Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Flat
Episode 10

by Theron Martin,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Flat ?

Harem series are notorious for taking the path of least resistance when resolving their core relationship issues. That's what makes the conclusion that the penultimate episode of this series seems to be heading toward such a refreshing surprise, since it looks like the series is actually serious about going down a path less traveled, where some of the girls step away from the harem because they accept that they will be better off without it, even if it means leaving the one they love behind.

This comes as a result of Utaha and Eriri discussing the offer that Akane made to them last episode about Field Chronicle. Eriri wants to reject it on gut reaction, but Utaha gently encourages her to reconsider, since she fully understands that Eriri isn't acting rationally. Because of her own feelings on the matter, she knows that taking up the offer would be a betrayal to Aki, both as a dojin team leader and her biggest cheerleader, and it's not something she cares to repeat. After dwelling on it for a day, Eriri reveals a discovery whose ultimate truth is disturbing to her. She can draw again (she sketches a lovely picture of Utaha on the spot to prove it), but it's not because of Aki. Instead, it's because Akane pushed her by antagonizing her, which is something that Aki would never do but she apparently needed to get over her slump. Coming to accept that she'll have to move on from Aki if she wants to improve in her craft is a heartbreaking moment for Eriri, but as Utaha makes clear, it's not something that she has to face alone, since Utaha is fully in it with her. Utaha also reveals that the insult to her professional pride that Akane dealt by claiming that she only wanted Utaha as a package deal with Eriri is not something that she can just sweep under the rug either, even if she can maintain her calm in the moment.

It's a great bonding sequence between the two girls, who clearly respect each other's work even if they haven't always gotten along, but it also suggests a message quite contrary to the nature of these kinds of series: sometimes you have to move on from the one you love in order to advance. Aki also understands how great an opportunity this is for them, and he takes some solace in the fact that he was able to recruit such in-demand talent first. However, even a pep talk from Iori isn't enough to cheer him up much. That's when Megumi, new haircut and all, steps back into the picture and asks him for a date out of the blue.

Though surprising in some senses, that ending scene also felt like it had to happen. After all, the story has pretty much wrapped for the other two girls, but Megumi still needs a final resolution. It sets up a potentially loaded finale—if the series doesn't pull a massive cop-out at the end. Given the way the series has toyed with its “meta” elements over the course of its run, I'm very leery of backpedaling on this progress. However, the writing in the last couple of episodes has been particularly sharp, and this one is no exception. We even get some final bonus Utaha fanservice too!

Rating: A-

Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Flat is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.

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