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Girls' Frontline Release Date, Characters, Plot - What We Know So Far

If you're a mobile gamer who enjoys gacha-style turn-based strategy sims, you may recognize the name "Girls' Frontline." 

The Chinese IP, which was developed by MICA Team, launched as a free-to-play game in Asia starting in 2016 (via Inside). It came to the U.S. and Japan in 2018 (it was called "Dolls' Frontline" there due to a copyright dispute, according to 4gamer.net). The title become popular enough — with 18 million global downloads, according to Crunchyroll — to spawn a franchise. A sequel, "Girls' Frontline 2: Exile" should be coming due any day now, since fans have reported that closed beta test reportedly took place starting in June (via a Reddit thread). A couple of animated series have already aired, as well: "Dorufuro: Healing Edition" aired in 2019 in Japan (via 4gamer.net) while "Dorufuro: Frenzy Edition" came out late that same year (via 4gamer.net). "Girls' Frontline" also has a manga, a soundtrack CD, and a spin-off game

Then, in January 2021, Warner Bros. Japan and Sunborn Network announced they had teamed up to create a new TV anime based on MICA Team's game, to be animated by Asahi Production (via Crunchyroll). In August, the staff of the anime adaptation revealed a trailer, music launch window, and art, setting the stage for the series to come. Here's the information we've got on the "Girls' Frontline" anime so far.

When is the release date for Girls' Frontline?

When the anime was announced in January 2021, it had a 2021 launch window. However, in August, Sunborn and MICA Team announced that "Girls' Frontline" would be streaming worldwide in 2022 (via Otaku Mode). The companies gave no reason for the delay to next year, though perhaps COVID-19 was a factor — as it has been for so many visual productions in the last year. Neither have they provided any additional information on when the production might come during the course of the next calendar year.

Additionally, though the production companies say the show will have a global release and have subtitled much of the trailer in English to prove it, neither has said anything about where the show might be streaming when it does come out. Viewers will have to wait for one of these parties, or Warner Bros. Japan, to provide more information. Hopefully, that will be revealed sooner rather than later. 

Who are the characters in Girls' Frontline?

The main characters of the anime adaptation are female androids created by a military company called Sangvis Ferri, and they all have numerical names. They're members of the AR Team, an elite tactical dolls (T-dolls) unit that have become important factors in a post-apocalyptic landscape that features numerous wars. The protagonists include M4A1M (Haruka Tomatsu), M16A1 (Nozomi Yamane), ST AR-15 (Emiri Katō), and M4 SOPMOD II (Yukari Tamura). The names here don't exactly roll off the tongue, but these young women-robots have the firepower to make sure they're otherwise memorable. In fact, they're personifications of famous weapons. 

Shigery Ueda directs the series, while Hideyuki Kurata is in charge of series composition and the screenplay. Masaki Yamada designed the characters, and Takashi Watanabe composed the music. Sunborn and Mica Team created the original story (via Anime News Network). 

The series' official website posted short interviews with cast members, which provide hints of what the anime will be like and how the characters fit into the story. Yamane, who voices M16A1, said (translation via Comic Book Resources), "Unlike the previous mini-anime I've participated in, this one has a more serious and profound impression. There are so many battle scenes. I often feel sad at the troubled state of each character, so the occasional glimpse of everyday scenes are so endearing." 

What is the plot of Girls' Frontline?

The original "Girls' Frontline" game's description reads like this (via Google Play): "The year is 2060. War has plunged the world into chaos and darkness, and the responsibility of restoring order falls onto those of us who have survived. Now is the time to revisit your past. Make use of your gift in tactics and command your T-Dolls in the struggle to unveil the far-reaching conspiracy that permeates the world. For the sake of mankind and our future, join us ... at Griffin & Kryuger Private Military Contractor." The game, then, allows players to take on the role of a human commander in charge of the T-Dolls.

The description of the anime version, as displayed on the show's website, elaborates on how this will be adapted: Basically, an accident devastated and polluted this alternate Earth reality and started World War 3. The resulting labor shortages led to the creation of T-dolls, mechanical lifeforms with outstanding abilities that were quickly adopted by all military organizations. Meanwhile, the AI of a munitions company called Iron-Blood Kozo suddenly rebelled. Griffin and Kryuger's T-dolls try to investigate and prevent the AI from taking over while protecting the remaining humans and unraveling the mystery behind the war.