Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! (2014)

These pigtails pack a punch!

Tail on! My initial thought upon finishing Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! was, ‘What! No obligatory beach/ swimsuit episode?’ — and I say this with the most heavy of hearts. Still, there’s no shortage of flesh on parade in this 12-episode gender-bender anime comedy based on a Japanese light novel series penned by Yume Mizusawa and illustrated by Ayumu Kasuga. Sure, the idea of an entire show based on a super-powered pigtail enthusiast sounds pretty absurd, one who uses the might of his own sexual fetishism to battle a race of goofy ‘otaku-like’ monsters intent on stealing the affinity of twin-tails from the people of Earth; but hey! It actually kind of works!

In short, Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! — or Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu in its mother tongue — tells the story of crimson-haired, high school student Sōji Mitsuka, an ordinary 15-year-old boy with an unusual obsession for twin-tails. When a mysterious large-breasted, silver-haired babe named Twoearle appears, Sōji’s fiery passion and sheer fixation on the cutesy hairstyle makes him the top candidate to become a twin-tailed warrior. With the Tail Gear bracelet entrusted to Sōji by its inventor, Twoearle, the twin-tail devotee is able to channel his love for the said hairdo and transform into Tail Red, an armor clad, pig-tailed loli heroine with superhuman strength and ability, who just so happens to be adorable af, too.

'Let's have a three-way ... phone call.'
‘Let’s have a three-way … phone call.’

Now, with an alien threat known as Ultimegil — an organization of phantom beasties (called Eremerian) who traverse the galaxy in search of ‘attribute’ (a type of energy generated by intense infatuation/ a strong liking) — Sōji is appointed as the planet’s prime protector. But such power often comes at a price, Sōji’s altar-ego fueling the creatures’ grand takeover, the booming trend brought on by Tail Red’s surging popularity supplying enough twin-tail attribute to feed Ultimegil’s plans to colonize and conquer the globe. Enlisting the aid of Aika Tsube, Sōji’s long-suffering, sapphire-haired childhood friend — who wishes her bud would just act more ‘normal’ — and Erina Shindō, the school council president at Yōgetsu Private Academy, it’s up to the lusty Tail Red and her all-girl recruits — Aika and Erina soon evolving into Tail Blue and Tail Yellow respectively — to save the day (and twin-tails of course) before it’s too late.

So first thing’s first, how does a boy just randomly turn into a girl? It’s all quite simple really — well, it’s pretty simple according to the world created by director Hiroyuki Kanbe, Oreimo (2010) — as the Tail Gear device worn by Sōji allows its user to magically transform into a mawkish two-tailed champion by means of a part-mecha cyber-type bodysuit — which is customized to fit the wearer’s physical characteristics — this metamorphosis initiated by the all-mighty twin-tail attribute harnessed by the said. So wa-lah! There you have it, folks — it’s easy-peasy (or apparently so)!

'Aha! I knew Dark Grasper was a Hatsune Miku fan!'
‘Aha! I knew Dark Grasper was a Hatsune Miku fan!’

One’s enjoyment of Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! is very much dependent on whether or not you’re able to surrender to the silliness on display, accepting (and embracing) this increasingly ridiculous send-up for what it is, split ends and all. Given that the series is a playful parody on various magical girl and super sentai works, it doesn’t take itself all too seriously, Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! a zany by-product of the genre it mimics; it’s peppy and enthusiastic to a fault. And I found myself constantly surprised (and legitimately taken aback) by its cunningness and wit — just look at some of the punny character names, Twoearle for instance (notice the wordplay anyone?); there’s even a story thread that slyly comments on the diminishing interest in pornographic mags, particularly amongst today’s teens — perhaps they’re all too glued to their smartphones to care about any sort of literature, erotic or not.

While the overarching narrative isn’t overly enthralling (the stakes not set too high either), Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! is fun enough to entertain, the characters’ straight-faced approach to the nonsensical setups making proceedings all the more laughable; though, the gender switch angle does provide a radical sense of umm … allure (for lack of a better word). With the plot short on intrigue, it’s the colorful cast, and their frenzied interactions, that maintain interest. Protagonist Sōji’s good-nature shines in both his male and female form, the freshman evenly offsetting his freakish ‘hair complex’ with fervor and gusto (one can’t help but admire the guy’s unswerving dedication to twin-tails) whilst Aika’s violent tendencies towards the full-figured Twoearle keeps dealings bouncy and full of volume, the buxom scientist constantly teasing Aika (who’s actually quite pleasant and down-to-earth) for having a boyish flat chest (which she is rather ashamed of) — Twoearle often being severely injured for it soon after. Sophomore Erina — who’s constantly shadowed by her busty maid Mikoto — is probably the least memorable of the leads, however, her ‘proper’ lady-like demeanor (a guise for her exhibitionism) makes for a nice contrast to the snappy crosstalk and roundness of the other key players.

'It's morphin' time!'
‘It’s morphin’ time!’

In terms of antagonists, Dark Grasper (aka Anko Isuna) — who hails from the same parallel world as Twoearle — perhaps makes the biggest impression, the inky-haired, violet eyed Grasper (or Tail Black in her ‘armed’ form) joining Ultimegil to locate her ‘secret’ lover, Twoearle, who disappeared from her home realm years earlier. The Ultimegil lackeys, on the other hand, are fairly one-dimensional, despite that fact that each has been bestowed with a unique perverted fetish — there’s a sicko with a doll-holding girl fetish, one with a ribbon fetish, heck, there’s even a creep with a fetish for itty-bitty titties — yet these kinky quirks are hardly capitalized on, their existence merely mentioned then forgotten — sigh! But hey, while far from complex and slightly archetypal, it’s the characters (both good and bad) that ultimately leave a dent, particularly when hefty chunks of talk (most of which is exposition) eat up a significant portion of screen time, the story often too knotty than it really ought to be.

Regarding artwork, Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! comes fairly stock-standard, the show brought to life by Japanese animation studio Production IMS. That said, the only real highlight here is the vivacious design of our scantily costumed defenders (and their ‘mahō shōjo-like’ changeovers into the said super-women), Erina’s ‘well upholstered’ weaponized Tail Yellow getup — which also sees the lemon-haired closet masochist undergo a breast and butt enlargement — supplying enough optical razzmatazz to satisfy your run-of-the-mill mecha and/ or fanservice aficionado. Look, Twoerle’s racy pink mini-skirt is pretty dang sexy, too!

One barbarous heroine
One barbarous heroine

Furthermore, the animation and ‘settings’ of Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! are also (to some degree) uninspired, the show sticking to generic locations that are somewhat commonplace to the anime medium; there’s your typical ‘in and around’ a conventional school, tones of blue skies and grey interiors (as backdrops), and of course some grassy terrain and rocky cliffs (yawn). The action scenes don’t fare much better either, most laden with still images, these sequences lacking any sort of dramatic choreography, the enemies almost always being defeated with one single blow. The Ultimegil weirdos are (at a minimum) amusing from a visual standpoint, each given a silly name — such as Draggildy, Wormgildy and Owlgildy (if you catch my drift) — which aligns with their outward appearance (so naturally, Wormgildy looks like a worm), most of these dim-witted baddies coming across as Pokémon rejects.

Soundtrack wise, Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! is quite light and jumpy, the anime shampooed with happy-go-lucky beats and those stock-standard fight-scene arrangements: there’s nothing overly original here, but the score (for the most part) generally works. Accompanied by forgetful imagery, the closing theme ‘Twin-Tail Dreamer!’ sung by the three main Japanese actresses — Sumire Uesaka, Yūka Aisaka and Chinatsu Akasaki, who voice Tail Red, Blue and Yellow — is a little ‘meh,’ but the bubbly opening track, ‘Gimme! Revolution’ performed by Maaya Uchida, is (at least) cool and catchy, playing alongside a lively animated intro that more or less mirrors what’s to come — though don’t be fooled as there’s no trip to the seaside in this anime (as you can see, I’m still cut up about this! *tear*)

Flawless Victory!
Flawless Victory!

As a turn-your-brain-off satire (with a pinch of irony), Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! falls somewhere between good to decent, though, at times, things do get a little tiresome and a tad repetitive. Sporting a passable English dub by Funimation, it’s ultimately the unpredictability and testy character dealings — most of which involve the gals clawing for Sōji’s affection — that sell this one, Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! (really) being better than it has any right to be. So, as a hair-larious, off-the-wall harem, Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! gets a passing braid!

3.5 / 5 – Great

Reviewed by S-Littner

Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! is released through Madman Entertainment Australia