Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
by Theron Martin,
This week's episode opens with what may be the series' funniest sequence to date: a piece where Aki gets talked into helping Eriri work out a scene for a doujin she is creating on a deadline based a popular title. Naturally this is an erotic scene, which creates all kind of discomfort for Aki to give voice to, though Eriri seems to get into it a little more. In a not-so-subtle implication, both are also worn out at the end from trying to hash out the dialog.
For a series which practically prides itself on being metafictional, that scene plays remarkably straight. It is also the closest thing that we have seen to a filler scene so far, but even then it still has some connection to the overall story, as it answers the question of how Eriri can get away with selling adults-only doujins even though she's underaged. (Simpler answer? Her parents do it for her. My, those are some pretty liberal-thinking parents!) That side excursion also does not last long, as soon the story and metafictional commentary are back to Aki harping on Megumi about how her changing her hair style throws everything off in her role as a heroine and Megumi calmly pointing out how ridiculous that is. This time, though, we get a physical instead of just verbal example of one archetype which Aki drones on about, as the perfect example of the sweet little sister-type underclassman shows up right on cue and quickly starts throwing out all kinds of easy-to-misinterpret statements while glomming onto Aki. The newcomer is Izumi, a girl two years younger than Aki and also the fourth of the five girls featured in the opener and closer. Her appearance throws off Eriri in particular despite Izumi clarifying that her (carefully chosen?) “he made me into a woman” comment referred to Aki getting her started down an otaku path, and not just because she has a bigger bust despite being younger; later comments give the sense that Izumi may be a distraction and irritant whom Eriri had long thought discarded.
Izumi is not the only new recurring cast member, either. Her elder brother Iori, who was once friends with Aki, also appear, but Aki does not regard him as a friend anymore. Apparently the break was over Iori doing what Aki considered distasteful things in the course of his otakudom. As much as Eriri and Aki try to ignore him, Iori's disposition hasn't changed; he has gotten ahead doing what he does, and is now ready to deliver the newest plot twist: he knows Eriri's pen name and wants to recruit her for a project that would run counter to Aki's.
This brings up a good point that the series has been conveniently ignoring so far: that Aki managing to get both a prominent light novel author and a well-known doujinshi creator on his game staff is a major industry coup, the kind likely to turn heads and make people take notice. It is the kind of thing that would make trade Web site headlines if it got out in the real world, and while Utaha and Eriri both create under pen names, they have not exactly been terribly careful about being unobtrusive in their discussions and planning. Even here the metafiction and irony run thick, as framed in a certain light, Aki really is doing exactly what he accused Iori of doing (albeit unintentionally). That should provide some fodder for some juicy scenes over the next couple of episodes.
On the artistic front the series continues to slip in quality, and even go off-model, from time to time. The writing in this episode is also still good, though not as sharp as the series' best efforts. The most important thing, though, is we are now four down and one to go on expanding Aki's harem to its full extent.
Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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