First Impression: The Little Lies We All Tell

The day begins with a cheery “Gokigenyou!” as a dark-haired ojou-sama type admires the beauty of the flowers dotting her path and trades greetings with a prince type, bespectacled nerd type and a mildly snooty kawaii type. Just another day at an elite all-girls middle school! Er, until an upward pan of the camera reveals that lodged in the imposing clock tower of the school is…an alien spaceship?! Hilarity ensues as the secret identity of each girl is revealed to the audience—but not to each other—over lunch. The refined daughter of a rich family is really a Maiden Ninja who’s gone awol, determined to live like a Normal Girl, and now destined to fight off assassins on a daily basis, who have been despatched by her village as retribution for betraying her calling. The loli one is a Colonel from a militant alien race that uses dial-up technology, and farts from tentacles on her head that are disguised—with a little help from a mind-control teddy bear—as ribbons. The prince is indeed a prince, being a boy with a domineering identical twin sister (something that is actually genetically impossible) who forces him to swap places so that she can pursue her crush at the all-boys school her brother was originally due to attend. And the nerd is the only one in the know—at least partially: she’s a psychic and can read the minds of other girls, including alien girls apparently, but not boys. She doesn’t seem to have realized the limitations of her powers yet though, and can’t figure out why her one friend’s thoughts never seem to leek into her head. Together, the girls-who-aren’t-all-girls-or-even-human go about their day, each worried about the secret she hides and lamenting the high cost and complexity of being “normal”, while failing hilariously!

What a delightful surprise to close out premiere season! This is a solid situational comedy founded on the principles of defamiliarization—the weirdness of everyday life when you view it from a perspective that doesn’t take it all for granted—and the 4-koma gag manga which, incidentally, is the original form of this series. The humor is kicked up a notch or ten by the fabulous Ayane Sakura as Sekine, the psychic, who delivers her lines with such verve and mastery of tone and timing that she had me in stitches repeatedly, just like one of her other standout characters, Natsumi of Non Non Biyori fame. The art is playful, making full use of the visual language of comedy anime and manga, and amplifies the wittiness of the dialogue effectively. The “fake credits” strategy makes an appearance here too, as in Bocchi the Rock, but this series is more of a rapid-fire, light-hearted bit of jokery than the other top-notch comedy of the new season. There are also a ton of intriguing details—like the girls’ apparent air guitar band, and the Colonel using Taisho-era slang—that I’m looking forward to seeing come into play in some mad-cap way in the weeks to come. So yeah, count me in for this one, fart jokes and all.

The Little Lies We All Tell can be streamed on Crunchyroll.


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