Girls’ Frontline Premiere Episode Has Too Many Characters
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Review: Girls’ Frontline Anime’s Premiere Episode Introduced A Lot Of Characters, But Very Little Story

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BY January 11, 2022

The 2022 Winter anime season is in full swing seeing the premiere of many new anime shows. One of those originals is an adaptation of a mobile video game from 2016. The Girls’ Frontline anime series on Funimation is all about a dystopian future that is all about war and android battles. The action-packed new anime features all the Girls’ Frontline characters from the game, in a new story that looks to mimic the success of the game. However, despite its very cool concept and visuals, episode 1 leaves a lot to be desired. It almost feels incomplete. Check out my review of the premiere episode of the Girls’ Frontline anime.

The Girls’ Frontline Anime Based On A Successful Mobile Game

Girls Frontline premiere episode walk. Image via Funimation.

Girls’ Frontline is a mobile strategy role-playing game from a China-based studio. The game released in 2016, and since then has had a few sequels and spin-offs. There was also another anime before the current Girls’ Frontline anime on Funimation. It’s all about battling it out with others in a risk-like strategy, where players have to best their enemies. The mechanics are turn-based strategy puzzles, as players collect characters, create armies, and battle it out.

The world of the game is unique. The Girls’ Frontline characters that the players control are androids called T-Dolls. Soldier androids created to fight each with a unique firearms, skills and tactics for use by the player. These characters of the game then group into echelons or squads to send out into battle. The Girls’ Frontline anime’s premiere episode adapts those elements of the game wonderfully. However, without a solid story to base it all on, it feels disjointed.

The Girls’ Frontline Premiere Episodes Introduce The Characters, But Little Else

Girls Frontline premiere episode hide. Image via Funimation.

The Girls’ Frontline anime begins with some backstory. When World War III broke out, manufacturers created different androids to fight in the war. Each group created their own version of these female android soldiers. Years later, not a lot of factions remained, with some teaming up against the others. The faction that seems to be the bad guys of this anime series is the Sangvis Ferri. The others look to be teaming up to take them down— for reasons.

And this is where things get a little confusing. The Girls’ Frontline premiere episode doesn’t really elaborate on the motivations, reasonings or background of why these characters are doing what they are. The main group of characters in the anime that we follow are trying to retrieve some data from the Sangvis Ferri. In the middle, a siege ensues, trapping them while they wait to finish the download before they can escape.

But the importance of the stakes of any of these plot points never come up again. There’s talk of a Ferri ‘Master’, and a mysterious new Agent character who seems more powerful than anyone they’ve met. And sure, maybe this is all a tease, with more information coming in the subsequent episodes. But a good first episode needs to balance enough of the story and action to create intrigue and excitement for what’s to come. Girls’ Frontline is unsuccessful in doing that. 

There Are Absolutely Way Too Many Characters In Girls’ Frontline

Girls' Frontline premiere episode doctor. Image via Funimation.

The premiere episode of the Girls’ Frontline anime is full of a lot of characters. The opening credits attempts to list them all with their names appearing on the screen. But the shots are too quick and sometimes doubled up with two different characters on screen, for it to have any impact on the audience’s memory.

On top of our core group, other ancillary characters are also there, in their own separate teams, who get ‘hacked’ in to support our heroes. Besides being other factions ‘abandoned’ after the war, there is no other insight into who these cannon-fodder characters are. Even the main group of protagonists that we follow around is hard to discern. The characters’ names are alpha-numeric digits, and some have similar visual stylings, making it difficult to focus or get to know anyone in particular. If the Girls’ Frontline premiere episode wasn’t full of all these other characters, maybe the leads would get more spotlight and significance.

The Action In The Girls’ Frontline Premiere Episode Is Pretty Awesome!

Girls' Frontline premiere episode Gun. Image via Funimation.

Despite having zero context, the action sequences are amazing. The show fully captures a war-torn situation with heroes behind enemy lines. I got flashbacks of Saving Private Ryan or other classic war movies. The best moment with the characters comes during these fight scenes, where this Agent has them pinned down and they have to work together utilizing their experience and comradery to defeat a more powerful enemy. I just wish this action was bolstered with more story so there was more investment into these characters’ goals and struggles.

Not having played the game, the Girls’ Frontline anime doesn’t make it accessible for a newcomer to come in and understand what’s going on. Maybe the premiere episode is a hook with all the action, and the story will come in the later episodes? I guess only time will tell.

The Girl’s Frontline premiere episode is now streaming on Funimation in North America with Japanese audio and English subtitles.

What did you think of this new original anime on Funimation? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Featured image via Funimation.

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Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.

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