I've never felt more trepidation with writing a review than I have with BFF Girls, for two reasons. First, I just don’t think I'm well equipped—as a father of three sons—to adequately comment on the storytelling components of the short which deal with menstruation. Though I fully understand what's happening on a physiological level (I have sisters, I hear things), there's certainly some layered humor pertaining to the onset of the menstrual cycle that's likely flying over my head. And for that, I am deeply sorry. And double-deeply-sorry to anyone I offend reading on past this admission of inexcusable ignorance as well.
Second, the anime-influenced presentation can definitely be construed in such a way that has the entire thing come across as offensive (but more on that later).
However, as a self professing man-child (who's consumption of entertainment media during the formative years of my life consisted of questionable Japanese anime)—for me—the otaku aspects of BFF Girls landed perfectly; as did the dripping satire which framed its presentation. Therefore, that particular aspect will sit as the focus for the rest of my review.
Now, going back to my second reason of trepidation, there’s no question that if viewed at face value, BFF Girls can come across as (and this is putting it mildly) culturally insensitive. After all, we’re talking about three anime-obsessed American “girls” that transform into English speaking (Japanese dubbed) Japanese women dressed in Sailor Moon cosplay.
But the absurdist nature of the short, coupled with the heavy-handed otaku representation and inclusion of bad anime stereotypes (a horny sukebe cat named Neko Sensei, for one) bluntly hints at self awareness, making the proceedings easier to enjoy without feeling quite as guilty as you otherwise would.
And enjoy BFF Girls I most certainly did! Brian Lonano and Victoria Cook have put together a colorful, high energy, senses-assaulting hallucinogenic after school special steeped in crimson fun. There’s just no shortage of visual stimulation, each frame packed with gags, pop references, and goofy (sometimes endearing) characters, ensuring that something new will be seen each time you sit down for a watch. At its most chaotic, I was reminded a bit of Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim movie, only more…unhinged. There are no rules here, everything sort of zigzags to an unseen (but unmistakably present) sugar-fueled beat, this most apparent in Fabuloso Doom’s disturbing declaration to drink period blood (even when wisely advised against doing so) in order to, uh, stay young? Oh, and the means of attack: a super-absorbent ghost tampon that…well, absorbs blood, really really well.
Ok, maybe more like acid-fueled beat. Either ways, you’re not going to be bored (pissed off maybe, depending again, on how you interpret its intentions), but not bored. And if you’re someone who happens to share the same warped sensibilities as yours truly, give BFF Girls a rental and educate yourself (as I did) on the transformative healing powers of menstruation—and friendship.
Sailor Moon sex ed in a Hausu blender. Never have I seen a live action feature capture the overall feel of an over the top no holds barred anime like this. I’m speechless...
BFF girls shows no matter what experiences life may throw at you, they are easy to overcome with best friends at your side - and some red bean ice cream. Brian Lonano just kicked down the TTF13 doors with a perverted cat on his shoulder, doused us in period blood and claimed the #1 short of the year trophy.