Catching up with Spring 2020: Gal to Kyouryu

Title: Gal to Kyouryuu / Gal & Dino
Length: 12 episodes (4 seen)
Genre: Comedy, avant garde

As I’ve gotten older, my understanding of entertainment’s purpose has become increasingly transient. It no longer matters to me, particularly, if the makers enjoy their craft, or if something will inspire a shockwave of copycats which may or may not exceed the quality of the original; all that matters is whether I can say, wholeheartedly, that something is worth talking or thinking about. Good or bad can come later. Gal to Kyouryuu, then, is an elephant in the room this season, and not just because I can’t clearly define it as ‘anime’ or not.

From the collective that brought us the eponymous Pop Team Epic anime comes another stoner comedy that transcends the realms of animation. Unlike the former anime, Gal to Kyouryuu’s skits are more longer and developed than the mere seconds that Pop Team Epic gave to soon-to-expire nerd culture references, and the characters become surprisingly fleshed out. The titular Gal is Kaede, is a woman living in a small flat, works at a convenience store and is heavily into ‘Gal’ (gyaru) fashion and culture, and she winds up bringing this blue, cartoonish dinosaur back to her flat. And they hang out.

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I did not expect to find myself so charmed by a scene of Kaede and her friend Yamada taking selfies with dino before becoming oddly interested in the crime show that Dino was watching, but that’s the kind of setup of the show. Jokes are smelted into the delivery moreso than the situations, because normal life is merely given a spice in Gal to Kyouryuu. And it works so well even when enjoying its down-to-earth moments like this, or when Dino tries on Kaede’s makeup, because it has a sweet ‘why not’ attitude complimenting the bizarreness. Kaede figures everything will be fine, and it’s oddly sweet.

Which, by the way, is exceptionally bizarre. The skits are intermingled alongside traditional clay animation skits of Dino doing Dino things like eating ramen, and then random bursts of ‘find Dino’ in crowded screens, and, best of all, the second half of the episode is dedicated to live action skits that blend J Drama with dumb comedy – and utilise an abundance of sound effects, hazy lighting, stilted angles and over-edited visuals to truly escalate. If Kaede’s normal life was worth watching, it is Dino’s real-life escapades that make Gal to Kyouryuu an entry into avant garde comedy.

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Don’t go expecting punchlines in this show. Occasionally Dino or Kaede will be given ‘thinking time’ before saying or doing exactly what you expect (usually accepting a situation), and gags will visually set themselves up before happening, demonstrating a sharp comic timing and yet still eluding ultimate laughometers. The reason you watch this show is the consistent urge to escape giggling, because, as in the mind-bending Zakoshi sketches, even the crew behind the camera can’t help corpsing.

It’s a particularly silly brand of comedy, so you might find yourself trying not to giggle, but it’s okay to give in. We’ll figure out if it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ later when we inevitably remember this bizarre little thing.

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