Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Anime Review: Saekano (How to raise a Boring Girlfriend)


Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata or Saekano revolves around the life of a hardcore Otaku named Tomoya, who one day has a fateful encounter with a mysterious girl. Inspired by this event, he decides to make a game based in it and tries to seek help from Eriri Sawamura, a rich and cultured girl who is also a secret porno Doujinshi Artist and Utaha Kasumigaika, a senior who is author of bestseller light novels. Rejected by both and also finding out that the mysterious girl was his normal uninteresting classmate, Tomoya’s plan start to fail. Despite the hurdles, Tomoya makes his mind to do everything to get help form Utaha and Eriri to make the game of his dreams.

Saekano, a simple harem slice of life with a concept that has been adopted a million times before, yet it feels fresh and attractive. I saw this anime back then when I was still new to anime. I re-watched it again a few weeks ago and all the good memories from back then came flowing one after the another. Feelings mixed with nostalgia took over me and easily overwhelmed me.

For the first time, I will discuss the characters before the story as it is essential in case of Saekano to have a rough idea of of various characters. The main character Tomoya is a die-hard otaku that are generally displayed in many other similar anime, people who have no interest in 3D world and live their imaginary life in the 2D realm. Eriri is a rich b*tch with very high ego and wears a mask of a calm girl in front of others. During the day, she acts as a very cultured and shy lady but actually, she is also an Otaku and a part time porno-doujinshi artist. Utaha is 1 year senior to Tomoya and is a well known light novel author and seems to have a superiority complex with a calm personality. Megumi is a not so different high-school girl with absolutely no personality traits that stand out. There are more characters but discussing them might act as spoiler to “some” people.
The above summary of characters is what you get after watching the first and half of the second episode. Despite the fact that the characters don’t seem extraordinary, they work very well with each other. Moreover, there is more to their personality than what I wrote earlier. For example, the Rich B*tch I mentioned earlier is my favorite character in Saekano for her tsundere nature, which reminds me that the girls in Saekano are the stars of this anime, all of them make up Saekano a beautiful experience.
With time, all the characters are explored and we get to see their multiple sides, all thanks to adequate screen time given to all of them.

Now coming on to the story, frankly Saekano doesn’t have a very unique story. It is very plain but with a constant progression. Despite being mainstream, it feels good as it acts as a perfect platform for the characters. I can’t imagine Saekano’s characters in a different type of story, it is like the characters were made for this kind of setting. Imagine 3 otaku for life working with normal people to make a moe game and that there is only one male in the whole circle. If that doesn’t pique your interest I don’t know what will. Now add a bit of slice of life drama to it and you will get an anime that remains in the back of your head for a very very, very long time.
I loved Saekano for its characters, their relationships, the awesome art and bit of acceptable healthy fan-service. But like many others, Saekano isn’t perfect. Other than an average soundtrack, Saekano lacks in depth. Although it isn’t fair to accept depth from a light anime but still Saekano touched some deep topics and left them unfinished. Nevertheless, rumor is second season is coming up this summer so I hope the developments lead to a good conclusion.

Who would watch Saekano?
Slice of life, romcom and harem fans will easily get attracted to Saekano. If you are into psychological stuff then I recommend you to not have much expectations from it.

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