whole “numb arm” thing. So yeah, the show’s perspective is clearly different but I just end up shrugging and acknowledging this is something I simply will never understand. Other than that, however – bike gangs? The Dandy bar owner? The vice-captain of Mie being unable to speak without his engine’s roar covering every single one of his words? This show can be creative with its WAY of telling an otherwise not especially original story. Yay for that!

    Also I find it interesting that it seems like the stones aren’t really the Best’s source of power after all. They probably have a different value. I’m intrigued.

  2. Structurally, the show really reminds me of nothing so much as classic Doctor Who: the typical “wanderers catalyse a solution to a long-running conflict they have no real stakes in”, with the conflict often being driven by misunderstandings or promoted by a third party playing both sides. False accusations and arrests, oddly-helpful locals, running down corridors.

    Doctor Who was never a big thing in japan, I think, so it’s unlikely it’s deliberate.

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