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Gyaru Girl

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Above: Gals! shows off Kogal fashion. Below: Kanako from Nyan Koi! rocking the Manba style.
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-o. Initially created from the rebellious attitudes embraced by Japanese Delinquents, 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. 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. Yamanba is inspired by the typical depictions of the Yama-Uba, with main difference between the two being that manba doesn't use as much white makeup.

Gyaru Girls will often have their fashion style pointed out in the narrative. Compare The Fashionista, and compare and contrast with the Western equivalent Valley Girl. See also Nonconformist Dyed Hair, for examples outside the gyaru subculture/s that dye hair to subvert societal norms. Gyaru subculture developed in response to, and is therefore to some extent a deliberate inversion of, the more traditional feminine ideal of the Yamato Nadeshiko.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Naruko "Anaru" Anjou of Anohana The Flower We Saw That Day became a gyaru sometime after Menma died. She paints her nails, styles her hair and dyes it red, wears false eyelashes, and probably uses her earnings from her part-time job to buy outfits. Her friends Haruna and Aki also have gyaru tendencies.
  • A Case Closed 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.
  • Dandadan: Ayase is of the Kogal variant. One of her friends is more directly Manba.
  • Aiura Mikoto from The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. is an example of the ganguro subtype. Downplayed, though, because she wears the school uniform the same way as everyone else
  • The rival Saber from the Fate/EXTRA CCC Fox Tail manga and Fate/Grand Order — Suzuka Gozen — carries herself like a Gyaru, even calling herself a "JK Saber" (JK = joshikousei = high-school girl).
  • 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.
  • Food Wars!: Ikumi Mito initially looks this trope due to her brown skin, blond hair and her Stripperific outfit, notably her iconic USA Flag Bikini. Then a flashback of her is shown, revealing that she already had the skin and hair color as a child, and she was wearing a dress that made her look like a little princess (she's from a rich family, which explains why she was working with Erina Nakiri who hates commoners), meaning she is a natural dark-skinned blonde. Her current choice of fashion is a result of a trauma, when her father condemned her girly interests as a weakness for her status as a future heir, thus she developed into The Lad-ette.
  • Gal Gohan's main female lead Okazaki Miku as well as her friends are all kogals, though Miku does have some stylings from the ganguro fashion. Interestingly, despite being called the school's number one gal, she's the only one doesn't have any sexual experience until the end of the manga on her wedding night.
  • 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.
  • Genshiken: Sasahara's sister Keiko led a kogal lifestyle in high school, obviously influenced by peer pressure. She wears heavy layers of make-up on her face, paints her nails and her hair is often styled to whatever is popular at the moment.
  • Higehiro: Asami Yuuki shows some Gyaru traits, like tanned skin, blonde hair and calling Sayu "Sayu-chaso".note 
  • Minami Fuyuki, the titular gal of Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable!, dyes her hair blonde, wears short skirts in winter, and doesn't wear gloves so she can still use her phone.
  • Rumiko Manbagi from Komi Can't Communicate started off as a manba gyaru (get it?), before she abandoned that style in favor of a fusion between ganguro and kogal.
  • 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.
  • Metamorphosis: After Saki starts doing sex work to help pay off her boyfriend Hayato's debts, she goes for the ganguro look by getting a deep tan, bleached blonde hair, tattoos, and piercings.
  • More Than a Married Couple, But Not Lovers: Akari Watanabe, the main female lead, is of the kogal style, and is explicitly referred to as a gyaru in the story. Her school uniform even has cutouts on the shoulders to leave them bare, making her stand out from her classmates even more.
  • My Dress-Up Darling: The female lead, Marin Kitagawa, follows closely the kogal look by default, as she's most often seen in her school uniform. She also has bright-colored hair dye, red contacts, colored nail polish, and miniskirt, alongside other accessories. At one point she even gets her skin tanned for a cosplay, making her look like a ganguro.
  • 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.
  • In Nana, Nana K's sister Nami is "still a ganguro girl." She is tanned and open about sexual matters.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pokémon: The Original Series: The episode "Battle Aboard the St. Anne" has Jessie and James dressed as ganguro. The English dub translates this by making them into Valley Girls.
  • The aptly named "Kogal Ghost" from Re-Kan! is obsessed with 80's fashion, though her hair appears to be naturally dark.
  • 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.
  • Short Cuts features an entire kogal village, even filled with grannies wearing loose socks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Story Between a Dumb Prefect and a High School Girl with an Inappropriate Skirt Length: Poemu and her best friends, Motoko Akina and Rui Tasaki, are all gyaru. They also call the Student Council President's sexy appearance her "gal version" and before they knew who she was, assumed she was a "super lewd gyaru".
  • Talentless Nana has two examples, Kirara Habu and Kaori Takanashi. The two of them are good friends, are obsessed with fashion and looking like Westerners (Kirara has tanned skin and blonde hair, Kaori wears blue color contacts), and are almost never seen without their phones.
  • There's a Ghost Behind That Gal has the titular gal Yuina, who rocks the usual kogal fashion of tanned skin, dyed-blonde hair, and mini-skirts.

    Fan Works 
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Mina Ashido shows Class 1-A a photo of herself before suffering her mutation, and she looks a lot like one, having dark skin, brown hair and no horns. Mineta and Kaminari even call her "a real 'gyaru'".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger has an episode appropriately titled "Gal Hazard", with the "Gal" pronounced as "Gyaru". The protagonists have to deal with a small-time alien shoplifter named Faraway who definitely looks the part. She isn't particularly bright or cooperative, and both Ban and Houji consider her pretty hard on the eyes.

  • POLICEMAN's single and memetic music video "Galo Sengen" is about the gyaru-oh lifestyle.

    Video Games 
  • Sarah "Suki" Stevens from HunieCam Studio and HuniePop 2, a Japan-obsessed otaku, is of the Manbu style, complete with dark tan, contrasting make-up, glittery adhesives beneath her eyes and Hawaiian leis.
  • 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. Izumi Mei is another one but from the THE iDOLM@STER: Shiny Colors series instead.
  • I=MGCM: Riri/Lilly Yarimizu, one of Magical Girl Warrior heroines, follows the Ganguro fashion by having pastel-pink hair and wears it in a massive drill-like side-tail, tanned skin, and a cleavage-exposed school uniform. Surprisingly, she's actually a nice and wholesome girl who doesn't like bad men, due to the fact that her father was a cheater and a wastrel who ran away with other women right after Riri's mother became pregnant.
  • Insanity: Riho Tanaka is described as such. She has a Valley Girl-esque way of speaking, blonde hair (possibly dyed) and is very interested in boys, fashion and decorating. She constantly wears a school uniform, although in this case it's because she's a high school student.
  • The boss Sol Titanion of the Einherjar Eight Warriors from Mega Man Zero 4 is depicted as an extremely exaggerated gyaru, so much that whenever she uses her Red Flame Fans attack she shouts "Mitai na!" (みたいなー, Like, totally!) "Mitai na" is a slangy phrase that was heavily used by Japanese gyaru girls during the 1990s. It was used at the end of a sentence to add a mood of "kinda", "maybe" or "something like that", or even meaningless filler. Titanion uses it as if it's an independent interjection since she is an exxagerated gyaru, but normally one cannot start a sentence with みたいな or use みたいな as a meaningless filler.
  • Persona: Yuka Ayase 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.
  • 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".
    • Generation 5's Simipour is partly designed after kogal fashion, to match the Japanese Delinquents theme it has going on with Simisage and Simisear (who are based on yankiis and Bōsōzoku, respectively). Like them, however, it also has a far higher chance of being male than it does female.
  • 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 this knowledge to help her friends in battle.
  • 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. Word of God is that Musume started wearing Gyaru fashion to stand out, but ended up making it a trend. She wound up befriending the girls who took to her style the most because they had similar interests (mostly bullying), and the youngest member, Hoshiko, came to school after the clique was established and started dressing like that to integrate herself.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Crescendo (JP), 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.
  • Junko Enoshima from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, 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. Concept art shows that Junko would have sported a ganguro styled appearance instead.

    Web Animation