The Rolling Girls is set in Japan ten years after a war known as the “Great Tokyo War”. After the war, the country split up into its ten original prefectures, each one becoming an independent country.
Territorial disputes occur between the nations, so super-powered vigilantes known as “Bests” are hired in order to settle the disputes. Those who support the Bests but have no powers of their own are known as “Rests”.
One of these Rests, Nozomi Moritomo, is the protagonist of the show. When her hero Maccha Green is seriously injured in a fight, Nozomi decides to travel Japan in order to tackle requests for Maccha Green whilst she recuperates.
However, before the plot gets to that point, we are treated to the visual spectacle of the battle between two bests – the aforementioned Maccha Green and Kuniko Shigyou. From the first episode alone, it is clear that Wit Studio has taken a leaf out of Trigger’s book, since the animation style is entirely reminiscent of Kill la Kill.
At the end of the second episode, Nozomi sets off on her journey, with three friends – Yukina Kosaka, Ai Hibiki and Chiaya Misono. Yukina is terrible with directiosn, Ai wants to become a Best and Chiaya knows the childhood nicknames of the other three.
As The Rolling Girls continues on, Nozomi and her friends travel from plot to plot. They are all connected by Nozomi and her friends seeking pink heart-shaped stones that seem to bestow super powers, though that’s about it.
Each conflict that Nozomi and her friends get involved in generally takes up two episodes. Also, their presence within these conflicts is often just a coincidence, sometimes making the situation worse. They are fairly useless as replacements for Maccha Green, but they are determined to try their best regardless.
Naturally, it is the interactions of the side characters that really shines through. Starting with Maccha Green and Kuniko Shigyou, and all the way to the end, the other characters that Nozomi and co. meet are certainly an interesting bunch.
Since these characters all have their tales told in two-episode arcs, going into too much detail could lead to spoilers. It is very likely that these side characters could make a greater impact on the viewer than the main ones.
Still, the situations that Nozomi and her friends wind up certainly are spectacular. These situations are where Wit Studio’s animation style really shines. Any time Bests fight is fun to watch, and the rock concert at the end of one of the episodes is brilliant.
The Rolling Girls changes things up for the last few episodes – several subplots occur at the same time, with the four main characters split up. It is during this that we learn more about Chiaya, and her rather interesting background.
Another strong point of The Rolling Girls is the soundtrack. A lot of the music are covers of songs by Japanese punk rock band the Blue Hearts, sung by the main the cast. This point, and the animation style, could also lead some to compare The Rolling Girls to FLCL.
The Rolling Girls certainly has a lot in common with FLCL and Kill la Kill, but it never quite manages to achieve the same level of greatness. Still, it is worth watching, if only for the over-the-top scenes and great soundtrack.