LBX Girls – Episode 1

By: Vrai Kaiser January 7, 20210 Comments
Riko looking down a sniper sight

Content Consideration: Mild fanservice

What’s it about? When Riko accompanies her friend to an event in Tokyo for the LBX mech toy line, she finds herself flung through a hole in spacetime to a world where the LBX are real weapons worn by “Armor Girls” and used to fight an alien threat. An LBX called “Assassin” has also manifested on her, she has no way to get home, and to top it off, this Japan’s geography is completely different than the one she remembers.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say it probably wouldn’t have taken me six hours to watch this premiere if it hadn’t come out on the same day as an attempted coup, but I also can’t reliably tell you how much of that time was “anxious distracted doomscrolling” and how much was “if they throw any more technobabble into this toy commercial, I will gouge my eardrums out with my headphones.”

a metallic spidery monster. subtitle: It's not working! The temportal conjugation surface is surpassing 60%!

This is one of those shows whose basic competence envelops it like a smooth, impenetrable chiton. There are no glaring nicks or dents, but any attempt to engage with it also slides clean off. Technically, the script is competent, setting up Riko’s plight and dropping her into a prolonged action scene while introducing the central conflict and the other main girls. It ticks off the boxes for “breather scene” and “comedic repartee” before throwing in the bit about this Japan’s elseworld geography as a last hook.

The dimension-hopping setup is weighted down by walls of cliche exposition and the aliens are that particular brand of Geiger-lite with a sprinkling of shellfish on top. The CG rigs are noticeable but move smoothly. If “cute girls with military hardware” is your subgenre of choice, you can pass some time with this, provided you’re willing to put up with the occasional boob jiggle and a sliding scale of outfit impracticality that includes framing the ending theme as one long upskirt shot.

a shot from below looking up a character's nose. subtitle: Aww, you're not cute at all
The boarding is also full of…choices

Perhaps it was inevitable that it would be polished to a featureless sheen, since this is a big toy commercial. I’d assumed the titular LBX, which Riko’s friend Mana talks up endlessly before the isekai-ing ensues, was a toy line invented for the series, but nope! Turns out these knockoff Gundams are indeed a real, established brand. While this did answer a few of my lingering questions, like why you would give every LBX girl a full magical transformation sequence from the word go rather than meting them out as cool surprises over time (because they’re all putting on TOYS and we NEED THAT VISIBILITY ON ALL OF THEM. EVERY TIME), it also burned away basically all of my remaining goodwill for the few moments of this episode I enjoyed. If I want to watch a show aggressively try to sell me toys, I’ll pick up the next season of PreCure. At least it’ll be charming.

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