By Dustin Cabeal
The problem with a lot of anime, especially of the harem variety, is that they’re great for six episodes and then not so much. That was true of the first season of How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend which started with a solid introduction to the characters and the premises and then sat on its ass for the last six. With the second season, it was in reverse, sitting on its ass in the beginning and then cranking out the story at the end.
Perhaps the biggest misstep with this season and the first is the “zero episode” which is 100% fan service. This “zero episode” takes place in-between the two seasons and so at least makes some sense to the story. It’s just that the season ends up only being technically eleven episodes long because this episode doesn’t count officially for some reason and doesn’t help the story in the least bit. It’s used to establish the sexual motivations of all the women in love with Tomoya.
After that, it’s back to Blessing Software’s game, and there are a few nice moments in the season as the team finishes their groundbreaking date sim game. The formula is fairly simple; every episode is dedicated to one character and Tomoya’s struggle with their work. He’s challenged as a creative producer and fails pretty much every time. Eriri ends up delaying the game as she falls into a slump and instead of Tomoya relying on Kato as she’s requested, he lets the deadline pass, and they have to burn the game themselves. They end up a hit, but so much happens as a result of how they finished.
The first is that Eriri can’t draw anymore or rather has hit a slump. It turns out that she just can’t draw for Tomoya anymore. This plays into both Eriri and Utaha being scouted for a huge franchise and both of them leaving the group to work on the project which guts the team. That’s the big story, but not the part that’s interesting. It may seem interesting, they put a lot of work into making it interesting, but what steals the show and became the only reason to finish the season was the relationship development between Kato and Tomoya.
To clarify, I don’t mean romantic relationship, even though there is plenty of work put into that aspect, but it’s a slow burn. Rather, their friendship is the driving force to the story, and it was almost nice to get two characters out of the way of that. At the start of the season, Tomoya and Kato are inseparable, and no one sees it except a sub-sub character that comments that they’re like a married couple. Once Tomoya stops relying on Kato, and they miss the deadline she gets extremely mad at him. They episode in which they mend their friendship is incredible, not only do they act like a couple that’s recently broken up trying to get comfortable around each other again, but it also maintains this level of innocence at the same time.
It doesn’t stop there as Tomoya and Kato go on a date after the team is gutted, and it’s all to inspire Tomoya, but also to help him get over the loss of his two friends. Perhaps one of the best scenes in the entire series comes when Tomoya is crying, and Kato goes to reach out and touch his head but fights back her hands. It was the moment in which she realized that she cared for him, but at the same time didn’t want to be another girl swooning after him. Kato has made it clear that she will be chased not the other way around which separates her character from Utah and Eriri. It also made me wish that there was a third season in the works. Who knows if there is, there’s a lot of meta jokes in the “zero episode” about how they were lucky to get a second season and only because the DVD sales were strong.
The animation is great because it’s A-1 Pictures and they only produce fantastic looking animation. It does mean that there’s a lot of pointless upskirt shots, followed by extreme close-ups of body parts, but if you’ve seen any of their other series, then you should be used to this. It does distract from the story. There were many times when you’d just pray that they’d leave the shot on the two people talking rather than bouncing around the room and checking out underwear, but that’s probably what sells DVDs. It became mind numbing towards the end for me, to the point that I focused on the subtitles more than the animation and which that Amazon had a larger font to select. That way I could cover more of the screen.
If there is a third season, I have to imagine it will be in some part due to Amazon picking up the exclusive streaming rights for this season. I’m pulling for the series because unlike any other harem it cleaned house. We’ll see if it sticks considering both characters show back up at the end to “check on Tomoya,” but we’ll see. If you watched the first season, then check out this season. If you’ve never watched the series before, then get ready for some intense knowledge about dating sims and an above average Otaku surrounded by beautiful women that are waiting to bang him. If that sounds great to you, you’ll love this series, the rest of us will just wait and hope that they build the only relationship that matters.
Saekano: How To Raise A Boring Girlfriend – Flat (Season 2)
Creator: Fumiaki Maruto
Director: Kanta Kamei
Writer: Fumiaki Maruto
Studio: A-1 Pictures