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Anime / Frame Arms Girls

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Frame Arms Girls is an Anime series about the toyline of cute little robot girls made by Kotobukiya. It began airing in April 2017 and the first season ran for 12 episodes.

Ao Gennai is an Ordinary High-School Student who one day receives the FA Girl Gourai on her doorstep. Shortly afterwards, she begins receiving more of Gourai's 'sisters' in a similar fashion, as her father had signed her up for a monetized review program with Factory Advance as a congratulatory gift for graduating to high school. Cute and amusing hijinks ensue as Ao ends up with a lot of small roommates.

Watch the PV Trailer here.

Kotobukiya released the episodes on Blu-ray in 2017, complete with exclusive model kits of the protagonist FA girls. In America, Sentai Filmworks has announced that they have the license.

Learn about the Girls at their character page.

With the end of the first season, a survey has been released by Kotobukiya to gather feedback.

A movie, Kyakkyau Fufu no Wonderland, premiered on June 29, 2019. It was a retelling of the first season featuring new scenes.

Compare their direct predecessors, the Busou Shinki. Angelic Layer is another anime with little battling robot girls, only it has more emphasis on their masters. Ichigeki Sacchu!! Hoihoi-san has a little robot girl who is more of a tiny Terminator aimed at killing pesticide-immune cockroaches. For a similiar Living Toys style that goes for battles to the death instead of Slice of Life, there is Rozen Maiden.

Tropes demonstrated in the anime TV series (more related tropes are located at the Toys subpage):

  • All Your Powers Combined: In episode 12, Gourai is lent weapons and armor from all her friends in order to defeat Berserk Hresvelgr Ater, and it is all fused to her armor configuration by fully abusing the MSG modular weapons and armor system and takes on a uniform golden glow.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: The series is Kotobukiya's answer to Bandai's Gundam Build Fighters and Konami's Busou Shinki franchise.
  • Art Shift: Normally the FA-Girls are done in as CG models, but they occasionally hand drawn for special reasons (i.e. Ao's fever dream or the Bath House Session) or to convey emotions (such as during episode 10 when Stylet reacts to the Materias touching her charge port).
  • Ass Shove: The Materia Twins try to engage in this particular traditional Japanese folk remedy for illness in episode 9, the ol' shove a negi up the tailpipe deal. Ao is very against this.
  • Beam-O-War: Gourai and Hresvelgr engage in one at the end of their fight in episode 10. It ends in a draw when their combined energy trips the breaker in Ao's apartment.
  • Bowdlerise: Jinrai and the Materia Twin's underclothes were made less skimpy for the anime adaptation.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: In-universe, one of the reasons Ao and Gourai are able to rack up most of the wins in the season is due to the sheer amount of MSG weapons kits she has access to, including Gourai's KAI Mid-Season Upgrade. This can be justified, as Ao is basically participating in a monetized review/research/testing program for Factory Advance.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end of the season, all the girls besides Gourai leave Ao in order to find new caretakers. Gourai sticks with Ao.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • Jinrai enforces the 'no Western-style undergarments worn beneath a Kimono' rule harshly, to the point that she cuts Ao's underclothes while she was still wearing them. This one's Played for Laughs.
    • More seriously, in episode 7 Hresvelgr breaks Gourai's armor when she ends her winstreak, and Gourai is later seen holding the tattered remains of her broken armor when she's moping her loss.
  • Comically Inept Healing: The girls' attempts at healing Ao when she gets a cold are not very successful, to say the least. They gather a bunch of useless stuff that includes live chickens, potted cacti, and an excess number of charms all for various folk remedies. They try shoving herbs in Ao's mouth, and make a soup so putrid she has to open a window to let the soup's purple smoke air out. The last straw is when Architect tries shoving a hard drive (complete with an antivirus installed on it) down Ao's throat, at which point she faints from exhaustion.
  • Covered in Gunge: Baselard and Stylet get slobbered on by goats after their flight was sabotaged by the Materia Twins during episode 5.
  • Crack is Cheaper: In-Universe in episode 4, the FA Girls, or rather, the Materia Twins, end up spending all the money from the first round of payments from Factory Advance to redecorate their bookshelf-turned FA Girl Hostel (due to the cost of the materials the Materia Twins used), much to Ao's despair. She demands they have more battles to make up for spending all her money.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Gourai's battles with Stylet, Baselard, and Jinrai go this way. It comes back to haunt her in episode 7 when Hresvelgr arrives and completely dominates her.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Gourai's friendship with Stylet and Baselard improves after she defeats them. The Materia Twins, Jinrai, and Architect join her in Ao's apartment after she defeats them.
  • Doomed by Canon: The Lab Days manga follows the development of the new generation of FA girls to then release them to the public. The very first episode of the anime reveals that all but one of those new review models would not even activate properly.
  • Evolving Credits: Episode 8 sees the Title Sequence get a nice upgrade, with a lot of the 3D battle scenes being replaced with standard 2D images to fit the rest of the intro.
  • Fanservice:
    • In a non-sexual sense, the show has a lot of subtle and overt nods to FA Girls being like their Busou Shinki sisters in terms of straddling the line between plamo kits, action figures, and dolls, with the heavy talk about runners and nippers in Episode 1 and the depictation of a tabletop loaded with plamo tools and covered by a cutting mat in the credits sequence, while Ao has converted her bookshelf into an open-air "Doll's House" for her FA Girls in the intro sequence. In episode 3 there is even talk about how Bukiko's skill at plamo assembly allows her to put together kits with more precision and potency than the comparative newbie Ao.
    • That being said, the show does contain your standard fare of Fanservice from their charging reactions to the Materia Twins's...close nature.
    • The very first thing shown in the intro sequence is a waist-height shot of Gourai, framing (ha) her skirt and showing her pan- bodysuit, which is rather form-fitting.
    • In episode 6, Ao has absolutely no qualms about changing her clothing while the FA Girls are in the same room as her. The audience gets a chance to see her in just her underclothes as she starts to change before the camera changes viewpoints.
    • Episode 9 provides plenty of fanservice of the human FA Girls, and particularly the Materia sisters, who are extremely eager to flaunt their adult figures throughout the montage.
    • Episode 11 is the hotspring episode, and Kotobukiya puts all the budget into making the entire onsen sequence hand-drawn instead of using CGI.
    • In the Christmas Season photo montage in episode 12, there is a split-second glimpse of the Materia Twins wearing racy clothing, and Kuro's underpants have fallen to her ankles.
  • Fever Dream Episode: Episode 9's Together Again Tomorrow, where Ao dreams the FA-Girls are her classmates with the Materia's being teachers.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Factory Advance is the company responsible for Frame Arms Girls and the show's stand in for Kotobukiya.
  • Food Porn: The first half of episode 10 focuses on hotpot cooking, and all the Girls suggest to Ao different methods of fixing it.
  • Funny Background Event: The Factory Advance delivery drone carrying packages to Ao's apartment is attacked by a territorial crow twice in the first episode. The second time around, the the crow is repelled when Stylet shoots through her box at it with her weapon, which is fully functional as an airsoft weapon outside of VR.
  • Hilarity Ensues:
    • Episode 2: Baselard accidentally gets an amusing message recorded on Ao's old Roomba when she starts reading Ao's poetry journal.
    • Episode 3: Stylet and Gourai get attacked by that territorial crow while trying to fly over to Ao's school in pursuit of Baselard, who causes some havoc with her shenanigans.
    • Episode 5: Ao needs to get some vinegar for her cooking. The girls immediately hold an errand race to see who can get a bottle of it home.
    • Episode 6: Ao wants to go watch the Summer Festival fireworks in a yukata. Jinrai insists on making sure she wears it properly. Cue silliness as Jinrai enforces her dress code on Ao.
    • Episode 9: Ao falls ill. The girls promptly try to help her get better with a variety of increasingly absurd folk remedies.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Episode 11, which also includes the FA Girls in on the fun.
  • Insistent Terminology: Gourai insists that she is wearing a bodysuit when Ao says she can see her panties showing in episode 1.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In Episode 6, after Bukiko explains gate marks to the audience:
    Ao: Bukiko, who are you talking to?
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: While Gourai is technically too stoic for this role, nevertheless she joins Stylet and Baselard in introducing Ao Gennai to the joys of taking care of little robot girls in the anime.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The series is very open about this. Some scenes even have tips for assembling the models, which Ao doesn't always follow.
  • Morph Weapon: The anime shows off the free-form construction of MSG kit weapons by letting the FA Girls load them in their alternate configurations during the VR matches. Shiro and Kuro seamlessly transform their Beast Hunter sword and Grind Circle razor wheel between their alternate configurations rapidly during their match in episode 3, while Gourai loads the Violence Ram in a scythelike form when battling Architect.
  • Mundane Utility: Ao lets the girls take over checking over her mail and her housework.
  • Mythology Gag: Hresvelgr's portrayal as an antagonist harkens back to the original mecha-styled Frame Arms series, where her namesake mecha was developed by the lunar colonies and sent to battle against the Earth-side humans. Pretty much all the other FA Girls facing off against her are either FA Girl originals or based on Earth-side Frame Arms mecha.
  • Noodle Incident: In episode 3, Ao refuses to elaborate on the goat-related accident that left her in need of a bath.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: The end of episode 9 indicates that all of the FA Girls somehow experienced Ao's fever dream of a year as schoolgirls together.
  • Product Placement:
    • Udolla (a mascot of sorts in Tachikawa, which Kotobukiya help created since Kotobukiya is headquartered in Tachikawa) is everywhere in the background, being the keychains, the mysterious figures floating around in various 'between scene' frames, and filling the Next Episode Preview scenes after the credits.
    • Gourai and Ao's friend Bukiko, who is is basically the Kotobuki Godhands Nipper mascot, take the time to shill the Godhands in episodes 1 and 3.
    • In episode 2, Ao digs out her old Sharp Roomba and vacuum cleaner.
    • In episode 3, Gourai and Bukiko spend some time shilling the MSG weapon kit for the Revolving Buster Cannon. In addition, Ao's class is playing with a Mikasa brand basketball during gym class and Kotobuki branded desks and chairs turn up.
    • In episode 4, Gourai uses the Violence Ram MSG kit assault cannon to defeat Jinrai.
    • In episode 6, the Godhands make a return, alongside their other mascot Nipako-chan. Bukiko also happens to have a figure of herself and one of Danny's Smart Dolls.
    • Episode 8 opens with a showcase of Gourai KAI, all the better to persuade fans to buy the 4th Blu-Ray set for her pack-in kit, as well as to drum up the hype for her kit eventually hitting the store shelves.
    • That durian-flavored drink Ao is holding in episode 11 exists in the real world.
    • In general, many of the objects shown in the anime are based on real-world brand name products, and the setting of the anime in general is heavily based on Tachikawa. The goats that appear in the anime are a reference to the goat farms in Tachikawa as well.
  • Real-Place Background: Ao apppears to live in Tachikawa, a city located in the western portion of Tokyo Metropolis and home to the Kotobukiya headquarters. Tachikawa Station is clearly visible in the opening, along with Nishikidaini Park's highly recognizable demon-shaped slide. One episode also has Ao and Gourai visit the outskirts of the nearby Showa Memorial Park.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Miniature plamo that fights in a hexagonal simulation arena sounds a lot like another plamo that fights in a similar arena.
    • In episode 7, Gourai imagines all the MSG weapon kits (including several of the Gigantic Arms 01 mech suits) being combined in a fashion that resembles the Dendrobium from the Gundam series.
    • Also in episode 7, Bukiko strikes a pose that resembles Misaka "Railgun" Mikoto's signature railgun pose.
    • In episode 11, The whole sequence with Hresvelgr being upgraded into her Ater form with nanomachines by Factory Advance, complete with crimson battle aura, has a massive Metal Gear Rising feel to it, as well as throwing in the emotion suppression of the SOP system. Like regular Metal Gear Solid, they even include the '!' exclamation alert when Hres is called. Someone in Kotobukiya really wants to rub it in on Konami that they're getting all that Mecha Musume money instead since Shinki have stopped production. Also 
  • Skinship Grope: Happens during the onsen sequence in episode 11, poor Ao and Stylet.
  • The Stinger: At the tail end of the season, Innocentia wakes up in a darkened Factory Advance facility, foreshadowing season 2.
  • Super Prototype: Strictly speaking, all of Ao's girls are already super prototypes (being that they are ALL more capable than the previous generation of Frame Arms Girls), but the real Super Prototype is Gourai's white KAI armor upgrade that she receives midseason - the official production version of the KAI pack in the toyline is the same colour as her normal armor.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Ao being a complete newbie to plamo kit assembly means that she is rather clumsy in cutting free Gourai's weapons and armor parts from their runners; in episode 1 this results in the nubs interfering with Gourai's aim when she spars with Stylet. In contrast, her friend Bukiko is so skilled at plamo assembly that Gourai comments on how much better the Revolving Buster Cannon assembled by her behaves compared to what Ao has worked on. In episode 4 the Violence Ram cannon that Ao assembles has an assembly flaw due to her inexperience and it breaks down after Gourai's fight.
    • Baselard's messing around with Ao's old Roomba leaves so much dust in the air it ends up interfering with her Beam Spam accuracy and makes it difficult for her to hit Gourai during their spar. Gourai's ballistic cannon isn't as badly affected by the dust as the solid rounds are too heavy for the dust to disperse.
    • Jinrai's hammy Ninja act in episode 4 makes her come off as a tremendous chuuni.
    • The FA Girls turning an old bookshelf into their hostel ends up burning a hole in Ao's cash reserves for that month, spoiling her plans for a trip to the beach.
    • Gourai winning all her onscreen matches until episode 7 ends up ensuring that she takes her loss to Hresvelgr that much harder.
    • The girls attempting to use folk remedies to treat Ao's illness in episode 9 backfires, causing her to have a fever dream when she falls unconscious.
    • By episode 12 Ao and the girls are so frustrated with Hresvelgr constantly interfering with their daily life and the resulting Berserk Hres Ater incident that they decide to file a complaint to Factory Advance. The company apologises for any inconvenience Hres has caused her. On top of that, the increased power levels of Hres Ater and Gourai using Super Modes caused blackouts repeatedly due to overloading the civilian power lines, so Factory Advance delivered a specialized generator to her apartment to prevent such disruptions from recurring.
  • Transformation Sequence: Demonstrated in the PV trailer.
  • Trash of the Titans: In episode 4, the mess generated by the FA girls frustrates Ao and she declares a cleaning day.