Cover of the first manga volume
|Written by||Mihona Fujii|
|Original run||1999 – 2002|
|Anime television series|
|Super Gals! Kotobuki Ran|
|Directed by||Tsuneo Kobayashi|
|Original run||July 4, 2001 – September 26, 2002|
An anime adaptation, Super Gals! Kotobuki Ran (超GALS!寿蘭 Sūpā Gyaruzu! Kotobuki Ran ), aired in Japan on TV Tokyo between 2001 and 2003, running a length of 52 episodes. The anime series was produced by Studio Pierrot, and the first season (episodes 1-26) has been licensed and dubbed for North American distribution by ADV Films under the name Super Gals!. Distributor The Right Stuf International announced that they have licensed the second season (episodes 27-52) at Anime Expo 2006 and released a subtitled boxset containing all 26 episodes on January 10, 2007.
The series revolves around the kogal (generally known as gyaru, or "gal") subculture in Japan. The title character, Ran Kotobuki is the self-proclaimed "world's greatest gal." As a teenager in Shibuya, she's determined to live out the gal lifestyle for the rest of her life, and she has gained a reputation as the most respected gal in all of Shibuya. However, she comes from a family of police officers—her grandparents, her parents, and her older brother are all officers, and her younger sister is set on following in their footsteps. Ran has other dreams for her future, but as frequently shown, she has acquired the family's sense of justice and spirit.
Gals! doesn't always showcase Ran's point of view. It really consists of teenagers who live the same life as regular students and kogals in Japan. There's romance, troubles, drama and insecurities, especially Miyu and Aya's (since they take their relationships much more seriously than Ran).
As a result of its reference to this lifestyle, ADV has given the series a 15+ rating, since many Americans unfamiliar with Japanese culture might see the lifestyle, especially the opening chapter involves "enjo kōsai" as nothing more than prostitution, which is illegal in Japan.
Names are in Western order, with the surname. The Japanese order name (family, given) is used in the first nine volumes of CMX's manga release (save for volume 10), while the Western order name used in ADV's release.
- Ran Kotobuki (寿蘭 Kotobuki Ran )
- Voiced by: Megumi Toyoguchi (Japanese), Luci Christian (English)
- Ran Kotobuki is the title character of the series and its main protagonist. She is a very strong-willed, athletic, and attractive gal who rules the streets of Shibuya. Although she comes from a long line of police officers, she is ditzy and absent-minded when it comes to school and the only subject she gets good grades on is physical education and her poorest subjects are mathematics and literature. When she was in elementary school, she was enthusiastic about becoming a police officer, but quit the ambition after learning that she won't be able to dye her hair or wear her favorite accessories. She is usually obsessed with anything that is trendy or catches her eye, usually brown-nosing guys who find her cute to buy them, and is also quite gluttonous. But inside her heart, she has a strong sense of justice that runs in her blood and is extremely intimidating and tough when she's in combat mode. She is a role model to the junior students at Hounan High for her social status as a magnificent gal for justice and her very understanding nature for teens who are learning to cope, but some who looked upon her with jealousy and anger. Despite being an underachiever, Ran is very smart and has a good memory on what she is interested in (such as shopping). There is a running gag in the manga that some of her friends say that if only she used that (memory, concentration, etc.) on studying. Her boyfriend is Tatsuki Kuroi, who is just as ditzy and dumb as she is. While their love life can be strangely comedic at times, it is also very complicated due to Ran's embarrassment of intimacy, and thus studiously avoids it. She also has a foreign friend, Vivian Lin, a Taiwanese celebrity who looks amazingly like her, whom she met during a school trip to Taiwan (only shown in two stories of the manga). In the end of the series, Ran eventually became a police officer and had three kids with Tatsuki (as shown in Mihona Fujii's page in the KochiKame Anniversary Book). Ran wishes that she has soft hair, but according to Rui Otahata, her hair is damaged and dry due to the amount of bleach she pours on it.
- Miyu Yamazaki (山咲美由 Yamazaki Miyu )
- Voiced by: Haruna Ikezawa (Japanese), Kira Vincent-Davis (English)
- Miyu is an independent, headstrong, and very kind classmate of Ran and one of her closest friends. However, behind her romantic and cute cover lies a dark past. When she was in third grade, her parents divorced (her father is currently remarried) and she lived with her mother, who paid more attention to looking for a new man rather than to see Miyu grow up (she despised Miyu because she reminded her of her divorced husband). She once was the leader of a street gang called the "Resistance", often wreaking mayhem and irritation during middle school and had a rough-mannered and threatening personality that Ran despised. One day, Yamato (by then a rookie cop) saved her from a tough situation, and his dedication to helping with Miyu's problems made her fall in love with him. Because of that, she left the life of crime and became a much more polite girl after Yamato told her his wish for her to be good and eventually became great friends with Ran. However, she remains an incredible fighter and can get back to her previous violent self when someone completely upsets her and when she becomes uncharacteristically furious. In conversation, she has a habit of referring to herself in the third person, as many 'cutesy' characters tend to do. Ran often remarks how Miyu is "lovey-dovey" with her older brother and there is a running gag on both series when they are interrupted when they are trying to kiss, usually by Ran. When her mom eventually moved out, she moved into a new apartment and married Yamato in Hawaii in the manga.
- Aya Hoshino (星野綾 Hoshino Aya )
- Voiced by: Oma Ichimura (Japanese), Kim Prause (English)
- Aya is one of the top students in Ran's class, but she was secretly doing enjo kōsai to earn money according to the first chapter/episode, since her parents were very strict about her being in number one in academics and wouldn't let her do any part-time jobs or go out. Ran found out and confronted her about it, making her realize that she was doing the wrong thing fortunately before Aya "did it" with somebody. Since then, Aya became good friends with Ran and Miyu. She is a shy but honest and studious individual who enjoys academics while also longing for excitement every now and then, which is thankfully provided by Ran. Aya strengthens and changes during course of the series. She's usually a crybaby when it comes to sad or happy moments, but she grows braver and learns to stand on her own. As the series progresses, she develops a huge crush on the cold and popular Rei Otohata and has a difficult and awkward time at attempting to confess her feelings to him. She and Rei go through a bumpy road in their relationship. At first, Rei had a secret, well-hidden crush on Ran. However, Ran was never aware of his feelings for her and does not reciprocate his feelings. She asked him to date Aya because she knew Aya liked him. To make Ran happy and out of pity for Aya, he starts to go out with Aya. Rei becomes annoyed with Aya when she wanted to go wherever he would go, telling her to be more decisive for herself and quit following what others want. Aya grows suspicious that Rei is dating her out of pity and that he might like Ran instead, and both suspicions are confirmed when Aya asks Rei about his true feelings. However, near the end of the series when Aya becomes stronger, Rei's feelings for Ran disappears and he falls for Aya. This starts to show in volume 8 of the manga and the last episode of the anime. At the end of both the anime and manga, she is dating Rei (now that he is truly in love with her), and succeeds in going to the same college with him in the manga.
- Rei Otohata (乙幡麗 Otohata Rei )
- Voiced by: Hiroshi Kamiya (Japanese), Chris Patton (English)
- Rei Otohata is a student at Meisho Daichi High School (Champion High School in ADV's dub). He is also known as "#1", because he was featured in a magazine as being the coolest and most handsome teenage guy in the area. He rides a motorcycle and is good friends with Yuya. He has a cold and detached demeanor, and is constantly annoyed by Ran. He has trouble expressing his feelings towards others (especially Aya). Aya develops a strong crush on him. At first he was sympathetic towards her, dating her out of pity because Ran asked him to after she noticed Aya's feelings for him. Aya eventually suspected that he didn't truly love her and that he may love Ran instead, finding both of her suspicions to be true when she confronts Rei about his true feelings. However, near the end of the series, his feelings for Ran fade away and he starts to fall for Aya in volume 8, and these feelings start to show in the final episode of the anime. They even almost kiss in volume 9, which Rei initiates, much to Aya's surprise, after she confesses her love for him again. This is, however, interrupted by Naoki, who at the time has a crush on Aya. Rei affirms to a crestfallen Naoki that he was going to kiss Aya because she was his girlfriend, which leaves Aya blushing until the end of the chapter. In volume 10, he even gives Aya the second button of his Gakuran, which is significant for their relationship, as in Japanese culture, a boy who graduates from high school would give the second button on his Gakuran to the girl he is in love with, in a way confessing his feelings for her, as the second button on his Gakuran is the closest to his heart. Also, later in volume 10, when some alumni from his and Yuya's school hit on Aya, Rei tells them to go find their own girlfriends. He is also seen smiling as he teaches Aya how to bodyboard.
- Yuya Aso (麻生裕也 Asō Yūya )
- Voiced by: Kenichi Suzumura (Japanese), Greg Ayres (English)
- Yuya is also a student at Meisho Daichi High School, and he is known as "#2" or "Second Place", as he was the runner-up to Rei in a popularity magazine poll. He and Rei are friends. Early in the series, he develops a crush on Ran, even role-playing what it would be nice to romance her, but she is oblivious to the fact. The crush gets worse when Tatsuki joins in and confesses successfully to Ran. In the anime, he helps Mami Honda out to the point that Mami starts falling for him, even though he still has a crush on Ran. Near the end of the series, he gives up that crush, and dates Mami and it turns out they enjoy each other's company after all.
- Tatsuki Kuroi (黒井直樹 Kuroi Tatsuki )
- Voiced by: Yukimasa Obi (Japanese), Jason Douglas (English)
- Tatsuki Kuroi (also nicknamed Tatsukichi by Ran) is a wild and kind student at Machida West High School, and he calls himself "the parapara king of Machida" (also known as "Machida Black", since the "kuro" in his last name means "black"). In the manga he is also called Blackwell (the literal translation of his surname). He is often nicknamed "Monkey Boy" since his personality is very similar to that of a monkey. He becomes Ran's boyfriend, although she studiously avoids anything remotely approaching intimacy other than hugging or holding hands. Because of this, at times Tatsuki wonders if he is 'okay' as Ran's boyfriend and wonders whether she truly likes him the way he does her; when he wants to leave Shibuya because of his doubts Ran confronts him, demanding who he is to say what she should and shouldn't have in her life and that she gets embarrassed saying things like 'I love you' and he is not 'okay', but 'great' as her boyfriend, thus calming his doubts. He likes to use English words and phrases in his conversations. Sometimes he says a phrase in English then he will say then same phrase in Japanese, or he will say a phrase that the first part is in Japanese, and then the second part in English, and then he will say the same phrase again, but switch what is in Japanese and what is in English (example: "Black nichiyōbi", "Black Sunday", and then "Kuroi Sunday"). He also likes to call Yuya "brother" in English.
- Yamato Kotobuki (寿大和 Kotobuki Yamato )
- Voiced by: Hiroki Takahashi (Japanese), Paul Locklear (English)
- Ran's and Sayo's older brother (Ran by nine years and Sayo by eleven years) and unlike Ran, he has a sensitive and passionate personality that shows through his job as a cop, and is usually on duty at the Shibuya "koban". The only thing that annoys him is when Ran causes trouble in Shibuya and he has to bring her to the police station. His love interest is Ran's best friend, the much-younger Miyu Yamazaki, whom he first met when he was a rookie cop and when Miyu was a troubled and violent gangster. It was he that helped her to be good, since he was the only one who believed in her. In the end, he helped Miyu move into her new apartment and married her after high school graduation (the marriage was only seen in the manga).
- Sayo Kotobuki (寿沙夜 Kotobuki Sayo )
- Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya (Japanese), Hilary Haag (English)
- Ran's and Yamato's younger sister. She dreams of being a detective like the hero of her favorite television show, Detective Kudou of Odaiba Cop. Sayo and her boyfriend, Masato Iwai, often roleplay as conspicuous detectives, drawing the attention of onlookers and inciting frustration from Ran who is bothered by their antics. She is very energetic and enthusiastic about everything she does - however, she is slightly accident prone and often falls face down when she tries to run away or exit in a dramatic fashion. She ends her sentences with the phrase "You bet!" ( だっちゅ datchu ). In the end of the series she is still with Masato and they both go the same high school that Ran goes to.
- Taizo Kotobuki (寿泰三 Kotobuki Taizō )
- Voiced by: Ginzō Matsuo and Fumihiko Tachiki (Japanese), John Gremillion (English)
- Ran's father is the local Chief of Detectives. He disapproves of his daughter's lifestyle. He tries his best to make Ran say that she wants to be a police officer, and often tries various tactics to get her to do various jobs helping the people (like not giving her money). He is also famous for employing a technique called "Taizo's Giant Swing of Fury" on Ran when he loses patience with her and once on Sayo.
- Kiyoka Kotobuki (寿清香 Kotobuki Kiyoka )
- Voiced by: Yuko Kobayashi (Japanese), Christine Auten (English)
- Ran's mother who is also a police officer. It is a running gag throughout the series about her mysterious age, as she appears to be much younger than her husband. She is much more patient with Ran and the entire family in general- she never seems upset by Ran's choice to be a Gal as is very supportive of her children. Towards the end of the manga, she tells Miyu "I already think of you as my daughter", showing just how nurturing she can be.
- Mami Honda (本多マミ Honda Mami )
- Voiced by: Aya Ishizu (Japanese), Allison Sumrall (English)
- Mami is a gal from the neighboring Ikebukuro district where she is known as the "Queen of Ikebukuro". She has a fierce rivalry with Ran and participates in several competitions with her. She develops feelings for Yuya after he comforts her during some of the matches. She later forms a truce with Ran in volume 5 of GALS! (It's okay to have a change of heart). In the anime, she comes from a very rich family. She seems to have a split personality, as in one of the episodes she is at a tea party when she gets a call gossiping that Ran has a boyfriend.
- Harue Kudou (工藤ハルエ Kudō Harue )
- Voiced by: Reiko Takagi (Japanese), Cynthia Martinez (English)
- Harue is Mami's best friend. She was once a member of a gang called the "Eagles", which was broken up by Miyu's "Resistance" gang. She once sent in a nasty email to everyone in school about Miyu and her past. Her name means "owl" in Japanese.
- Masato Iwai (祝匡人 Iwai Masato )
- Voiced by: Kouki Miyata (Japanese), Clint Bickham (English)
- Masato is Sayo's boyfriend since the beginning of junior high. He fell in love with her as "the cute girl who always wore a hat" (she actually wore hats to school because she cut her bangs too short). From then on, they were a steady couple. He's a bit fun-loving and kind of weird like Sayo and imitates as a junior cop with her, but very just and gallant, especially to Sayo. At the end of the series, he goes to the same high school as Sayo, and they are still a couple.
- Naoki Kuroi (黒井直樹 Kuroi Naoki )
- Voiced by: Daisuke Sakaguchi
- Naoki Kuroi is Tatsuki's little brother, who appears starting in season 2 of the anime. He's a street-smart, outgoing, but good-hearted boy who, like his brother, thinks of himself as a ladies man, but ends up having crushes on every girl he meets, including Ran, Miyu, Sayo, and, at the end of the TV series, he has a crush on Kasumi. In the manga, he was so optimistic that he had crushes on Ran, then Sayo, then Miyu, then Aya! He enjoys riding a skateboard. He works at their father's ramen shop every now and then, and someday wants to run the business. At first Naoki is upset that Tatsuki will not take over the family business, but Tatsuki tells Naoki that he wants to follow his own path.
- Nakanishi (中西)
- Voiced by: Ryu Manatsu (Japanese), John Swasey (English)
- Ran's teacher. He is very annoyed whenever Ran arrives late or comes up with a pathetic excuse for not having her homework. He is called "Naka-Teach" by Ran. Nakanishi tries to help Ran to do better in school by making her go to his after school classes. He always has to scold her.
- Satsuki Iida (飯田さつき Iida Satsuki ) and Rie Aihara (相原りえ Aihara Rie )
- Satsuki Voiced by: Miyuki Yamasaki (Japanese), Cynthia Ann Feaster (English)
- Rie Voiced by: Ryouka Shima (Japanese), Jessica Boone (English)
- Satsuki and Rie are Ran's schoolmates since elementary school. Satsuki has blonde hair in a short ponytail, and Rie has black hair. They are two of Ran's good friends.
- Tan Face Trio (日焼け顔·トリオ Hiyake-gao·torio )
- Tan Face Red Voiced by: Yukiko Tamaki (Japanese), Kaytha Coker (English)
- Tan Face Yellow Voiced by: Shunrin (Japanese), Shondra Marie (English)
- Tan Face Blue Voiced by: (Japanese), Nora Stein (Ep. 1-18) and Elena Coates (Ep. 19-26) (English)
- The three ganguro girls who enjoy bugging Ran. They are identified by the colors red, yellow, blue. They spend much of their time in "sun-salos".
- Kazuki Katase (片瀬一樹 Katase Kazuki )
- Voiced by: Akimitsu Takase
- Kazuki is a boy who befriends Aya. He seems to be studious but disapproves Aya hanging around non-academic friends. He becomes angry for what Rei does to Aya. Kazuki later told Aya that he likes her.
These characters were developed for the anime series.
- Kasumi Tsukino (月野霞 Tsukino Kasumi )
- Voiced by: Yuko Sasamoto
- Kasumi is a homely glasses girl who comes on the show around the later part of the first season and is a regular in the second season. At first, she appears to be in Ran's fan club. Her dream is to be the number one gal in Shibuya and overthrow Ran. Her reasons for becoming a gal is because, when she was younger, she was picked on by some guys. A gal (who appears to have been Towa) saves her from being bullied. Her and Ran have a strong rivalry and she tries her hardest to do something that would cause Ran to leave Shibuya and thus pave the way for her to be number 1. This usually involves using a disguise. However all of her plans against Ran usually fail, and either she says who she is, or Ran and her friends figure out her disguise. She also finds out Ran's secret from Towa, although it's never revealed what Ran's secret is. She also has a strong sense of right, when needed. When her and Ran where trying to save up enough money to buy a jacket that each of them want badly. Kasumi sells items at a flea market in order to raise money, but when a boy wants a refund for a toy that does not work, she gives back the money to the boy. In the end she goes to the same High School as Ran. Also, Naoki falls for her when she tells him not to cry.
- Towa Himejima (姫島永久 Himejima Towa )
- Voiced by: Eri Saito
- Towa is a young woman who runs the Palm Tree Cafe. She is friends with Yamato and the actor who plays Detective Kudoh. She has known Ran since Ran was just a little girl, and they used to play together. Towa was one of the first gals in Shibuya, and was the number one gal back in the day, before Towa passed the title to Ran. She overreacts at times, and when Ran upsets her, she says that she will tell her friends her secret (which is never revealed in the show, but according to Kasumi isn't actually very interesting). She also has a black belt in Karate, and is also kind hearted. When Miyu needs a place to stay, she lives in the empty room at the Palm Tree Cafe. At the end of the series she gives the manager job to the actor who plays "Detective Kudoh", as she quits her job.
- Minigal Tan and Minigal White
- Minigal Tan Voiced by: (Japanese), Serena Varghese (English)
- Minigal White Voiced by: (Japanese), Jessica Boone (English)
- These chibi gals introduce the various gal-terminology throughout the series.
- The World's Greatest Gal♥Go, Go→Ran Kotobuki
- Shibuya♥Thrilling→Great Dragnet
- A Girl's Feelings♥Heart Pounding→Red Streak
- Have It?♥Don't Have It?→Luck With Guys?
- Heart♥In Pieces→Is It Over With Aya!?
- Pool♥Exciting→Junior Detectives!
- Black Shadow♥Creeping Up→Targeted Miyu
- Heart♥Guilty→Miyu's Past
- Memories♥Tearful→Sayo's Been Kidnapped?
- Yuya♥Nervous→A Rival Appears!
- Crossing Shibuya♥Fun-Fun→Grand Prix
- Promise♥Bye-Bye→Kendo Girl
- Super Debutante♥Goody-Goody→Ran Kotobuki
- Maki♥Shiny New→First Year Gal!
- Revenge♥Burning→Snowboard Battle!
- Dappled Sunlight♥Sparkling→Romantic Anniversary
- Feelings of Love♥Wavering→Aya Confesses!?
- Odaiba♥Crackling→Great Final Battle!
- Sun♥Sun-Sun→Summer Girl!
- Mami-rin♥Dreamy-Eyed→Her First Love
- Certain Victory♥Go! Go!→Sports Fest
- School Culture Fest♥Para-Para→Meisho Queen
- Tear It Off♥Rip, Rip→Teacher's Gold Plate Exterior
- Off to Machida♥The Monkey Leaves→Tatsukichi Gets Dumped!?
- Yamato♥Dead Serious→Proposes!?
- Super Cop♥Hard-Working→Ran Kotobuki
- Brother♥Kichi-kichi→Naokichi Appears!
- Yuya♥Crying→Talks About Being a Man
- Mami-rin♥Lovey-Dovey→Falls For Yuya
- Bukuro♥In Circles→Mystery of the Extension
- Welcome♥Exciting→Palm Tree Grand Opening
- Ran-pyon♥Irritated→A New Rival!?
- Kasumi♥Pissed→The Great Plot for Revenge!
- Aya-ppe♥Teary-Eyed→Otohata Syndrome
- Romantic Forecast♥Unclear→Otohata then Katase!?
- Hot Springs♥Viva Viva→The Gal Incident in the Northern Steam Clouds
- Secret♥Revealed→Mami-rin in Danger!
- Heart♥Aching→Otohata's Words
- Christmas Eve♥Jingle-Jingle→Emergency Bell of Love
- Ran-pyon♥Dizzy→Becomes Sayo!?
- Shibuya Soldier♥Mystery→Maru-Q Moon
- Taizo♥Enthusiastic→Police Training Project!
- Pure Love♥Nervous→Rie's Love Tale
- Killed in the Line of Duty♥Weeping→Odaiba Shark's Final Day!
- Signs of Love♥Various→Valentine's Day
- Clash♥Slurp Slurp→Ramen Battle!
- Kasumi♥Toasty Warm→Her Dream Coat
- Gal Battle♥Fierce→Mami-rin Finished!?
- Heartbreak♥Painful→Miyu's Place to Call Home
- Misgivings of the Heart♥Stirring→Cold Spring Breeze
- Friendship♥Smiles→ID Tags of the Heart
- Goodbye♥Ran-ran→The Skies of Shibuya Remain Unchanging
- Para Para, a dance often seen in this series, is a type of dancing where the dancers perform preset movements, usually unique to the song.
- Prough, Jennifer S. (2011). "Material Gals: Girls' Sexuality, Girls' Culture, and Shōjo Manga". Straight from the heart : gender, intimacy, and the cultural production of shōjo manga. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press. pp. 110–134. ISBN 978-0-8248-3528-6.
- "Super GALS!". RightStuf.
- Supergals at the Wayback Machine (archived May 17, 2011) - Enoki Films official page, with brief episode summaries
- "TV Tokyo Gals! page" (in Japanese).
- Super GALS! at TV.com - with episode summaries