As with most popular things they are bound to get some kind of portrayal in Pop culture. Gyaru has now been around for the better part of 30 years so we have gotten our fair share of just that. Thankfully a lot of it has been great and fun, but there are some not so good ones as well as some creations we just wish wouldn’t exist, and some simply funny!
Some of our readers might be familiar with “Gyaru of the Day” over on Twitter, but she tweets about all kinds of gyaru that can be found in movies, manga, anime video games and even childrens shows. We love seeing the love for gyaru she spreads and wanted to be able to work with her on a piece for Papillon as well. Please check Gyaru of the day out after giving this post a read and see the great content she delivers on a daily basis!
This will be a long read, so get comfortable with a blanket and a drink and dig in!
Gyaru in Pop Culture; The Good
These are series that have great representation of gals. The characterization of the girls, diversity in styles (as a lot opt to just focus on kogal,) and lack of sexual scenes that heightens the misconception that gyaru is something sexual, or that all gyaru have sex in their mind.
Thou Hast a Good Night I Hope
Both a live action drama, and a manga, the story is about Takumi Satsuki. A young man who spends most of his time playing Dragon Quest X, an online multiplayer RPG, using a female character named Powder, along with his good friend Goro-san; After a while he agrees to let Goro-san live with him due to home struggles. It’s not until then that he realizes Goro-san is actually a woman named Miyako Okamoto, and a gyaru to be specific, who thought that Takumi was also a girl. The series focuses on them getting around their differences, and bonding over their love for the Dragon Quest series. I don’t just recommend this series to people looking for more gyaru content, but also to anyone who enjoys MMOs!
Idolmaster is a media franchise ranging from several different video games, to anime, and manga. With such an extensive cast (200+ idols!) it’s no surprise that there are gyaru included. While the series has some issues in the mobile games, of sexualizing it’s younger cast, the series does include gyaru of several substyles that are rarely depicted, including, but not limited to, Onee, OraOra, Amekaji, Kogal, and even Oniikei with a Gyaruo!
A super sweet and heartwarming story about a gal from the countryside who moves to Tokyo with big dreams as a Yamamba and later turns into a fashionable Onee gyaru/Ane Agejo who falls in love while working at Machida 109.
Follows Gyaru fashion really well and portrays the main characters gyaru lifestyle in a very upbeat and a cute way!
Ririko, a hime gyaru in Shibuya, finds herself playing an amatuer detective role. She is keen to solve cases to prove herself worthy of elite police detective Nii, whom she has a strong crush on. This series is great simply for the fashion alone, mainly showing hime gyaru, and agejo! It stands out to me for featuring those styles!
Gal and Dino
Kaede gets drunk and accidentally lets a Dinosaur into her apartment. Kaede is a reiwa gal and this story follows her everyday with Dino. The series gets completely wild, in a way somewhat similar to the hit series Pop Team Epic.
The Mischievous Gal Anjou-san
While having some ecchi moments, this is a mostly laid back series about a sporty-type gal teasing her crush. The male love interest is thankfully not a creep, like most gal romance, and even defends her in a scene where she’s creeped on, and degraded for the way she dresses.
The Story Between a Dumb Prefect, and a High School Girl with an Inappropriate Skirt Length
While the name may raise some eyebrows, the series is surprisingly wholesome! It revolves around a straight-lace perfect Sakuradaimon, who is bad with social interactions, a rebellious gal who refuses to listen to him, and how their relationship evolves as they try and understand each other.
See You at the Food Court Tomorrow
A series with a realistic characterization of two girls, Yamamoto, a low energy gal who doesn’t care much for social media and the like, and her best friend Wada, who’s obsessed with social media, and is quick to complain about everything online.
Hoshino, Close your Eyes
A series about an antisocial student named Rui Kobayakawa, whose only talent is painting portraits, which he often does in a way of venting anger. He meets the popular girl Misaki Hoshino, whose secret is that her friend puts her makeup on for her every day, as she’s completely unskilled at it; The series also features a gyaru delinquent named Manaka Katou, who, while originally introduced as a bully, is shown to be much more!
I’m admittedly a bit torn with this series, really. It’s a live action drama, about a cowboy named Shinnosuke on the search for a girl named Imoko. Imoko has gotten caught in the gyaru circle Angel Heart. He finds himself helping out the circle with their troubles, while also trying to find Imoko. This series however, gets a little… not so great, as Shinnosuke comes from a Native American tribe. This is depicted in a very stereotypical, and offensive way. Aside from that, it’s a light hearted series, especially if you just focus on the gal circle, just please, be wary of that part of it!
Itou-kun Doesn’t Know About Love
A faceless ghost who doesn’t understand much of human culture befriends a clumsy romantic gyaru. As they start dating, he learns more and more about what it means to love. Their relationship is completely wholesome!
Section Manager Kawahara and his Gal Subordinate
A gyaru becomes a new employee in a usually strict company. To her manager’s frustration, she’s a casual worker, but goes hardcore with her gyaru style in the work place! This series feels unique as the gyaru is not a teenager, and there are also no sexual scenes.
Teke Teke Rendezvous
Tayoko is a gyaru who flaunts herself on the outside, but is still completely inexperienced when it comes to relationships. She’s a student in the agriculture department, but also works part time as a hostess, where she meets and becomes interested in a patron’s grandson. Despite nothing being graphic, I’d still recommend this to 18+ viewers only for it’s content.
Gal and Otaku Can’t Understand Each Other
Saotome is the top Gyaru in class – she’s loud, known by everyone, and stylish. Otonashi, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. These two carry their own baggage that would ruin their built up identities… but what happens if they were to discover each other’s secret?
Shiritsu! Bijinzaka Joshi Koukou
Nonomiya En, previously expelled from her old school following three suspensions, is forced by her father to enter Bijinzaka. This prestigious all-girls’ high school trains girls to become young, well-mannered ladies. Upon her arrival, En realizes that this school is definitely not for her and sneaks out. On her way out, she meets Narushima Chihiro, first year student at Jouyama Boys’ High, on the other side of the hill.
Tsubomi Kuzuhara is the daughter of a prestigious family dating back a hundred years, known for their flower arrangements, and is the only heir to the Kuzuhara name, however, she’s a delinquent kogal! In an attempt to make her a better heiress, her father leaves her under the guidance of one of their flower masters, who she finds herself falling in love with, despite his frequent annoyance with her.
Galism ~ Love Supreme Sisters ~
A shoujo series about three trouble making teenage sisters, who’s parents leave them alone while they go on a trip. The series feels fairly similar to GALS! As it focuses on three gals, and their daily life, although Galism feels as though it has a much stronger focus on romance.
Hime Gal Paradise!
While the only English translation is a single OVA ( The rest of the series being untranslated ), this series revolves around a “Plain” girl Himeko Tachikawa. She is in a school full of gyaru and becomes friends with the new student, a boy named Mikami Tochiotome. He enjoys dressing in the hime gyaru style. With his help, she starts her road to being a full gyaru! This series is delightful, and surprising, as it’s an anime geared towards young girls, and while Mikami is a boy who dresses in feminine fashion, he’s seen as beautiful, and admired by his classmates, and his choice to wear feminine clothing isn’t just played for laughs!
This one is probably the Holy Bible of all Gyaru media, but a lot of us learned about gyaru through this beloved manga. The story follows a few gals on their adventures in Tokyo and features some great fashion choices! It’s a wonderful look at old school gal fashion. The series also goes into some darker topics, some that may be triggering to viewers; The first episode deals with compensated dating involving a teen aged girl. As well as later in the season, there is a subplot involving a man trying to coerce a teenager into prostitution. All of these are depicted with complete seriousness, while showing nothing graphic!
Gyaru in Pop Culture; The Bad
Sadly, as gyaru is a subculture highly fetishized by many, it really comes to no surprise that a good amount of gal media is… pretty bad; To make matters worse, most of the series revolve around kogal (gals in high school) Honestly, if the series is tagged as ecchi. It’s likely fully sexualize underage gals. It’s incredibly unfortunate, as it makes up most of gal themed manga. It’d be a long winded lineup if I were to list every bad representation of gyaru, especially with a lot of tanned gyaru being shown in legitimate blackface.
Black Gakkou ni Tsutomete Sensei
In this manga, a teacher is transferred to a school where everyone is a kuro gyaru. The series is basically softcore porn, with sexual scenes involving the teacher and his underage students. Hypersexualization of gyaru, specifically tanned gyaru.
Miku Okazaki is a gal who is failing school, and is told to “bake cookies” for the teachers to get better grades (code for sexual favors,) however she misinterpreted this, and instead tries to learn how to cook, joining a cooking club. This series would be somewhat alright, however it’s premise is a relationship between a teacher, and his underage student, along with many fanservice scenes involving Miku.
My First Girlfriend is a Gal!
A series revolving around an otaku Jun’ichi, who is coerced by friends to confess to their gyaru classmate Yame, to his surprise, she accepts. The series includes many different gal characters, who are all sexualized, including one who factors into the younger sister fantasy.
A notoriously bad manga in general. Though starting out fine, albeit with a somewhat irritating male main character, it revolves around a boy who helps an extraordinarily messy gal clean her house. This goes completely south as the creator had drama with his publisher, and therefore decided to add in a completely unnecessary, graphic sexual assault scene.
Please Tell Me! Galko-chan
This one admittedly pains me to put in this section, as the series itself seems great at first; It’s a lighthearted series about Galko, a gyaru who goes against the ‘promiscuous’ image her classmates see her as. Otako who is a plain-looking girl with a sarcastic personality, and a look for manga. As well as Ojou, a somewhat airheaded wealthy girl. The series goes into topics that most are afraid to talk about with their female cast, such as periods, and other subjects revolving around puberty, and a cast that includes a plus size girl. This, however, gets a bit soiled, when you realize most of the content the creator makes with Galko outside the main series, is incredibly sexual, ranging from just fanservice, to softcore pornography of her.
Gyaru in Pop Culture; The Abnormal
While these don’t really fall under good, or bad representation, these are series with depictions of gyaru that are a bit more strange, whether it’s comedy depictions of gyaru, or gyaru in more unusual circumstances. These may be actual gyaru characters, or scenes where non-gyaru characters take up the appearance of one!
In the episode “Megure’s Sealed Secret,” it has a murder mystery, where a gal accidentally runs over a man and his father grows hate for all gyaru, and especially platform boots.
In the episode “Battle Aboard the St. Anne,” Jessie and James take on the disguise of two tanned kogals, complete with kogal slang (this is translated to be valley girls in the English dub.)
Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger
In the episode “Gyaru Hazard,” one Ganguro appeared as an Alien thief, who is sent to transport an important gem. Hijinks ensue as they try to stop her.
Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san
In episode eight of the series, a gyaru and gyaruo couple come to the book store, the joke being that their flashy appearances frighten the main character, who’s a skeleton.
Teekyuu! Is a wacky, fun series about four girls in a tennis club, is an agejo gyaru named Annenkoff Kondou, who works as an exorcist.
Dragon Quest Builders 2
One of the minor characters that can be found is a gyaru named Britney, who talks in slang, despite the fantasy world she’s in.
Gothic and Lolita Psycho
A splatstick ( a movie that uses over the top gore in a comedic fashion ), features a Kogyaru assassin named Lady Elle, complete with a decoden eyepatch, and twin gun-knives.
Atsuko Kutsuzoko, is one of the tenants in the apartments Shin-chan and his family live in. She’s depicted as a ditzy, airhead gyaru mother, who’s daughter Atsumi dresses in gyaru alongside her.
While not starring any actual gyaru, the series revolves around Wakaba Kohashi, a wealthy girl with high expectations of the gyaru life, and admires the subculture, one of the biggest plot points is her desperately trying to become a gyaru, while not actually understanding anything about it.
Got enough of Gyaru in Pop Culture?
Did you catch any must reads on the list, or some you’ll absolutely stay away from?
Whichever you did, we hope you enjoyed this collaboration as much as we do!
We even have gyaru invading the idol world, where else can we see gyaru representation in pop culture?