Post Reply Girl Friend BETA
Polysyllabic Support Lead
53533 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
34 / M / CR HQ
Posted 1/8/15
by cardboard_shark

Imagine that you’ve assembled all the ingredients for a high school harem comedy. You’ve got the smart girl, the athletic girl, the quiet girl, and every other female character you could possibly think of. You’ve gathered them all together at a high school full of sports teams and after-school clubs. All you need is an unsuspecting teenage guy to wander into the story, but he never shows up. What happens to a harem comedy when you take away the male lead? As it turns out, you end up with a show like Girl Friend BETA.

Given that it’s based on a popular dating sim, it seems natural for Girl Friend BETA to end up as a comedy full of cute girls who fall madly in love with the main character. As it turns out, the creators had other ideas. Rather than having a generic guy stand in for the player, the series tosses the dating element out the window. There is no male protagonist, and the few guys that do appear on screen tend to be extras without a single line of dialogue. The end result is a slice of life series with an ensemble cast of high school girls.

The show’s focus shifts from one group of characters to another on a regular basis, and nearly every episode puts the spotlight on a different heroine. The pace is slow, the stories are simple, and the conflicts are minor. Girl Friend BETA is also surprisingly tame; the visuals favor cuteness over fanservice. It’s the kind of laid-back series that doesn’t require much effort on the viewer’s part. Just point your face at the screen, hit play, and let the adorable high school misadventures soothe your troubled soul. It’s not the greatest slice of life show ever made, but it works perfectly well as a sugar-coated piece of brain candy.

What I do find interesting about this series is how it goes about telling stories with a cast of dating sim characters. The girls’ personalities were clearly designed to be pleasant and appealing, rather than complex or dramatically flawed. On top of that, they don’t even have a harem hero to fight over. Without any obvious sources of conflict, the writers have to get pretty creative in order to keep each episode moving. If you’ve got any writing or editorial ambitions, it can be surprisingly fun to see how Girl Friend BETA gets around its unique limitations.

If you’re not up for playing armchair editor, the show is also pretty good at appealing to any nostalgic feelings that you might have for your own high school years. With such an enormous cast, Girl Friend BETA is able to represent just about every possible kind of extracurricular activity. Sports teams, cultural clubs, and student government all show up at one point or another. No matter what you did when classes ended, you’ll probably find adorable anime girls doing the same thing.

A low-key series like Girl Friend BETA is never going to set the anime world on fire, but it’s not without its own quirky charms. It’s a pleasant way to space out after a stressful day, and can help clear your mind before you watch a more complex show. Until the weather warms up and the days get longer, think of it as a half-hour dose of sunshine and happiness.
42207 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
52 / M / Hawai'i
Posted 1/8/15 , edited 1/16/15
I'm glad they did it this way. This anime has more in common with Kinmoza!, K-On!, Is The Order a Rabbit? & HaNaYaMaTa than a dating sim game or harem anime.
33250 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
Posted 1/16/15
Fascinating idea. I was wondering when a "break all the old ideas" show like this would come out like this in a genre I'm used to watching. I think it's a good change of pace and will probably watch this.
You must be logged in to post.