The kaiju genre takes an, um, interesting form via Dino Girl Gauko, a kids’ anime series on Netflix in which a tween transforms from a mild-mannered suburban girl into Godzilla With a Wig when she gets mad. Is there a metaphor here?
DINO GIRL GAUKO: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
Opening Shot: A city in flames. The silhouette of a beast towers above the buildings. A helicopter flies into the frame, and the beast roasts it with a blast of fire from its horrible, horrible mouth.
The Gist: Don’t make her angry. You won’t like her when she’s angry: Naoko (voice of Naoko Matsui) lives in your typical average town with her typical average mom and her typical average dad who happens to be a small frog. It’s her first day at a new school, where she’ll attend class with humans like her and floating anthropomorphic globs and a kid who looks like a duck and a kid who looks like an indeterminate bird species and a kid who might be a furry. Their teacher is a robot.
Naoko makes a couple of new friends. She’s picked on for wearing a sailor suit, because it was the required uniform from her old school. She didn’t realize that this new school doesn’t require students to wear uniforms, possibly for fear of alienating floating anthropomorphic globs who don’t wear any clothes. A shitty girl who wears pink onesie pajamas and is always sucking on a pacifier spreads mean rumors about Naoko, who gets angry but squelches her feelings before things get out of hand. And then a doofus beans Naoko with a soccer ball and she flips out and turns into Dino Girl Gauko and grows as tall as the school and blasts the pacifier girl with fire and stomps on the soccer doofus and generally Hulks the snot out of everything around her. Cat’s out of the bag!
Our Take: I have no idea what’s going on here, but it’s pretty entertaining, like Adventure Time surrealism crossed with Saturday-afternoon cable creature-feature antics. It’s especially funny when she murders her schoolmates in fits of cold-blooded rage, which is a metaphor for every tween’s ability to murder their schoolmates in fits of cold-blooded rage. Emotions run hot when you’re 11, and I’m here to remind those ferociously displeased 11-year-olds that they also run hot well into your 40s, except that you’ve learned to compress them into a tiny tar-black wad of molten hatred that’ll eat you alive from the inside until you die a hollow husk of an exhausted void of a human.
Where was I? Right — sometimes the characters’ nostrils look like eyeballs, which is kind of funny, but also kind of confusing. The animation style consists of simple line drawings, the 2-D design squashed about as flat as it can get. It’s an aesthetic. Each DGG episode clocks in at seven minutes, so we should expect Naoko/Gauko’s character to develop in teensy little chunks throughout the remaining 19 chapters of season one, which includes a (surely hyper-dramatic) episode where Naoko suspects her frog dad of cheating on her mom. Oh, and one in which Gauko battles Mecha Gauko! Which has me wondering, who’s Gauko’s Mothra? Who’s Gauko’s Rodan? Who’s Gauko’s Ghidorah? Who’s Gauko’s Gabara? Who’s Gauko’s Jet Jaguar? Who’s Gauko’s King Caesar? Who’s Gauko’s Megalon? Who’s Gauko’s Gigan? Who’s Gauko’s Minilla? Who’s Gauko’s Godzuki?
Sex and Skin: None, but I think the soccer doofus has a crush on Gauko after she steps on him.
Parting Shot: Gauko roars at the sky as we hear soccer doofus say, “I’ve been stepped on by a dinosaur! This is the best!”
Sleeper Star: Her parents have passed along some pretty precarious genes, haven’t they? How do they feel about spawning a child who kills the living crap out of her classmates? Is that why she’s starting at a new school?
Most Pilot-y Line: “THAT DOES IT. I’VE TAKEN ALL I CAN TAKE FOR YOU PEOPLE!” says Naoko, before she turns into Gauko and spews flame like an uncontrollable war machine.
Our Call: STREAM IT. Dino Girl Gauko is off its hinges, and likely created by a very peculiar, creatively uninhibited person. In a world full of not peculiar, creatively inhibited things, stuff like this deserves our support.
The post Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Dino Girl Gauko’ on Netflix, an Insane Kids’ Anime About a Girl Who Becomes a Kaiju appeared first on Decider.