Many romantic comedy anime series use misunderstandings as the focus of their humor. Something is misheard, or not told, and it sets up a snowballing series of events, like in Maison Ikkoku. Girlfriend, Girlfriend is the exact opposite of that. It is a series based on the fundamental premise of “What if people were maybe just a little too open and direct?”
Naoya Mukai is a somewhat ordinary high school boy, who just recently has entered High School, and has asked his childhood friend, Saki Saki (spelled with different characters for the first and last names) to go out with him and she’s said yes. He’s a little overly enthusiastic, and a little overly candid and honest, but it’s endearing. And then one of Naoya’s classmates, Nagisa Minase, asks Naoya out too. And does so with a Bento that she made, which is absolutely delicious. Like, “Should get a Michelin Star” delicious. And it turns out Nagisa has missed weeks of school in order to her culinary skills to this level, just for Naoya.
This moves Naoya. Deeply, to his very soul. To such a degree that he can’t simply say “No”. Nor does he want to break up with his childhood friend, Saki Saki, who he also cares about greatly. Nor does he want to cheat on her behind her back.
So Naoya has a cunning plan. A plan so cunning, you could mistake it for a Kitsune.
He meets with Saki and Nagisa together, and asks if they can be to be in a de-facto polyamorous relationship.
After Saki reflexively knocks Naoya the fuck out, and gets a moment to talk to Nagisa, she starts to warm up to the idea. Naoya is her friend, and she does care about him, and she doesn’t want to see him taken away. But Nagisa’s cooking is really good… and she’s really sweet and heartwarming, and she’s kind of falling for her too.
So, yeah, the cast of Girlfriend, Girlfriend can best be described as “a bunch of horny idiots.” Yet, in spite of that, there’s very little fanservice. It is not until a pair of hot springs episodes at the very end of the series is there any of what you’d expect in terms of fanservice.
No nudity until those last two episodes. There’s discussion of sex, but nobody actually has sex. No sexual slapstick – it’s, in all, shockingly wholesome.
Again, all of the humor here is that everyone just, kind of, over shares, occasionally leading to over-reacting. It’s actually kind of honest and refreshing to learn that you can have an absolutely hilarious romantic comedy series based around the core premise of “What if these characters are open and upfront with each other, and still manage to still be hilarious dumb-asses?”
There’s nothing excessively skeezy, no incest, no spectacular power imbalances in the relationship. It’s just a show that finds the right balance between sweet and stupid in the best possible ways.
Girlfriend, Girlfriend is currently available for streaming on Crunchyroll.
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