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Anime / Rolling Girls

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"Rolling, Falling, Scrambling Girls. For others. For themselves. Even if they're destined to be a 'mob'."

Ten years after the Great Tokyo War, each of Japan's prefectures have broken off to form their own separate nations. Using superpowered combatants known as "Bests", various territories and clans fight for control.

The Rolling Girls focuses on Nozomi Moritomo, an average teenager who helps clean up after Best conflicts. When her hero, a well known Best by the name of Maccha Green, is injured during battle, Nozomi and three other girls (Yukina Kosaka, Chiaya Misono and Ai Hibiki) set off to help mediate the land disputes that Maccha Green usually settles.

Created by Studio Wit (the studio behind Attack on Titan), the series began airing in Japan in January 2015, and is currently available for streaming on Funimation's site in the US and Canada.

The Rolling Girls provides examples of:

  • Acoustic License: Hair waving in the wind, the girls travel to Tokyo by motorcycles, socializing in normal to low voices early in episode 3. Protective gear of one of them is a helmet with visor, her head covered from top to below the chin.
    • Played with in the Mie vs. Aichi arc: the vice captain of the Mie Motors constantly revving his motorcycle and he has to yell through his helmet when he speaks. The characters seem to hear every word, but the audience has to listen closely to even get an idea of what he's saying.
    • This actually gets lampshaded in one of the specials, where the girls have difficulty understanding each other while riding their motorbikes.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Nozomi calls Chiaya "Chi-chan" while Ai calls her "Chi-bo".
    • Chiaya refer to Nozomi, Yukina and Ai with their childhood nicknames: Nonsuke, Yukippe and U-tan.
    • Nozomi calls Masami "Ma-chan", which she remarks sounds like "Maccha" when she finds out she's Maccha Green.
    • Misa's nickname for Mamechiyo is "Chiyo-chi".
  • Amazing Technicolor World: The Great Tokyo War has apparently also turned a lot of Japan into a large pastel-colored painting.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome/Power Crystal:
  • The Atoner: It's revealed that the reason Masami is so overprotective of Nozomi stems from a childhood incident where Nozomi nearly drowned while trying to save Masami, who was only pretending to be in danger. This has led to her doing everything in her power to keep Nozomi away from fights between Bests, as Masami is terrified that she'll be hurt or killed since she has no way to defend herself.
  • BFS: Thunderroad's sword, at least, in proportion to her.
  • Big Damn Heroes: One of the statue missiles that were headed toward Misa are intercepted just in time by Momiyama and his carriage.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Masami is very protective of Nozomi and tries to keep her away from battles out of fear that she may be harmed.
  • Big Eater: While Masami was on the verge of throwing up after eating a dozen bowls of ramen, Kuniko was just fine after eating even more than her and even felt good enough to chat.
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • The side cart on Nozomi's motorcycle was manufactured by "Kamasaki" instead of "Kawasaki," while Yukina's is by "Trident" rather than "Triumph".
    • Part of Tokyo has become an eternal Fan Convention, called "Always Comima". This is clearly meant to refer to the Comiket conventions held twice a year in Tokyo.
  • Blatant Lies: Otonashi's claims of not falling for the Hyper Maccha Robot balloon, when in the previous episode they ordered a retreat within seconds of seeing it. On a more serious note, Masami continually insisting she isn't Maccha Green.
  • Book Ends: The Comima arc starts and ends with shots of Ai holding a Moonlight stone up and Chiaya jumping to snatch it back.
  • Breath Weapon: After Masami eats several noodles bowls, she as Maccha Green fights Kuniko. The fight makes her sick, and she vomits in the middle of the battle, but it sparkles like the rest of her attacks and even seems to harm Kuniko, invoking this trope.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Bests that are parted from their stones lose their powers.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Maccha Green is fond of this.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: If you look closely when Masami is driving Nozomi home in the first episode, Yukina briefly passes by them on a motorcycle.
    • Though she only makes a proper debut near the end of the second episode, Ai is the first of the main girls to have an onscreen appearance, appearing in the crowd of Kuniko's squad in the beginning conversation between Kuniko and Maccha Green.
    • The Higashi Murayama squad member who complains about Always Comima's expansion in the first episode comes back in episode 4 and inadvertently becomes responsible for bringing a bomb into the city.
    • The Momiyage Hammers, the rock band that most of the girls idolize, themselves make an appearance during the Kyoto Arc. Also, it turns out that the president of Tokorozawa's Hypercompetent Sidekick is the member that got kicked out before they became famous.
  • Clark Kenting: Masami thinks she has everyone fooled about her identity as Maccha Green, but Kuniko seems to rather quickly figure it out. She points out that it seems rather obvious when you consider that both women have the same voice and that Masami mysteriously vanishes whenever Maccha Green shows up.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Subverted. Kuniko thinks Maccha Green's powers come from a "high spec battle suit", but the suit is nothing more than a cheap spandex outfit you could probably buy at a costume shop.
  • Combat Hand Fan: Mamechiyo uses a large fan to fight, though more as a club than a fan.
  • Combat Stilettos: Kuniko and Maccha Green fight in heels.
  • Concert Climax: Version Action Movie actually Version Romantic Comedy at the end of the Kyoto Arc. A rock concert is being bombarded by a Buddha statue shaped missile massacre, all of which are harmlessly blown up by the concert hall's built in anti-air defenses. The actual climax was when Misa and Mamechiyo apologized to each other and became friends again. Followed by an epic electric guitar and shamisen rock duet.
  • Cover Version: The opening song that the four main girls sing is a cover of "Hito ni Yasashiku" by Japanese punk rock band The Blue Hearts. In fact, the girls cover multiple songs by that band, which are used as insert songs or played over the ending credits.
  • Cue the Sun: Nozomi gets on her motorcycle for the first time right at dawn.
  • Cultured Badass: Mr. Dandy, a Best who is known for his unwavering dandiness.
  • Cute Bruiser: The Best who defends the Tokyo sub-country of Comima is a teenage girl known as Thunderroad.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Chiaya has one pronounced tooth.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Thunderroad's armor is actually very well-made cosplay of an in-universe fictional Black Knight-esque character, but she's still Comima's best. Even if she does try to sell Chiaya's Moonlight stone without anyone knowing.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The OP actually shows the four main girls performing the song in front of a crowd. Unlike most examples in anime, however, they're not singing an original song, but a cover of "Hito ni Yasashiku" by The Blue Hearts.
  • The Door Slams You: Otonashi slams a door on Masami in the third episode.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: All the Moonlight Stone holders are shown in order of appearance during the ending credits right from the beginning.
  • Emergency Impersonation: Otonashi claims to be the president's daughter (Chiaya) when she's caught snooping around the mansion trying to find Shigyo's stone. Unfortunately, it backfires on her.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Though they're perfectly willing to kidnap a band of rival teenagers in order to lure Maccha Green into a trap, some of the members of Kuniko's squad begin to voice their objections after they find out that Kuniko is willing to murder the teens just to goad Masami into revealing her identity.
    • They also expel Ai from the group after she tries to punch Nozomi in the face and ends up hitting Crocodile. It's apparently against the law to intentionally harm non-combatants, as well as for Rests to fight one another at all.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Mr. Dandy, captain of the Aichi Tenmusus, only opens his eyes when it's especially important.
  • Fallen Hero: Kuniko originally became a Best to be a hero for justice, but she found she liked fighting and went from Hero to Blood Knight to Axe-Crazy.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: Ai and Aki make a deal that if Ai can even touch her with a finger, she'll be accepted as her trainee. Hardly a second after Ai starts charging, Aki flicks her forehead and Ai crashes into everyone else.
  • First-Episode Twist: Masami is Maccha Green. Her incapacitation leads to Nozomi travelling the country and taking over her work.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Nozomi, Yukina and Ai all ran into Chiaya in her alien form when they were children. That's how she knew their childhood nicknames.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Nozomi's group:
    • Nozomi is sanguine: she's one of the most energetic, upbeat characters in the cast and she does her best in helping her clients even without a guaranteed reward.
    • Yukina is leukine, being the only one out of the four who doesn't seem to fit any of the other temperaments due to having strengths and weaknesses shared across all of them.
    • Ai is choleric: getting her own core always seems to be the first thing on her mind, and to that ends she's fine with being less honest to the clients. She's also fine and seems to prefer charging at people who do have them.
    • Chiaya is phlegmatic: she's usually the most calm out of the four and is generally kind. Soon after meeting Nozomi and co., she begins to value them more than the Cores she was looking for.
  • Friendship Trinket: The Cores are often this:
    • The parts of Masami's Core that turn it into a necklace were from a favor that Nozomi asked Himeko, and in the first place, came from when Nozomi tried to save her from drowning.
    • Himeko and Tomoki traded Cores when they were young as thanks for what they did for each other. To distinguish them, the Cores had names: Tomoki called his the "Star of the Circuit" and Himeko's was the "Shachipoko Stone".
    • Misa and Mamechiyo's Core fell while they were practicing with their guitars and they split it in half to turn into guitar picks, which they keep despite the superstitions about them. Seemingly giving up on Misa remembering her, Mamechiyo tries to throw them both away right before the concert, but Nozomi convinces her to find them again, and they reconcile soon after.
  • Gas Mask Long Coat: Chiaya, the smallest of the four main girls. No explanation is given, but she ditches the mask after the Comima mini-arc.
    • It's revealed in Episode 12 that she wore it because her mother was paranoid about her health.
  • Gender Flip: Momo from the final arc is one of Momotarō.
  • Giving Up the Ghost: The cat-eared squad member in episode 2 as she learns that the rollercoaster is a death trap, and Kuniko in episode 3, while in the hospital.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Maccha Green's main method of combat consists of punches and kicks without any discernible style to them.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: With the addition of Chiaya in the group, the main girls collect moonlight stones while travelling.
  • Group Picture Ending: Episode 2 ends with Chiaya getting a picture with the other 3 main girls. Ai plays along just fine, while Nozomi and Yukina just stand and stare into the camera.
  • Henshin Hero: Maccha Green is inspired by these types of characters, but still has to physically put on her costume (rather than use a Transformation Sequence). Her introductory montage even has a humorous scene of her quickly trying to cram herself into her outfit right before a battle.
  • Human Alien Discovery: Near the end, Chiaya finds out that she and her mother are actually aliens, which is why she sometimes turns into a small octopus-like creature.
  • Humongous Mecha: They were used in the Great Tokyo War. Two immobile ones that are frozen in the middle of a fight now seem to be used as a landmark.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: Ai tags along with Nozomi trying to find Bests that will apprentice her in hopes of becoming one herself.
  • Improbably Female Cast: So far, most of the characters of any importance are women. There are men, but they're usually background characters or bit parts.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Kuniko with her giant safety pin, though she does have more orthodox weapons in her collection.
  • Innocent Bystander Series: The protagonists are ordinary humans in a world where cities are protected by superheroes.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: All the girls at the various prefectural checkpoints look the same. This does not go unnoticed by the main four.
  • Insert Song: Three in the first two episodes: the first in the beginning of the first episode, the second in the middle of the second episode, and the third at the end of the second episode. Afterwards, they are used during the climax of each 2-episode arc. Save for Misa's performance in episode 8, all of them are the girls' covers of songs from the Punk Rock band, the Blue Hearts.
  • Intertwined Fingers: At the end of the episode 8 concert, Misa and Mamechiyo hold each other's hand up like this.
  • Invented Individual: Noriko made up the Dynamite Bombers to keep Aki from retiring.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifter: For some reason, Chiaya occasionally turns into a small octopus-like thing when she falls asleep. It's actually her true alien form.
  • Invisible Parents/Free-Range Children: The premise of the show involves four underage girls going on a motorcycle trip across the remains of Japan. Nozomi's mother initially tries to stop her, but the other girls' parents apparently have no problem with it. Hell, Ai first joins up with them while hitchhiking.
  • It Amused Me: Doji Shuten's reason for kidnapping Misa in the middle of a concert, as well as most of the other things he does. In fact, the one guaranteed way to piss him off is to say what he did was boring.
  • Large Ham: Much like a standard Tokusatsu hero, Maccha Green accompanies her words with over-the-top movements and hand gestures.
  • Made of Iron: Downplayed. All of the Rest can walk away from regularly being tossed into the air by the shockwaves of the fights between Bests. This is why the members of Masami's squad survive after falling off the roller coaster they were trapped on.
  • Magical Camera: Chiaya's camera can display her memories on the screen, which is very useful as talking seems to be difficult for her. She can also use it to see other people's memories in the same fashion.
  • Meaningful Name: Some of the Bests have names related to the place they're from:
    • Aki Habara is named after the district in Tokyo that most resembles Always Comima, the location that takes its place in the series.
    • Tomoki Suzuka's last name is shared by a race circuit in Mie, which is actually used in-series.
    • Doji Shuten is named after the Shutendoji, an oni leader who lives on Mt. Oe, which is between Kyoto and Tamba.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Moonlight Stones - which are called by multiple names - are heart-shaped stones responsible for giving Bests their extraordinary abilities. They seem to fall from the sky and it's hinted they appear to potential Bests. The main characters are searching for them - mostly because Chiaya's mother is looking for them, and Chiaya wants to help her.
  • Mistaken for Terrorist: Just as Nozomi and co. enter Always Comima, the resident Best there loses her stone, attributing it to a group called the Dynamite Bombers, who gave a warning note at the same time. Nozomi shows a civilian Chiaya's stone to see if they've seen any like it, so of course security shows up and they get accused of being with the Dynamite Bombers.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Momiyma does this to one of the pirates.
  • Muggles: Japan's population is divided into the Best ("mosa"), the superpowered minority, and the Rest ("mob"), the mundane majority. Our main characters are among the Rest.
    • Tomoki's hair is black with some white parts shaped like crosses.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: When Masami and Kuniko split their chopsticks, they're accompanied by smoke and fire, respectively.
  • Multi-Melee Master: Kuniko knows how to use most if not all weapons in her collection, which include a chain whip, a katana, nunchaku, brass knuckles, and of course her giant safety pin.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: As they approach their death sentence, Ai suggests escaping Always Comima and training until she can come back and beat their Best in combat.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: Since becoming a Best, Tomoki became too good at racing and eventually couldn't find any competition.
  • No Name Given: Chiaya only introduces herself as "Chiaya". The omission of her last name keeps anyone else from knowing she's the daughter of Tokorozawa's president.
  • No Sense of Direction: Yukina seems to be this. It took her three days to find a place that was really close by, and when Nozomi finds her as she's about to fill in for Maccha Green, she's miserably slumped over the seat of her motorcycle, apparently having trouble with a map.
  • Once an Episode: The following occurs in every arc: Nozomi and co. meet one or more Bests, Chiaya takes a group picture, Yukina goes the wrong way, and the evil Takumi are responsible for some kind of explosive being involved. From the Comima arc onwards, references to Yukina's unique art style are also made.
  • Open Secret: EVERYONE knows Maccha Green is actually Masami but Nozomi. They're just too polite to embarrass Masami by pointing out that her Paper-Thin Disguise isn't fooling anyone.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: Nozomi isn't remarkable in any particular manner, something her mother and her report card Lampshade in the first episode.
  • Passing the Torch: Instead of completely retiring, Aki demotes herself to a regular squad member and has Noriko, her second-in-command, to take her place as captain. Chiaya also gives Noriko her Moonlight stone, effectively making Noriko a full replacement for Comima's Best.
  • Playing with Fire: Doji's Best powers manifest this way.
  • Punny Name: Thunderroad's real name is Aki Habara. Considering what kind of place Comima is...
  • The Quiet One: Chiaya doesn't talk much.
  • Recurring Riff: The melody of STONES, a song by the famous in-universe Momiage Hammers, appears frequently throughout the series, either in background tracks or the girls humming/singing it while they ride between prefectures. The song itself gets performed in episode 8.
  • Real-Place Background: Many places the girls visit are based on real locations in Japan, but often those are twisted into surreal echoes of the originals. The Tokyo Big Sight, for instance, is blown up to the size of a city to accommodate the Land of Always Comima.
  • Red Baron: Kuniko, "The Armed Empress".
  • The Reveal: Not only is Haruka Misono an alien, she's also not even Chiaya's real mother, and is likely of a different species. Chiaya was a stowaway on their spaceship, and Haruka discovered her moments before they crashed.
  • Rose-Haired Sweetie: Nozomi's hair is some kind of dark magenta, and she always seems to want to help out.
  • Say My Name: Masami and Nozomi say each others' names often in the first few episodes, particularly while Nozomi is trapped on the rollercoaster.
  • Scarf Of Ass Kicking: Maccha Green wears one on her costume and in her civilian identity.
  • Serious Business: Land disputes are considered very serious. The kind of serious that results in physics-bending, high octane Kung-Fu battles.
  • Shock and Awe: Thunderroad's signature attack is a bolt of green lightning that strictly affects her targets and nothing else.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The book Chiaya is shown reading in flashbacks is a coming of age tale about four young friends who go on an adventure. The English title? 'Stand By You'. The cover even looks like the movie's poster.
    • The Moriage Hammers sticker on Chi's scooter is just the logo for the Japanese band Bo0wy with a sword instead of a guitar.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Mamechiyo is a maiko, and in her introductory episode she challenges a gang to a fight in an attempt to rescue Misa.
  • Slasher Smile: Kuniko, especially near the end of the second episode.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Chiaya can understand birds.
  • Stress Vomit: While it seems to come out of nowhere, Nozomi does this in episode 3. On top of having to search for a stone in what is essentially a city-sized Comiket, where the bustle of the people have altered the environment, she has to deal with the pressure of having to succeed before sunset of the same day, or she, her client and her two companions who shouldn't even be involved, get the death penalty. She holds it together quite well until one of the city's multipurpose Roomba-like robots sweeps up what she thinks might've been the stone.
  • Stripperiffic: Ai dresses by far the most revealing of all the girls, showing off her long legs and midriff.
  • Super-Speed: Tomoki achieves this while he's on a bike.
  • Supporting Leader: Masami, as captain of the Hiyoshi-cho Propellers, is Nozomi's superior, but the show focuses on Nozomi acting in her place.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: During the fight with Kuniko in the first episode, Maccha Green eventually begins to overheat and have trouble breathing because of the costume and mask she wears.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Yukina denies her lack of a sense of direction even unprompted.
  • Terse Talker: Anytime Chiaya actually does talk, it's only a few words at a time and hardly ever a complete sentence.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: "You've probably already realized, but this show is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real people, groups or laws is coincidental."
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Momiyama tells Chiaya in episode 9 that she's actually an alien.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
    • Misa is the rough-mannered rock star tomboy to Mamechiyo's prim, proper Yamato Nadeshiko girly girl.
    • Ai single-handedly manages to be the tomboy to the three girly girls of the main squad.
  • Trainstopping: Maccha Green stops a rollercoaster to this effect in episode 2.
  • Wall Run: Thunderroad runs up a building while chasing after a bomb-equipped Comima robot in episode 4.
  • Wham Episode: Episode 9. Ai leaves the group, Masami puts together that President Misono is collecting cores, Otonashi is kidnapped trying to retrieve Shigyo's stone, Yukina gets lost and separated from the group, and Chiaya and her mother are aliens.
  • What Would X Do?: When she finds that getting Chiaya's stone back from Aki won't be simple, Nozomi wonders what Masami would do in the situation, then decides that she can't do that.


Rolling Girls - Ramen

Battle to the finish!

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