Comedy in anime can feel tired at times. Even the best series the genre has to offer will sometimes fall back on tropes that have been done a thousand times, whether in parodying them or outright playing them straight faced. That's not to say comedy anime is bad for this reason (it's one of my favorite genres), but sometimes the idea of watching a series completely out of left field in its comedy and presentation can feel refreshing and be a nice break from the same old stuff.
And this is why I love gdgd Fairies, a show that has legitimately made me laugh out loud harder and more frequently than any other anime series out there. The simple episode structure, excellently crafted jokes, unique visual style, likable characters, and overall fun atmosphere of this series work towards my considering gdgd Fairies a 10/10 show, meaning I love it on every conceivable level, which I will discuss here.
Each twelve minute episode of gdgd Fairies follows a three-part formula: the opening conversation bit, the Room of Spirit and Time, and the Dubbing Lake. The show follows pretty closely to this structure, though there may be an episode or two where one segment is cut out to make room for another one to be longer, and the final episode is completely fucking insane and does not follow the structure at all: you are not prepared for the final episode of season 1 of gdgd Fairies.
A typical episode of gdgd Fairies starts with the three main characters—the innocently dumb pkpk, quiet and mysterious krkr, and the more extroverted and cheeky shrshr—sitting around a table, drinking tea, and talking about some mundane topic, such as sleeping, sneezing, etc. While these conversations usually start in a reasonable place, they inevitably spiral out of control into hilariously imagined scenarios, which are visualized by the bizarre cast of background characters (which I will discuss later).
While the scenarios in these segments are funny in their own right, what really sells them is the chemistry of the characters. Despite being in a “cheap kids show”, the three main fairies are all adorable and lovable, each with a distinct yet realistic personality (none of the characters have gimmicks—they're all just dumb kids that feel real, not gag characters). Much like in a show like Lucky Star or K-On where a lot of the appeal is watching cute, authentic characters interacting with each other, pkpk, krkr, and shrshr are always a joy to watch on screen together, with dynamics that feel more realistic than many other more gag-oriented comedies.
The second segment of an episode of gdgd Fairies sees the three characters go into the “Room of Spirit and Time”, where their magical powers are greatly enhanced, allowing them to play batshit, absurd games that often reach massive scale. The scenarios presented in the first segment may be out there, the absurdist humor is pushed even farther in this segment, with some of the most unforgettable scenes in any comedy anime out there (shrshr launching herself out of a cannon to knock down over 600 old men stands out in my mind).
And finally, an episode of gdgd Fairies ends with the Dubbing Lake—a segment where the three fairies watch a short, silent, and strange clip and then make dialog based on what is happening in the clip. These scenes are often the funniest and some of the most memorable of the show, as the dialog here is actually improvised by the voice actresses themselves. For an example of a typical dubbing lake clip...
Watching the voice actresses fall in and out of character, playfully jab at each other's good or bad attempts at comedy, and often make genuinely gut-busting dialog makes the whole show feel like it was fun to make and work on in a way no other anime can. The voice actresses themselves almost feel like characters themselves, and learning about their own unique personalities and habits inform how we perceive the characters they portray. This extra bit of metanarrative makes the experience feel completely unlike any other anime out there (well, I say “unlike any other anime out there”, but there have been other series in this vein that have tried the same style of voice actresses improvising, like Straight Title Robot Anime and Tesagure Bukatsumono, but to a much lesser effect—I did not find either of these anime to be nearly as engaging as gdgd Fairies).
Now, if you've even looked at the poster for this show, you're probably thinking that there is one glaring aspect to this anime that I have yet to talk about in depth, and that is the way this show looks. Yes, gdgd Fairies is a low-budget CG kids show, but the fact that it is a cheap-looking CG show is part of what sells it so hard for me.
A lot of the comedy of gdgd Fairies is absurd, surreal, and just fucking weird, and the uncanny and unconventional artstyle of the show is able to capture the insanity of what is happening on screen better than any more traditionally styled show. While the main girls all manage to be adorable moe characters in their own unique ways, the “background characters” (stand-ins during games, “actors” in the Dubbing Lake, etc.) are all weirdly realistic looking, and the contrast between these real-ass looking people in their weird-ass situations makes the comedy that much funnier. Watching shrshr mow down 600 anime-looking old men is not as distinct and instantly memorable as watching her mow down 600 realistic old men. Absurdist comedy anime like Nichijou are funny in their own ways, sure, but there's just something about the contrasting, uncanny visuals of gdgd Fairies that really stands out to me.
Overall, gdgd Fairies is a unique anime that I love in every way. Sometimes anime can feel monotonous in terms of its visuals and content, and gdgd Fairies just exists in its own little bubble that feels untouched by anything else anime has ever tried to do. It's its own beast, and whether you absolutely love it like I do or just find it weird and offputting, I definitely think checking this show out worthwhile, just for the novelty of it. There is no other comedy anime out there that I have found to be so consistently funny, creative, and unique. It feels like gdgd Fairies has a goal in mind—to be an insane, absurdist clusterfuck of a comedy series that will leave you completely baffled by what is happening on screen, but not at the cost of sacrificing fun likable characters or solid comedy—and not only accomplishes it, but goes even further to add little details that aren't needed and metahumor and 4th wall breaking character depth.
If you are in the market for an original, hilarious comedy anime, definitely give this one a watch.
(copied this review over from my MAL account)