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Above: Super Gals shows off Kogal fashion. Below: Kanako from Nyan Koi! rocking the Manba style.
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In Japan and Japanese media, there exists a subculture known as ''Gyaru'', or "Gal" culture. This subculture often involves the emulation and use of popular Western fashion trends, tanned skin, blonde hair, and excessive use of makeup. Gyaru culture is split into three subcultures: Kogal, Ganguro, and Yanmanba. Gyaru adherents are almost Always Female, but there do exist rare male variants, who are referred to as Gyaru-oh. The cultures originated in the 1970s, and gained popularity in the early 2000s. The Gyaru style actually has a huge influence on Japanese fashion trends.

  1. Kogal girls are often identified by wearing school uniforms along with super short skirts, loose socks, and sometimes platform shoes. It's not uncommon to see them have dyed hair either. The Harajuku and Shibuya districts of Tokyo serve as centers for Kogal culture. Committed kogal girls will wear short skirts all year-round, even in the winter and rainy seasons.

  2. Ganguro girls exemplify artificially tanned skin, blonde hair, and liberally applied contrasting makeup. It began as a form of rebellion against traditional Japanese standards of beauty (namely pale skin, dark hair, and neutral makeup tones) and open defiance of school standards and regulations. While there is some visual similarity to Blackface, there aren't any racial connotations associated with it. There's also a negative view that ganguros Really Get Around thanks to overlap with Compensated Dating. The Shibuya and Ikebukuro districts of Tokyo served as centers for Ganguro culture. The trend reached the peak of its popularity in the mid to late 90s, and has mostly faded away (though the internet helped bring it back into awareness,) but lived on with the Yamanba style.

  3. Yamanba and Manba styles were both developed from ganguro. Taking another step further, Yamanba often involves even darker tanned skin, a white stripe of makeup down the nose, facial stickers, glittery adhesives below the eyes, dayglo-colored clothing, and unusual accessories such as Hawaiian leis. The actual difference between the two seems to be mainly that manba doesn't use as much white makeup.
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The Dark-Skinned Blonde often overlaps with this trope. Examples of that trope may simply just be what they are. The Gyaru Girl will often have their fashion style pointed out in the narrative. Compare The Fashionista, and compare and contrast with the Western equivalent Valley Girl.


Examples:

Anime & Manga

  • Momo from Peach Girl is often mistaken for a ganguro due to her tanned skin and bleached hair. She gets teased a lot about it, but she's on the school's swim team. Her skin is just tanned because she spends a lot of time swimming outdoors, and the chlorine and other pool chemicals bleached her hair strawberry-blonde.
  • Super Gals focuses entirely on Gyaru culture. The three main characters, Miyu, Ran, and Aya, are all kogals. Miyu and Ran both have dyed hair, and all three of them wear trendy clothing.
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  • Kanako from Nyan Koi! is introduced wearing Yamanba makeup. Many characters find it rather grotesque, but she didn't care. Junpei himself calls her the "Demon Yamanba", but she points out that she's a manba, not a yamanba. The reason she got into it in the first place seems to extend back to her and Junpei's childhood, where she began seeking his attention more and more, even though he never saw her as anything special. After showing her that he still cares about her in his own ways, she abandons the style altogether.
  • Angol Mois from Sgt. Frog has a fairly subdued kogal appearance in her human form. She's already Ambiguously Brown, but has platinum blonde hair instead of her natural silver hair when she chooses to stay on Earth. She wears a simple brown and white school uniform, skirt, and loose socks. She deliberately chose the style after being influenced by a delinquent girl she met, but it definitely adds to her character design's cuteness.
  • Short Cuts features an entire kogal village, even filled with grannies wearing loose socks.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, Haruhi's friend Mei is a dark tanned girl who reads magazines for 'gals in love'. She is a amateur fashion designer, who focuses on love and hobbies more than her summer homework.
  • Flowers and Bees features a Girl Posse of 3 kogals including love interest Sakura Ota, who doesn't tan, but spends her time going to clubs and Love Hotels instead of studying.
  • In Skip Beat! Kyoko pretends to be a kogal by using distinctive slang and an airheaded persona so that Sho doesn't figure out that it is her.
  • In Nana, Nana K's sister Nami is "still a ganguro girl." She is tanned and open about sexual matters.
  • The aptly named "Kogal Ghost" from Re-Kan! is obsessed with 80's fashion, though her hair appears to be naturally dark.
  • Please Tell Me! Galko-chan is named after this trope, and by extension, Galko. She wears heavy makeup, paints her nails, styles her hair and dyes it blonde. However, she's a downplayed example because despite her name and appearance, she has zero experience with men, and gets easily embarrassed over her physique and what she says, as she sometimes accidentally says suggestive stuff.
  • Maho Girls Pretty Cure!note  has Benigio who talks like a gyaru (which is naturally rendered as a Valley Girl accent in the fansubs), what makes this even funnier is that she's voiced by Kikuko Inoue
  • Osomatsu-san has Jyushiko, Jyushimatsu's Distaff Counterpart among the Girly Matsus. She exemplifies the Ganguro subtype, with her having the darkest skin, heavy makeup, and yellow hair. She's also implied to be a lot more promiscuous than her male counterpart.
  • My First Girlfriend is a Gal is basically a romantic comedy involving an Ordinary High-School Student entering into a relationship of sorts with a Gyaru. With lots of added Fanservice.
  • Omakes from the first volume of Omujo! Omutsu Joshi show Morei wraps her cardigan around her waist to try and invoke the image of a countryside gyaru.
  • A Detective Conan case is centered on the gyaru culture. The gyarus Michiko, Ryouko and Tae and the yamanba Hitomi are attacked and beaten up by an unknown assailiant, and Tae ends up being beaten to death. It's because Tae accidentally ran a boy with her car and the boy's grieving father started attacking women who reminded him of her, especially if they wore platform boots since she was wearing those when she caused the accident.
  • Yuzu, the protagonist of Citrus is a Kogal, with bleached blond hair, makeup, school uniform skirt hiked way up, jewelry, the works. This causes considerable friction with the extremely straight-laced school she attends, as well as her prim-and-proper adoptive sister (and secret crush) who is the Student Council President there.
  • Serial Experiments Lain's R-Rated Opening starts with a ganguro making out with a man. They then notice a girl jump off of a roof.
  • One Kanto episode of Pokémon has Jessie and James dressed as ganguro. The English dub translates this by making them into Valley Girls.
  • Midori Save-The-World from Space Patrol Luluco is a gyaru stereotype, mostly in being a Phoneaholic Teenager. It's a plot point because her phone has an illegal black hole app that lets her steal stuff. Appearance-wise, she has multicolor gradient hair but green rather than dark skin, because she's half-alien.

Video Games

  • Pokémon:
    • Plumeria, the second-in-command of Team Skull from Pokémon Sun and Moon, has pink and yellow hair, and accents her eyes with white makeup. Her design is clearly inspired from ganguro style, further exemplified by the baggy clothing fashion that the entire organization wears.
    • Generation 1's Jynx had been theorized to be based on ganguro fashion due to its dark skin, pink lips, and platinum blonde hair. Others say she's based on the tale of Yama-Uba, who are depicted in Noh plays by actors in Black Face (though orange masks are more traditional) and a pale wig along with a tattered red kimono. Or Jynx could be based on both, as there is a subset of ganguro fashion based on Yama-Uba called "Yamanba".
  • Junko Enoshima from Danganronpa, a rare villainous example as she is the Big Bad of the series, is known as the "Super High School Level Gyaru", localized as "Ultimate Fashionista" in the English translation. Being a Kogal, she wears a modified school uniform with a short skirt, long platform boots, and based on how she appears in Danganronpa Zero as Ryoko Otonashi, it's implied that her hair is dyed.
  • From Senran Kagura we have Shiki, from the Kogal variety. A shinobi who is also a casual girl who chats with her cellphone (even in battle), comments about trends and fashion, and speaks like a stereotypical Valley Girl. But, unlike most examples, she's also very knowledgeable and IT-savvy, and uses these knowledge to help her friends in battle.
  • Mika Jougasaki from THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls is very much into kogal fashion, and so is her younger sister Rika. In the second half of the anime, her production company forces her to stop wearing gal clothing and makes her wear more mature outfits, but she eventually manages to make the new look her own.
  • Yuka Ayase from Persona is a kogal girl, dying her hair blonde and wearing short skirts with loose socks. In the English translation, she speaks in a Valley Girl dialect.
  • In Crescendo, Yuka's design strongly evokes the gyaru''. While she's not tanned, her hair is lighter than the rest of the cast (probably bleached) and she also uses the dangerously short skirt, cleavage-showing shirt and loose socks worn by the average school-aged gyarus.
  • The bully clique (Musume Ronshaku, Kokoro Momoiro, Kashiko Murasaki, Hoshiko Mizudori, and Hana Daidaiyama) in Yandere Simulator is a mix of these styles (though mostly Kogal and Ganguro). They are all dark-skinned blondes with their hair dyed flashy colors, they wear insanely short skirts and loose socks, and they accessorize with scrunchies on their wrists, Hair Decorations, makeup, and cardigans around their waists.

Other

  • In the now-deceased online manga Music Box, the Alpha Bitch Maika Sakura is a gyaru and The Rival to the local Keet, Kazuki Kirio. She actually prostitutes herself to keep her lifestyle, and Kazuki calls her out on it.

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