In appreciation of Gun Gale Online's band of sisters

December 18, 2018

There's a lot of reasons that I like Gun Gale Online, starting with it being great fun to watch, but certainly one of them is that it is a very exceptional show in a couple of ways. To put it simply, Gun Gale Online is an action show that's all about a bunch of women, and it's almost completely free of fanservice (and romance). Gun Gale Online is about a bunch of women gleefully having fun together shooting each other up in a game, and sometimes shooting men who make the mistake of getting in their way.

(There are some men, and a couple of them matter. But mostly not.)

But the show's not just about the action, not really. It's also about the things that happen outside of the Gun Gale Online game, in the time when Karen and others aren't playing. It's about how these women interact with each other in their real life, how they connect, how the strands of their friendship and fellowship entwine. Gun Gale Online is an action story about GGO the game, but it is also a story about people. GGO would not be half the show it is if it didn't make us believe in those women and their connections. The show is not high art, but it makes everyone come alive; everyone is pretty much a real person. And in the show, almost everything that really matters, almost everything that has real character, is interactions between women (on the battlefields of GGO or off it).

I don't really have words for how rare this is in anime. Shows with all-female casts are almost entirely confined to a small slice of genres, and when they do escape they must almost always come with fanservice, romance, or at least the prominent and important presence of some men. On top of that, in action shows with women, only infrequently do they get to simply be people. In anime, male characters get to have plenty of shows with bands of brothers (it's the default state of ensemble action shows); women so very rarely get shows with bands of sisters. Gun Gale Online is a very welcome exception, gleeful pink rabbit and all. Especially our gleefully murderous pink rabbit, having a great deal of fun in a game that she enjoys a lot with her friends.

(As a long-term anime watcher, it is very hard for me not to be cynical about anime in some ways, whether or not what I am seeing is actual reality, and I think I'll leave it at that.)

(This is part of the 12 Days of Anime 2018.)

Written on 18 December 2018.
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Last modified: Tue Dec 18 19:01:01 2018
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