Original Run: July 3, 2021 - September 18, 2021 Number of Episdoes: 12 Genre: Comedy, Harem, Romance Based on the Series Created By: Hiroyuki
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Girlfriend, Girlfriend. Reader discretion is advised.***
Having been confessing his feelings for years, Naoya Mukai (voiced by Junya Enoki) is over the moon when his childhood friend, Saki Saki (voiced by Ayane Sakura), finally agrees to start a relationship. Naoya vows to treat Saki right and never, EVER be unfaithful to her.
Then one day, Nagisa Minase (voiced by Azumi Waki) tells Naoya she has feelings for him and asks if the two of them can start dating.
Overwhelmed by Nagisa’s determination and cuteness, Naoya can’t bring himself to say no. However, his feelings for Saki remain as strong as they ever have. Therefore, he decides on the only solution he can think of:
Why not date both girls at once?
The opening song to Girlfriend, Girlfriend was pretty damn catchy.
And to be honest with you, I considered leaving this section of the review at that. I am not going to be nice to this show; it was a chore to sit through.
I had my reservations about Girlfriend, Girlfriend when I found out what sort of anime it would be. As always, I went into this series hoping for the best; I wanted my worst fears to be wrong. Perhaps – PERHAPS – this show might have been a welcomed surprise.
It was not. What’s worse, I realized this halfway through episode one.
Now, I have powered through many trash anime in the past. Girlfriend, Girlfriend was one of those dreadfully special cases where I wanted to quit; any goodwill I may have had towards this series had vanished. It was only because I didn’t want this show – of all shows – to be the one to break me that I stuck with it.
Having said all that, Girlfriend, Girlfriend wasn’t so unforgivable that I can ignore the credit it’s due. But to do that, I must disregard everything insufferable about this series. As such, the character Saki Saki (whose name I find obnoxious – sorry if it’s yours) was consistently fun.
Sarcasm is a weakness for me, and any character who devises and goes all-in with an absurdly BS story will usually earn my favor.
For example, and part of me hates how much I enjoyed this bit, seeing Saki thoroughly convince Naoya Mukai that Rika Hoshizaki (voiced by Ayana Taketatsu) only liked him because she was in heat was pretty funny. It was Saki’s resigned commitment to the lie that did it for me, especially when she kept it up in front of Rika.
I do think I was grasping for any lifeline while watching Girlfriend, Girlfriend. For me, Saki was that lifeline. She didn’t save this series by any means, and I wouldn’t even go so far as to say her precence made things bearable.
No, all I am getting at is, whenever I caught myself momentarily enjoying this show, it was because of something Saki did.
But one dim bright spot cannot excuse the slew of other problems that plagued Girlfriend, Girlfriend. Sure, I have seen worse things come out of 2021 (this review released November 2021), and I won’t act as if this series infuriated me. However, I am so glad it is over.
For the record, I have nothing against anyone in a polyamorous relationship.
If you don’t know, polyamory is the practice of having more than one intimate partner with the informed and willing consent of all those involved.
Polyamory does not work for me, but it’s no skin off my bones if it does for you. If you’re happy, your partners are happy, and you’re not hurting any outside parties, the more power to you.
Of all the qualities of Girlfriend, Girlfriend, the idea – and I am using that word specifically – of the main character openly dating two people at once did not bother me in the slightest. I have seen and enjoyed plenty of other harem anime in the past.
Now, I gave you that explanation to contextualize this next bit. Girlfriend, Girlfriend is a garbage representation of polyamory. Hell, to connect the two in any way gives this show more credit than its worth.
There is a reason I was ready to drop this series after its first fifteen minutes. Girlfriend, Girlfriend laid bare precisely what kind of anime it would be, and I didn’t want to be bashing my head against the wall throughout the entirety of its run.
For a harem anime to work, it must establish two fundamental pillars: the harem members and the harem center.
In terms of the harem members, Girlfriend, Girlfriend did fine. Granted, there was one unignorable issue to this aspect, but we’ll get to that in a second. As I said earlier, Saki could be funny. Then there was Nagisa Minase, and she was quite adorable. Plus, when she was vying for a spot in the harem, the aforementioned Rika was not detrimental to this show.
So then, why didn’t I bother discussing them during the Series Positives section of the review? That’s because Girlfriend, Girlfriend failed to adequately answer one question.
Why was everyone trying to get with Naoya Mukai?
And so we’ve reached the reason why Girlfriend, Girlfriend failed. Naoya Mukai was a s@$% harem center. I’ll go even further.
Naoya Mukai is one of the most obnoxious, annoying, deceptively selfish, moronic, absurdly gullible, and unlikable characters I have ever encountered. He is why I wanted to stop watching this show; I did not want to put up with him.
Girlfriend, Girlfriend tried desperately to frame Naoya in a veil of earnestness, and I did not buy it for a second. All I saw was someone willing to throw away a relationship they had been working to establish for years the moment a never-before-seen pretty face came into the picture. Seriously, Nagisa’s confession didn’t need to be as elaborate as it was.
But instead of sticking with “sorry, I have a girlfriend,” Naoya decided, “Hey, I’ll just date both of you, and though I’ll ask Saki for her consent, she actually doesn’t get to say no.”
I’m dead serious; Noaya gaslit Saki into agreeing with this arrangement. She didn’t have any real say in the matter. Sure, she got in a good punch, but by the time Saki begrudgingly said yes, Naoya had shifted it so she was the unreasonable one.
And that was Naoyo through the entirety of Girlfriend, Girlfriend. He spent the whole show causing and inflaming problem after problem. But since none of the fallout would have directly affected him, everyone else’s discomfort with the situation didn’t matter. As long as Naoya got what he wanted, everything else was secondary.
Was Naoya an intentional piece of crap? No. Instead, he was an accidental one, which is arguably worse. That way, he could play it off as, “Sorry, I’m just a dense asshat who doesn’t know any better.”
Since Naoya was this show’s primary protagonist, and thus inseparable from this story, his mere existence prevented Girlfriend, Girlfriend from being what could have been a dumb but still fun show.
Is it wrong for me to condemn an entire series simply because of one character? Well, if that character is the protagonist and beyond irritating, then I don’t think so. After all, this one character is the reason why this show was not enjoyable.
If there were one word I could use to describe this series, it would be “misguided.” Some aspects did work; there was some pretty decent comedic timing. But the price of admission wasn’t worth it.
I am fine with being overly harsh in this case, and if you feel I “missed the point,” please let me know.
As it stands, though, you can skip Girlfriend, Girlfriend.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Girlfriend, Girlfriend? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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